Wednesday, October 24, 2007

After I went off the stuff* there was a residual weirdness: shakiness when speaking and a fear in the back of my head that somehow I was behaving inappropriately.

Still, it was such a relief to be free. I could laugh, smile, think clearly and express myself again. The feeling of a too tight bike helmet lifted itself from my brow and whatever was pushing my shoulders forward and hunching me went away. On my walk to work Friday morning, I restarted looking people in the eye, smiling and wishing everyone who looked receptive a good morning. Also noticed quite a few male types giving me the look again from their cars, etc**.

Today, I'm back to the tiny dose, the 2.5 mg. Cutting the pills is a pain in the rear, but I can't handle any more than that. There is benefit to be derived from the medicine. I'm sleeping more and better (insomnia's always been a problem), I can concentrate better at work, and upsetting things that I'd normally ruminate over for hours if not days are being given their proper place in the scheme of my life. I don't want to forever be altering my brain chemistry to get by, but in the short term, it seems to be a good tool to help me complete the tasks I've assigned myself.

Of course, there are still side effects (lack of confidence in speech, a slight dreaminess, perhaps a strange tone to my voice when I talk to strangers, too. I also find that I can't fit enough words on a single breath), but they are much slighter than before, and dealable. I'm smart, so am confident that I'll find workarounds for all these.


*Citalopram, aka Celexa.

**Always a surprise, as I don't see myself as being particularly worthy of being looked at in that way. A girlfriend noticed it, and was wondering if I had some sort of pheromone thing going on as well.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The emotional component was what upset me the most. It wasn't that things were not bothering me anymore. Rather, all feeling was someplace else very close by, imprisoned behind a wall that looked like the bulletproof glass in a bank. I knew it was there, saw it, felt it struggling like a small child or hurt animal, but couldn't do anything about it.

As I'd spent nearly 10 years and countless thousands of dollars in therapy trying to learn how to feel and express emotion, this chemical deadening didn't seem right or fair. My intellect protested, my body revolted against. I wore a perpetual scowl and started grinding my teeth again. All I could think of in the rare quiet moments was ending this part of the treatment, ending counseling outright and trying to soldier on alone.
Visual: nothing major, save for things in my periphery jumping out to surprise me. (On retrospect, maybe not such a great thing if one is easily startled like I am.)
Touch? Revolting. Forget about it.
Taste: I could taste, but I didn't care. I already have a slow metabolism, so have to remind myself to eat. On the medication, I had to note when I'd eaten last and when I was going to have to do so again so as not to get headachy-stupid-dead faint ready.
I always knew that I was hearing was my strongest sense (with smell running a close second), but this was ridiculous. On the medication, I lost all the filters my brain uses to help me focus on the task of getting from point A to point B without killing myself. As a result, the world around me started feeling like a poorly-mixed soundtrack or a concert where all the members of the orchestra were playing their parts at the same dynamic range.

I have to admit, it was kind of neat. However, it was also very freaky and overwhelming, and did almost put my life in danger a couple times. Also, the oddest thought kept coming to mind: How long do I have to be on this stuff before I learn to focus again?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Those subtle changes in perception became overwhelming and life got very difficult.

The doctor told me absolutely to stop taking the stuff in order to let my system clear out. I feel so much better now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Am having these subtle changes in perceptions (concentrating on the impulses from feet to ankles to calves &c right on up to the thighs while walking) and reaction times (sometimes taking an extra second or two to understand the impact of stoplight colors or pedestrian walk symbols). I also look slightly flushed and feel a little tired. Am not too worried about it, though. What good would worrying do? Did put a call in to the doctor's office just in case, though.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Three Dollars!

Christmas Whirlgig II

I've always wanted one of these Weihnachts-whirlygig-dingen and now I have one, thanks to the Salvation Army on Broadway. The cashier guy must've thought I was a loon when I thanked him for making my weekend.
Money and health issues aside: I'm actually pretty happy. The trip to the symphony a week and a half ago still has me turning on my toes in my kitchen/dance studio*:

Even a long-gone Dead French Guy'll do that to this girl.

Have to figure out something nice to do for the person who gave me the ticket then even took me out to dinner** that evening. It made me feel as young as I was when I actually lived around the corner from Symphony Hall.


*Seriously! It's the biggest room in the house, has a good, slidey linoleum floor and, when I keep the bathroom door open, I can watch myself in a full-length mirror. I do all my stretches/yoga/dance practice here. I'd even do my tae-bo workout in there if I felt like moving the TV in.

**Thai, of course.
All this and, as of September first, my health insurance copays nearly doubled for office visits.

No, I don't blame the insurance company: they're in business to make money. I am more sore at my HR department, as they seem to be more interested in planning cinco de mayo parties &c. than negotiating better rates for us.
It seems as though everywhere I go, I'm barraged by breast cancer awareness publicity. Massachusetts has a pretty high rate comparatively speaking*, but I fail to see how the constant pink-ribbon waving, walk-planning, yogurt-label saving is going to help matters. All I know is that, outside of the media blitz, I'm constantly thinking about my lump and its implications. Would just like a bit of respite from it outside of sleep.


*My gyno tells me that new breast cancer cases in MA are something like 1/9 women, compared to the national average of 1/14 (this site claims 1/7 in 2005). He tells me also that there's been an upswing in new cases in women in my age group: the 34-36 year old range.
Haven't really felt like talking about this, but what the heck: over the past year, I've dodged the cancer bullet twice. Both areas are pretty trauma-wracked from past abuse, which has made things especially difficult emotionally.

I'm currently taking what I've gathered to be an experimental treatment (testosterone) to curb cell growth in one place; am worried about how this is going to affect the other area (my lump). All I know is that I hate-hate-hate this stuff and what it's doing to my body: I've acne like a 15 year old. My body (especially breasts) bloats up and feels very uncomfortable. At one point I even stopped menstruating. The blood pressure sky rocketed and I started having panic attacks unlike ever before.

The gyno has since halved the hormone cream, and I alternate it with a steroid cream (never thought I'd feel relief to be reduced to steroid use!). I got my period back (never thought I'd be relieved about that, either!) and the blood pressure is down, though the weight's still up and I am still kind of pimply.

Last week, started taking low-doses of an antidepressant to calm the panics and to help me sleep. The psychiatrist wanted to start me on 5 mg of a common SSRI, but I bargained her down to 2.5 (much to the amusement of my primary care and some friends and colleagues who know more about this stuff than I do) for starters. Hey: it's my brain chemistry we're messing with; can't go too small or too slow on that.

Don't know that this's had any effect except to make me sleepy. Starting tonight, I'll be trying 5 mg; hopefully it won't bliss me out, cause me to dissociate or make me even more panicky as these things can sometimes do. Guess we'll just have to be patient, wait and see.

Last week, three appointments. This week, four. Next week, another three. I really should hire myself out as a guinea pig rather than pay people to poke, prod and prescribe a theoretically better life through chemistry.

Friday, October 05, 2007


A friend had an extra ticket to the BSO tonight, so offered it to me. I'd been daydreaming about the program for some time, so am thrilled.

Did a quick run to Target to get something acceptable to wear (it is, after all, casual Friday), then managed to get through the rest of the afternoon somehow (hard thing to do when you're all fidgety like a five year old).

I believe the ring has something to do with this. Whenever I find one, other happy things follow in its wake. The symphony's only one of a few treats that've fallen in my lap this week.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Paint Fumes.

I feel as though I've had a two martini breakfast. Geesh.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Not a bad arrangement.

I've been stuck next to people who've only listened to things like rap, talk radio or commercial classical (how many times a week does a girl need to listen to Mozart's Requiem/the Gymnopedies/Selections from the Messiah/Beethoven's xth?). All things considered, hits of the 80s aren't bad at all.

Heavens, some of it makes me feel old, though.
I love opening the front door in the morning and smelling salt on the air. It's one of those few and far-between reminders that, though I'm on the back side of a hill facing inland, I'm still very close to the sea.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Yesterday, the Frenchie set about to sketching his dreamhouse:

I particularly like the espalier to the left of the steps.

If I ever do own property, it's certainly not going to be a chateau, and will most likely be on a very small lot to boot. For this, I'm fascinated with all methods of limited space gardening. Since I have a thing for jellymaking, would love to try training a couple apple or pear trees (reputedly difficult to train) on a fence or wall. Wonder if nut trees would work, too? Then I'd really be set.
This morning I picked up a cup of coffee and, feeling a bit spendthrifty, asked the shopkeeper to pick out a dollar lottery ticket for me. He gave me a blackjack-themed one.

Took a walk around the block to enjoy the now golden-green showers of honey locust leaves, then went back to my cubicle. Puzzled over the ticket for a couple minutes before consulting the innernet to learn whether or not I'd wasted my dollar.

(I did. Serves me right, too.)
All that glitters

Shoulders heavy with the burden of the upcoming day, head down so as to hide my sad-sack face from oncoming pedestrians, I made my way to work. At about a third of the way on, my eye caught a glimmer from the periphery which turned out to be a T token! This cheered me up quite a bit, as my other token had gone missing from the keychain a little while ago.

As my eyes were a bit bleary from ragweed and tears, I didn't notice the other little treat that luck decided toss my way until after I'd picked it up and pocketed with the token: a gold ring. It's just a plain little thing stamped 14k that's too small for my ring finger but too large for the pinky. Though certainly not as spectacular as the diamond ring I found at the end of a rainbow, it's a nice little rebate for all the sadness I'd been feeling lately.

My boss tells me that, with gold at +-$700/ounce, I should sell it. I don't want to, though. Can't see selling a gift like this.*

* and a gift it is, as far as I'm concerned. My lost and found posting's come and gone with no responses.