Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Listening helps

Dear Dr. B. When Swallow and I first met I was a trainwreck waiting to happen. You had diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and the specialists were investigating whether or not I had MS. I was suffering from dizzy spells with lights flashing in my vision and colors changing at random, for example, white would appear to be pale pink. You had figured that I was depressed because of all that was happening so you put me on Amytriptaline, a nasty little anti-depressant along with Clonazapam, another anti-depressant to aide me with sleeping problems. I had also been suffering from a buzzing of sorts in my legs and muscle twitching which you said was from the Fibro, so you put me on Gabepentine and Novo-cycloprine. Neither of which really did any good for me. At the time you also had me on Naproxen and Tylenol 3's, again no help there and all the T3's did was constipate me. More often than not I would have to use a cane to help me walk, as my legs keptfeeling like they'd give out on me. Your solution was to up my meds. I was having seizure like symptoms which the Neurologist still can't figure out, but it's pretty obvious by the MRI's that there was damage done. Nerve conduction tests have shown that there is a fair amount of damage done to my central nervous system as well. Yet no one can find the cause of any of this, and therefore can't decide on a course of action to take to control it.

Becky's Child Psychologist had diagnosed her with ADHD and Bi-polar Disorder and put her on Siroquel, she was up to 100 mg twice a day and this med had never even been tested in anyone under the age of 18. Becky was 3 and a half when first put on it! With the upping of Becky's medication she started to have breathing problems so you put her on a steroid inhaler. The more medication she got, the worse her behaviour became. As you may remember she was having terrible nightmares and acted out with friends hitting them when she didn't get her way. She was becoming incredibly abusive to the point where she broke her bed frame. She had even pulled a knife on me, threatening to dismember me and then cut herself up so much she'd bleed to death. She was 7 and a half years old at the time, this is not normal behaviour, especially after 4 years of being on behaviour modification medication! Under the care of the medical community both Becky and I were getting worse. I was at my whits end and didn't know where to go for help. I couldn't go to you or to Becky's Psychologist as the solution was always up the meds and/or add more. It was obvious to me that changes needed to be made, but I just didn't know what kind nor how to implement changes. My thinking was random at best and I couldn't figure out for myself that the medications we were on were making us worse. Considering the fact that the medical profession couldn't figure out where our problems were stemming from, it's no surprise that I couldn't either.

This is where Swallow comes in. After we had been seeing each other for a couple of weeks, I took him to my place to meet Becky. She was her usual self with the talking back and bad attitude, refusing to listen to anything I had to say. Quite frankly, I'm surprised Swallow didn't cut and run right there. But he stayed and watched us as we interacted, he snooped through my fridge and cupboards to see what kinds of foods we were eating, he looked at all our medications lined up on the coffee table, and he realized that we both needed a metaphorical slap up side the head. He went home that night and thought of what exactly was needed to put us onto a path of healing, and the following weekend when we got together again, spent a lot of time explaining his thoughts to me. He asked me 7 times if I really wanted his help, I was lost, of course I wanted help! That last time he asked, I told him to knock it off already and help me, I had answered that question often enough in my opinion.

The first thing he told me was that I had to listen and implement everything he said to do. Even though I didn't quite know what he was talking about, I agreed. The way I saw it was, "what could it hurt?". He told me that I needed to get rid of the medications, most specifically, the anti-depressants and Becky's Siroquel. That had me worried as I was somewhat suicidal, and I was scared that if I took Becky off her med's, just how much worse was she going to get. After all, they were supposedly helping her.

As it was, I had asked for his help and had promised to listen to what he had to say. So, I flushed my anti-depressants down the toilet and proceeded to ween Becky off her meds. Then I had to change what we were eating. I got rid of most of my processed and canned foods, and tossed out the sugary cereals and snacks. I bought fresh fruits and vegetables along with meats and Swallow proceeded to teach me how to cook real food as opposed to the restaurant style of cooking I had been doing till then. School lunches for Becky included all 4 food groups and the cookies or whatever for desert were over with. I went back to canning my own fruits and juices as opposed to buying the processed high sugar stuff. Bread was no longer bought, at least not white bread, I started to bake whole wheat bread instead. I also learned how to make rye, french, and sour-dough bread. Instead of instant oatmeal or high sugared cereals, breakfast became oatmeal from scratch, or cereals such as Special K or Corn Flakes. White sugar was pretty much not a part of our diet anymore and was replaced with Demorara sugar. Pop, candy, chocolate bars,chips, etc became a thing of the past. Yes, I still buy those things as a treat on occassion, but they are no longer part of our daily diet. Powdered cream and margarine were also gotten rid of and replaced with whipping cream and real unsalted butter. Salt was also pretty much taken out of my cooking and only used as an additive at the table, and even that to a much lesser degree than what had been.

Within a week I quit taking the rest of the meds I had been on and with Becky also being without medication, I noticed a huge improvement in her personality. We got along much better and her nightmares ended. I took her to see her shrink one last time, and she was shocked at the change in Becky. She asked me what I had done, so I told her the meds were gone, diet was changed and discipline was implemented. I told her that Swallow had taught me that to be healthy there were 3 things needed. Those are a healthy diet, discipline, and consistancy. By discipline, I don't mean beatings or anything like that, I mean that there have to be consequenses for actions taken, and routines had to be established and adhered to. I had to take back control of my life, and with Swallow's help I did exactly that.

When I was done relating to the shrink all that had happened in the last 2 weeks since last seeing her, she said good for you and keep it up. I seriouslywanted to tell her thanks for making our lives worse over the previous 4 years, instead of better, but I held my tongue and just said that was the plan. Now 3 years later, Becky and I have established an early morning work-out schedule along with an after school walking program. This combined with healthy eating hasn't curred me from my Fibromyalgia, but it's now under control with very few flare up's. Becky however, is a completely different person as you well know. Anyone I had known 3 years ago wouldn't recognize us as the same people should we run into them today. You wanted to know why I wasn't requesting refills for my meds, well that is why. Now, I want to know why no one in the medical profession even considered suggesting that processed foods and sugar could be so toxic to a person. Had that been mentioned to me when all this started, our problems would never have gotten to be what they were. No we're not perfect people, but we sure are a lot healthier, and Becky is actually pleasant to be around. I'm not ripping out my hair every 5 minutes and I really can't remember when Becky last threw a temper tantrum, let alone destroyed anything. I just wish everyone who has what the specialists dub problem children, would be taught exactly what Swallow taught me.

Life would be so much easier all the way around if healthy living were truly taught and stressed by the medical profession. Sincerely,Skye


Kevin John said...

Morning Silverfish!

Great insights here! You bring up a very good point about "pharmacutical" drug pushers...I too could tell you stories. How is the weather up there in Canada? It's cold down here! Just came from an Obama rally that was held in downtown Norfolk (VA), couldn't get within 1 mile of the entrance-an hour *after* the doors opened! Not that I'm for Obama necessarily, but I loathe Bush as much as anyone can.
And the Republican mafia.
Sorry to go off on a rant.
Thanks for stopping by the other day-come on by again if you want a laugh!

the Silverfish said...

This is a good place to rant.

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