Sunday, December 10, 2006


Not to be melodramatic, but I honestly think this is the worst I've ever felt. And that says a lot, because I don't have the greatest luck in the world to begin with.

I need to vent. This is not a proper blog story where something beautiful happens and I realize that I'm loved and blessed and just generally at peace with the universe. I'm still all those things, but I feel like shit.

I don't know if the aforementioned sentiments are a direct result of health concerns/fears, or if this is all a result of coming off the Paxil, but I currently feel about 2 millimeters away from falling into a waterless gorge. When I discussed this "edginess" with my primary care physician, he responded with:

"Well Kate, you have a lot to be angry with and upset about, the way you're feeling makes a lot of sense. Maybe you should accept the possibility that you might need an SSRI to keep your biochemistry in check..."

I seriously thought about choking him with his stethoscope. Fearing, though, that such a rash reaction would further fuel his conviction that I'm certifiable, I opted for a different approach:

"With all due respect Dr. _____, I will never take an SSRI again. I think Paxil is the devil. I fought my neurologist for 4+ years regarding antidepressants and I cannot adequately express how much I regret giving in."

(Then, naturally, just to add validity to my proclamation of sanity, I started crying and my words turned all gurgled and shaky.)

I continued, "You need to believe me, Dr. ______, I was never depressed. I never had the urge to stab a student in the head with a fork, or rip out my own arm hair with my teeth before the Paxil, so I blame these extremely irrational feelings on the Paxil (or lack thereof). How long will this last? Just someone tell me, how long will this last?"

He didn't really answer. I don't think he knows.

Anyway, so now it's 4 days later and I'm slightly less dizzy/disoriented, but I still feel like unmitigated s-h-i-t. I just turned on Extreme Makeover Home Edition while I was eating dinner, took one look at the woman in a wheelchair getting a new house, and started crying into my veggie lentil soup. So I turned the TV off (lest I see a Hallmark commercial and lose it entirely), finished my soup, folded my laundry, and sat down in here to write.

Really, though, this is all I want:

- A freaking back massage. I think my back muscles are slowly turning into hardened challah bread because I cannot seem to relax.
- Even a small improvement on the MS-front. Just a hint that things might get better post-Zanapax. I'm not asking to run a bloody marathon, but it'd be nice to shower without pulling the towel-bar out of the wall and ending up in a crumpled pile of dripping naked limbs/hastily grabbed towels/metal towel-bars etc. on the floor of the bathroom. That would be so nice.
- Someone to share this with. No. I actually don't want that, because I'd feel so guilty. Or I'd spend all of my time trying to convince the other person that I'm okay and end up feeling exactly as shitty as I do now (maybe even, as history suggests, shittier). But I'm lonely I guess. I really am. At the very least I'd do almost anything (within reason) for the aforementioned back massage. Hmpf.
- Oh. And I'd love to get through a day without crying to Anique, or wanting to roll myself out of my third-floor window during 7th period. Those kids, bless their hearts, are making me want to chug gin at 1:15 everyday, and that would be highly frowned upon by my department head...

There's my diatribe. Advice can be directed to myself and prayers can go straight to God. My faith's a little shaky lately (which actually trumps all of my other concerns right now). I think I need all the help I can get.

Yeah. Blech...

Monday, December 04, 2006


I haven't written in so long that I actually forgot my username - never a good sign.

The truth is, though, that I've struggled to see the positive aspects of things lately. I write to feel better about stuff - to write myself out of a funk. Lately, though, whenever I pick up a pen (or sit down at the keyboard) I write myself into the exact same place that I started: a little too deep below the surface to see the flowers or the fertilizer around me. This place is dirty and dark, and whenever I climb a little closer to the top, an unforseen swine takes a dump on my head.

I saw my neurologist last week. He confirmed what I already know: things aren't going the way we planned. So I got an MRI to see if there were new lesions on my brain or c-spine (whatever the hell that is), and there aren't. That sounds good, right? - no lesions = no new symptoms. Or so I thought. But the truth is that there are new symptoms. And while I manage to pinpoint an immediate catalyst to blame for every new physical malfunction, the catalyst ends and the deterioration doesn't. I've lost a little coordination in my left hand now (previously my only symptom-free limb), and my right foot and calf have started to go completely numb whenever I swim. Last week I tried to cook while in my wheelchair (I managed to burn pasta), and tried to vacuum on my knees (equally ineffective). Curious as to why I have these new problems and no new lesions, I emailed my doctor a hastily written diatribe of my confusion.

This morning he wrote me back:

Kate - MRIs are only sensitive to inflammation as occurs typically in relapsing MS, I believe that your worsening without change on MRI points towards axon damage from chronic demyelination as is seen in secondary progressive MS.

I guess I knew that already. Lord knows it's been a good seven years since my last "remission", but somehow seeing the words secondary progressive written stung a little more than I thought they would. I rested my chin on my hand and stared at the words on my laptop until my 2nd period students began to trickle in. Then I swallowed the lump and all the other things that threatened to come out of me, and taught for the rest of the day (with a little less patience than usual).

I finally weaned myself off the overly-numbing antidepressant last week.

My timing sucks.