Friday, 24 February 2012

Friends For Life.

I am blessed with amazing friends.  Friends who I have known since grade school, and friends I have made through my daughter.  My "School Moms".  Each of them is unique.  We don't all share the same interests, but we take interest IN each others interests.  We may not agree on religion and politics, but we can debate and still love each other after (all the while laughing).  And we may not all have similar life stresses, but we will drop everything we are doing and put our own concerns aside to lift each other up when the other has fallen.

I remember when I was at my worst last year and crumbling on a daily basis, I could always count on my friends to take my phone calls.  They knew they may get a sobbing and slightly hysterical Sarah on the other line, but they didn't care.  They listened and even sometimes cried with me.  Whether it was texting my husband to ask, "is she okay now?", or calling him in the evening to say, "I know she's not up to talking, but I just want to know how she is?", they were always there (and still are). 

My "School Moms" were there to help with pick ups and drop offs for my daughter last year.  They never questioned my last minute phone calls..."Can you please bring her to school...I don't think I can do this".  With a quick, "Yep, NO problem...I'll be there", I'd hang up the phone and they'd arrive 10 minutes later to pick her up.  It meant the world to me during a time when I felt like I was worth close to nothing.  They never made me feel silly or weird.  No questions were asked.  It was just known that this would be a long journey and Sarah would need help from time to time. 

True friends don't judge you by your weaknesses.  They instead believe that your weakness is what makes you strong and beautiful.  This is what my friends do.  I love each of them for who they are.  I am proud to say "we are friends", and  I thank each of them for the love and patience they have given me.  

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Grrrrr...And Then Smile

Another "grrrrr" kind of day.  I had a panic attack last night.  The good news, is that it's been awhile since I last had one.  The bad that I had one.  I was hit with some intense nausea for the majority of the day and it only got worse after dinner.  By the time bedtime rolled around, I had to breathe and swallow as the urge to dry heave was so strong.  I cried and cried and finally woke up my husband.  There is nothing he can do at 2am, but he just listens as I cry and panic.  I didn't keep him up long as I know he has work in the morning.  I came out to the living room on my make-shift bed and went on the forum I frequent often for Bendodiazepine support.  I figured I could at least offer support to others suffering to pass the time.  An hour passed and then 4:30am I figured I could get a couple of hours of sleep in before morning came.  The adrenaline rushes were back full force and every time I attempted to close my eyes and sleep I'd get jolted by an electrical current sensation running through my arms, back and legs.  Even my head tingles.  It takes my breath away and my heart beats faster.  I think by 5pm I was asleep and slept solid till "wake up" time.

Today I feel the lack of sleep.  My eyes burn and I'm full of nervous energy.  I had some strong nausea again this morning, but by 11:00am it began to subside.  I feel some days I have to take this process one minute at a time.  Things can change so quickly.  One minute you are doing fine, and the next it crumbles and you're left thinking, "huh?". 

I have kept a journal now for almost three years.  This entire journey is logged and it's so interesting to look back.  It's also been extremely helpful in that I can track how I feel and I can find some patterns with foods that may bother me, or times of the month where I may feel worse.  I also log my daily progress by four categories:  Anxiety/Panic Level, BM's (my intestines have taken a beating during this process so I like to track how "regular" I am), Nausea and finally Sleep.  I just looked at my entries for December, January and February. 

In December, I had 4 panic attacks, 2 of which were full blown ones.  The other 2 were mild.  However the entire month I was hit with adrenaline rushes every single day, all day long.  In January I had 5 attacks, but 3 of them were extremely mild and more of a "high anxiety" moment.  The other 2 were intense but not as intense as December.  My overall anxiety level dropped and I had less adrenaline rushes.  In February, I've had 1 attack - last night.  It is almost the end of the month, so unless these next two weeks have something interesting in store for me, I think I'll be okay.  Also, my level of anxiety and adrenaline has dropped even more.

Now, the nausea.  December was horrible.  Every single day I was hit with nausea.  My weight dropped to it's lowest again and it was difficult to stomach much of anything.  Even when I could eat I had this mild gagging sensation the entire time.  Eating was far from fun and it was the most depressed I had felt in a long time.  In January, I noticed that only about 1/2 of the month was bad - a big improvement!  I still had some degree of nausea most days, but it was often mild and bearable.  Now this month, I'd say about 1/4 of it has been spent with some mild to moderate nausea.  I've only had 1 or 2 days with what I'd call "bad nausea".  Progress!

It am so happy I've kept these journals.  On a day like today when it feels as though I'm back at square one, it's refreshing to see that I'm really not.  This is just a bump in the road.  And the road is leading to something quite awesome and beautiful. 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Butter Chicken...with Eggs? Sure!

Recently we went to our neighbour's for dinner and the hostess with the mostess made a delicious Butter Chicken.  Unfortunately I was unable to partake in the dinner as I was home curled up with horrible nausea...but was later able to go over to visit and "smell" the food.  As frustrating as it is, it's great to have good friends who understand the situation I'm in since being off of the medication.  I didn't feel "silly" walking into their home halfway through dinner...instead I got a warm welcome from them and all the kiddies...and of course their jolly dog.  Thank goodness for patient family and friends.

Then this past weekend we had a belated Christmas with my brother and sister-in-law.  It's a time of year my family loves.  Nothing beats an elongated Christmas!  We bring out the mini-tree at my mom and dad's home, and I play Santa.  My daughter is Santa's helper.  The first night together we enjoyed a delicious dinner of turkey and quinoa meatloaf, roasted potatoes, asparagus and the "piece de resistance"...a can of tomato soup mixed with canned peas.  I know.  But this is a famous recipe in my family.  My Granny made it with her meat pie, and now meatloaf or meat pie is boring without it.  I almost drool at the thought...

Our second dinner together was...Butter Chicken!  My mom used the same recipe as my neighbour but made a few small modifications.  It was a delicious meal served over rice with carrots on the side.  My daughter inhaled it both times, so we decided it was a perfect meal for this week.  However, using some fresh veggies I had stored in the fridge...and not having all the spices needed (or the chicken)...I came up with my own variation of Butter Chicken.  Make sure to Google "Canadian Living Butter Chicken Slow Cooker" for the original recipe - which is DELICIOUS!!!

And here is Sarah's version:

Butter...Eggs (enough for at least 6-8 people)

8 vine tomatoes, skinned and crushed
2 large red onions, chopped
3 bell peppers, chopped
1 small package of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Organic Vegetable Broth
1/4 cup Almond Butter
3-4 T Butter
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T ginger (I only had powder in the house)
2 T Curry Powder
2 T Indian Masala Spices
1/2 t cinnamon
2 T brown sugar
1 t cumin
2 t chili powder
1 cup Greek Plain Yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
8 Eggs, scrambled till well done

I first started by cooking the chopped red onion in the butter, adding the crushed garlic soon after.  Once soft, I added the mushrooms, followed by the peppers.  I then cooked and peeled my tomatoes and put them in a cold bath before peeling.  I crushed the tomatoes by hand into the pot with the onion mix.  I then added all the spices and sugar and let it simmer for a few minutes.  In a separate dish I mixed the broth and almond butter till smooth and added it to the pot.  Once it simmers for a bit, I then blended it using a hand held mixer.  Once blended I added the Greek Yogurt. 

In a separate pan, I scrambled the eggs till well done.  We very rarely buy meat (although we still do enjoy it), so my husband suggested eggs as I had put it in my stir fry last week and it was a huge hit.  I added the cooked eggs to the mix and stirred.  Let it simmer a bit and add desired amount of salt and pepper after a quick taste test!

I served the Butter "Eggs" over brown basmati rice.  It was a huge hit - really delicious.  The bell peppers added a sweetness to it that the original recipe did not have. 

The only problem?  I forgot to take photos!  I will try to remember to take one with our leftovers tomorrow night and then add it later.  BIG oops!  This was a great dish that was healthy and a definite winner in our home.  Of course you could use chicken if you prefer it.  Eggs aren't for everyone. 

So which came first...the chicken or the egg???

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Facing This Battle Med-Free

A few years ago I decided I was ready to face my anxiety issues without the help from medication.  Little did I know what an ordeal it would become to taper off of the one remaining medication I was on - Clonazepam.  But here I am, almost 7 months medication free.  I'm far from perfect, but very slowly things are improving.  Much of what I feel now is still my body and mind recovering from the effects of being on the Clonazepam, so I'm not really certain of what the "real Sarah" is like.  But I am fairly confident that the "real Sarah" will be able to take on anxiety naturally.  So what techniques have I used to help me thus far, and will continue in the future?

Yoga.  I only do a few minutes at a time, but yoga has become a bit of a life saver.  I've mentioned my favourite "Tree Pose" in a previous post, but I can't say enough good things about it.  The key is to really open your pelvis and pull your knee back.  As soon as I do this pose and deep breath, my mind shuts down and doesn't think about anything negative. 

Change in diet.  I talk about this often, but I truly believe the changes I've made in my diet are what will get me through future (possible) issues with anxiety.  There are many things I have cut out of my diet.  Some for personal reasons as I do have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and found many foods were aggravating my stomach.  Here is a list of the food and drinks I have cut out:

Red Meat
Most poultry
ALL Dairy (I only eat Greek Yogurt)
Fried foods
Store bought cookies (although I'd have one here or there as a treat)
Potato chips (I miss them, but I've tried them recently and they did NOT agree)
Pop, juice and coffee beverages (that includes diet pop)
Alcohol - not even a sip

The foods I focus on eating now:

Vegetables - my favourites are cucumber, sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, asparagus, bell peppers, red onion and mushrooms
Fruits - especially bananas, kiwi and grapes
Chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans
Whole wheat pasta
Almond Butter and Sunflower Seed Butter
Sourdough bread
S. Pellegrino Water
Almonds and Sunflower seeds
Sauces from scratch - no more bottled sauces for stir fry or pasta

For treats, I enjoy homemade banana chocolate chip muffins or homemade vegan chocolate cookies.  I WILL indulge in the occasional piece of chocolate bar or Cadbury's Buttons...but I do notice my anxiety level rises sometimes about an hour later.

Meditation and Self Talk.  This is hard to learn for most I think.  I never thought I'd be able to do it, but I'm getting better at it.  I have found I have a few "images" I can think of that calm me.  It's important to take the time to learn what works best for you.  Many like guided meditation.  Some like mindfulness - learning to live in the "now".  I find I can take myself to another place altogether.  I put an image of a peaceful place in my head and think of ONLY it. 

Exercise I am no where NEAR to perfecting this one.  I still suffer from a lot of nausea which can make exercising very difficult, but I will get there.  The best thing for me right now is walking.  I have never gone for my drivers license, so I walk everywhere.  I walk my daughter to and from school and often go for a longer walk once I drop her off to get some fresh air.  I hope to do a lot more hiking this coming Spring and Summer.  In the past, I thoroughly enjoyed everything from hiking to jogging to workouts in my basement.  Once I build up more strength, I plan on doing a lot more!

TalkingI have become an open book.  This is something I was a little hesitant to do.  Even beginning this blog was a big step as I wasn't sure how people would respond to it.  I have met some amazing women through my daughter's school, but then as I began to share more about my experience with anxiety and then the meds that made me worse, I started to worry the various parents would be hesitant to send their children to my home for play dates in fear I was the "crazy mom".  It turns out I haven't had that response from ANYONE.  If anything, I find women are opening up left, right and centre to me - and that was the purpose of me sharing my story.  To reach out to others who may not know how to help themselves or someone they love.  Most people see my journey as a strength instead of a weakness - and I thank them dearly for that.

I'm also very open to my parents, my husband, my daughter and my friends.  If I'm having a bad day, I try not to just hold it in all day and let it fester.  Instead, I call my mom and cry...or a friend and, you guessed it, cry.  It's not always tears though.  Sometimes it's just little fears that make me think I'll never get better.  Sharing those fears has been important for me and I think more people should do it.  Because even if to the outside world these fear seem silly, they are VERY real to the person experiencing them.  So find someone you feel comfortable talking to, and without expecting great words of wisdom, just share.  It can make a huge difference with your level of anxiety.  I think it's important for the person suffering from anxiety and/or depression to find a person(s) they trust who they can just "let it all out" to.  A true friend will listen.  Even if they can't understand it, they'll want to be there...just because.  Don't feel guilt over "letting it out".  Allow yourself to do it.  In the end you not only help yourself, but the person who listens become more empathetic to those around them.

I recently watched the documentary, "Darkness and Hope" by Michael Landsberg.  He speaks to a few athletes who have struggled with anxiety and depression, and the famous Canadian cyclist, Clara Hughes, mentions her "system".  She has a system that she uses every time she feels the depression hitting her.  It's a great way to look at it.  We are not alone in this.  It is more "normal" than we think to be hit with anxiety and bouts of depression.  So we need to learn how to deal with it and live with it until it's ready to pass.  It is possible.  We just need to realize that it is something that cannot be rushed.  We live in a world that is all about "getting things done".  When anxiety or depression hits you, life NEEDS to slow down, and we have to learn to allow that and to be okay with it.  I thought I was a pretty patient person before this, but after getting so sick from this medication and having to live by its rules, I've had no choice but to sit back and ride the wave.  I know it will end and get better, so I live each day thinking "today may be the day".

“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.”
 - Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness

Monday, 13 February 2012

Clean Out The Fridge Night

"What do you want for dinner tonight?"

A question often asked in any family.  It was Saturday afternoon and we were heading back to town after spending the afternoon at Chapters with our daughter.  We enjoyed a "Calm" tea from Starbucks while our daughter enjoyed a piece of Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and some books.  We were approaching the grocery store and I figured we should get any "extras" we may need for the following few days.  My husband was thinking of just heating up a bowl of canned soup with a sandwich, or maybe a frozen pizza...but I was in "the mood" to cook a healthy meal and said, "how about a stir fry?".

So stir fry it was!  I knew I had some peppers and mushrooms in the fridge, but I couldn't decide what to do for the "meat".  We are not vegetarian, but have chosen to buy a lot less meat.  a) it's expensive, and b) too many documentaries (Food Inc.) have turned us off of meat.  Plus, I don't ever crave it.  We talked about just "caving" and buying some chicken breasts.  Then we looked at the tofu...but I have read a lot more into tofu and the importance of buying it when it clearly states "NO GMO's" (Genetically Modified Organisms).  Well, the tofu packages I was looking at didn't state back to square one.  Then it hit me...eggs!  I told my husband my idea and he was interested, so eggs it was.  Then while in the check-out line, I thought "nuts...hmmmm".  So I ran back to the bulk food section and picked up some unsalted sunflower seeds...and this is what I came up with:

4 bell peppers
1 red onion
2 packages sliced cremini mushrooms
5 eggs
1/3 cup (give or take) sunflower seeds
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bag of whole wheat egg noodles


2-3 heaping T peanut butter (with no sugar or salt added)
1 heaping T honey
1-2 T lemon juice
1 t red chili sauce
approx. 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use Braggs Liquid Amino instead)
Clubhouse Pepper Medley (a good shake)

I cooked the chopped red onion with olive oil till it browned a bit.  Once brown, I added my crushed garlic and cooked for a few minutes. Then added my peppers and mushrooms.  At this point I began boiling the water for the noodles.  I now added the soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, lemon juice and chili sauce.  In a separate pan, I added the whisked eggs and scrambled them till they were fully cooked - almost over cooked as I didn't want them to fall apart in the sauce.  I then added the cooked eggs and sunflower seeds to the mixed veggies and sauce, and then sprinkled the Pepper Medley on top.  I let it simmer for only a few minutes as I don't like the veggies to get too soft.  Serve over the cooked whole wheat egg noodles...and my husband said it was the best stir fry he had ever had.

Keep in mind the amount I made does us for 2 - maybe even 3 - dinners.  So you can choose the amount of veggies that suits your families needs...or choose different veggies!  The idea was to come up with a meal using what was already in my fridge.  In the past, I bought store-bought sauces for our stir fry, but this was FAR better and not loaded with possible MSG. It was healthy and REALLY delicious! 

Saturday, 11 February 2012

It's The Little Things...Again

My daughter is truly awesome.  That's all I can say.  She wrote me a note and attached was a poem, and I'd like to share:

Dear Mommy,
I made this cinquain poem for you because when you have hard times, just know that I love you and if you need someone to talk to, there's always me!  Love, ****

A Cinquain Poem for my mom (Sarah)!!!!!!

Awesome, Brave
Helping, Dancing, Cooking
Going through things

My daughter is 8 years old, and has more empathy than most adults.  Being honest with our children when we are personally going through difficult times can clearly only benefit them.  My daughter is not left harmed by watching her mom have 5 hour panic attacks or crying spells that go on for a full afternoon.  Instead she is a strong young girl who can pick up on emotion quicker than most and has the heart the size of a blue whale (it has the largest heart of any animal...the size of a VW Beetle).  She doesn't panic when she sees mommy upset.  She worries like anyone else would, but she also knows her mommy is strong and will pull through.  She hugs me, rubs my back, and tells me I'll be okay. This experience has also taught her that if mommy and daddy are so open and honest, then SHE can be open and honest.  Everything is shared in our home.  Feelings are expressed even if we feel they might be silly feelings.  Because in reality, all feelings are real to the person experiencing them.

My daughter is special and I am lucky. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Please Don't Share Your Germs.

Today I am struggling with something I haven't yet discussed fully.  Yes, I see all the progress and I am in no way ignoring all the positives...but it is difficult to FULLY see the progress when you are struggling so deeply inside.  I am the one who feels every strange sensation all day long.  And it proves to be difficult to rejoice in the progress when I still don't feel very good.  So what is bothering me?

The nausea has improved greatly over the past few weeks but when it does come it's like a slap in the face.  How did I deal with that EVERY DAY for so long?  I still have a lot of GI issues in general.  Whether it's fullness, bloating, gas cramps, or pinches, there seems to always be something going on in that area.  Now I also have more issues with my ovaries.  Lots of pain that radiates to my lower feels like mild labour pains.  I have an appointment for another ultrasound - a followup for the cysts and polyps that were found last year.  I'm sure all is fine, but I'd be lying if I said I don't worry about it.

Then there's the OCD feelings.  In the last week, I have heard my fair share of "vomit stories".  No one likes vomit...but I take it to another level.  I deeply fear it.  The fear came on years ago.  A lot of my friends would playfully tease my husband over the years for his hand washing.  Every time he has to eat, he meticulously washed his hands...which really, is common sense.  I however, didn't care.  I'd go to the food court at the mall and MAYBE remember to wash my hands (quickly) once in awhile.  Did I get sick often?  No.  Then my daughter had a bad stomach bug when she was 18 months old.  I remember fearing getting the bug myself and almost obsessing over it.  Did I get the bug?  No.  Years later as my daughter approached the school years, my fears worsened.  Suddenly germs became more prevalent with a daughter in kindergarten.  That's when the SSRI's came back into play.  I was already taking many "as needed" doses of Clonazepam...obviously it wasn't working (and if anything was possibly contributing to the problem).  So I began taking Cymbalta.  The meds helped and the fear diminished, however the side effects were not worth it.  I took the Cymbalta long enough to feel some relief from my irrational fears, but chose to wean off of it after approximately six months or so.

Things were okay initially, but then I continued to take the Clonazepam.  And as I took more and more doses, the fear crept back - even stronger.  I began hand washing - a lot.  And I began obsessing even more.  The turning point was when we were visit good friends of ours.  I was sitting on her living room floor when the phone rang.  She spoke for a few minutes and then got off to announce she wouldn't be able to go see her family member at a local nursing home as the stomach flu was going through the facility.  Ugh.  My body went ice cold.  My husband said the colour left my face - leaving me a greyish-white.  I remember being convinced that the bug in that nursing home was going to miraculously travel through the air and make its way to me, where I'd then end up spending the night vomiting over the toilet.  I obsessed all evening about it and didn't feel completely relaxed till a couple of days later.

Every vomit story created more fear.  I could barely handle it at times.  Every single night when we'd put our daughter to bed, I would literally spend the entire evening jumping up at every noise I heard, convinced my daughter was up and vomiting.  It was painful as I didn't want to feel that way but I couldn't escape the constant fear.  I remember searching online for information on it and discovered it was a legit phobia called Emetophobia.  I spoke with my former Psychiatrist about it and even did a lot of exposure therapy for it.  She said it is the 4th most common phobia in North America.  Even some celebrities share this fear...well, that or OCD tendencies with germs.  Matt Laurer and Denise Richards have stated they have extreme fear of vomiting, and Howie Mandel and Cameron Diaz both avoid door knobs and opt for using their elbows over their hands. 

Skip forward to the present.  I am now finding the old fear resurfacing.  As I tapered off the benzos, I noticed the fear diminishing, but now as I slowly recover from the meds, it's coming back to haunt me.  So is this just me?  Or is it all part of the recovery - perhaps it's the benzos throwing everything at me until I fully heal?  My hands are cracked more than ever as I wash and wash them several times a day.  I avoid touching our fridge door and use my sleeve instead.  I worry that the cracks in my hands are "open wounds" that can attract new germs.  I've often thought about how perfect gloves would be, but I wouldn't allow it to go that far.  If I wash my hands to prepare food, I then have to wash them again after touching the packaging the food was in...example...I buy sourdough bread, so I open the tab at the top and shake the bread out onto a cutting board (VERY careful to not let the bag touch the cutting board)...then I wash my hands again because they have now touched the bag that was touching the cart.  I wouldn't say this fear consumes me, because I don't care that I wash my hands so much.  I get a bit embarrassed if I get caught, and typing it here doesn't help me much in regards to worrying about what people may think...but this blog is all about honesty.  Even after washing my hands in my own home I would prefer to eat a meal that does not require my hands to touch the food...or I'd use a tissue to hold the food so my CLEAN hands don't have to touch it. I type this out I can see how much this fear has progressed.  But again, I'm not bothered by this aspect of it...I'm more bothered by how fearful I am of the actual vomiting. 

Now, with a week of many "vomit stories" (through my daughter's school), I have myself convinced that "this is ARE going to get this bug".  Even today my intestines and stomach are gurgling up a storm and I sit here now terrified.  I can't do this!  I can't get a bug on top of everything else!  I can feel my hands going cold and tingly and my body feels like it's in a mild sweat.  The very thought of spending the day in the washroom makes me want to scream.  I feel like I've had very little control over my body this past year or two, and to now have to endure 12-24 hours of endless vomiting and diarrhea is enough to send me over the edge.  But am I even getting sick?  I don't think so...although I can't convince myself of that. 

So now I battle this again.  I hope this really is just the fear coming back at me to haunt me one more time and then it will all slowly fade - just like all the other strange sensations and intrusive thoughts.  Part of me realizes that I have just endured over a year of constant unpleasant physical side effects to staying, coming off and now BEING off of why can't I handle a 24 hour bug?!  It's beyond me.  I can say this and rationalize it all, but within a minute it is all forgotten and I am stuck in utter fear again.  A fear that I hope soon goes away for good.  Until then, I'll continue to use my soap. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

5 Steps Forwards...And Take A Step Back

These past 2 weeks, I saw some great improvement.  The nausea became only mild most days and I even had a couple of days with only an hour of VERY mild nausea.  I was enjoying flavourful food again and thoroughly enjoying making new meals for my family.  The withdrawal effects that remained were:

IBS-like gas pain
Inner tremors
Not wanting to be social - a bit of a "blah" feeling
Nerve pain (like pins and needles down my spine and arms)

Not too bad!  If you consider my original list was a mile long!  There are big improvements happening.  I have a huge rise in motivation and I've been painting up a storm in my home.  Motivation is something I dearly missed while tapering off the meds.  I would cry for hours because I just couldn't clear a table off, or do one load of laundry.  It was very frustrating - especially as a stay-at-home mom. 

Yesterday morning was like any morning, however I had that feeling again.  That "hmmmmm...could this be nausea coming?" feeling.  I walked my daughter to school and came home to make some breakfast.  As soon as I ate I knew it was coming back.  I tried to calm myself as I knew it may not be as bad this time around.  Maybe the nausea would not become as intense as last time.  At SOME point it has to lessen and eventually just go away.  By noon I was in the basement painting the bi-fold doors from our kitchen pantry and front hall closet.  I thought the distraction of painting may "take it away".  No such luck.  Instead it only worsened.  After a long call with my husband, I then turned to my mom.  I called her in tears and rambled on about how sick I felt and how sick of feeling sick I was.  She always seems to calm me even though I know there is little people can say to help.  My concern was that in only a few minutes I was going to have to look "well" enough to walk to my daughter's school to pick her and her friend up for a play date.  I cried to my husband, "How am I going to do it?!".  And his response, "You just always do".  And it's true.  Through this entire process, I have been able to step up to the plate when needed.

So off I went to pick up the girls.  As I stood on the schools tarmac, waiting for the kids to run out, I talked to other parents as my insides burned and the feeling of dry heaving came and went a few times.  I smiled and laughed all while my head spun and their voices became clouded.  But...I did it.  The girls came out and we walked home with smiles on our faces.  I made the girls a snack and off they went to play.  My husband came home and with no words needed, he hugged me and I knew he felt bad.  For him, it's difficult to watch me make progress and then slip.  It is such a frustrating journey to be on, and he's been there for the ride 100%.  I can't express how thankful I am for that.  It brings tear to my eyes if I think about it too much.

I was able to eat a homemade pancake - and even went back for a second.  I was able to put on another coat of paint on the doors.  I was able to bake a batch of cookies to freeze for my daughter's snacks at school.  And I was able to venture on down to our neighbour's to BRING some cookies and enjoy a couple of hours of great conversation.  It was near the end of our visit that I felt this huge wave.  A mound of hot saliva came out of nowhere into my mouth.  My stomach flipped and my heart raced.  It took every ounce of strength no dry heave right in their kitchen.  I breathed and breathed and stayed as long as I could...but at some point I had to give in.  "I'm going home", I announced to my husband.  "No rush to come stay as long as you want...I just need to get home".  He understood.  He said he could see me slipping away towards the end of our visit.  "Your face tells it all".  I cried all the way home (which is only 3-4 houses away) and when I walked in our home I wailed.  I paced the kitchen and just let it all out.  I went to the basement and punched our punching bag.  I screamed into a pillow.  All this energy and anger comes out and it feels good in the end. 

By the time we went to bed, the nausea had still not left, but somehow I was able to sleep...a solid 7 hours!  It felt so good to wake up knowing I'd had a good night's sleep.  Unfortunately within minutes of being up, I could feel that "oh no...the nausea is coming" feeling.  I ate some breakfast and it worsened. I've had 2 good cries, some more pacing and I made some ginger tea. 

I know that at some point, this will all be behind me, but it is VERY frustrating.  I can feel the tears coming on again and I know that I probably have a few good cries coming my way today.  The crying feels good in the end and as long as I don't have to be anywhere it's therapeutic.  I am still dumbfounded it can be this hard at 6+ months off the meds.  I'm sure anyone who doesn't know the full story would be convinced something else is wrong with me.   It's hard for even me to believe it some days!  My husband and my parents reassure me it's not "me".  And deep down I know it too.  Until it's over, I just take it a day at a time...or hour by hour. 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Chocolate and Bananas...Yum

We went to the mall to do some window shopping this past weekend.  It was a rainy day and dreary outside, so the mall was a fun pick-me-up.  After many stores, we all agreed we could use some food, so we decided it was home time.  Food would be cheaper (and better for us) there.  "Mommy, I just saw a girl with a Booster Juice!  Can I please have one?!", my daughter asked.  Having no idea where the Booster Juice was, I said we'd get one another day.  We drove home and I decided, "I'll make my own Booster Juice".  My daughter's drink of choice is called the Funky Monkey.  Bananas, Vanilla Soy Frozen Yogurt and Chocolate of some sort, makes up this yummy treat.  I went online to find some ideas of how to make my own and instead stumbled upon the nutritional information...and it is LOADED with sugar!  Making a homemade "Funky Monkey" was going to be a good choice but without finding a good recipe online, I decided to came up with my own recipe.  So here it is:

2 ripe bananas
1 cup ice
1 cup almond milk
2 heaping T plain Greek yogurt
2 heaping T cocoa

Place all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth.  Pour and drink!  Absolutely delicious.  My daughter has renamed it the "Healthy Funky Monkey".  The 3 of us loved it and I was really quite impressed with myself.  I'm still grinning.

 All ingredients (but cocoa) ready to be blended