My baby is turning 18

I wonder if most parents start to feel anxiety when their child is about to turn 18. I’m not talking empty nest, because I still have three more daughters that will be home. She is moving out this summer after she graduates and turns 18 in just 20 days!

I certainly have been feeling the pressure and scariness. It’s not magical, my kid won’t be “grown-up” just because she turns 18 but it is a milestone. I can’t help but think of all of the things I still haven’t taught her yet and the areas that I have failed. Isn’t that always the way? You think of the failures and not of everything you might have taught your child, all the positives.

I worry that she really doesn’t know how to cook. Maybe a couple things at the most. She doesn’t know anything about finances or managing money and budgeting. I worry she will be shocked in the real world and feel lost. Or will be excited by it and get involved with bad things or people. She just learned how to do her laundry last year. I didn’t mind doing it, but then I realized I was hurting her more than helping her. She will need to know how to clean and organize a home and keep it running. Make a grocery list, make a doctor’s appointment, order prescriptions online, learn to drive a car…want to drive a car. How to read a map, how to take public transportation, how much to tip and when. Aghhh, the list is endless.

But, she does know about stranger danger, bad touches, you can always speak up – even if it is to challenge an adult in a respectful way, do the right thing, having a good work ethic, compassion and caring towards other, loving everyone and trying not to judge others, all of the sneaky things boys say to try to get in girls’ pants, she knows everything I know about sex and probably more, she knows about preventing pregnancy and guarding her heart from heartbreak and not jumping into any serious relationships. She knows what she should look for in a partner and hopefully I have been a good enough example of how to treat her significant other with love and respect.

Instead of being anxious about all of the things I need to do with her and teach her I have decided to start doing them with her and talk to her about them and take it day by day. After all she’s not falling off the face of the earth just because she turns 18 and I’m not going anywhere either.

Still so much to teach her. 18 years just truly is not enough time. Like all of us parents, I have to trust that I am continuing to do my best to teach and guide my children.  It is helps to just give my self a break sometimes and take it one step at a time.

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Off the Steroids I go…

After weighing the pros and cons I decided to come off of the steroids I was on for my microscopic colitis. It just wasn’t worth it. I had almost all of my Cushing’s syndrome and only one pro to using the steroids. My body has been through so much. Being back on the steroids was not fun at all. Because of the steroids it threw my body way out of whack and I had to start taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills. I had weight gain, depression and sadness, greasy hair, pimples, round face, the hump was appearing on my back again, moody and irritable, bloated and uncomfortable, indigestion and much more.

It has been about a month since I’ve weaned off of the steroids. Finally I feel like the steroids are out of my body. The Cushing’s syndrome is slowly going away. The first thing that I noticed is that my hair isn’t greasy anymore. I had to wash it once or twice every day. Now I can go up to four days without my hair getting oily and gross. Also, I can wear my hair down. It’s not super crazy and curly and frizzy. I can flat iron it and it behaves all day.

Last week I had to go get an iron infusion since I am severely anemic. It took four hours for the whole IV process. Other than the time it took, it wasn’t that bad. I felt drained for a couple of days afterward but I was already feeling so tired from the anemia anyway. After talking to my Endocrinologist we finally came to the revelation that my health problems and issues with healing and catching everything is because of my extreme low iron levels. It always feels good to have an answer.

Yesterday I finally felt like I had more energy. Certainly not 100% yet, but a bit more. I stayed up an hour later than I usually do and I woke up a couple hours earlier than I have been on the weekends. I’m excited to continue to have more energy and get my health back. Only good things to come now.

Rough Start

My morning start was just not fantastic and it’s starts like those that remind me that I am a sick person. Ugh. I was busy chastising one of my teens and not paying attention while putting on my mascara and stabbed myself in the eye. Yes, that hurts. But for me, lacking enough cortisol to help me in a flight-or-fight or any kind of emergency/injury, I immediately starting throwing up. Yuck. It took about 15 minutes of constant heaving all the while trying to deep breath to calm my nervous system a bit and laying on the floor. Talk about dramatic. My body that is, not the real me. 🙂

Unfortunately I had to medicate to be able to peel myself off the floor and go to work. Not my favorite, but, it is what it is.

The rest of my morning has been perfectly splendid. The attendance lady is out today so I had to substitute for her most of the morning. I love interacting with all the kids, just stay back if you’re sick. I even had a parent ask how she could request that I am always at the front because of my cheerful demeanor and that it makes it so much more pleasant to deal with. So, yay. Warm fuzzies. I’ll take it.

The Great Depression

1/26/15 Thursday

Today is another low day. I woke up groggy and uncomfortable. The steroids just make it so uncomfortable to even be in your own skin. I feel puffy and bloated and nothing fits in my closet. I had weaned down to just one pill a day (3mg) and lost 7 pounds and most of the tight, puffiness. Then my microscopic colitis starting acting up again so I had to go back on the full dose of steroids (9mg) and in just 3 days the 7 pounds is back and the uncomfortable-ness is for sure back.

At work I was a mess and could barely keep it together. I kept crying anytime I started to talk and then they asked me to just go home since obviously I wasn’t feeling well. That night I could not stop crying. I felt defeated and like I couldn’t go on. I never felt suicidal but it felt like I would never get better and everything was going wrong and because of all of my illnesses it made it worse for everyone else.

The next morning I woke up and called in sick. I waited in the parking lot of the psychiatric facility for Kaiser until they opened; laying in the back of my van on the floor bundled in blankets. I called the nurse and she talked to me and said she would do her best to get me in to see the psychiatrist on call. She called me a couple times during the hour I was waiting to hear from the psychiatrist to make sure I was okay. I spoke with the psychiatrist on the phone finally and she had me come in immediately.

The on-call psychologist was terrific. She took me through breathing techniques to relax and release stress and anxiety, she had me meditate and I went through hypnosis. I ‘awoke’ feeling calm and as if I could face the world again. Then I went on to see the psychiatrist and talked with him for about an hour. He assured me I would get through just fine and I felt a million times better when I left.

It’s been five days since then and I haven’t had any significant sad moments or feelings of depression. I was given some great tools to help myself cope.

Down to 5mg of steroids!

Written April 2014, published Jan. ’15

I’m on my second day of 5 milligrams of steroid. It’s been going good so far which surprises me. The one thing I’ve noticed is that I’m extremely tired. So tired that Juan and the kids talk to me in the morning and I have no recollection of the conversation. As well as, falling asleep mid-sentence. The upside is that I seem to have my normal energy levels by lunchtime. I thought for sure it would be terribly hard when I got down to 5 mg. I had a massive headache yesterday but no aches in my joints or muscles and no anxiety throughout the day. I did have a nightmare last night of someone trying to kill me and I woke up in an anxiety attack but nothing that Ativan couldn’t solve. Looking forward to testing tomorrow morning to see if I’m producing cortisol on my own and if so, how much? It’s an exciting time.

Depression is REAL

I’m back on steroids. Unfortunately, this needs to happen for a new diagnosis and I hate it. The steroids throw my whole body off. They make me anxious and sad and uncomfortable. Besides the fact that they make me gain weight, which is the WORST! I just can’t get away from the weight gain. It’s the nightmare that never ends.

Some days are harder than others. Yesterday was really hard. The time drags and it feels like the day will never end. I have a heavy feeling of sadness that I just can’t kick and I don’t even know why I feel so sad. I just want to cry and I feel hopeless but there is nothing that has happened and no visible reason why I should even feel that way. Then I start questioning myself. Why am I so sad? Will I ever be happy? Luckily the psychiatrist emailed me back and told me start back on celexa and I took a pill immediately, thinking that the sooner I get into a rhythm, the sooner I will feel better.

I don’t want to be home and cooped up but I don’t want to be out and around people. It’s awful. I can’t stand being in my own skin. I can’t get away from myself; there’s nowhere to go and no way to feel comfortable.

I couldn’t even decide what to have for dinner. I felt paralyzed just thinking of making a decision. Nothing sounded good to eat and the whole thought felt extremely overwhelming. I made it through the day even though it was really difficult. Even hugs or encouraging words didn’t make a difference. Nothing seemed to help. I took a bath, vegged in front of the TV and had a glass of wine. Most people would probably think that a glass of wine is a bad thing when you are already feeling down but it helped this one time. It took my mind off of my sadness and I didn’t care for a whole TV show and then went to bed.

When I woke up this morning I had a bad headache from the wine but felt better, a little more relaxed and like I could bare the world again.

This morning was light years better. I feel a bit renewed and like I can get through the day. Maybe it’s the medication, perhaps not though. That would be really quick. Maybe it’s just a better day and I just have to remember that there will be good days ahead even when I’m feeling low.