Sunday, September 29, 2013

PTSD Tailspin

I don't think one ever stops having PTSD, the symptoms can be managed and even lie dormant for years but they can always be triggered again to the surface.

I was reminded of this a couple weeks ago when I attended a conference at my hospital. I parked in the public parking rather than the parking building I usually park at when I'm getting lab drawn. This was a mistake.
I walked in through the main entrance toward the elevators to head for the concourse. As I walked further into the building, closer to the elevators an overwhelming sense of anxiety and a flood of memories washed over me. These were the same elevators that had taken me to the pediatric and once women's floor so many times for almost seven years. I walked the main and the outpatient entrances countless times, past the gift shop I loved to walk to when I felt better and past the chapel. It was all too familiar and it was all coming back. I just wanted to get to the concourse where I could relax, there was nothing frightening about the concourse. With ten floors, it takes the elevators a while. As I waited, the anxiety increased until my mind kept repeating "Run, Run, Run". My body said to listen, turn around and run out of the building immediately. My feet were ancy, torn between running and waiting. I had to get control of myself before I had a panic attack. I focused on my breathing until I could get to the concourse and I made it. I was nervous until I got to my seat and tried to ignore the memories awoken that morning. By the end of the day, it was too much. I had to walk through the main entrance again to get to my car. The strain of anxiety and flashbacks were showing on my face and others could tell something was wrong. Once I was back in my car I finally released the build up from the day and sobbed, called my husband and my parents for support.

For about a week I felt the lingering effects of that day and I wasn't expecting any of it. I couldn't sleep, I woke up worrying about when I'll have to change doctors and the never ending risk of hospitalizations and what would happen to me. I cried and felt unusual anger. I missed being able to go to my therapist, who recently retired. She was my therapist since high school and understood my health and mental health struggles and helped me manage my PTSD and depression. Although my health hadn't changed, I was faced with the past and what that could mean for my future and how life changes would affect future health complications and flare ups. And it was terrifying.


We can never escape the demons of our past, but how we decide to handle what we are faced with, recognizing what we're feeling and utilizing support we can make it through each hurdle and when we're pushed into the past and the possibilities of the future.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Energy Rescue

My new order of B12 came today! Insert happy dance here. I've been unable to get B12 for over a month now due to the shortage of injectable B12. However, I convinced my doctor to change me to oral B12. Before she advised that the oral form doesn't absorb as well as injections. My aunt, who is also a colon cancer survivor, was advised by her doctor of continued recent evidence showing oral form is as effective as the injection form.
This is great news and allowed for my own experiment. I will be able to be completely compliant with oral B12 as there's no fear or pain associated with a pill and taking pills doesn't bother me, I had to get used to pills when I was taking about thirty a day. No big deal. And what's even better is this B12 is a microlozenge and is cherry flavored. Jackpot!

I chose to get my B12 from Puritan Pride but any place would do. I like Puritan though because they have great discount deals for their supplements. I bought 5 bottles for the price of 2, a total of about $25 for them all! And the more you buy, the more you save!

I've been anxious for my new B12 to arrive, I was already low and the symptoms had been worsening. It may not seem like a big deal to have low vitamins but it can be dangerous. Please take care of yourself and listen to your doctor, even when it's hard.

Low B12 common symptoms include:
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Light-headedness and dizziness
  • Palpitations and rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • A sore tongue that has a red, beefy appearance
  • Nausea or poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Yellowish tinge to the skin and eyes 
If low levels of B12 remain for a long time, the condition also can lead to irreversible damage to nerve cells, which can cause the following symptoms:
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Difficulty walking
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Psychosis