Archive for November, 2006

Blogger Is Sucking…

Alright. No more fucking with fonts in posts. I can’t seem to change them back. Is it a Blogger beta thing? Is it a browser thing? In Firefox, I’ve still got my quick edits but in IE they seem to have disappeared. And “server down” messages abound!

*rethinks scrapping this because it’s early and moving to WordPress*

Ah well…

For those who like to keep score, here are all of the meds that I have been on. They’ve invariably caused me some sort of wacky/ugly side effect and/or some have not even bothered to work at all. As always, I welcome any questions and if you don’t recognize a med here, just ask!

Diazepam/Valium (just a few days but what the hey)
Liothyronine Sodium/Cytomel (I know this looks funny on a head med list but it was used as an adjunct to Effexor)
Divalproex Sodium/Depakote (eh, three days inpatient but again, why not?)

So, I guess that pretty much covers every class except the tricyclics, the “old school” or “typical” APs (Antipsychotics) and the stimulants.

Strattera was a disaster. It’s kind of my own “fault” as I completely forgot that it’s basically an antidepressant–an NRI (norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.) I can not even be in the same room with an AD (Antidepressant!) Okay, it’s not that bad but they make me go positively nuts.

In 13 days, Strattera reduced me to a quivering, mumbling, mixed-state, ultradian cycling pile of rubble. Hey, at least I gave the drug 13 days. And the physical side effects were hell too. A gastronomic disaster and waking up at the crack of dawn just for the fun of it, basically.

Yep, developed in Sweden as an AD with terrible (or simply null?) results and now it’s an ADD med! I wonder if it actually helps ADD folks. No, really. I’m not being snarky. I do wonder. I guess there is some anecdotal evidence out there but I’ve had a bit of a hard time finding any studies.

But please, don’t get me wrong. I would never discourage someone from trying a med based solely upon my experience! That would be silly. We are all neurochemically diverse and unique.

Edit: April 2007 have now started taking Lamotrigine/Lamictal (again) and Quetiapine/Seroquel

Edit: August 2007 have now started taking Methylphenidate/Concerta/Extended Release Ritalin

Edit: August 2007 have dropped the Zopiclone/Imovane as the Quetiapine/Seroquel is enough and tossing in a Hypnotic along with the Atypical AP seemed a bit overkill and unnecessary.

Alright, so we need a bit of an update as per dosage. Topiramate/Topamax 200mg, Lamotrigine/Lamictal 150mg, Quetiapine/Seroquel 50mg, Methylphenidate/Concerta 36mg, Clobazam/Frisium (benzodiazepine used only as a seizure adjunct) 10mg, Rizatriptan/Maxalt (migraine med) prn.

Gastrointestinal: Esomeprazole/Nexium (Protom Pump Inhibitor for GERD) 40mg, Palafer (Iron Supplement for Anaemia) 300mg.

Edit: Have now gone off Palafer as I couldn’t stand it. My gastro loves me so he let me when I told him I refused to ingest one more little pill! We’re going to monitor for any future anaemia issues, I believe?

Edit: As of late December 2007, I have started taking 40mg of Biphentin which is exactly the same as Concerta, listed above. So far, it is only available in Canada. The reason for the switch was a more flexible titration schedule, basically.

Edit: In February 2008, Domperidone/Motilium was added to my arsenal. It is a gastrointestinal med that can be used for assisting digestion but also for nausea. I will be taking it for the latter if/when I have migraines during the day while at work. There is no way I could take Gravol/Dimenhydrinate or I’d be passed out under my desk!

Edit: In April 2008, Seroquel increased to 100mg, Topamax increased to 300mg and Valium added at 5mg one to two tablets daily prn.

Edit: In September 2008, Clobazam increased to 20mg and Lamictal increased to 200mg (for seizure management.)

Sick Today…

Crap. Why do some infections just sneak up behind you and hit you over the head with a shovel? I’m at home today and thought I’d just whine. I should be in bed but I’ve pretty much been up since 0500hrs. When I get sick it really fucks with my insomnia–despite the fact that I’m already on sleep meds!

I just got back from a Walk-In Clinic as there was no way in hell I’d get an appt. with my regular doc. It was interesting. I got a script for Azythromycin when all I really wanted was one for my magic elixir Benzydamine (aka Tantum.) Man, if you have a sore throat, this stuff is good.

I’m always confused by the whole “antibiotic thing.” It’s either, “Here you go!” or “Nope, it’s a virus.” (Usually the latter in my case.) I know there are certain indicators, sputum colour etc… that can assist in the diagnosis but otherwise, it can be pretty hard to distinguish a lot of the bugs flying around out there, correct?

Anyway, this guy handed over the broad spectrum tabs quite easily based upon the fact that I smoke (yeah…a little…), my chest is killing me and he was concerned about encroaching bronchitis.


Ah well, time for some soup, Zithro, Buckley’s, Tantum and bed in that order.

A lot of the time when people think about seizures, they get this mental image of someone dropping to the floor and flailing around like a fish out of water. I blame television and the movies for dramatic effect. Not that this can’t happen with a tonic-clonic seizure but seizures come in many flavours. They’re wild and wacky and I find them just fascinating! Yes, I want to be a neurologist when I grow up. But for some, they can be really debilitating and that’s not good. For me, I’ve never really had any problems.

EDIT: July 2008–first very debilitating Postictal state experienced–extremely unpleasant; lasting between 48 and 72 hours?

Simple Partial seizures happen while you are still conscious (or you might lose just a wee bit of your awareness.) They are also called “auras” as they can lead to seizures where you do lose consciousness. Therefore, they really should be investigated even if you don’t think you have a problem. I am generally aware enough to tell you that I am having one and can speak to you but I have difficulty keeping track of time in order to figure out how long the seizure is lasting–if that gives you an idea of how impaired I can become. And a lot of the time, my seizures have just made me feel really tripped out or kind of stoned so I haven’t really minded them haha!

As a child, I experienced the following:

  1. Muffled ambient sound (kind of a whooshing sound, like being underwater that would go back and forth from side to side)
  2. Deja vu
  3. Rapid changes in my heartbeat for no reason
  4. Trunk spasms
  5. Visual illusions in the form of scintillations or “seeing stars”
  6. A weird sensation of “brain tingling” (I know, it sounds weird but I could *feel* my brain)

As I grew older, a lot of these issues just sort of seemed to resolve themselves. They just went away and I guess I “forgot.” But when the Bipolar started to hit in my early 20s, some of them started to come back a little bit. I find this very interesting due to the fact that Bipolar Disorder is treated with the very same drugs used to treat Epilepsy. Now of course, not every person with bipolar has a comorbid Seizure Disorder but with some trigger and rapidly misfiring neurons, had this awakened my sleeping seizures?

Also, with the beginning of Anticonvulsant treatment, my seizures were definitely affected. This is not unheard of as with new treatment or a change/titration of a med, your brain can get hit in an affected area and it just might take a bit of time to adjust. Theoretically, if it’s the right med, things should even out.

As an adult, now with Bipolar, all of the above came back, pretty much minus the trunk spasms and not so many scintillations but also:

  • Depersonalisation/Derealisation (Woo Hoo! I’m floating away!)
  • Body Image Disturbances (more specifically called micro/macrosomatognosia–aka, my hands/feet are too small or too big!)
  • Jamais vu (that’s my stuff but it doesn’t look like my stuff and just where the fuck am I even though I know this is my desk…)
  • Micropsia (why does my keyboard look so small–great when in conjunction with macrosomatognosia!)
  • Epigastric rising
  • Rapid eye blinking
  • And my all time favourite, Gelastic Seizures

Now a bit of explanation about what the hell these things are. And no, you don’t turn into a big rubber band or a gymnast. Gelastic Seizures are rapid rushes of emotion (any kind!) out of nowhere. With me (luckily) it was humour. I’ve only ever had two but they were hilarious–literally. I would get all spaced out with some DP/DR and then, just start laughing uproariously out of nowhere and nothing was funny. I mean, nothing.was.funny. And wow, I was doubled over, uncontrollably laughing, busting a gut, drooling and then, *snap!* I was back to “normal,” straight faced, like nothing had ever happened. Spooky, huh?

Now, there was one other rather “exotic” occurrence that befell me but it’s unconfirmed. I’ll add it anyway because hell, it’s a great story and I believe that it really was “epilepsia partialis continua.” You can read about it

Now, not to worry, I have neither any lesions nor Rasmussen syndrome haha. But the introduction pretty much lays out what I went through and if you scroll down to how it presents, that’s a match too. This was, I believe, in large part due to my old arch-enemy Effexor and probably its partner in crime Wellbutrin. I was on them at the time plus a sub-therapeutic dose of Lamotrigine.

So, I’m on my way to work and the eyes start flickering. Okay. Is this going to turn into a “big deal” or will it just resolve itself? By the time I get into the building things have rapidly progressed (about 5 minutes) to my jaw thrusting and jerking. Soon, my neck joins this to make a trio. I begin to call my doctor but by the time I grasp the phone, my tongue starts drooping out of my mouth and I can’t speak and I’m drooling like crazy. I’m not aphasic, mind you–I just physically can’t speak because I’m twitching and jerking uncontrollably and my tongue is literally falling out of my face. Then the jerking starts to move down my right shoulder/arm and my hand starts to twitch.

At the time, the GP I was seeing was a mere couple of blocks away so I walked to his office and boy did I make quite a stir! I tried to write “Tardive Dyskinesia” with my left hand (I’m right handed haha) because no one could get a word out of me and this was prior to my whole seizure diagnosis–not to mention that I had been arguing with this doofus about whether or not I even had been having seizures. He did not believe me and said they were merely manifestations of “stress.” Yeah.

He was just about to reach for the Cogentin but then decided to send me to the hospital instead. I rotted away in the ER for hours when someone finally looked at me. By then (about 6 hours later) things had settle down a fair bit and I didn’t appear in such dire straits. They made me walk a straight line and push/pull against the doc’s hands and pronounced me “fine” and said “go home.” I collapsed in a heap of Postictal exhaustion and just slept. I can’t even try to recreate what I looked like. It was seriously like being possessed like a demon. And it hurt! I was in so much pain! I didn’t know your body could do that against your will! It’s no wonder people feel like such utter shit after tonic-clonics!

I said TD because in post marketing, some stuff came back about Effexor even though Wyeth doesn’t want to tie it to the drug. Yeah, no doubt. It’s in the PI sheet (or at least one I read) and on RxList. And Wellbutrin? I don’t think it’s got the greatest track record and supposedly can “unmask TD.”

I’m not sure about any other stuff Effexor did to me but when I drank on it the myoclonus sure got worse, I fell down a lot and even got a concussion once. And I would frequently wake up in a puddle of urine–a sure sign of nocturnal seizures. No neurologists were in bed with me *snicker* so no one can be sure, however. Still, I’ve never been so drunk in my life I haven’t been able to make it to the bathroom so I’m pretty sure I was seizing then too.

Okay, guess that’s it from seizure central.

EDIT: first Complex Partial Seizure experienced in December 2007.

EDIT: possible new Olfactory Simple Partial Seizures experienced in June 2008 and major Simple Partial Motor Seizure in July 2008 resulting in the lengthy debilitating Postictal state mentioned above.

All can be searched on my blog via the Archives.

Even though this blog is free, you are paying for it with your time so I guess I’ll let you know a bit about me, your host(ess?–I hate gendered words). And at the beginning of relationships, it is proper form to introduce yourself…or did I read that somewhere, maybe in an Anthropology textbook on “Primitive Human Customs?”

So about my mental diagnoses/history. Well, it’s a little lengthy and I tend to run off at the mouth so I’ll try to be concise.

In my late 20s, I started to have trouble with lack of concentration, insomnia, loss of appetite etc… and after reviewing these with a friend who had suffered with depression for many years he pegged me. I went to see a psychiatrist and he immediately diagnosed me with unipolar depression. We never really touched upon bipolar symptoms but I wouldn’t have clued in. You see, I had been living in a continual hypomanic existence for about 7 years. Hypomania was “normal” for me so if he had ever asked me about symptoms, I would have clearly said, “nope.”

Antidepressants threw me into a tailspin and finally, the medical/psychiatric establishment have tapped in to the idea that they can actually exacerbate bipolar symptoms in some patients with the disorder. Of course, no one seemed to figure this out with me. Fast forward a few years and I actually figured it out.

I went to my then GP and told him that I actually thought I had bipolar disorder and we switched to anticonvulsant therapy. Wow. The (hypo)mania was halted. But the depression still lingered. At least we were on the right track, however.

While researching anticonvulsants and their more traditional use in epilepsy treatment, I suddenly realized that I had been experiencing simple partial seizures all my life. It was like, “Oh, so that’s what those were!” I’d had them since I was a kid! Not to mention the fact that two of the antidepressants known to drop seizure thresholds (Effexor and Wellbutrin) that I had taken in the past did exactly that!

So, off to a neurologist for a diagnosis of “seizure disorder” but not epilepsy proper.

Betwixt and between all of that, focusing issues and concentration were always a problem. I brought up ADD to my ex-GP and he confirmed that I have that too.

Oh yes, I’m also a migraineur.

Well, I blame Dr. A for all of this. I posted on his blog and he said I should start one of my own because he thought I’d make a good blogger. Huh. Well, I’m sure this will prove him wrong!

Tut tut. “Now that’s no way to behave,” I can hear all none of you saying as you read this. I must take responsibility for my own actions. I decided to take this on myself and even my therapist today thought it was a good idea

Huh (part II.)

Well, if nothing more it will prove to be an interesting “experiment” and I love experiments! It will either be the most pathetic blog in the history of the internet or I may actually get someone (besides Dr. A) to read it.

And excuse the sparseness for now. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. And uh, yeah…beware oh ye of the sensitive ears to profanity. It’ll slip into my posts probably fairly frequently?

“Some people” claim that the use of profanity is a sign of low intelligence but I disagree. Sure, I could come up with all sorts of flowery, even lengthy idioms to express my frustration and utter ire in certain circumstances but that is not the point. When you’re upset and you really need to let loose, swearing just feels good. It’s a release!