Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

Self Worth and Chronic Illness (my personal struggle)

Chronic Illness has a way of messing with your head.  I have had gastroparesis for 15 months (diagnosis time) and that has been quite the time.  If you are reading this, you too probably have a chronic illness or know somebody that does, so you fully understand that vague statement!

At first is was Dr after Dr, then after nobody knew further what to do, it was pill after pill.  I have a whole tote of pills that I had only take a couple of and had a reaction to.  I am the sort of person that keeps the pharmacy hand out and then writes notes on it based on how my body handled the drug.  Those notes go into a journal at some point, for future reference at a future Dr Apt when they want me to try something (and it was that same something I had before).  If I had a better memory, I would not need all of this.

ImageThen, you finally get time to your self without the poking a prodding.   Without my job to keep my sanity, I feel very lost and alone. 

First I had our house on the market and focused on keeping it up for showings and baking cookies for when we had a showing.  Then it was onto packing.  The house sold, which then began all the hoops we needed to fulfill the lender.  Finally, it was the rush to finish packing and then to move.  That came and went.  Moving day was May 1st and now we are June 12th and I am mostly unpacked and our new place is the way I want it -for now.

Now, I have run out of things to do (besides blog and help with GP questions) and wait for my husband to get home.  I feel guilty that he has to slave away with 10 and 12 hours shifts so that we can pay 90% of our bills.  I feel that I have put pressure on him to make sure he does a  good job at work, because we need his employment.  And most of all I feel like I am not worth anything to society as I as when I was working.

Like I said, Chronic Illness dose a number on your head!  You thought that you other symptoms were bad… going down a road of self doubt is not much fun either.   I am proud to say that this feeling doesn’t hit often, but when it does it is scary!

I need to find something to occupy my time, but haven’t found it yet.  It appears that we may have to move in the near future, so I rather not get to invested in anything.  My gastroparesis research for my blogs (more in the future) keeps me going and helps me learn a little more.

Thanks for reading and I hope I didn’t get you too down with the blog.  I am doing fine and happy that I have my husband, family and GP family to support me.   All I can do is pray there is a cure (or better treatment options) to end this suffering that we are all going through, no matter your reason for reading this today! 

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Self Struggle With Disability Application

I was denied unemployment, because their conclusion was that I could no longer work based on my profession’s average core work schedule.  That was a fact, I could not.  I battled them in a court hearing to address the fact that I felt I could work in some other ‘profession’ that allowed me to utilize my skills I picked up from the current profession, to enable me to work on a part-time bases and around my medical condition.  I further sated it was my impression that even if I was only seeking a part-time job that I could not be denied.  The judge basically told me that my interpretation is only that, and that if what I said was what I was going to counter with Unemployment, I would need an attorney that practiced that sort of ‘law’.   It only went down hill from there!

I had hoped to find a job that would accommodate my medical needs (bathroom close by, low stress environment, ability to consume nutrition at my desk and to be allowed to get leave at any given moment if I needed to do so: run to the bathroom, vomit in the trash can, to lay down or get a ride home if feeling weak/faint).   Working at my prior job my full time basis soon became 3 – 4 days a week at 5 hours or less.   So, I knew I needed a part time job around 3 days a week and no more than 5 hours per day.  Then (and still am) sick with a flare for 4 – 5 days every month during the same time.  No matter what I do to prevent it from hitting, it still happens.  Now we are talking working 3 weeks in a month.

By now you could have calculated I would need an employer that would like to have me work for them at the most 9 days in a month and that is not guaranteed.  Who would hire for that?!  This lead me down the path of looking for an ‘at home’ job.  Ha!  What a joke, most are scams.  Okay, all that I looked at were scams.  I quickly gave up, yet the thought is still in my head.

ImageI soon realized that I was not getting better.  The sad fact is, I didn’t know if I would ever get better.  I have a great GI Dr and we have tried about all that we can, without success.  So what else could I do?  The thought of unemployment gave me the creepy-crawlies.  And that is only because of how I was raised and what my mother thinks to this day.   But, I didn’t care what she thought and how she would react.   Social Security Disability is there for a reason and I was sad to admit that I needed their help.

I had to talk it over with my husband to decide if this was something that I should do or not.  We decided to give it a try.  I found a wonderful attorney to help me.  He will help when I get my first ‘denied’ letter, that saves me some costs.   Plus, he has experience with gastroparesis and that made me feel good.

I submitted it on-line to make it quick.  If there is such a thing with them.  But, I got a call within just a few days to tell me they received it, it was one of the best they have seen in a long time with it being properly filled out and I got a case worker in my town whom I was speaking with.  Two rounds of packets of papers and now were are up to today when I got a call they are sending me to their own doctor.  Paperwork to follow via mail.  Oh goodie!  Another person to education on gastroparesis and make sure that he/she understand my GP struggles.  Can’t wait for this and praying it is on a ‘good’ day for me to be a spit-fire!!

I do know that there are some that do take advantage of it.  I saw it in just the few cases I had to handle where I worked in a life insurance company.  Some policies have a rider page that basically states if the insured becomes disabled that the company pays the insurance premiums for the length of time the person can prove disability.   I can only image what happens with some SSD cases.

I too am sorry that I have to request disability and have to fight to prove how sick I am.  I rather work than sit home with my chronic illness and try to nourish my body so that I can have a ‘good’ day.  But, this is MY life and I have the power to decide what I am going to do.

An Author Save Me – From Gastroparesis Self Destruct

I owe a LOT to Crystal Saltrelli, CHC and her book Living (Well) With Gastroparesis (http://livingwithgastroparesis.com/get-help/books/).   I was so lost and alone after being diagnosed with gastroparesis.  My GI Dr at that time did not help me and only told me to 5 – 6 small meals a day that are low in fat and fiber.  She promised if I did this, I would be all better in a year.  Well, I have done this and am going over a year and feel as much pain as I did then. 

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Anyway, I didn’t know what I was to ‘eat’.  So I did what any person does in this day and age…. hit the Internet.  I slowly began to grasp what the GP Friendly foods were.  Then had to eliminate a lot of those due to personal allergies.  I looked at my options through my tears not knowing how I would survive on what was in front of me. 

So, I wondered if any body else was like me.  I was already on Facebook at the time to play games and interact with my friends, so I searched for Gastroparesis Groups.  I found some and was frightened at what I was reading: deaths, feeding tubes, people unable to manage their pain, etc.   What was going to happen to me?!   I cried, in private to not scare my husband. 

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Then I found Crystal Saltrelli and her website, then her Youtube videos.  There was a spark of hope deep inside of me that I may not die after all.  This may not be a slow death sentence.  I found she had a book, then looked to see if it was at a store in my town.  Of course not!  So I ordered it and paid for rush shipping!   I could not wait to understand what I needed to do to survive GP!  As the days passed, I watched all I could of her videos and followed per page.  Each day, I felt like there was hope.

The book came and I dove right into it with my highlighter and sticky notes!  I was determined to figure out what I needed to get me healthy again, what treatment options there were and what on earth I needed to do to ‘fix’ me!

Sadly, there is no cure.  But I learned what options were out there, what to eat and most of all to try my best to remain up-beat so I could pull myself out of the funk and get on with my life. 

From there it just snow balled.  My desire to advocate for myself, get a GI Dr that I could trust, then to volunteer for a non-profit (G-PACT) and lastly, to help others like me by doing all I can to spread the word that Gastroparesis exists and needs a cure!  

I owe all of this to Crystal Saltrelli.  If it wasn’t for her, I feel my husband may have had me committed to a white padded room with a vomit bag!   I was in such a deep dark place, it was scary.   

I know that the author may not read this blog, but my heart felt THANK YOU is being said and also HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  She was so kind to offer a discount to people on her b-day, so I took advantage and bought her e-book on juicing.  I need to learn how and what combos are best.  This is my next big step to better health.  So far, so good.  I have maintained weight, my hair is no longer falling out and I am not vomiting as much.  My life is on track of where I want it to be.  Thanks Crystal!!

The Importance of Protein – Powder ideas for smoothies

ImageOnce we are diagnosed with gastroparesis, we have to create a diet of low fat and low fiber.  Eliminating high fat and high fiber allow the stomach to function a little faster than bogging it down to process those foods.   Plus, making smaller meals help move the food faster.  I have found that I need to stick to 1c to 1.5 cups of food.  Nothing more, for my ‘meal’.   Yes, I in a way, measure it out and put it on a small plate.  This way I don’t grab for more food and make myself sick(er).  It is hard to stop ‘eating’ when you are still hungry, but the literal pain if you don’t is worse -for me.

When I started the GP Meal Plan, I cut out a lot.  I was living off a muffin or oatmeal in the morning (both of which are not recommended), then soup for lunch with crackers and a little portion of what I made my family for dinner (still not a wise idea .. if it is not GP Friendly.  Even in a small portion) and during the day I would have a smoothie of some sort.

Can you tell what I was missing?  I hope you guessed EVERYTHING!  I wasn’t getting enough vitamins, minerals and protein was a big miss on my part.

Every day I felt more and more crappy (pain, nausea, fatigue, light headed, dizzy, headaches, etc).   I didn’t understand what was going on.  I was eating low fat and low fiber with small meals.  Maybe my GP was getting worse.  I didn’t know.   But, one day I ran across and article talking about protein and thought for a minuted of how much I may consume in a day.  Hmmm, not much.  Does it matter that much, really?   I began to do more research and found out that lack of protein causes a lot of problems, such as:

  • Loss of muscle
  • Fluid retention
  • Hair loss
  • Body temperature falls
  • Fatigue
  • Nails break easily
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal Pain

Once I figured out that I needed more protein in my days, I began to hunt for items that I could put in my smoothies.  I tried things like tofu and Greek yogurt.  That was never going to be enough, so I searched for protein powders and tried: hemp, peanut butter powder, soy, whey and now my favorite egg protein powder.  Following is a list of Protein Powders along with the amount of protein per serving:

  • Tofu – 9 grams (2″ x 2″ x 1″ chunk)
  • PB2 – 5 grams protein, 2 tablespoons (this is a brand of powdered peanut butter)
  • Soy – 20 grams protein, serving size 24 grams
  • Whey – 25 grams protein, serving size 28 grams
  • Hemp – 25 grams protein, serving size 1 tablespoon
  • Pea – 25 grams protein, serving size 1/4 cup
  • Egg White – 24 grams protein, serving size 28 grams
  • This list is an example from the actual brands I had on hand.  Each brand will/can be different.

For me, the tofu and peanut butter did not contain enough protein for the amount I needed to consume in a day.  The Hemp and Whey could have sent me to the ER if I wasn’t smart and only tired a little amount (sever cramping, bloating, etc).  I ruled out the soy powder, just because I am not that big of a believer in soy.  To me, it is in too much of our food as it is.  I am lucky that the Egg White Protein powder not only tastes great in a shake/smoothie, but it gives me the boost I need every day and has not make me sick!  I swear by it!!

In a given day we should be consuming 50 – 100 grams.  Here is a link to a calculator to help you estimate.   http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/library/blproteincalculators.htm

Lastly, if you can eat some real food, try Protein Bars.  The Balance Bar is easy to digest and can provide any where between 15 – 19 grams of protein (depending on the flavor).  I keep one with me when I go out of the house.  Once I start to feel light headed I eat the bar and am good to go for another hour or two!

It is amazing how just this little changed has helped me.  I feel so much better than before.  Yes, I still have gastroparesis and am in pain every day, but I feel better than I did.

Link regarding protein deficient symptoms:  http://www.buzzle.com/articles/low-protein-levels.html

 

The PAIN of Constipation (TMI Warning)

As I mentioned before, I am going to copy over some of my Notes on my Facebook page.  Here is the 1st one.

Following is a copy of my Facebook Note of April 8, 2013 (edited)

For a few days now, I have had more than normal side pain.  Today the pain moved lower.  As a female, I thought maybe it was a different issue.  Nope.  There is also a feeling of having ate a whole buffet!   The thought of food makes me sicker and liquids do not want to stay down.  

The self diagnosis begins…. did I try anything new?  Medication, Supplement, Drink, Real food?  Nope, nope, nope and nope.  Dang, what is wrong with me?  Just a flare?  Maybe.

As the day goes on the feelings of tired and depression hit.  Hmm, is this just the start of a flare?  Did I over do it?  Thinking back, ‘no, I don’t think so’.   Then what is it?!  

ImageFor some reason the word ‘constipation’ came to me.   The wheels in my head slowly turn, thinking about any BM’s I have had recently.  I can’t think of any in the recent past.  But if I am in ‘brain fog’ mode, who knows what I did just a few minutes ago!  For reality sake (this time), I recall not having a BM in the last few days.  Honestly, it could have been a week or longer.  I have been very bad not keeping my journal, so I have no way to know.  And a week is not unusual for me. 

Since my body hates coffee and it gives me diarrhea, I am drinking a cup now and am hoping for some relief.  This has always worked for me.   It is my hope that this will make me feel better.  Since right now the escalated pain, full feeling, no desire to consume anything, irritability (clothing hurts and everything in general), tired (didn’t want to crawl out of bed), headache, depression along with the smallest activity hates all my energy, is getting on my nerves!   I want ‘me’ back!

Good days are yet to come.  It was may fault for not keeping better track of my over all health (BM’s included) to prevent this from happening.   I am now onto day 4 with out a shower, so I will do that now.   Hope everybody is doing better today.   I have read a lot of you are in the hospital fighting -again!  My thoughts a prayers are with you all.

==== Yes, the coffee worked and I am keeping a better eye on my BM’s to stay away from what I went through! =====

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