Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stress regardless of season

Thank you so much for each and every comment.

My gyn/thyroid doctor had changed me to Armour in April. As always, she started low and titrated upward. It is a slow process and I want it to be slow, seeings how I've had two thyroxine overdoses already. So she raised me from 75ug to 90 on Friday. Maybe it'll work, may it'll need more.

It takes a lot of energy and mindfulness to keep track and figure out which is causing what symptom. It can make one a little paranoid about symptoms, which in itself might be a side effect due to either too little thyroxine (ie depression and anxiety) or to too much thyroxine (ie mania.)

Like Bridge said, it's nice if you can err on the side of too much thyroxine. I lost 30lbs that first year and sure could use the boost again, although the heightened anxiety is causes does not feel good. I don't like second guessing everything I say, even as I am bursting at the seams to say it!

As a side, I've had a presumably related scalp issue since August, although it's not the first time I've had it. It is broken out, kind of acne-like, but also very dry and crusty; it's painful and one is compelled to scratch it. The bumps are also along all of my hairline, but especially in the back and behind my ears. It is visible. I've read boards where many people describe this very thing and have no cause or cure. I've been wondering if it's thyroid-related, so we'll see.

In related fashion concerning confounding dosages, I am taking it slowly on the Concerta prescribed by my psychiatrist Friday; it is essentially Ritalin. I plan to begin it in a few weeks, because I don't want the change to be confounded by the change in my thyroid med, too.

I felt somewhat better on Friday than Thursday, but then I started spotting on Saturday and I figured Thursday may have been to a progesterone drop, something to which I am very sensitive. The thing is that I'd had my period (they're very light since I came off bcps and they only last 2-3 days with only 24 or so in between) just the Saturday before, so it never occurred to me that my crash might be progesterone-related.

Add peri-menopause or, I guess, menopause to the mix.

The show/demonstration thing on Saturday went well. It was fun meeting people. One lady is a lab person like me. She wants to paint, buys the supplies, mat cutters, etc to paint, then doesn't. She even had a topic in mind she wanted to paint, inquired at a gallery if they had one on this topic and they did, so she bought it instead of painting. She gave me a card in case I ever need a job, which I am glad of, with ex returning from Iraq in a month to no job. I worked for two years for the very company she began with this year as a project manager.

This lady has perfectionist's disease. She needs to just get dirty with abandon; classes would be good for her. When you realize that every painting doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it is liberating. Then, you discover that everybody has different tastes and your opinion of a painting doesn't matter if it speaks to someone else; it can be a masterpiece to them.

I've had a hard time producing art effectively lately. Either I had a chatty security guard (one session) or bad paper (four sessions) and it's gotten me down. I also post on an arts community for feedback sometimes. I try to put their advice into play sometimes and it is counter-intuitive. I wreck a piece with studio work, something that was perfectly plein air, meaning it was fresh, spontaneous, and perhaps a little bit fuzzy or stylized from being done on site with a moving sun.

Although I need to take critique, I need to maybe not respond to it. Anyway, I ruined two paintings that way, but finished two others despite that. I guess I'm 50-50 lately in responding to suggestions.

The thing that put me over last week was being criticized for my framing. I'd brought two pieces to a meeting as part of a show and tell. This woman blurted out how pastels should be framed with a spacer next time I do it - as if I were an inexperienced idiot framer. I replied that all of my stuff is professionally framed and she blurted out, "A professional did that?!" I was mortified. She said she saw no space between the mat and the painting. I said I saw a small space. A space is put there so that errant pastel crumbles will fall away and be hidden, in particular, that they not fall down the front of the mat and soil it.

Anyway, this was occurring in front of over a dozen people. She's president of a different art society and she's seen as an authority figure. And now I feared being seen as a hacker with a cheap framer. I didn't mouth off about my framer's credentials, but he does all the pastels in the area, to include my old teacher, who is nationally recognized and even won a show this summer.

I am at a loss what to do, except bring another piece next month and firmly/nonchalantly say what my framer pointed out, b/c I went by to see him on Friday afternoon. Some pastels he frames like she says, with a spacer (often just another piece of mat board) between the matting and the painting. One thing he does not like about this is that the paper isn't secured by the mat and waffling occurs. The way he framed mine is called a reverse cut and it accounts for the small gap I saw. If the mat's bevel faces inward, it catches stray pastel and funnels it behind the mat. It also serves the purpose to be in contact with the painting and prevent it from waffling. He might have done mine that way because mine are quite burnished (I press the pastel into the sanded paper, so it isn't mobile) and behave.

I am finding that through another society it is a kiss of death to be considered amateur. This happening with this society was a surprise and I was very upset. I always figured my work would speak for itself, but I don't want to be chopped off at the knees over something stupid. That night, she quashed the mood and I only got one comment on each piece. I didn't feel that they were allowed to speak for themselves.

I really hate when artists are left brained and, it seems that in a right brained undertaking, there are an awful lot of left brained people. I'm right brained, but when taxed I swing into left brain overload.

Okay, if you're still with me, we have some really good news. J is finally getting his braces off in a month. Believe it or not, it's been 18 months since they were put on. I think they'll be off a week before his father gets home. I'm trying to change J's teeth cleaning appt to be in the days between the braces come off and when his dad gets home, just in case insurance changes really quickly.

Strange to think of ex potentially being unemployed soon. Hoo boy, does that impact me. I could well be bankrupt in two months.

So how was this peek into my stressors? I can't blame myself for reacting.


Aunt Becky said...

Titrating the right dosage for your thyroid meds just sucks (as you well know). I feel for you on that one. Having to wait 6 weeks between dosage increases makes me insane. Hope that you get the right dosage soon.

Cricket said...

I'm mostly suffering from cold feet and a yucky head. At least today I don't want to cry.

Isn't amazing how common this is?

Cricket said...

Oh yeah, the good news is that my cholesterol is only 184 now. And when I had my bloodwork done a month ago, my TSH was 1. I've had major shifts from .05 to 5 in the last year. I don't think the thyroxine matters, to be honest.

laura b. said...

You do have stressful things going on right now! I guess the important thing to keep in mind is that it will pass and at least some of it will be resolved. You will find the right meds at the right dosages. You and/or your ex will find work. And weird bossy critical artists will get theirs someday too...

Brigitte Ballard said...


I talked to my cousin who is a nurse today because I keep forgetting things. /grrrr She told me it was from lack of meds. This is right after my Doc had told me I was on too much meds. /hmmmm Will it ever end?

I really hope the stress gets less in your life. Last thing you need is stress. Last thing ANY of us needs is stress.

Churlita said...

Do you think you were ovulating? The older I get, the more hormone changes I've noticed with ovulation. I have to be really aware, so I notice that I'm getting all wigged-out and it's hormones and it will go away in a day or two. Ugh.

Cricket said...

Churlita, with so many confounding factors, it's hard to say, but I do believe last week was hormonal for sure. As far as ovulation occurring only one week after my period, that would definitely be my pattern.

Bridge, sometimes a thyroxine overdose can be paradoxical. Last year, I gained 15 lbs after losing 30 the year before. She'd changed the type of thyroxine and I pushed the dosage upwards so I could lose more weight. Instead I gained. It's more magic than science for sure. Being fuzzy brained is on reason she raised my dosage this time, though.

Val said...

Well you've heard of MY nightmare on Armour thyroid... It's damnedably hard to titrate a consistent dose.
I wish she would switch you over to low-dose Synthroid. At least you know what you're getting there!
[& since I voluntarily cut back on MY Synthroid a little bit, I've lost 10 lbs - go figure!)

Cricket said...

I think I was on Synthroid that first year. Then It was Levoxyl the second year. Now it's Armour the third.

Each time I switched, it was for good reason, but I never could narrow in on the proper dosage. On some I was too jittery, on another my TSH bottomed out.

In the last year, my TSH has gone from .05 to 5.0 to 1.0 - it's ridiculous!

Donna said...

Boy, do I hear you on the magic vs. science question, the day they figure out endometriosis we can all stop guessing and hoping. It's always the question, do the symptoms cause the stress or does the stress cause the symptoms? Chickens and eggs. I wish your art could just be art for art's sake and not a business but I understand the world doesn't work that way. It is so subjective, it should be illegal for anyone to voice their opinion.

NoRegrets said...

whew, that was overwhelming just to read. can't imagine living it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you really need to be reading the stop the thyroid madness site and teaching your doctor about how to dose with Armour. (google stop the thyroid madness.) It says that raises should be every week or two, not every six weeks. In fact, that site says a LOT based on patient experience and is a good one. Read the page called Things We Have Learned. I have the book and its even better. Sorry about being Anonymous--I need to create a Google identity. ha