Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The 2 minute Ugly Cry

Today I allowed myself to do the 2 minute ugly cry. A brief moment of weakness in my quest to be this rock of strength in dealing with everything going on. Okay I lied. It came out of no where and before I knew it I couldn't even carry on a simple conversation and the words just came blubbering out of my mouth with a mixture of sobs and frustration. I will be the first to say that I can cry pretty easily. I can just usually choose not to. If you put a homecoming video in front of my where a soldier surprises his or her child, I can be a sobfest before it stops playing. My own husband's homecomings were different. I was far too excited to shed any tears after Iraq and Afghanistan was a completely different story. I was probably the only military spouse who never cried upon hearing the news of my husband's injuries and the chaos that followed. I wouldn't actually have a long drawn out, good ugly cry until months later. I did have another 2 minute cry out of frustration (go figure) but that's because I have trouble articulating myself when emotionally charged. That resulted in my husband in his drug induced state (he was on Oxy, Percocet, Morphine, Seroquel, and Trazadone, among other things at the time) calling down to the hospital flower shop to have flowers delivered to his room for me. Now that I think about it, it does worry me a bit that he was coherent enough to give them his credit card number. That was a few weeks after he had been wounded and I haven't seen any flowers since, however he does still appear to know how to give out his credit card number still. I'm happy to report that none of those drugs are a part of our daily lives anymore so if you read this and are thinking about breaking into my medicine cabinet you'll be SOL. We do have some full, unopened bottles of Colace that you are welcome to take.

I was definitely not happy though when the 2 minute ugly cry presented itself today. I guess I needed it though. I was in a good mood and it changed in a matter of seconds. I have yet to figure that one out. I need a few more ups and downs in my life. Sometimes I don't think people truly understand what our family goes through and how it affects us. People will occasionally ask about one of my husband's obvious injuries and not realize that there are several more things going on and those are the ones usually causing the most issues. If they can't see it then it must not exist I guess. My husband does the best he can to lead a normal life and if you don't know him all that well, they just seem like scars. Because they were able to do a limb salvage people assume that it's not nearly as bad as an amputation. Therefore some people believe that alone considers him as not being severely wounded. I guess if looking like you have body parts that have been through a meat grinder is normal then he must be okay. He must not be in too much pain because he's learned to adjust to life post injury. Wrong again. It's not just the physical injuries either, it's so much more complex than that. I don't even think most of his family understands. No one really sees us on a day to day basis, maybe once or twice a year and it's hard for me to explain what it's truly like unless you've been through it. Some people mean well and try to relate, even though they really can't, and others just disappear. Some wonder why I'm still here and tell me they couldn't do it. Trust me, when you have to, you can and you do because if you don't no one else will. Going through something like this really shows you who your true friends are. It's not contagious. Just because my husband's deployment ended this way doesn't mean your loved one's will too. And just because my husband might seem to be fine now, 28 months later, doesn't mean that's the case. We still need support, maybe more than we can give. We've never asked for monetary donations, or for things to make his life more comfortable. We've never contacted our hometown newspaper or news station to share his story, we've pretty much just kept to ourselves and kept a low profile. That doesn't mean that any of this has ever been easy or that we don't need any support. It can be a very lonely road to travel on. We often feel out of touch with family and friends and sometimes it's even hard to relate to other military families because our situation is so different now. I find that I have a really strong support system online but sometimes it's hard for me to get to know people and try to explain what our life is like. Sometimes I just don't even want to because it's easier to not put myself out there and be criticized. I don't want to make people think that I want them to feel sorry for me or that I'm looking for sympathy. Or God forbid, that I'm whining again. Every day I'm reminded that it could have been worse, yet some people feel the need to constantly point that out to me. Trust me, I'm well aware of that fact and thankful every day that it's not. But sometimes it is still pretty tough and it's hard to just keep a smile on my face and pretend like everything is okay.

While I'd love for people to have a better understanding through first hand knowlege, I don't wish this set of circumstances on anyone. Yes it's definitely made me stronger and made me realize that I can handle a whole lot more than I realized, but a lot of the time I don't feel like a strong person. Often times I feel weak and vulnerable. Sometimes I just want to quit. It's not just a matter of dealing with a wounded warrior, it's the affects that it's had on me and our kids. There's plenty of stress from how my kids behave and act and from my own health issues and insecurities. I've been struggling with depression lately and I have a tendency to let my husband's PTSD moods affect me. I worry about going back to work and how I'm supposed to make commitments to people when I feel like I'm still falling apart at times. I'm terrified of my husband's transition from the military and what's going to happen with our family. There's so much weighing on my mind and it can feel pretty overwhelming. So forgive me, in my moment of weakness, if I need a good 2 minute ugly cry to feel sorry for myself so I can recharge and continue taking on the world.

I'm firing my endocrinologist.

I keep hearing people talk about caregiver burnout and how as a caregiver that you have to remember to take care of yourself too. I've been making an effort to try to lead a healthier lifestyle and take better care of myself but there's still a lot of stuff standing in my way. Or maybe more like shoving me back and holding me down from feeling better.

I finally got to see my endocrinologist after months of not being able to get ahold of him or anyone in his office. I basically forced an appointment to be scheduled via my PCM and the appointment line. My endocrinologist had basically dropped me after my thyroidectomy and I had no follow up care. Turns out the majority of his patients have no been able to get ahold of anyone in the office and calls are not returned because he acknowledged this but offered no explanation.

I also had more bloodwork drawn and my endo commented that he agreed with my PCM about the vitamin D deficiency and would've done the same thing. Bullshit. He wouldn't have bothered to check it in the first place because he's convinced that the TSH is the gold standard of testing and nothing else matters. I told him that I was completely miserable all summer because of either the Synthroid or lack of vitamin D and that I was still having some issues. He tells me that because my TSH is in the 1.2 range (up from 0.005) that it's perfect and if I came to see him with that range he wouldn't treat me. So basically he completely ignored everything that I said about not feeling well simply because of the TSH range. I then asked him about the benefits of adding T3/Cytomel to my Synthroid and he tells me that I don't have a thyroid anymore so there's absolutely no need for T3. He went on to casually blow me off and say "you don't need it, there's no need to test for it, it doesn't matter for you anymore." I knew that he was feeding me a load of crap with his ignorance. He also doesn't see any reason to test for antibodies again even though I have been tested previously by another endocrinologist and not only were they present but they were extremely high.

There came a point during this visit when I realized that I would probably never see him again. I can't say that I was too disappointed by that. Even though he was thrilled with my TSH results, he still for some reason opted to increase my Synthyroid dose. He tells me that my vitamin D level is still at 13 and blames all of my symptoms on that. I tell him that I am struggling with depression and feel the need to get on something to help balance me out. He tells me to wait 2 months and then talk to my PCM about it. It basically comes down to him wanting me to have RAI done but I chose to surgery and now that it's done I'm not his problem anymore. I've been hesitant to add another endo into the mix just because we're coming up on moving soon anyway but this was the last straw. I liked him as a doctor, or I thought I did until this last appointment.

Since he increased my dose of Synthroid from 100mcg to 112mcg, my hair has started falling out again and I've been having both hyper and hypo thyroid symptoms. Unfortunately I'm not even surprised. I'm so exhausted and if I could find away to sleep 24 hours a day lately I would do it. It's almost like the vitamin D therapy isn't working because of the Synthroid.

So in addition to being a wounded warrior's wife and our lives being turned upside down, this is what I get to deal with:

Hair falling out again, with the exception of the gray, including eyebrows and eyelashes.
Racing heart/tightness in my chest
Severe muscle spasms/cramps
Extreme fatigue, yet having problems staying asleep
Memory Loss/Forgetfulness (forgot it was my day to pick up my daughter from school after checking the calendar and talking about it earlier in the day).
Increased IBS symtoms
No periods for the past year and a half
Weight gain
Teeth cracking and breaking from loss of bone density
lowered immune system
nose bleeds
Lack of concentration
Stomach pain
Low tolerance to cold, even in warm weather

I know there's more to that list but I'm too tired to think of it right now. I told my endocrinologist that I'd be picking up my medical records and probably wouldn't see him again.


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