Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mazal tov -- it's a submucosal fibroid

Friends of mine, after more than a decade of trying, recently had a baby, and I am genuinely delighted for them. This is not always the case when I learn that someone has had a baby. Because I'm essentially not a very nice person, when someone I don't know and love who is much younger than I am has children, I am sometimes envious. Depending on how cute and/or annoying the children are.

Yesterday, I had a pelvic sonogram to determine the extent of my fibroid growth. It's actually a two-part exercise. First you drink a few gallons of water and wait forever until an ultrasound tech rubs gel on your distended belly and pushes a probe around on it. Then you urinate and the probe goes inside you. I have decided that it's only as invasive as you allow it to feel, so at this point -- my fourth or fifth go-round -- it doesn't really phase me. What shook me was seeing the image of my uterus with a submucosal fibroid.

There are three kinds of uterine fibroids: external (subserosal), internal (submucosal), and in-between (intramural). The Mayo Clinic does a great job of explaining the various symptoms each type causes. I will spare you the details of the symptoms I experience; just know that I'm coping with frequent discomfort and increasing pain.

I've never really paid attention to the ultrasound screen. But after the less invasive half of the procedure, I went to the bathroom, and when I got back to the exam room, the tech had stepped out. So I looked at the monitor and saw an image of my uterus with a misshapen bulge inside.

We've all seen sonogram images; it's no longer a mystery. People share them with co-workers and post them  on Facebook. So I knew what I was seeing. It just cut me deep that I wasn't looking at an embryo. A baby. Which is almost all I've ever wanted since I was, I don't know, five years old?

Gloria Chang started chatting with me on Facebook later that evening. I told her I'd had a pelvic ultrasound. She asked what it was like.

Physically uncomfortable & slightly painful. Always makes me bleed. Emotionally, it was wrenching. Looking at the picture of my uterus with a lifeless lump growing in it.

And that's all I have to say about that.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I really don't know what to think

Dating has been as per usual lately, which means it sucks. I had one date with a guy that didn't go anywhere. When I got in the car, he said, "You look just like your pictures!" Presumably a good thing, since he contacted me initially. But it wasn't a great date, and I never heard from him again. I should have probably called my friend the dating coach for a de-briefing, but I didn't want to think about it.

And I've been hearing from the same kind of weirdos I normally attract. I've live-tweeted some online conversations, which is probably not as interesting as other live-tweeted events, and shared some especialy nasty correspondence. I've done this on both Facebook profiles, and I probably shouldn't. At a recent potluck picnic, two men informed me that reading what these men had to say -- and what I had to say about them -- was demoralizing to them. Which means they find it unflattering to me.

So I will stop posting about the losers I date on the "real" Ayelet's page, and limit that to Ayelet Survivor. This is the latest... let's say "passionate" email I recently received from a man who lives in California.

Hello ayelet First of all, let me start by saying that I was blown away by your beautiful smile and i find you so very attractive. A little more about me, I am a good person, I am loyal, giving, funny, I laugh alot. I value honesty greatly, I am a one man woman, meaning when i am serious with someone, there is no one else. You're such a very beautiful and charming woman and am sure you hear that everyday, why in the world is a very beautiful woman like you still single? My profile wont be up for too long, I'm on here with the 3days trial, if you would love for us to get to know each other, you can write me on 323) xxx-xxxx or send email to duelove789@gmail.com @ gmail . com Or here on yahoo messenger duelove789 @ yahoo .com I'll be counting the seconds until i hear back from you.. Take care

(The man I went out with recently also asked me why I'm still single. I guess he discovered the reason during the course of the date.)

Since Passionate Guy (PG) says his profile won't be up for long (which probably just means he won't be active on the site), I'll share his "About Me":

I am a very generous person in that I give quality time and make people feel special. I am a man who acts according to his moral principles. I'm a very confident person and love being a man of substance. I feel that I am "spicy" - alive, spontaneous and love life and everything it has to offer. I am looking for a woman that has a sense of direction in life, confident, sensitive, energetic, and most definitely thirst for knowledge and continuously striving for growth - whether that being spiritual, emotional or intellectual. I believe in the beauty of life. I will never choose to sit out.I want every drop I can squeeze out of it...so I need a partner who sees the world as a great place to be and one who will never loose that sense of the wonders that life has to offer. I am looking for an honest and fun loving woman who is opened to the world...bright, a "doer" and not a "follower"...a creator more than a consumer - provocative, curious, and original - someone with presence. A lover and a friend..worldly, settled, very sensual and articulate - with a PHD in kissing, of course! Above all, a person to share ones intimate feelings and build a true partnership with honesty and integrity...where there is peace and harmony together...invites more laughter than tears...and after the connection you can intelligently discuss a wide range of topics. I am seeking a partner to mutually navigate the obstacle course of life... someone to help each other overcome life's hurdles...to help heal the wounds when we falter. The truth to be told, - I'm looking for that someone. I am a big believer that the love you put in is love you get in return. The canvas of my passion is a large one and it would be wonderful to add new depth, enhance meaning and more love to this masterpiece/work in progress. Might it be you? I love a woman who is young in heart and who has not lost the ability to play - with words, with dreams, with thoughts, with me! I love down to earth kind of people...are you one of them? I am a people person and love entertaining at home. Love sincere, compassionate, passionate, and empathic folks! I do not create or surround myself with people who feed off of DRAMA. I love cities deep in history, art and architecture...and the art of conversation. I believe that a good relationship is initially built on friendship.No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each others worth.Miles may lie between us, but we're never far apart for friendship is not calculated in distance;it is measured by a heart that brings happiness that gold nor silver can't buy.   
A whole lot of cliches, and is PG for real? It's pretty clear his first language isn't English. But he strikes me as intense, at best, weird and scary at worst.

It always seems kind of weird and scary when someone gives you his email address in the initial contact and urges you to email him off the site right away. But am I judging him too harshly? I really don't know at this point.

Often I think that my judgment of some men is vindicated by the unpleasant way they react when I decline to meet them in person. But the question still hangs in the air: why am I still single?

For guidance, I contacted Rochel, the dating coach. I emailed her PG's initial contact and "About Me." Her response was succinct:

I wouldn't bother, something is off about him

I thanked her for confirming my suspicions.

You're welcome, he seems really nutty

She's married. And she consults with numerous women, so she's seen a lot of dating correspondence. Even more than I have, which is hard to imagine. So I'm not contacting Passionate Guy. Whatever the reason I'm still single, he doesn't have the solution.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Don't write back in anger

I'm on edge. Hate my stupid chair at work, and the temporary cramped quarters I'm in, and some of the people I'm supposed to supervise. Well, I don't hate them, but I hate supervising them. I probably shouldn't say why, but the whole "supervisor" role is not coming as naturally as I thought it would. I'm figuring out my job, and then I have to help other people figure out their jobs. And the guy I went out with two days ago hasn't called. And my back hurts and my knees hurt.

So I'm jangly. Nervy, as the Brits would say. And I got a message on OKCupid, and I didn't respond well to it.

The guy is clearly ineligible. He's seven years younger than I am, and Catholic. Still, he's not hideous, and I'm heartily sick of Jewish men. And his message to me was rather debonair:

You are remarkable. I'd like to get together and try new, exciting and delightful things!

That's kind of cute. I haven't been called "remarkable" in a while. But my first thought was, "Uch, I don't want to try new things, I want to do things I already like. And my back hurts." So I don't think my response was very flirty:

Thanks. I think? You're assuming we find the same new things delightful.

That's just dumping a bucket of cold water on him. I need to make a new rule: Never respond to email on a dating website unless you're in a good mood. Or you've taken a Klonopin.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, July 03, 2014

People fight for their right to mock mental patients

Recently I've left two Facebook groups because the moderators insisted they had the right to make fun of people with psychiatric disabilities. People who would bite your head off if you used the word "retarded" or some ethnic slur get extremely offended when you ask them not to make fun of you and your friends.

being popular on the internet is like sitting at the cool table in the mental hospital

That's what one insensitive person (IP) commented on an online thread in the "OTD and Sane" group. Another person jumped on the bandwagon.

Hey, that's the closest some of us are going to get to sitting with Napoleon, Elvis, Genghis Khan, and Oscar Wilde. And that's only when one other person is at the cool table

I didn't bother talking to him about this flagrantly offensive rant. I thought I could talk to IP, woman to woman, because she's emailed me a number of times to complain about other group members and we've had a decent rapport. So I tried:

I've actually been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons, so I would prefer it if you didn't make fun of mental patients as a group. Thanks.

And failed. She became defensive.

I dont think i made fun of mental patients. How is that making fun of ANYONE

I didn't think I was being unreasonable, and tried to reason with her.

It's making fun of the people at the "cool table" in the mental hospital

She insisted it wasn't offensive:

A table with elvis genghis khan oscar wilde would be amazing conversation

I tried to educate her:

That's not realistic. Neither as a patient nor as a clinician have I ever seen that scenario.

I guess some people would interpret that as having somewhat of a testy tone. She certainly did.

Ok im not going to apologize for what i said. I dont feel i made fun of anyone. Im sorry you feel that way.

That's not really an apology, and is she really that ignorant?

You did put down people in mental hospitals, and I'm surprised you don't see that. There's no need to get defensive. I'm not asking you to apologize in public. I'm just asking you to be a little more mindful before making jokes about psychiatric hospitals and hte people in them.

Trying to emphasize our common humanity. She's not having it.

Im sorry but you are totally over reacting or bring super sensitive. Im sorry you think i was making fun. I disagree

That got me a little annoyed.

You actually were making fun. I'm not overrreacting.

So I posted a thread in the group asking if others found this offensive or inappropriate. And was roundly denouced. I left. I should have known that people in a group called "OTD and Sane" would jump at the chance to make fun of people with psychiatric disabilities. Like me.

Mental illness is the last acceptable stereotype. I try to educate people, but it doesn't seem to be working. They think mocking people who are suffering is funny and resent your attempts to assert that it's not. Not sure what the answer is, but I'm pretty angry right now.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, June 23, 2014

A long, strange list of supplements I can't tolerate

The reality of the new job is starting to sink in. For one thing, our temporary headquarters are fairly makeshift. I hate my chair -- its seat is too big for my thighs and it gives me a backache. I'm trying to navigate a role that's new to me in an agency that's new to me, which is a whole lotta new. I thought I was doing fine until my heart started beating really fast, really often.

At first I thought it was just anxiety. A week ago I was scheduled to visit the residence, which is still being renovated. I was wearing sandals because now that I no longer work for a hospital, I can. Unfortunately, you need to wear closed-toe shoes on a construction site. Since it was late in the day, I ran to Payless with my supervisor, bought a shoddy $25 pair of flats, and went to the site. Walked all over it, up and down stairs.

I woke up the next day in knee agony. Could barely walk. Which was a damn shame, since that evening I was supposed to go to my niece Shira's graduation. I  missed a day of work and the graduation.

Missing a day of work made me nervous, so early on. I'm still on probabation for five more months and four more days. Missing the graduation made me miserable, and having a severe resurgence of the knee pain was terrifying. So the next day, I woke up with a pounding heart. We -- the program director, two of the four case managers I supervise, and I -- were supposed to go to a psychiatric ward and meet with potential residents. I had to appear normal and in control.

We met at another site because they had a van we could use to drive to the psych ward (it's not well served by mass transit). All the way there I was nervous and conscious of my heartbeat. When I got there at about 8:50 a.m., I was greeted by one of the care managers.

"I've been here since 8!" she said. "The email said the meeting was at 8."

Really? I thought. I was almost positive I'd said the meeting was at 8. Had I screwed that up? "I'm so sorry," I told her. "I thought I set it for 9."

"No problem," she said, sitting down at the table in the small conference room near the entrance and busying herself with her cell phone. We sat in silence for more than a few minutes until the other care manager joined us, and then the program manager arrived.

I was kind of surprised she didn't want to talk to me, since I'm her supervisor. Then again, I've never been a supervisor before. I've done clinical supervision, but never had to address someone's behavior or demeanor. Also, I was terrified that they might realize how anxious I was, how confused my thinking. I could barely concentrate. I tried to calm myself down by reminding myself that anxiety is just a feeling and it passes, which didn't really help much.

After we met and reviewed a few things, we set off in the van for the psych ward. I wasn't 100% sure what we were going to discuss with the residents -- my supervisor had left things kind of undefined. When I'm thinking clearly I'm fairly quick on my feet and able to respond appropriately to situations. But I wasn't thinking clearly. I was terrified, and I had no idea what I was going to do or say.

We got to the ward and they put us in the dining hall. Where we waited. I was annoyed because I'd spoken to the housing specialist about this meeting and we'd set a precise time: 10:30 a.m., after they've finished morning rounds. At about 10:50, the housing specialist came in.

"Are you sure we were supposed to meet today?" she asked.

I'm losing it, I thought, but I committed. "Yes, we said today at 10:30," I stated firmly. Did I screw up the date or time? I wondered.

She didn't have anyone for us to meet with that day. So we took the case managers back to the locations where they work, and my supervisor and I were taken back to our temporary offices. I immediately checked my calendar and emails. In black and white, they said that the meeting with the care managers was at 9, and the meeting on the psych ward was at 10:30 on that day. That was a bit of relief.

But it didn't erase my anxiety. Okay, so I wasn't completely losing my mind, but my heart was still pounding. I started wondering if my Cymbalta dose was too high. My psychiatrist, Dr. New, raised it during last winter's deep depression. But now I have a job that I don't hate, a schedule that's not killing me, and it's summer. Could I be hypomanic?

I made an appointment to see Dr. New at the end of the week, just two weeks after my last appointment with her. She didn't think my symptoms supported a diagnosis of hypomania.

"No pressurized speech or racing thoughts, no increased spending, no hypersexual behavior, right?" she said. None of the above. "How are you sleeping?" Quiet well, actually. I wake a few times but fall back asleep.

"It sounds like anxiety, and maybe a little more depression," she said. I couldn't understand why. Nothing bad has happened to me recently except that the guy I met and liked pulled a disappearing act. But that's nothing new. "I wouldn't want to reduce your antidepressants. If anything, I'd maybe want to increase the mood stabilizer, but I'd hate to put you on four medications."

I would hate that too. So we agreed that I would take the Klonopin more often than once every month, which is about how often I usually take it. "Take it every day if you need it," she said. "Half a milligram twice a day." I'll see her in another two weeks.

I put the Vitamin K in my purse and resolved to try that. Then I thought of something else that might be the problem. Something about the pounding heartbeat made me think of calcium. Because I have a shameful little secret: In addition to the calcium supplement I take daily, I've been consuming calcium-based chewable antacids. Since my most recent bout of bronchitis, I've been taking Nexium prescribed by my internist/gastroenterologist, but I've still been feeling the burn at the back of my throat. And those calcium chewable antacids are good. I've been chewing them every night.

I looked up the symptoms of calcium overdose:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bone pain
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle twitching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
Well, clearly I didn't have all the symptoms. But bone pain? Sure -- my knees were killing me. Confusion? Somewhat. Depression? Definitely. Irregular heartbeat? Abs.o.lute.ly.

So I've stopped taking the supplement, and I've given up the chews. And already, I feel better, although not 100%. Add calcium to the long, strange list of supplements I need to be careful of -- turmeric, tea tree oil, ashwagandha, passionflower, oregano oil. So far I don't think Vitamin D, fish oil, and folic acid are hurting me, but I'll definitely check next month during my annual physical.

Tomorrow I'm sending my laptop off for maintenance -- it's developed an annoying pink line across its screen. Don't worry, I'll be fine -- especially since I've laid off the calcium.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"