Friday, June 13, 2014

Reverting to Type

Met the new meds provider today - a psychiatric nurse practitioner who lists ADHD as a specialty - and I already feel like things are looking up. I think that with her we're going to find the right meds that will help me without taking things that matter away. I told her that being able to drop into "the zone" is very important to me, that I don't want that to go away, but (at least on days when the zone is elusive anyway) I want something that will curb the compulsiveness and impulsiveness and difficulty tolerating boredom, especially in the afternoons. For now, she's put me on a short-acting Ritalin. Next month, when the Strattera is good and gone from my system, we'll go ahead and start looking at Wellbutrin, Intuniv and Kapvay.

But here's the really cool part - to figure out what meds I'm most likely to respond well to, we did a cheek swab to send off for DNA typing! Apparently, somebody's figured out the markers for different enzyme productions (or just done this with predictive analytics) and from my cheek swab they're going to be able to generate a report that recommends which meds I have the enzymes to break down. Which is uber, uber cool!

In other excellent, excellent news, I found the zone again yesterday. It wasn't for very long - I had a timer set for an appointment I had to get to and that interrupted it - but it was the real thing. It had been far too long and finding it again was a tremendous relief.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again

It has now been a week since my last Strattera, and it's almost cleared out of my system. It's now unusual for my heart to feel like it's been replaced with a jackhammer, and my head isn't always a mass of clouds and pain. I got out today and spread some mulch for a while - there's no way I could have done that on the drug. There are many things that are getting better.

But there are things that are coming back that I was glad that the drug had done away with. A Bored Jennie is once again a Dangerous Jennie. No more placidly sitting through a dull meeting for me, we're back to wanting to stab myself in the leg with a ballpoint pen, just to make things interesting. And the compulsive eating is back (oooh! dopamine! my favorite!) I don't know if there's a right drug out there, something that lets me think and flow but which keeps the food cravings to a minimum and which lets me sit next to Ted from Airplane! without doing anybody harm.

If the answer was simply a matter of finding a great cheerleader though, the problem would already be solved. B has his shortcomings, but he keeps me reaching for my best. On Thursday, I participated in the Richmond Corporate 4-mile Race and he was there to be part of my company's cheering section. All I wanted in this race was not to finish last, and if I'd known beforehand how near a thing that would be, chances are I'd have skipped it entirely. For the last two miles, B walked with me and together, we were just ahead of only one other couple, and behind them, the police escort that marked the last of the "runners." I had my sunglasses pulled down and hoped that nobody could see me crying - it was utterly humiliating, and if B hadn't been there with me, I would have quit (which, incidentally, is what quite a few people behind us had already done, but that didn't make it any easier). I was beyond embarrassed, it was torture knowing that my co-workers were there to witness this, it was just awful when one of them was running back and forth between me and the finish line screaming "wooo!" it was an act of willpower to smile and look encouraged when all the "encouragement" did was make me feel even more pathetic, but the absolute worst, the hands-down, I-want-to-crawl-into-a-hole-and-never-come-out-again, just-get-me-a-muu-muu-and-we'll-call-it-a-life moment was when I did cross the finish line and the announcer called out my name and company over the loudspeaker, and then, a few seconds later, said "and that's all the runners!"

Yes, I suck. Thanks for noticing.

B and I walked back to the car together afterward. My legs were screaming at me. I was sobbing behind my glasses. I'd stopped caring if anybody saw. I was grateful I didn't run into anybody I knew, I couldn't have stood it anymore.

And then, B was perfect.

He told me, not that I'd tried my best or that at least I hadn't quit or that everything has a beginning. He told me that he was impressed. He reminded me that I'd been off the drug for only three days, that it had kept me from being able to do any training, any exercise at all really, for almost ten weeks, that before I'd been on the Strattera I'd have been able to knock that race out without a problem, and at a pace approaching four miles an hour instead of the two-point-something that I actually managed. He pointed out that when I had tried to exercise on the Strattera, I'd had to call for help because the elevated heart rate made my vision blur and made me feel like I was going to pass out. He said that only four days before, I'd tried to get a walk to prepare for the race and had to call him after only one mile, that that was a 400% improvement in only four days, and that that was extraordinary. He told me that I keep getting better all the time, and that's because I don't let setbacks keep me set back.

Saturday, I got out and walked again. Today, I spread a couple cubic yards of mulch around the yard.

So B's a keeper. But the Strattera is definitely out.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Having Lasted the Night

I have decided not to keep taking the Strattera. I've got an appointment with a new doc 10 days from now to do some new medication management, and we'll see what she says. But for now, still in the "just skipped a dose" range of getting off the stuff (but, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends!) dear Lord, what it was doing to my body. This morning, I am exploring new territory in crushingly tired.