Archive for October, 2011

A Broken Mind

A couple of years ago, I broke my elbow.  After breaking my elbow, I wore a sling and a modified cast for a couple of months.  With the visual of a battered and bruised individual fully apparent, people would ask, “Are you OK?” “What happened?”  People would sympathize and relate, “That must really hurt.”  “I remember when I broke my ___.”  People would go out of their way to be helpful, “Can I get the door for you?” “Do you need any help with dinners/shopping/childcare?”

The moral of my story is, broken bones receive support from everyone; loved ones, colleagues, acquaintances, strangers., broken minds, not so readily.

A broken mind, a mental illness, is not something that people can readily see.  It’s not something that people will readily ask about.  It’s not something that people always want the back story for.  In fact, a lot of times, people shy away from mental illness because of the stigma attached to it.

What I would like to let the world know- a broken bone and a broken mind both need support, both need sympathy, both need help from others.  Both broken bones and broken minds require professional treatment as well as a support system of loved ones, colleagues, and acquaintances.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

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Teamwork

In earlier posts I have talked about how I want to be a support to others who need help navigating the stigma of mental illness as well as a guide for those interested in the Interstim Bowel Incontinence therapy.  I should point out that I would not be able to do this if I did not have my own special support system.

My family-My husband, my daughter, my mom, dad, sisters, extended family..they’ve been by my side since the very beginning.  Listening to what I wanted to share, supporting me through my treatments, crying with me and encouraging me during my setbacks, and cheering my successes!

My friends-Old friends who kn0w the “before trauma” me and trust that their unconditional friendship will see us through to the other side.  New friends who understand that there was a “me” from before and trust that they will like her too!

My medical “team”-Rectal Surgeon, Physical Therapist, EMDR Specialist, Psychiatrist, OBGYN, and other medical professionals who have helped with one test or another

My legal “team”-Lawyers, Social Security Disability Right Advocates (this has not panned out financially, but it’s nice to have the members of your team that try to fight for justice!)

My Literary “team”– this team is in the works, my book is written, just need to work through the steps of publication!

Teamwork.  I know I am the major player, but there is no way that I would be able to recover without a team of knowledgeable and supportive individuals. THANK YOU!

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

Price Check Please?

Hey, you know that sound that happens when you scan an item for a price check?  That BEEP!  That’s the sound that occurs when I swipe my external remote across my Interstim incision site to turn it up or turn it down.  I’m not going to lie, it’s really cool.

What’s slightly less cool, ok, not cool at all, is the reminder that the BEEP sound generates about money.  Don’t get me wrong, I truly would pay any amount of money to get better, I think anyone would.  What I am saying is that the staggering amount that one pays to get better from mental illness and  fecal incontinence is amazing (and I have pretty good insurance!)

Let me give you the break down:

Copays-$50.00 per time. (OBGYN, PT, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Rectal Surgeon, General Practitioner, Gastroenterologist,  Hospital Stays, Testing) multiply this by 3 years of visits, some of them weekly, some monthly

Medicines-Varies depending on what it is

Out of Network Psychological Specialized Help-$130.00/hour (EMDR specialist) multiply this by 2 hours a week times a year and a half

Massage-$70.00/hour (I would love to do this more, but let’s say once every couple of months)

Incontinence Supplies-Pads, Bran Cereal, Extra Underwear, Enemas, Fiber Enhancers- approx. $50.00/month

Loss of Job due to inability to work-$48,000/year (2 years now)

I don’t even want to do the math…..Let’s just say our nest egg is gone and we live on a very tight budget.  But, it’s worth it when I see the results of my health continuing to get better.  As I said before, I have a very understanding and supportive husband who is in agreement that money isn’t everything, happiness and good health are.  Do I want a price check?  Not really.  But let me tell you, sometimes it is satisfying to hear that beep and know that I am well on my way to a better me!

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

“Boss Level”

Last night when my husband came home, I met him with a tear streaked face and incoherent mumbling.  I’ve found that during this latest medication titration session, I’ve been able to hold it together until my biggest support walks in the door, and then I fall apart. 

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that this last medication titration has been the absolute worst.  Most likely, because this titration is the last step in the process of getting off my medication.  Headaches, brain zaps, stomach aches, fatigue, and so much more have plagued me for the last week or so.   Mix the medication titration with extended family drama, and you get a pretty grumpy individual.

Cross medication titration, extended family drama, and my time of the month and you get this statement from my husband. “Uh, oh, I’ve reached Boss Level.”  (For those of you who need an explanation-according to Wikipedia ” A boss is an enemy-based challenge (and a computer-controlled opponent in such challenge) which is found in video games.[1] A fight with a boss character is commonly referred to as a boss battle or boss fight.[2] Boss battles are generally seen at the climax of a particular section of the game, usually at the end of a stage or level, or guarding a specific objective, and the boss enemy is generally far stronger than the opponents the player has faced up to that point.”source-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boss_%28video_gaming%29

Pretty good assessment on my husband’s part.  And, his statement made me laugh, then cry, then laugh again, then cry again, OK, you get the point.

Thanks for reading!

-Lauren

I may have drooled…

Last week I went for a massage, and yes, I may have drooled.  OK, I’ll admit it, I did drool.  Getting a massage for me presently is calming and not at all a trigger for the PTSD.  When I first began going for a massage after I had my daughter, I needed to make sure to communicate to my masseuse situations that would be triggers for me, things that may simulate the trauma and result in panic.  If you have an empathetic and understanding masseuse, this communication should not be a problem.  Massage can help rid your body of harmful toxins by releasing knots in your muscles and producing a feeling of overall wellness for your physical body and mind.  I’ve continued to communicate with my masseuse about my current therapies, meds, and interstim surgery in an effort to get the most out of my time on the table.  I go to the same masseuse each time so that she has a file on me and my situation.  In the beginning of each session we create a plan for a successful massage that promotes wellness.  During the massage, the masseuse makes sure that pressure is adequate and  relaxation is being achieved.  After the massage, water is provided and future water intake in encouraged.  I can’t begin to tell you how calming massage is for me.  I cannot wait to drool at my next one.  You should give it a try!

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren