When things are going well and life is rolling along with only minor bumps in the road, writing is not a priority. In the heat of a crisis or a major change in health status, writing is not a priority. It is only when there is a major road block, a detour, and I finally get back on route that I have time to process and put my thoughts in writing.
In June I started having intestinal obstructions. At first it was occasional and it was relieved by not eating or doing prolonged days of clear liquid diet. As the summer started to swelter, my obstructions became more frequent and eating was less. In early August I had a CT scan and appointments with my gastroenterologist and surgeon. It was unclear if my obstructions were caused by something mechanical (that could be fixed surgically) or just pseudo obstructions (my intestines thinking there was a blockage and not moving, but there really isn’t anything physically blocking). The only way to find out for sure was to do a exploratory surgery which I had Aug 16th. I was really hoping for an easy fix, but unfortunately it was not that simple. It was determined to be pseudo obstruction and there aren’t a lot of good treatment options. Additionally, I had some bleeding complications from surgery causing a large hematoma (bruise) that has been super painful. I started a new med that was just FDA approved last month and had potential for treatment of pseudo obstruction. Unfortunately, this med can be associated with mood disturbances, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I have now been taking this new med for three weeks. I was in pain from the hematoma, not sleeping well, not eating, had poor nutrition, unable to run, and I was in a really dark place.
Last week I decided I needed to do something to pull myself out of this. I talked to my team and we decided that it would be a good idea to go back on TPN for now until things improve. I can already tell a big difference in energy and maybe even more importantly, it takes the pressure off trying to make myself eat. At first I thought I would have a sense of failure for resorting back to TPN and this my also impact my mood, but it actually had the opposite effect. It was actually somewhat liberating that I didn’t have to struggle to eat and going back to TPN was a comforting familiarity. Although my energy was improved, I am still struggling with my mood/outlook. I am not myself. Finally, I talked to my doctor about these symptoms and the association with starting the new med and this being a known side effect. She told me to stop taking it and we will change to a new med.
It is so scary how medications can alter your mood and outlook in a negative way and sometimes it is really hard to recognize you are in a bad place or just how bad it is getting. I try to be “on” at work. I try to put on a smile, seem up beat, post my outfits of the day on Instagram, etc…, but behind the smiles of the last few weeks, I have been struggling. Today was a particularly bad day. Not because anything bad happened, it was a completely uneventful and ordinary day, but I am in a dark place.
I have tried to combat this by trying engage in texts or calls with friends. Trying to set-up walk or coffee dates. I know I have truly amazing family and friends that would do anything for me and I am so grateful for that, but today everyone was too busy. How do say , “I’m a mess today and I really need you”? How do you explain that today my irrational brain can’t handle you ignoring my texts when I know you have seen them. How many people should I attempt to casually contact? How much rejection or let downs can I take today? How do I sound the alarm that this isn’t just a random shoot the breeze text or random catch-up, but I actually need you today? I completely understand and respect all of my friends and family and all of their competing obligations, so I tend to beat myself up more for being needy and wishing I was higher on their priority list. I can also think of countless times that I blew-off friends, didn’t reply to texts, made excuses for why I couldn’t meet-up, didn’t answer phone calls, or other things that avoided engaging. There were likely times that my friends really needed me, but I had no idea how great that need was by the casual manner of the contact. If I knew a friend was in true need, I would stop what I was doing, call them, drive to be with them, etc..
My point is, it is hard to ask for help. It is sometimes even harder to recognize that your friends are in need of help. I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that side effects of drugs can be truly mind altering and terrifying. I have stopped taking this med so I’m hopeful that I will get back to my cheerful and positive self soon.