Monday, October 29, 2007

Turning the corner

After 8 weeks today, the tremors are largely gone. My legs don't bounce big and obnoxiously anymore. For almost two weeks, it's been slowly decreasing to where they now don't bounce enough to really bug me or be very noticable to others. There's still definitely a tremor there and in my hands which does still get worse under stress, but it is no longer debilitating or particularly obvious. I could live with this.

Thank goodness for small miracles. At the very least, the worst of it wasn't permanent.

I still plan to keep my appointments for the CAT scan, EEG, and other tests. Note to self: it's okay to schedule the MRI now, as the tremor shouldn't be bad enough to interfere anymore.

Now I think I will never let a psychiatrist change a med again. I don't want to mess with my delicate dopamine system again. This experience has made me realize that I need to weather my BPD's ups and downs on my own. I can't rely on the pharmacy or a doctor. It is too risky.

Although my complete goal in using prescribed meds was being a responsible patient and taking good care of myself, that philosophy has backfired and I got burned. I learned a difficult lesson. Some side effects really don't go away and I came within a hair's breath of that.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bring it on

I got a call yesterday from the sleep study technician, saying that I needed to schedule the second part of my sleep study. I told him that I was unaware that there was a second part. He said that the doctors saw something in my first study a week ago that translates to another sleep study. This time I'd wear something... I interrupted and practically screamed that I am not wearing a CPAP mask to sleep. How on earth could I sleep at all during the test? He reassured me that I'd probably sleep better.

How pathetic is that? A poor technician is the messenger for some really bad news. I consider it anappropriate.

I didn't discuss the sleep study from last Sunday night here. It was beyond miserable. I had 22 electrode leads attached with wads of paste to my face and scalp. Each was taped down securely with gobs of surgical tape and, oh, did they hurt coming off in the morning. There was a hose under my nose and another sensor on my throat. Two lead to my chest, one to my hand. I had two belts around my torso and two leads to each of my shins.

And I was supposed to sleep.

As he was hooking me up, he asked if I snore. I said that I do to the point of having a sore throat if I sleep on my back. I had long ago trained myself to sleep on my side, so I no longer snore. He said to try sleeping on my back for a while b/c it would be good data for the study.

I bit. I am so pissed at myself for being so foolish and doing something I wouldn't normally do.

What if they're saying I have sleep apnea, but it is really only if I sleep on my back. Who cares then, right?

Further, as a result of laying on my back, but being very conscious of it, I never really fell asleep all Sunday night, even on meds, even if I later laid on my side. I was completely and absolutely miserable and when he opened that door at 5:05am to unhook me, I gleefully jumped up, ready to be free.

My father uses a CPAP. I refuse to spend $500+ on the machine, mask, and hoses, plus the cleaning and maintence of that crap. I refuse to get another bad diagnosis out of all this medical turmoil I already have.

I think sleeping on my back indicated apnea, but sleeping on my side didn't. That's my goal, to get them to break up the analysis on their testing. I need to develop a strategy for this week. Should I lay on my back? Should I even take sleeping meds? I'm leading toward no and no.

Oh, and my other goal is for it to only take 10 minutes instead of 15 to use a fine toothed comb and shower out the loads of that EEG paste. Yuck. Last week, I swore never again. Sucker!


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Selective unrelated reading

I've come upon some interesting articles I'd like to share.

In the NYT, there's an article about international adoption and findng birth mothers. Less than amazingly, it can result in the same sticky issues as in finding domestic birth mothers. Although it's not all roses, it can be.

Speaking of children and parents, here's a quiz that sees how good you are in matching funky kid names with their celebrity parents. I only scored 60% and it makes me doubt all the time I spend reading celebrity sites. I'm obivously not absorbing enough! Link is for Oro and her naming bent of late.

Adding to the fun is this CNN article on how people have historically put on alcoholic throw downs that make modern ones pale in comparison.

Let Saturday continue...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pond reflection

This was painted on Tuesday, a rather gray day with diffuse lighting, the sky both dark and light at the same time. As I surveyed the park with the rest of my classmates seeking a spot to paint, I decided I didn't want to again do large masses of foliage like a big backdrop of trees. This led me to the pond and I saw this reflection of the sky amidst the lily pads, leaves, and rocks, so much seasonal decomposition. I wanted a painting to focus on the reflection, but also convey both the fall foliage and the lighting. I find it exciting how the way the composition leads my eye in a circular fashion from the large sky hole surrounded by dark edges, flowing around to the autumn decay of the pads and leaves. The reflected light became an unusual and pivotal focal point.

I think I did a great job capturing it. I may actually frame this one.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

3rd oil

I painted this last week and picked it up this week.

I love to paint lemons no matter the medium.

I do not love to paint bowls.

I had no idea how hard it is to photograph oils, but there is always a glare.

I am happy with this for it being such an early effort. The exercise was to paint with the largest brush we had with us and mine was about 3/4"-1" wide, which does not cut a fine swath, but does pretty well nonetheless.

PS - Forgot one detail. It was done with a palette of three colors - yellow, red, blue and I added burnt sienna - so there was no black. Ha dd!

PPS - For some reason, I am not able to comment on my own blog this morning. I get a MS error that closes the window. I hope it is not permanent.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quack neurologist

This is my out-of-order review, but I want to remember how uncomfortable that hour was with that doctor.

He said that ex has two wives now. He asked how I get along with the second wife, if I tell her how to make his coffee. I replied that it is not my place to interfere with them, that she is a nice, respectful lady. He later concluded that I have large boundaries due to my ethics and he said he admired that.

Early on, I described the EEG clinician's office, that it was loud and made it hard to concentrate. He then asked how his office stacked up and, because I didn't know any better at the time, I said "so far so good." How could I have known otherwise yet?

When I described the EEG training I do at home, I told him of the workshop training I received, the guy who flew in from South America to do it. He said it sounds like a cult.

He asked how I could have stayed with a man who would cheat on me, negating the fact that I didn't know about the cheating. I gave him what he wanted and said I have poor taste in men, when actually it was b/c I loved him and was overly patient with the hitches in his life. I knew what his faults were and questioned them at every step.

He told me that I needed to find a man who is artistic like myself, then proceeded to talk art to me. I told him that I'd love to find an artistic man, but they tend to be the ones most unreliable, especially financially. He agreed.

He asked if I am easily impressionable. I replied that I am no more or less than anyone else, but actually I think I am less b/c I take a very long time to make some decisions. I am a cautious person.

When I told him I have HSV, he replied in disgust, "How did you get THAT?," when I think the answer is obvious. You'd think doctors would have some form of bedside manner about this; he's not the first to fail with me. In his phone dictation to his transcribing company, he mentioned the HSV no less than three times. Although I said it is little more than an inconvenience, a skin rash, it was a big deal to him, but has very little to do with my brain. It was an ick factor to him. Tough to get a word in edgewise, I should have said that 1 in 4-5 adults have it, but he'd have asked the study that provided those numbers. However, I should have questioned him if oral HSV would put him off so, as it is the same virus.

He pointed out that I am sweating a lot these days. It is an autonomic response, just like oily skin and tremors. He then asked if I shower a lot and he recoiled with an "ew" as if I were a BO factory, which I'm not, when I said I shower once a day. If I smelled bad, I would know it. I don't need to be prescribed more than one show a day, particularly considering I am generally at home. Another case of poor bedside manner.

He told me that I am intelligent and that I am unlike most of the patients they get. He said that's why he wanted to talk with me. He asked me my majors in college and level of education in a 'just how intelligent is she?' kind of way. I was overall skeptical, wondering why he would want to be buttering me up. I don't butter up easily. I am doubtful.

Speaking of buttering up, he asked me twice how I found him. I said I found the office north of me, but they had no openings, so I asked about the office south of me and found an opening in October. After I said this the second time (it was not the only thing he'd asked me twice and I'd wondered if he were senile), he said that I wanted to find the most brilliant, competent doctor and that's why I chose his office. Ohhh, I replied, that I get so caught up in being honest that I forget to go outside the lines and butter people up, but that he was the most brilliant, competent doctor I had ever met and I lucked into finding his office. He beamed.

I think he is a controlling puppet master.

When he dictated into the phone, he said that I had seven years of IVF, which is laughable, but I let it slide. What a toss up! Seven years infertile vs. seven years IVF. Both hell. My version is cheaper.

At the outset, he asked me about wearing make up and taking care of myself, taking time for myself. My face had a PMS break out and it was not attractive, but I wasn't putting on make up to go to the doctor's appointment first thing. Little did I know I would be judged for it. I was judged for my clothes, too, a simple dress shirt (which I had taken off for the blood pressure cuff and I don't think he'd seen) over a black T and jeans. He thought it was down dressing too much, I believe. On the phone he described my clothing as part of his report. Weird.

So he buttered me up and liked me until I told him about the HSV. However, he required that finding a doctor just because of an office opening wasn't good enough explanation for how I found him and he required buttering up.

Again, I'll get the prelim testing done, then I'll get rid of this creepy doctor.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Lovely update, sarcasm warning

Yesterday I forgot to blog that it was my three year blogging anniversary. Yay me!

Yesterday I also went to the neurologist. When I went through my list of ailments, beyond tremors, he asked if I'd been through a bunch of neurologists and I replied that I was a neurological virgin. He was surprised. I learned from that that I guess I should not have been depending on psychiatrists so much.

Prior to going, I figured out two things. One, the seroquel I use to sleep keeps the tremors at bay. They stop the termors as it is kicking in and begin again as it wears off in the morning.

Two, I realized b/c of a pharmaceutical commercial on TV for Abilify that it causes tremors that might be permanent. You can imagine how angry this idea made me. How on earth could something be prescribed that would cause such? Beyond that, how could my psychiatrist who knows I get every side effect known to man give it to me? Further, I was taking it for depression and it is approved for bipolar mania! The exact opposite of what I was. To recap, I took it about two weeks in June then began taking it again for about four weeks in August until the tremor began Sept 4. I am angry about this one.

The neurologist was a kindly old man, sorta. Although I had to wait an hour to see him and I was his first patient of the day, he spent a full hour with me. In some ways, it was good. It some ways, he asked entirely too personal questions and made a huge deal about the HSV. There were times I didn't feel I could defend myself in conversations literally face to face. He's an odd man. Told me, of course, that my EEG equipment was a waste of money. Told me my homework was to provide him information about careful studies about the effectiveness of EEG.

He was oddly irritating and oddly comforting at the same time. He ordered an autonomic nervous system panel, full EEG, MRI, sleep study, and lots of bloodwork. I figure all this will transfer if I change doctors. My sleep study was scheduled for Wednesday, my night off, but they want to do it tonight or tomorrow night. I am not crazy about this, but loser that I am I don't really want to drive an hour to the group party tonight, either.

So that's the recap. He couldn't say anything except the rapidity of my tremors make them non-Parkinsonian. Scratch that one off the list. Add tardive dyskinesia (go read this Wiki entry for some major jollies), meaning that the meds I've taken have messed with my dopamine too much and caused a major tic. Probably permanent. Nice.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


1 bottle of wine, almost opened 2 = nary a buzz for this hardcore bitch but also = no tremors

It can't be Parkinson's!

Or at least that is what I choose to believe until Friday.

I have essential tremor, I believe, which is a nusance, but is not degenerative. Or so I choose to believe.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I am in need of some excitement and productivity. In other words, I am bored.

I keep trying to remember what I used to do to stay busy, but I can't. Instead, I wander around looking to stay occupied somehow. Granted, the mess my house stays, I should have plenty to do, but I want something FUN, of course.

I ramble, also, because the neurologist's appointment is in a week. I did find something that makes me think it might not be Parkinson's at this website:

Essential tremor is common in older people. Essential tremor is rarely present when
the hands are not being used. [This is definitely not my situation. My leg tremor is at rest.] It becomes most apparent when the affected person is trying to do something, like reaching for an object or writing. It is not caused by an underlying disease.

Another common type of tremor is called
familial tremor which, as the name implies,
tend to run in families. [I do not have a family history of tremors, though.]

Both essential and familial tremors may be suppressed by drinking alcohol. This is a
useful fact for making the diagnosis, but alcohol is not a desirable treatment.

So alcohol I will test. It will alleviate some boredom, too!

I remembered at the recent happy hour I hosted that I stopped shaking after I had a few beers, so I was drunk and happy, double smiles. I didn't think of it as a sign, but I will test that sign again this weekend - all in the name of science. J will witness mom getting sloppy with a bottle of wine, or enough to make the tremors stop.

Isn't this a good idea? Buying alcohol is a lot cheaper than buying prescription meds!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This world

My son heard about it on TV while with his father last weekend. A kid was almost abducted less than a mile from our house.

In related news a few weeks ago, a 13yo kid across the street was hit by a routinely trespassing kid as the first defended the possession of his bicycle. He earned a concussion, but kept his bike. My son has explicit instructions to give up the goods instead of risking injury.

J craves playing outside. Our neighborhood has several courts and playgrounds, but he's now restricted to ours. Judging by how much skateboarding is going on nearby, I think others are in the same position.

At least back in our winding, protected court in our almost hidden neighborhood, I fear abductors less than on a larger road which is easier to maneuver. But I could be just fooling myself in this evil world of ours. Goodness knows, I don't need an increasingly paranoid ex.

However, I am so glad that first kid broke free of his abductors.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Marina Point

Sun streaks through morning clouds....

Except it was past noon when I did this painting today, my second painting of the day. It is only about 5"x11" and is on Wallis sanded paper. It only took about 30 minutes, but it works. The teacher liked it and I am finding that is all that really matters. I think she liked it because it is a lot like her demo, which I copied on purpose.

The whole class was pointed in this same direction and I was amazed at the variety.
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Monday, October 08, 2007

First canvas

This is my underpainting from last Monday. I'd intended to do a before and after with this week's addition of color, but I left it there to dry. Alas. Will compare next week.

Tomorrow is my plein air class. She's hoping for fog to do her deomonstration. I feel like I am double dipping when I see her demos, with me there as a pastelist and being outside. I learn so much.

She chose to go to the same place as last week, but I won't be allowed to do a similar painting. It is mostly water and boat views there, stuff so complicated that they don't interest me. I'll need to find a clearing of trees, maybe with a little water.

I haven't blogged lately b/c I haven't had anything interesting to say. Will try to do better. BTW, legs are still shaking. Friday, my psychiatrist said she thinks there are a variety of things that the neurologist will want to rule out. I hope she's right.
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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Three birdhouses

Yesterday was my plein air class. I redeemed myself from the two bad paintings from the week before. In fact, as the instructor came doing rounds, she said she had nothing to critique. All was good, so all was right in the world. In fact, when we did our lunch critique, the tables of ladies all gasped an "oh ahhhh" when mine was pulled out. Good day at the marina!
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Monday, October 01, 2007

Please, no

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. As many as one million Americans suffer from Parkinson's disease. While approximately 15 percent of people with Parkinson's are diagnosed before the age of 50, incidence increases with age. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are many treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage the symptoms. (For more statistics on Parkinson's disease, read our fact sheet, General Facts on Parkinson's Disease).

Parkinson's disease occurs when a group of cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra begin to malfunction and die. These cells in the substantia nigra produce a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that sends information to the parts of the brain that control movement and coordination. When a person has Parkinson's disease, their dopamine-producing cells begin to die and the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases. Messages from the brain telling the body how and when to move are therefore delivered more slowly, leaving a person incapable of initiating and controlling movements in a normal way.

Parkinson's disease can also cause several different symptoms. The specific group of symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms of Parkinson's disease are:

  • tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face

  • rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk

  • bradykinesia or slowness of movement

  • postural instability or impaired balance and coordination


Please let my leg tremors not be this. The tremors began on Labor Day, so it's been a month. One or both legs shake almost constantly. I shake when I am standing still. The only reprieve has been as I awaken. The past three mornings, the tremors didn't begin for half an hour after I got up. I have been doing EEG on myself to help, but I don't know if it has.

I also have clawlike stiffness in my right thumb and forefinger sometimes. I find my balance waning as well. My eye blink is more pronounced sometimes.

Last month during the EEG workshop, they found odd brain patterns, but tried to minimize it. Now I realize these tremors are not just nerves, as the GP claimed. As of yesterday, I have an appointment with a neurologist on Oct 19. On Friday, I will have my regular appt with my psychiatrist. I hope she can be more helpful than at my last visit.

I am scared and worried, but keeping it together, waiting for the official.

I can't help but to wonder... How can I raise a son like this? Who on earth will care for me? I have nobody who fills that need. I have so many questions.

My first thought: I'll never get laid again.


It's raining letters.

I came upon another. The second one, below, was not from March-April 06, don't know when it was delivered. The following one was from that time frame. I don't recall receiving that second one, but I am completely sure the following opus is from last Spring just prior to Spring Break. He'd been with Shancy about two months.

Just imagine what vile character it took to spew these lies and knowingly mislead me. That it was delivered out of the blue without an occasion makes it feel even more deceptive.

My Sweet and Dearest Cricket,

I can't begin to tell you how much I love you. I can't stand to be away from you for more than a few days if that. You mean the world to me and I want you for the rest of my life. The changes that have happened in the last few months only strengthen my resolve to have you. I need and want you every second of every day and when I get to see you it makes my day every time.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder but it makes mine sad and lonely. Makes me yearn and want. Makes my mind wander into your arms so that I can smell you, touch you, make love to you. You are the best lady, thinker, caring person and lover in the world and I am so very lucky to have you in my life. Your sensuality and utter beauty as a person and lover are something very special to me. It is so much more than a roll in the bed. It has touched my heart in a way that I never thought possible.

Thank you for caring about me and loving me as much as I do you. Thank you for putting up with my crap and issues. Thank you for sticking by me. Thank you for being such a wonderful part of my life. Thank you for being you. I have told you things about me that I never thought I would ever tell anyone. I have opened a window to my being to you and that wouldn't happen unless I felt utterly comfortable. You have managed to do that. I don't know how or why, but I feel as if you are a part of my being. My confidante, best friend, beautiful and wonderful lover, sweetheart...

I am not very good as being this sappy and emotional, but I miss and need you. I love you and always will. You have touched my heart. You have touched my soul. I think that we are ... together, beautiful. I was meant to be on your arm as much as you were meant to be on mine. Either way we do look great together. You feel right both in in my mind and in my heart. I absolutely adore you my love.

All of Me for You,

Pshew. He sure could lay it on there thick.

Wonder if he wrote one to Shancy that day, too. About their bright future together, of course.

Turns out, we were broken up in just over two months and they were married in about six. Their first anniversary is Sunday. Great timing on this old crap to surface again.