Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Today was an emotional day for me. I am still struggling with this incredible itching, and the rash is taking a toll on me. But that is not the reason for this post. 

Three and a half years ago I met my psychiatrist, Dr. JS. I was in the throes of depression and anxiety. You know the story – I just wrote about it a few weeks ago when Robin Williams died. I had seen doctor after doctor, decade after decade, and was prescribed drug after drug in an attempt to help my depression and anxiety. None of them worked. 

When I met Dr. JS she took a completely different course of action with me and got me on medication and into therapy that actually worked for me. 

Recently I found out Dr. JS is moving on. She has accepted a new position about an hour outside our town. Today was my final visit with her. It was very emotional. I feel that I owe her so much. Finally getting me on the right meds and matching me with the right therapist has changed my life. It is very hard for me to end any type of relationship. This was no exception. I felt a great deal of overwhelming fear. What if I relapsed?  Who will help me?  Who will understand my unique responses to drugs? Dr. JS gave me a wonderful peptalk and told me how proud she was of me. She told me I am a very strong woman I can do anything I set my mind to. But if life should ever throw me a curveball, and I find myself in a bad situation, I can come see her at her new facility. She would welcome me. But she feels I have found my wings enough to fly on my own with the help of my primary care physician continuing on the medication I have been taking. 

I will miss Dr. JS and I owe her a huge debt of gratitude. Letting go is always so very hard. I am thankful she came into my life, and wish her all the best. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Reflections

I know I haven't written much lately. It has been quite a battle the past few weeks with this rash, and the after effects from my antibiotic allergic reaction. This event has really taken a toll on me. I am better, but still have a long way to go with the healing process of my skin. Today I noticed the first signs of peeling. Much like a bad sunburn starts to peel. I am hopeful to have normal looking skin by the new year. 

I am feeling incredibly strong and stable emotionally. More so than I have in many, many years. Maybe decades. In time there are many things I want to write about. I am just spending these days organizing my thoughts and deciding how I want to express them.

I am looking forward to a very relaxing day today. I have a few chores to do, but I don't have to leave the house. The weather forecasters are calling for snow tonight. Not in the mood for that, but I guess we shall see what happens. In the meantime I hope everyone is able to relax and enjoy their Sunday, at least for a brief period. Peace

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trapped In My Own Skin

It's 3:00 in the morning as I begin to write this post. Actually I get a reprieve because tonight is the end of daylight savings time. In reality it's 4:00 a.m.  I have not been to sleep. I'm not sleepy. I am itching all over, accompanied by pings of stinging fire that feel like little needles sticking in various parts of my body. My hunger feels insatiable. I lay here fantasizing about what I might eat for breakfast. In the morning, I will take my steroid and the itch will once again cease, but in its place will come the feeling of being high on a drug you do not like. That feeling you get when your happy buzz crosses over to wishing to feel normal but you cannot. Many of you probably already know this story, but for those that do not, and since this is a journal of my life, I shall explain. 

About 2 1/2 weeks ago I found an itchy bump on my belly. Much like a mosquito bite. Only it wouldn't go away. It got more red and harder as the days passed. About five days after I discovered the bump, I began to notice a slight rash appearing on my arms. A couple of days later I had a scheduled doctor's appointment for a routine checkup about my blood pressure, and I casually showed her the bump on my belly and the impending rash. My doctor believed I had been bitten by some type of insect and was having a reaction to it's venom. She prescribed a steroid for me, and an antibiotic, as it appeared the wound was becoming inflamed and infected by this time. In the next couple of days, the rash spread all over my body. It enveloped me from my neck to my feet. Whelps begin to form. They got thick and it looked like I was covered in red oatmeal. The itching was relentless. Excruciating. Nothing would give me relief. When I telephoned my doctor's office they said I just needed to give it time. But after another couple of days I was just about to lose my mind. I went back in to the doctor, she took one look at me, and said I was having a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotic she had prescribed. She pulled me off the antibiotic and doubled my steroid in an attempt to counteract what had happened. I continued to get worse. Much worse. I looked like a monster and the itch and discomfort where almost more than I could bear. I called the doctor back the next day in uncontrollable tears. She was able to work some magic and get me scheduled to see my dermatologist the next day. That was this past Thursday, about two weeks from the time I first noticed the red spot on my belly. My dermatologist was very serious with me. A departure from his usual lighthearted self, he raised my steroid level another 50%. Now three days into taking such a high level of steroids, they have commandeered my body. When they are kicked in, I am no longer in control. It doesn't feel safe to drive. It barely feels safe to walk. I am in a fog, unable to accomplish anything. When the steroids wear off and I can walk and think straight again, the itching begins. The needles. The insomnia. I feel as though I am trapped in some type of sick nightmare. 

These events have coincided with my annual two-week fall vacation. In some ways I am glad that I was off work while this happened to me. On the other hand, I feel I have wasted precious vacation days and so many of the things I had hoped to accomplish remain undone. I don't know how I can be expected to go back to work on Monday. The thought of it is terrifying. I still look like a monster, I don't feel comfortable driving, and I can't think straight. It is a time of transition at my work, as we integrate with another company in a merger.  I feel I am missing out on a lot of important changes. But how can I be expected to function on little or no sleep? How am I going to assist customers with this horrific rash? When people see me I can tell they wonder if I am a junkie with an arm full of track marks,  or have some type of contagious condition. I I feel like a leper. This experience is one of the most frustrating things that has ever happened to me. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I know things could be worse. Much worse. For that I am thankful. But I will be glad when this nightmare ends.