Thursday, August 04, 2016

Intermitted, surgery, and, oh, I can think again!

You thought I'd given up on this blog, right?


But I have struggled to sit down at the computer, and even right now, I'm only here because I can't just keep putting it off.

As you can see from the title of this post, I am intermitted from my degree again... What's that, the third time this year? It is hard not to feel like I'm failing, even though I've been reassured so many times that this is perfectly normal and stuff comes up, and well, it's smarter to intermit than to fall behind. I'm quite sick of myself at this stage of my life.

This intermission was taken because the medication I went on in April for migraines and seizures combined basically left me with symptoms of concussion. Then, of course, I actually was concussed in July when I fell down the front steps. Anyway, I spoke to my GP and I have come off that medication and am back on my old anti-seizure meds which I tolerate well. I have been given something to take for the migraines, but it is a medication that is contraindicated for the anxiety meds I'm on, so I'm not really keen to try it unless I'm completely incapacitated. Not being at uni means not staring at a computer screen all day, which so far has meant only headaches, not migraines. Fingers crossed (though the glare from this screen is already affecting me, I can tell).

In other news, Harlem had surgery on is left cruciate ligament last Friday. It'll be 3-4 months before he's working again. The specialist has diagnosed him with cruciate ligament disease, which means the other knee will most likely go in the next couple of years as well. I have not been more than two metres away from him except to go to the loo or shower, in the past 6 days. I'm sleeping on the floor in the lounge room next to his crate. It is likely I will be extending my intermittence, but I want to give it another couple of weeks to be sure.

We will need to do some retraining in November once he's back on his feet properly.

I have to say, these past twelve months have really sucked. There have been a couple of highlights (getting to go back to Iceland, and getting Harlem are standout bright spots in the past year), but quite frankly, I look back on the last twelve months and am grateful I'm not psychic! Let's see:

  1. I had a seizure a year ago, putting my back into the status of having epilepsy (that was ambo trip one).
  2. Mum nearly died from vasculitis and spent a month in hospital.
  3. Dave got sick, kept passing out and had to go to hospital (ambo trip two).
  4. Massive stress about PhD, created by me.
  5. On-going stress/arguments/anxiety about Erik's behaviour.
  6. Dave and I having a massive falling out over how to handle Erik's behaviour.
  7. Bryn and Ari changing schools, and then having issues at new school in first six months.
  8. Me spending weeks and weeks away from Dave and the boys (7.5 in total) having adverse affects on them.
  9. Broken teeth = on-going severe jaw infections which require surgery to fix = on 12 waiting list.
  10. Erik running away from home/moving out permanently
  11. Migraines, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts.
  12. Money stress.
  13. Harlem limping from suspected ligament tear.
  14. Brain fog from migraine medications inhibiting my ability to concentrate or think clearly.
  15. Falling down stairs and face planting on brick path (ambo trip three), facial scarring, concussion, several seizures.
  16. More Harlem limping, tear confirm, surgery recommended.
I'm burnt out.

Since coming off the migraine meds completely in the last few days, I have to say I feel more like my old self again. I can THINK! I'm dreaming again - this is not a great thing as I'm having nightmare after nightmare. Obviously stuff has been bubbling away in my subconscious but suppressed by the medications. I have REAL trust issues, apparently. I feel quite traumatised.

Being able to think again is mostly great though. I was really starting to despair over my inability to focus at all. At least now I feel like I could possibly pull myself together again. I will still benefit from a break though.

I need order in my life. That is usually what works to centre me again. Predictability (well, as much as can be had, anyway, life isn't predictable), routine, keeping things low key as much as possible. I've been eating a lot of rubbish lately to stuff my anxiety, so I'm back on track with nutrition and water because the crazy hormonal swings from hypos and hypers is not good for me.

I am focusing my energy on Harlem right now, it is important that his recovery go by the numbers to ensure he can return to full work. The prospect of having to get a different guide dog does not interest me in the least.

We are also in the process of having Ari assessed. Initial testing reveals he is superior and very superior in many of his learning categories (particularly coding), but well below average in initiating, receptive language, and focus (basically, he rates a 98% probability of ADHD, which is no surprise at all). We have a specialist paid assessment books for September but we are on the waiting list if a slot opens up earlier.

There is no improvement of the situation with Erik. We have resigned ourselves to it. It feels like we have lost a child. There is still a lot of grief and anger about that.

Lukas is going great guns. His work at school is going extremely well. He has really found his niche in music. His band is currently heading off to the state finals in battle of the band, representing the south eastern region of Melbourne in the junior category. He really seems to have found direction.

Bryn has settled so much since Erik moved out. He's doing well at school, well socially. His anxiety has subsided considerably. He is just a happier kid.

Harlem is a darling - he has brought so much happiness into our household. Our graduation was supposed to be this month, and I had even been asked to speak on behalf of the graduating handlers - which came as quite a surprise, but was very lovely! Sadly, Harlem will still be restricted to home, so I've had to turn down the request. This means we also won't be able to meet Harlem's puppy raiser or any of the people I went through training with. It's disappointing, but his recovery is my top priority right now.

Braille is coming along really well as well. I have much more confidence now, and am onto my second grade two book (there are only two grades). It is really good as my sight continues to deteriorate month by month. The other day I walked into an overhanging branch - something I have NEVER done before. It was a bit of a shock. I'm feeling much more accepting of this process now, though, so that is something - I was feeling quite devastated earlier this year.

I am finding a lot of solace in head covering. It is very strange, actually, I feel less exposed, less vulnerable when I wear my wraps. I never leave the house without them now. I think I haven't felt safe in a long time and everything I'm doing now is about feeling safe again. Hopefully, that will lead to a more balanced me in the next few weeks or so.

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Good Job!