Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two More Sleeps

Two more sleeps and then I can go home.  Excited much!!!!! You bet!!!!  I have one more ECT tomorrow and then on Friday I can go home.  I can't wait to be home with my beautiful husband and kids.  I have missed them more than ever.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Onwards and Upwards

Today I had my fourth round of ECT (electro-convulsive therapy).  I must confess am feeling a tad perplexed and bewildered. That short term memory has definitely come undone.  Is it working?  Am I feeling any better?  I can't really answer as I feel it is still early days.

I thought you might like a more indepth description of what happens during ECT.  Now, remembering for part of this I have a general anaesthetic so some details are murky.

A nurse comes and gets me about 8.30am and you walk around to the wing where you receive the treatment.  They put you up on a bed and start attaching electrodes to different pulse points of the body.  While the nurses are doing this the anaesthetist is busily finding a vein to put the catheter in.  And while all this is happening my psychiatrist is busy swabbing my forehead to attach the electrodes on there.  These ones are damp so that you are not burned during the administering of ECT.

Before you know it they are placing an oxygen mask over your face and you are under.  Next thing you realise you are in recovery and it is all done and dusted.  Bizarre feeling. Because you have been fasting from the previous night you are then given some toast and juice to ensure you are recovering well from the anaesthetic.

I honestly can't say if I feel any different. I don't feel worse.  I do feel some confusion which is from the short term memory lapse due to the ECT but nothing dramatic so far.  I have at least two more to go, possibly more.   Depends on what my doctor thinks.  At this stage of the treatment I would really welcome some positive signs of it working.

I just hope and pray this is going to be the answer and give me some much needed respite from my dark oppressive mood.  I have a life I want to get back to and I miss my husband and kids more than anything.

I am grateful to everyone who have been thinking of me and hope you are all doing well.
Take care

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's a goer

Just a quick post to let you know my progress.  Saw my psychiatrist just now and I definitely start ECT tomorrow.  So at around 8.30am if you have a power surge blame it on me.

I am hopeful.  I have spoken to not just my doctor but nurses and friends who know people who have had this treatment and say it was like a miracle cure for them.  While I am not expecting miracles, I am expecting change and improvement.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

This uphill battle

Today I had my first ever MRI.  Woah thankfully I had valium on board.  It was pretty intense.  I was shaking like a leaf and had my eyes squeezed shut so tight.  I knew if I opened them and had one glimpse of how enclosed I was I would be a goner.  But, I did it and came out of it with not a scar.

This is just the start of my climb.  It is not a small mountain I am about to set foot on either.  ECT (electro-convulsive therapy) is a long and quite invasive process.  It involves a general anaesthetic and then an electric current is passed through the brain between two electrodes placed on your scalp.  You are also given a muscle relaxant to help with the tension headache you will have afterward (from clenching your muscles during the shock).

This is not administered once, not twice or even three times.  For success you usually have between 9 and 12 of these sessions with no more then three a week.  Some people have even more. If you would like to read all about it in a objective nonsensationalist way click here.

Mental Illness is such an awful awful invisible illness.  You have to overcome stigma, your own guilt issues and so much more.  It doesn't just affect you, it affects your whole family.  It is like a cancer of the soul. I am lucky I have a wonderful supportive husband and Mother and also network of friends. They between them have taken control of all facets of my kids life and made sure that they are looked after, fed and also nurtured.  I still see them but seeing them in hospital is not the same.  I miss them like an amputee misses a limb.  I feel them when they are not there.

I dedicate the following song to all people who have and do suffer from mental illness.  It is a climb.  It is a daily battle and some days we win and some days we lose.  Remember, like the song says.  "sometimes they may knock us down but we're not breaking".  If you have to make this song your personal anthem.  Remember you are not alone.  We are there too holding hands and step by painful step we are climbing that same mountain.  We are breaking our nails, enduring exhaustion, facing our fears and we are going to get there.

The Climb lyrics
Songwriters: Alexander, J; Mabe, J;

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I'm not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody's gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, baby
It's all about, it's all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Make it Count

This coming Tuesday, 9th August is the Australian Census.  Australia's version of a stocktake.  This is not to be taken lightly.  This is how our government determines where future resources go.  A comment currently doing the rounds on facebook is "Australia will be holding a census this week. Don't leave the 'Religion' section blank. Be sure to at least tick Christian (or your own faith). 1 million Muslims will tick their box and 10million Australians will leave it blank then wonder why Christmas Carols are being banned in schools! Not to mention Easter Hat Parades. It's not about religion, it's about keeping our way of life. Please repost this if you agree."

It really made me think.  I will be filling out this census in hospital.  And even though the reason I am in hospital is because I am unwell I kind of am glad my number will be counted there and then.  My little number might help extra funding for the mentally ill or for carer's who become depressed.  I really hope so.

Next Tuesday night take this event very seriously.  It will make a difference for your kids and what schools they attend, the roads they drive on, where new hospitals are built, the number of nursing homes and child care centres that are funded and so much more.

Next week I begin a new leg of my mental wellness journey.  I start ECT (electroconvulsive therapy).  It apparently can affect short term memory loss.  I will be writing and keeping an account of how I fare so that in future I will have a record just in case.

For now, take care