Monday, March 23, 2009

Behind These Prison Bars

No, I'm not really locked up in prison, I've never done anything that bad, but some days it feels like I live in a prison just the same.

My list of health problems keeps growing longer, thanks largely to the fact that I'm on steroids for my asthma, and it keeps getting harder and harder to manage. Here's the current list:

Severe, chronic asthma
Chronic Depression
Chronic Back pain
GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
High Blood Pressure
History of borderline Hypo-Glycemia
Severe Food and Environmental Allergies
Accelerated Heart Rate
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Sleep apnea
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Kidney issues (I don’t have a name for it)

Treating all of these issues takes a three pronged approach. Medication, diet, and exercise. Sometimes I wonder if I get my migraine just from trying to keep it all straight! Each of these approaches has it's own complications as well.

Exercise is the hardest one. Every doctor tells me I need to get regular exercise, but can you imagine how hard that is when your regularly struggling to breath, have a severe migraine, or just plain worn out because your anemic? I was starting to be able to at least go for walks regularly before we went to Phoenix, but my body is taking it's own sweet time recovering from that trip so I haven't been able to get back in that routine yet.

Medication is a daily chore for me. Between all the medications, and the vitamins the doctors have told me I have to take, I end up taking about 30 pills a day. Yes, I said 30, that wasn't a typo. I have two pill boxes, one for morning and for the evening, and I sit down once a week to fill them all up. Usually takes me about half an hour. Often it involves making a note that I'm out of X medicine/vitamin and making plans to go get them.

Taking the medications is a whole other issue. Because of the GERD issues, and because I messed up my stomach with an intestinal parasite at age 17, I have to be very careful how I take my medication. Juice is necessary to help keep me from gaggin on the taste, and I need to have a full stomach. Often, in the mornings, I have to eat some before I take my pills and then eat something after I take them to keep from tasting them for the rest of the morning!

Then we have diet issues. Because of the severity of my asthma I'm not allowed to have any milk. Food allergies rule out another portion of the food world. Low sodium because of my blood pressure. No nitrates (a common meat preservative) because of migraines. No caffiene because of both migrianes and heart rate. I've also been trying to eat a semi-diabetic type diet because of the blood sugar issues (which the steroids exaserbate), but I just found out that's not enough!

Apparently my kidneys are leaking protein. Now, usually, this is related to diabetes, but it can be caused by other factors. My doctor is pretty sure that it's being caused my dependance on steroids. But we can't just stop the steroids because then I'd end up in ER fighting for my life trying to breath!

Here's the rub - the medication that would be best for helping my kidneys is apparently dangerous for people with severe asthma and allergeis. IE - me. So the next step is a visit to my allergist to have me tested to see if I can even think about taking the kidney medication. If I can't, then the only way to treat it might be my diet.

Until I'm on the medication, and probably after as well, this means I get to eat as much like a diabetic as possible. I can't just eat a "kinda" diabetic diet, nope, I need to go hard core. Apparently this will help reduce the stress on my kidneys by lowering the amount of sugars my body is processing and helping to keep my blood pressure lower.

Can you see why I feel like I'm trapped in a prison?

Some days the fight just feels like way to much. But I can't give up.


Anonymous said...

My darling girl, I'm praying for you. * hugs * I love you so much - let me know how I can help, okay?

Angel said...

Hopefully eating the diabetic diet will help with some of the other problems also. I've heard of some food allergies getting better by following that type diet. I do wish you all the best!

Memories for Life said...

Ruthie, I think you're the strongest person I know! You go through all this on a daily basis and still find time to craft and send your well-wishes to all us fellow bloggers :)
I hope they can get you off the steroids soon. My gma had to be on them for asthma as well and they really messed with her. Now she takes the breathing aid in the purple container...can't remember the name right now! But I hope you are feeling well soon :)

TiLT said...

Ahhh!!! See, if that were me, you'd have to add bald to the list b/c I'd be pulling my hair out.
At least the diabetic diet is about as healthy as you can get...I'll try to look for some of my more diabetic friendly recipes to put up for my friday foods :) ... and list sugars & carbs & sodium in the nutrition.

And yup - I'd be ready to blame the migraines on the rest of the list too :)


Splendid Little Stars said...

wow. That is quite a lot to deal with. You are amazing--that you can be so active in blogging and creating, and supporting fellow etsians. Thanks for that.

Patti said...

You certainly are dealing with more than most of us experience in a lifetime and how you do all that you do is beyond me. Hopefully creating your beautiful pieces and writing about it will help a little with that awful trapped feeling,,,that and knowing that there are so many of us thinking about you and sending our love and prayers...

BeadedTail said...

You are certainly dealing with more than your share of ailments but you are an inspiration with how you continue to blog, chat in the forums and create lovely jewelry while dealing with all those issues. I don't know how you do it but you don't complain when a lot of people would whine up a storm. You are a strong woman Ruthie and I admire you greatly!

uniquecommodities said...

Seriously have you considered trying Noni Juice?

Anonymous said...

(((Rosey Posey))), I pray for you too and have much admiration for your strength of character. I suffer from chronic depression, anxiety disorder, and ptsd too but its kicking my ass most of the time. I do what I "have" to and nothing much more.

And, I'm not much fun to be around preferrinto just stay alone rather than bring others down. Meds increased today as a matter of fact.

My one bright spot these past weeks has been the bead design class that I have been taking, ending in 3 weeks.

Otherwise, I am prolly faking it.

You know how much I care for you sweets. You are much too young for all of this.

I hope that the new diet makes all of the difference in the world for you.