Friday, July 29, 2011

Cleaning as I go

Most of you may already know this, but I am not the neatest person in the world. I've decided to clean one room of my house a day. If I know where something goes I put it there, If I don't it goes to the next room that will be cleaned. Who knows what happens with all the stuff I am not sure about, we'll find out at the end of the cycle. A few days ago, I cleaned my bathroom. Today, I cleaned my living room. Tomorrow or the next day will be the dining room. It's kinda exciting when I come home and it's all clean!

I signed Drama up for Leash and Recall Manners class. I would love to get her into Agility classes, she would be so good at those classes. Another one I'm thinking of is K9 Nose class. She is wonderful in those types of tasks.

I signed myself up for quilting class. All my stuff is purchased and the class is paid for, all I need to do is show up on the day. Same thing for Drama's classes.

I'm thinking of a few things to do so that I get out and enjoy some summer in the city! I'm putting the Nature Museum on my list, as well as Lincoln Park Zoo, and taking pictures all over. I think that should keep me relatively busy.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I've been keeping myself busy this week. But, I've been having major problems with my medicine. First, the bood stuff, I've started running. I'm slowly getting back up to one mile. In the past, I've been able to run a 5K... and even a half marathon! But I've been able to run the 5K distance all the way through. Right now I'm at the .91 mile and if I had pushed I could have done the mile. I'm able to divide the run into quarters and run most of the run. Today, I even kept running without realizing my time was up! So, I have high hopes that I'll get to the one mile run fairly quickly.

Yesterday, I had a great time with a great group of friends. Before dinner, I had a pedicure... something I haven't done in years! My nail color is a purply lavender color. The massage was heavenly even though I had hairy legs! I got flip flops to wear to the restaurant and then so much laughter for such a long time. I needed that, and I made myself go.

Medication issues: So, the doctor doesn't think that Lithium is really working for me. Right now, I'm at the highest dose of Lithium. He says he thinks an add on of Depakote will be beneficial. I'm wondering if I could go lower on the Lithium and then have the Depakote as an add on. I'm also still on Seroquel, which the doctor wants to get me off of, but doesn't feel like he can because it's keeping me at bay and not going into hypomania, which we all know what happened last time.
About an hour after taking my nighttime medication (Seroquel and Lithium), I get this junkie feeling, like I can't stop moving my legs and arms. It makes going to bed really difficult. Usually when this happens, I take a Klonopin (which knock me out), then take a shower, which helps to alleviate the junkie feeling, then if I still am wired, I take another. If I'm getting tired after one, I'll just go to bed. If not, I'll go to bed after 2. This night time thing is the most irritating that I have had so far. Sooo irritating!

In work news, I found out I am in the reassignment pool. I appear to receive all benefits and all pay?? I don't think this is necessary fair, but it means I won't need unemployment. And, if I'm looking for a job, that's my pay?? I talked to a man from the union who said that if he had not had a literacy coach his first year, he would have never made it. We talked a little about the inequity of it all and how the district HAS money, but spends it in other ways that does not benefit our students. So, it made me feel good that the union is fighting for jobs, and the district's initiatives will change and I will be very prepared for those changes. But the thing is, right now, it sucks, looking for a job. I don't think anyone would like looking for a job. But, while I'm jobless, I'm focusing on myself, and volunteer work.

Tomorrow's the day the posting comes out! After I work on resumes and get them sent out, I plan to be watching, Friends With Benefits, hopefully for the early show!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuna Chowder

I love tuna chowder. It's something that my mom found in a cookbook years ago. We still have that cookbook and the tuna chowder page is all marked up and easily found because we've used that book for that recipe so many times. A few years ago, 2008, I asked my mom for the recipe and made it today. It is one of the most used recipe papers I have. It is also one of my favorite recipes. It is usually really good in the winter, but it's good to me anytime! So I made it today, I had some extra onions and had gotten green peppers. I don't think you guys want to hear about my love for tuna chowder, although I could go on, I will talk about some recent developments.

In terms of bipolar, I have seen my pdoc a few times, I usually see him on Thursdays. I enjoy going to visit him because he is usually able to calm me down or explain certain things to me. Today, he told me that most likely the Lithium is not going to help me on it's own, so I will probably have to take an additional medication, Depakote. I'm familiar with this medication, because it's one of those antiseizure medications that helps to work with bipolar. It's not too surprising for me that I would need to take some additional medication. I can tell that the Lithium, Seroquel, Lamictal combination is not really working, although the Lithium keeps me contained, going neither too high, or too low, but I know that taking one of the medications off will mess everything up. But, for some reason, and I can't remember why, I have to get to a particular dosage of the Lithium before he can add in the Depakote. He's trying to get away from the Seroquel as soon as possible, since it's not such a great drug to be on long term.

He also said that I need to reduce my stress. One of those stress factors would be to find a job. I'm sending my resume out and making phone calls about the online portals that I need to use to upload my information so that schools can talk to me, but the online portals are not helping me. I have one page that will not load and so I am not able to submit my application, but I am working on it.

I have also applied for unemployment. This was a difficult decision, but one that needed to be made. It's not like I'm not looking, I'm having a difficult time with the looking and when you're not the only one looking, with thousands of other people looking, it is daunting, but I still keep looking. I think tomorrow I will also contact the superior of the project that was my job for 4 years. She may have some options.

Another issue that I had was the payment for my doctor. I pay him out of pocket and then insurance pays me and I've got a FSA that pays for the rest of the cost, so for the most part he is free, but it's after I've put up the money. Today, I addressed this issue with him, because I'm obviously still in a precarious position in terms of bipolar, so I was nervous about what my options were. He said that he would work something out with me until I could get a job or at least stabilized with a job. He assured me of that, which helped reduce my anxiety.

Another thing I'm working on is exercise. I haven't been able to go out, because of the heat. But I did run for 25 minutes, which for me is about 2.5 miles. I'm looking forward to getting to the 10K. I also signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15K in November. Which will give me time to work on these goals.

I tried to upload something last week, really deep and thought provoking, the computer didn't allow me to publish it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The importance of having structure

In having bipolar, I've learned that I need to have structure in my day. This weekend, I did not have structure, or the structure was wake up a bit and then fall asleep for hours. Yesterday I woke up at 5pm and today I woke up at 6pm. Wow! I must have needed it, and it kept me busy, but I cannot do this everyday. In one of my books I'm reading about having bipolar disorder, it suggests that having things in order will help to reduce stress, which brings on alot of the symptoms, mania and depression, in me. This makes total sense. When I was taking my online classes last semester, I had to take incompletes, because I wasn't ready, by having them written down, for the projects and became completely overwhelmed. So, for the next two semesters, I'm taking off, hopefully the stress of starting back to school will be minimal. Especially if I can keep my projects written down and keep track of them.

So, I am starting to write everything down. I used to be completely faithful in writing everything, somehow in the midst of everything, I left that behind, which has made me extremely stressed in school. I'm going to start doing that again in order to help prevent stress.

In the job hunt, I'm still looking. I've been on a few interviews, without any hires. I'm hoping for one school that would be very similar to my previous school. I do very well with that type of student. So, my principal and I are working on that school. I'm going to school and taking all my stuff that I haven't taken yet, which is alot! And, it will give my principal and I a parting point. He doesn't want to lose me, but he has to. And, I have to leave.

Things that I'm also thinking about are unemployment, food stamps, state prescription program, if I don't have any prospects at a job. I'll cut off all my extras and just live with the bare minimum, which is extremely stressful, but I continue to look.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Concentration Difficulties

One of the most difficult parts of bipolar disorder, is the loss of executive functions. This means that decision making tasks are extremely difficult. This means that the things that used to be so easy to do, now take so much longer to complete or I just have no interest in completing the tasks.

In the past, I've always been one of those people who was always on top of it, bills, new job, reading online, etc. Now, and especially since February, I have not been on top of anything. I can barely remember when the due date for bills are. I barely walk out to the mailbox to get mail. I barely have any kind of memory for daily activities unless it is something I do everyday. One of my favorite activities, reading children's literature, is non existent due to concentration.

While concentration has been hard to live without, what has been even more difficult is the loss of the decision making process that used to be so easy. An example of how this affects me is when I need to make several stops for errands. Deciding which task to do first, without coming back home is a 15 minute decision to make. Then deciding the next stop, can be a 20 minute decision, and so forth. In work, deciding what the first task that needs to be completed or just getting started for the day is difficult. These are all executive functions that we all are able to make with little effort, those minute decisions that we perform within seconds, that's gone. I have faith that it will come back, several times, this has come back for a little bit, but when I begin to cycle, this is one of the first to go, and the last to come back.

Now, you might be wondering how I've been able to concentrate on this post. It's taken me nearly 30 minutes to type this message. I've been watching tv, getting up to go to the bathroom, rereading the passage, not to mention that I've been formulating this post in my head all day, which makes posting easier.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

This effen sucks! ARG 2

This is the second time I'm typing this because the first one didn't get published! ARGH! It probably won't have the same kind of effect as the first post I typed, but I'll try to have the same effect.

I don't normally complain about being bipolar. But somedays it feels like I'm never getting anywhere with my symptoms and I'm always increasing or decreasing medications. Living with bipolar is a life long disorder and sometimes it just gets frustrating when after I think everything is going well, something new happens that I wasn't expecting. This is what happened last night and this morning.

So last night, I'm looking for recipes for meatloaf with cheese in it and macaroni and cheese. As I'm thinking and searching online, I'm feeling myself get a little excited. Now, for most people, this will come as a surprise, but my family knows this to be true, I am a good cook. I just don't cook for one person because it takes alot of energy to cook for one person. Anyway, back to the story. I decide to go to the store at 10:30pm to get mozzarella cheese and a variety of shredded cheeses for the macaroni and cheese. Now I'm a chef! This thinking happened so quickly!

I'm a chef and I have so much to prepare! I purchase chicken, panko, mozzarella cheese, shredded cheeses, eggs, pizza and pizza sauce, pepperoni, and sandwich meat. I left the store with 103.00 worth of food. When I got home, I immediately start preparing the pizzas, chicken in red vinagrette sauce, and cutting up the mozzarella cheese. I could not go to bed until all of the food was prepared that needed to be done last night. This morning, I started with making the egg bake that needs to sit in the refrigerator, the chicken and panko breading, cleared out the dishwasher, filled it back up. As the morning went on, I began to lose steam around cooking. I want to make the meatloaf and macaroni and cheese bake that I initially became so interested and obsessive. I am a chef!

So, this is just a tiny peek into what it is like for a bipolar person in a tiny manic state. I felt normal, right in the middle not manic or depressed, and this happened. I texted my doctor this morning and explained what was going on and he increased my dose to 2.5 tablets of lithium. This is 1125mg of lithium. And on Friday I will need to have my lithium levels checked. It sucks to have to always remember to take medicine at 36 years old for the rest of my life. I know some people have had to take medicine longer than I: for me this is a new phenomenon. I am not used to taking pills for the rest of my life for a life, long incurable disorder. Bipolar can be treated with medication, and it can be quite dangerous if I stop taking the medications that keep me "normal".

Medications: 200mg Lamictal, 100micrograms Synthroid, 600 Seroquel, 1125mg Lithium

Thanks for listening,

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Feeling Better

I have slowly started to feel better after the surgery. No pain from all the incisions has made me happy. This means that I've stopped taking the Norco "Hydrocodone" narcotic pain killer that I've been taking pretty much close to a month. Well, I stopped taking it two days ago... guess what? Withdrawals. I now understand why the druggies twitch all over when they're going through the drawals... I felt like my clothes were too hard on my body... cloth, too hard on my body. That was crazy, I then felt like I couldn't stop jerking my hands and arms... luckily I pretty much have a pharmacy in my kitchen, so I took a 1mg of Klonopin, which I know will knock me out. So, I took one and fell asleep within 45 minutes, at 5:15am.

Well, I thought I was done with that withdrawal... last night I had withdrawals... in my legs, they were all jerky and my pants felt too hard on my skin... Got it my clothes feel hard, not a good feeling, so instead of waiting until 4:30 am to take the medicine, I took it at 11 or 12 am. Well, the first one didn't work, so I took two 1mg Klonopins... that knocked me out within 15 mins. My hope is that the withdrawals will be done and my clothes do not feel hard against my skin again.

Bipolarness isn't really being affected today... my medications changed on Thursday, again we're trying to reduce the Seroquel. This hasn't been successful in the past, because I usually become manic when it goes down, but it hasn't been tried with the Lithium. And lithium usually helps with both manic and depressive symptoms. Now that my mood is very stable, neither up or down, with a Lithium level of .64, and the pdoc says he wants to keep it there.

It's a low dose, I'm happy with that, I am extremely sensitive to medications. They kept saying in the hospital, you don't need much because you're so sensitive to narcotics, well good! That'll keep me away from narcotics on the streets!

I'm enjoying the Harry Potter weekend. I usually just have it on for noise and I can't believe I've watched close to 3 already. I had intentions of watching Zookeeper today, but I guess I'll try to catch it tomorrow.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Double Star

A night or two ago, I posted on my blog by using my phone. I'm not a big fan of that, so I'll just use my laptop. That's what it's here for anyway, isn't it? Right into today's news, I sent out 4 resumes for 5 positions. It took nearly all day and I started when I woke up, and didn't finish until 4:00! The pdoc said I got double stars for my work today! When I finished, I rewarded myself with going to the movies. There are several movies that are on my list to watch. Today, I watched Horrible Bosses. This movie is like 10 stars in my book! Very funny and kept me entertained which most movies don't.

Last night, the principal told me to call the school. I told him that I did. My friend on the interviewing committee says that they're going through a second round of interviews. I asked her if I needed to contact the Assistant Principal or not. She said that I did not need to and that she'll remember me for the position with a wink. I'm hoping that's a hint to the job! I'm hoping that most of the interviewees are non signing, which would give me a fantastic shot at getting the job! Anyway, pretty good news around here!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A new format...

Today I talked with the p doc.  We determined that the reason why I couldn't focus and had no concentration is because I was overmedicated. How did that happen?? Previously, I was in a manic episode, and we needed something that would make me slow down quickly.  That is why the high dosages of seoquel.  But we are going to take it slow, coming off the medication, now that lithium is working for me.  Hopefully I won't be able too far into a manic stage.  So again, a little switch up in the medications;not too bad this time. 
I tried to go out using jeans... Nope! That was painful. So I had to put my sweat pants on.
After talking to the pdoc, he gets me to commit to sending out 6 resumes!  Are you kidding?!  So I spent this evening looking at and reviewing schools.  Tomorrow, the send out happens.  I'm still waiting to hear back from the other school.  But, while I'm waiting, to hear back, i'm going to send out and work on looking for a job.  I am looking for something that will be less stressful.  My current job is very high stress which is a contributer to my illness and I need to leave asap, without making any waves. 
This is a new format because I am posting with my phone... Awesome!
Current medications: 200mg lamictal, 600mg seroquel, 900 mg lithium.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

After Surgery

I had surgery to take out my gallbladder. It was done laproscopically and I only have 4 incisions across my belly. 3 over my belly and one in my belly button. The pain of the incisions has mostly gone away, but I still have some pain. I'm still taking some pain medication, but not all the time, only when I feel the pain and then it sometimes knocks me out, not always.

Let's move on to the job front. My position has been eliminated, and I am now jobless. I've never been in this position before. At least my benefits are being continued, at this point. I'm wondering if I should apply for unemployment. For some reason, I'm not really concerned about it. I'm sure it has something to do with the medications that I'm taking, which right now, is 200mg Lamictal, 750mg Seroquel, and 900mg Lithium. My mood is stable, but I can barely focus on anything to start a job search. I haven't been able to read a children's book in a couple of months.

The bipolar has continued to intrude in my life. Like above it's hard to focus and stay organized on anything. I'm also having trouble in attention to detail. Regardless, I'm trying to continue to have hope that my principal will be able to pull a position out of thin air. If not, I've got a possibility in a dream location. I just emailed someone who works in our area and asked her if she knew of any positions, just to have some sort of job prospects. I also looked at the online hr jobs posting and there were a few that I would be qualified for, but I'm so distracted and unorganized that I'm having some difficulty. This is probably something I'm going to want to talk to the pdoc about. It's something new that I had never noticed. My mood is good, but I'm unable to function other than that. That would probably impact my job prospects as well. Hmm, something to talk to him about.

Until I have a job, I am staying at home. No vacations, no fun stuff, no car trips until I've got something lined up.