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I was just out hanging washing on the line and Abby was madly scrabbling at the small garden shed. Thinking we may have a Spring influx of vermin in the shed I opened it for her. She played in the boxes and was having a fun time (no vermin) when Little Miss decided to look in and see what all of the fuss was about….

Abby smartly stepped outside, nosed the door shut and pranced away with her tail in the air! The little minx. I let Little Miss out and she gave me the most heartrending look as if this was all of MY fault ….

 

Updated:  1:30am and I remember that I didn’t put the freshly washed clothes away ….

Abby

18 Nov 2013

Oooooh my!! Today is THE DAY!! I have also received a lovely package from Kay Jones!! I presume some of these gorgeous bits were collected on her recent holiday! TWO pairs of gorgeous earrings – I don’t mine which pair to wear first!!! A beautiful bookmark and a key ring big enough and shiny enough that I’ll stop losing my house keys!! Thank you thank you thank you Kay for thinking of me!!

PS the chocolate was yummy.

 

Kay

Kay

Dramatic sleeping!

Little Miss

13 Nov 2013

Took the Little Bruiser to the vets this morning as she still had not cleaned up this eye and was having some problems jumping up and down.

The vets gave her a thorough examination, and put some dye in her eye. The claw missed her actual eyeball. There’s no damage there whatsoever. However she was given an antibiotic shot to prevent any abscesses forming near the eye.

She was also given a shot of metacam. Abby was very very good at hiding which ligament she strained, but being kept warm, inside and the anti-inflammatory should repair any strains over the next few days.

Abby

12 Nov 2013

Last weekend Julie & her hubby Ian took me out to Ingrid’s Haven; a cat no-kill rescue run by surprisingly enough a woman named Ingrid and her many minions, I mean volunteers, and housing over 200 cats.

I went specifically to look at two cats that I could give a good home to. Moshie has only one eye and has been at the Haven for most of her 5 years of life, always being passed over. Jane was relatively new to the Haven but was highly traumatized, also had only one eye and a broken jaw that had reset badly.  Both these cats needed a little extra attention which I felt in my current arrangement of being home in a quiet environment 24/7 I could offer.  Otherwise if my home wasn’t suitable for either of these, I could perhaps rescue a senior cat who is used to a quiet home and just wants a comfy lap and some company for the remainder of their days.

SO off we went. We took an age to find the place.  I think there has to be a happy middle ground somewhere between not wanting to advertise for fear of attracting those who want to dump their animals, and signposts somewhere, anywhere, for those who are legitimately coming to visit for the intent of adopting.  If I didn’t have my heart set on the two I did, we would have given up and gone to another shelter.  It took four phone calls to find the entrance of the place from the main road.

Once there, we found Moshie easily enough, and I could get her to talk to me. I was happy enough that this would work.  We went off to find Jane anyway.  Coming close to Jane was impossible. She was highly traumatized and easily bullied by the other cats.  Although it tore my heart out, I couldn’t bring Jane home with me, as Abby would bully her. Abby will bully if the other cat doesn’t stand its ground.

So it was back to Moshie.  I spent nearly two hours in the enclosure with Moshie. Unfortunately, the more comfortable she became with me, the more some really bad traits started to emerge.  She scratched me and dug claws into me to get attention. That could be worked on, that’s something I’ve dealt with before.  But she also started to violently attack any other cat that came near me.  This was the opposite extreme.  I talked it over with Julie and we both came to the conclusion that I could not bring Moshie home to Abby. Moshie would attack Abby and drive her away.

So with much disappointment in my heart, Julie and I walked amongst the other enclosures, starting with the senior cats.  There were so many cats, it was quite late in the afternoon and I had run out of capacity to judge this cat versus that cat.

We were heading back to the car with a discussion of coming back the following weekend when we stopped at one final enclosure.  Julie had spied a gorgeous juvenile cat with light tortoiseshell markings and had to say hello.  And that was when I saw her.

I saw her. She meowed at me. Heart lost. Decision made. I knew nothing about her, I had made no judgements, I just knew in my heart that she was coming home with us.

Meet Little Miss.  Official Name: Miss Appropriate.

Scottish Fold

Yes she is a Scottish Fold

So then we find out that she is new to the Haven. So new she hasn’t quite served out her 10 day mandatory waiting period yet.  So I discussed it with Julie and Ian and a second trip was planned to collect her.

On the way home we discussed many names, even plundering Google for Gaelic terms and finally decided on Miss Appropriate.  She misappropriated my heart.  She’s only seven months old, she’s as cute as can be, she wouldn’t have problems getting adopted. She was not what I went out to the shelter with all of my good intentions looking for. But she stole my heart with one look.  The same happened with Abby.  The same happened with Trouble. So I took it as a sign and she is here.

Little Miss (known as Lassie at the Haven – I was not going to call a cat Lassie!) seems to be settling in here with the most remarkable of ease.  I’ve already rung Julie once with “I’m the worst cat-mum in the world” and been calmed down.  But honestly, she is fabulous and already a lap cat.

Lap Cat

Lap Cat

Abby tried pushing her a little but Little Miss stood her ground.  She’s not attacked Abby as far as I know.  There’s been a little bristled fur when one comes upon the other unexpectedly, but it is still in the first couple of days!

Already the cats seem to be separating the house into your part and my part.  Abby has ceded the lounge to Little Miss, but Miss doesn’t come into the bedroom.  Abby has the cat tree but Miss sleeps on the dining room chairs.

Miss has already had one litter of kittens, she still has the sutures from surgery. She had no clue what curtains were, or cat toys.  So she’s slowly learning to play. She loves the cat tunnels as does Abby so I’m really hoping the two of them will play together at some point.

Fingers crossed.  She’s made so many strides in just a few days.

Dignified

Dignified

 

Oh as for the little pale tortoiseshell that Julie fell for?  Ian was very firm with their “two laps means two cats” policy. So I suspect their two existing cats are on notice to pull up their socks 🙂

I saw the new neurologist yesterday.  I found him  to be kind, quite helpful and very down-to-earth.  Everything my previous neurologists weren’t!

Unfortunately after a couple of hours of intensive examination of my medical history, my family history, my work history, what happened when the migraine started, all the drug and other trials I have been on since, looking at all the MRIs and CT scans of the blob in the head and a thorough physical examination of neurological responses, he came to the same conclusion as the other neurologists.

I have all the classic symptoms of Chronic Daily Headaches stemming from a Migraine (some fancy name meaning out-of-the-blue).

He feels the cyst on my pituitary gland, while quite a large size for what it is, is not the cause of the migraine.  He says that the only reason it would be is if it had swollen suddenly as if a hemorrhage.  We can tell that didn’t happen as a hemorrhage would have slowly leaked away, and the MRI one year after showed it to be the same size.  He has ordered another one this year, just to keep an eye on it.

CDH typically occurs through medicine overuse.  That is, the sufferer has a history of bad headaches or migraines and though the years these migraines become more and more frequent. The sufferer deals with this by taking more and stronger drugs until eventually this cycle tailspins into CDH.  The way to deal with this is via a few well known treatments to break the cycle.

I’m one of the few of the other type of CDH.  Where my migraines had not become more frequent over time and I did not treat them with drugs.  With my allergy to codeine, most of the time when a migraine hit, I slept them off in a cold dark room.  Neurologists do not know why this sort of migraine suddenly flips into CDH.  As they do not know why, they cannot adequately treat it.  There are a number of treatments that do work for a percentage of us, but I have already tried all of the available treatments without success.

With current known medical theory, my migraine is here to stay for the rest of my life.

He said the main course of progress now that he recommend is a Chronic Pain Management program. He said there is one at the hospital he is attached to that has a number of psychiatrists, psychologists and remedial physiotherapists attached, but I don’t need that as I am already seeing one of the best psychs in Melbourne and she is already leading me through CPM via Mindfulness and Buddhist acceptance techniques.

He was very straight-forward when delivering all of this news, but he was also extremely kind.  He was aware this was not the news I wanted to hear even if I didn’t say as much.

He also informed me that it appeared I wasn’t quite ready to fully embrace the acceptance part of my therapy yet. That I was still looking to clutch at straws any straws.  There was one neurologist in Melbourne who studied in the US and she has a different take on headaches. He highly doubts she can me, as her research is not in my type of headache, but he can give me a reference to her and I can see her as a last resort.  So I can satisfy my mind, that I have indeed run down all possible medical options.  He was at pains to point out that was more for my psychological benefit to help towards my acceptance path than because he felt it would help me medically.  Rather he felt I could help the specialist by furnishing her more data in this area that she is not skilled in.

He is sending out a reference for her in the mail and I am to decide whether or not to use it.    He also said that if I chose not to use it, or after I finish with her, come back to see him and we will start a regime of reducing the number and dosage of drugs I am on. At this point all they are doing is taking the edge off the migraine and so allowing me to actually leave the house for appointments etc.  They are not stopping the pain.  So he wants to reduce the dosages and types of drugs in the cocktail until we maintain that edge but hopefully clear up some of the side effects such as brain fog.

Given my history of hating to take drugs of any kind for most of my life, I am quite susceptible to side effects, so reducing these is the one thing he can do to help.

As most of you know I have been very very quiet around here and on my groups for about four months now.  I hit depression big time on my birthday and have been seeing a psychologist about it on a regular basis since.  I’ve also been finally coming to grips with some long-term and new shorter term health issues, living in a transient state etc etc.

I finally decided that getting better, or even dealing with all of this is for me a “Snakes & Ladders” game.  Most of the time I’m just plodding along taking things day by day and overall I am making some psychological progress in Melbourne.  Some days go great and I start prematurely perusing the job listings and others go horribly and I slither all the way back to the starting point of crying my eyes out for hours and thinking there is no way out. As you do.

This is a learning curve. I finally (finally! I hear some of you scream) figured out that it’s not helpful to shut myself off from my support network while I’m going through this process. Yes, slap me across the back of the head, I deserve it 🙂

Actually don’t, even thinking about that makes my head thump more. {sigh}  Anyway … here’s to chatting with you all again.

I’ll still be climbing ladders and slithering down snakes for a while but that’s just the way it is.

So I’ve  been talking to my psychologist for a few weeks now.  This is my second psychologist, the first was quite a good psychologist, but the second is a better psychologist *for me*.  I don’t feel defensive around her, or feel judged or even overly critical of myself.  Her office seems a welcoming, calming place *to me*.

Amongst other issues, we’ve discussed High Anxiety. Anxiety issues are not just when you have the stereotypical panic attacks you see in the movies. This surprised me.  The fact I might have anxiety issues at all completely blind sided me, but now that ‘ve expanded my thinking I can understand (and yes those of you that know me are smiling knowingly).  Apparently the linguistic issues and memory issues I’ve been having can be indicative of anxiety as well as neurology.  So she wants work on the anxiety issues for a while before I see a second neurologist.

We’ve been discussing my history, core values, relationships, self-identity, individual circumstances vs stereotyped/societal expectations etc and a lot of this has my brain in a whirl.  Intellectually I am stimulated and emotionally I am calmer because I have something to work on instead of the endless waiting

Something I have been stressing over a lot but couldn’t articulate has finally resolved into words this morning so I thought I’d better type it out while I have it together in my head.

As many of you know, I’ve stopped talking to my friends. I’ve pulled away from any deep and meaningful conversation for months now. I have been feeling as lonely as any being on the planet but I couldn’t reach out.  If that isn’t a depression/anxiety double whammy I don’t know what is 🙂  What I’ve finally figured out is why the anxiety.

I initially wrote a long background piece here, but in retrospect I don’t think the whys and wherefores are needed.  I think the facts are fine on their own without justification.

For the past ten years or more, I’ve prided myself on being approachable, friendly, good for a laugh, good at cheering up other people, someone good to talk to when you’re feeling a bit down. If I couldn’t respond in a way that left the other person feeling reassured then I felt I failed. I’ve been finding it harder and harder to be that person. I felt you deserved more than I could give. So then rather than face the issue, that I wasn’t that person for now, I avoided it.  I avoided you. I avoided all of you.

I AM SORRY!

My birthday day this year was pretty horrible.  As was last year’s. This year I spent nights before dreaming of Trubs and Tiger dying in my arms over and over every time I went to sleep. All day for days before my birthday, if I closed my eyes I could hear Tiger’s death rattle in my ears as clear and sharp as when it happened.

I hadn’t spelt properly for days. I was and am still exhausted from weeks of unrelenting diarrhoea. The migraine was soaring because it was the peak of my cycle and I doubt the pills are fully effective with my current digestive situation.

Stephen took the day of my birthday off and was planning to take me to the Zoo as my present. Both of our physical conditions and financial situations on the day nixed that idea, so we stayed home to watch movies. Then the neighbour across the road (road being a busy four lane highway) who appears to have received a drum kit for a recent birthday decided to hold band practice at his house for the entire day.

The day just got progressively worse and worse until I was sitting like a statue in my chair unable to move my head at all to nod or shake in answer to questions because the pain was that bad, tears streaming down my face. Not able to escape the noise. Not able to do anything but endure it.

Early that evening I laid in my bed wishing I could just stop my heart from beating.  If I had pills that I could overdose on I would have taken them. I thought of walking down to the train tracks, and the *only* thing stopping me was I was absolutely petrified that I would get it wrong and simply mangle myself rather than dying outright.

I spent hours wondering why I was fighting, why I was continuing to breathe, and I couldn’t come up with a single reason. Not one.

I tried opening a few presents – I’ve been showered with presents from my friends this years – but when looking at the presents I felt …. nothing. Nothing good, nothing bad, nothing. That wasn’t fair to my friends. So I packed up all the gifts into a bag and put it away until I felt happy again. Then I could open the presents and squee and thank them profusely and all the things I normally do.  Only its been two weeks now and I’ve not felt happy or joyous or even normal.

I’m not totally stupid, I rang my GP the next morning for an appointment.  He referred me to a psychologist.  She has had me on an anti-depressant for about a week now. It seems to be helping. I’m coping better with small setbacks now, they are no longer the end of the world as they had been recently. Unfortunately I’m still not finding a reason a reason to live, other than habit. I have no purpose or use. Everything is so freaking hard and hurts too much. It’s too much of a struggle most days just to “appear” normal that there’s nothing left over for anything else.

I was reading an article of self-respect the other day and this paragraph leapt out at me:

Every encounter demands too much, tears the nerves, drains the will, and the spectre of something as small as an unanswered letter arouses such disproportionate guilt that answering it becomes out of the question. To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves — there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect.

Joan Didion on Self-Respect via Brain Pickings 21 May 2012.

Well I don’t know about self-respect, but I’ve certainly keenly felt a loss of identity over the last few months. I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t have any purpose to my life.  “Getting better” is such a selfish self-centred quest and yet I have nothing left over to give anyone else. So I am mired in my guilt that I cannot be who I think, I feel, I believe others want me to be.

So I don’t answer emails. I don’t pick up the phone. I feel desperately lonely but I don;t reach out. And above everything else is the all-consuming guilt So every morning I think “Today I’ll write those emails”, “today I’ll write out those cards”,”today I’ll pick up the phone” but then today is full of migraine pain, or diarrhoea or appointments or noise or all of these things so I don’t and the guilt grows.  And I just want to pick myself and shake myself and say “what is wrong with you? you didn’t used to be like this?” and I hate myself just that little bit more.

So I’m writing this long blog post in hopes that other people will understand.  But I’m afraid that no one wants to understand. They just want the old me back. I want the old me back. And I’m just so very very scared that she isn’t coming back and this is here to stay.

 

 

 

 

I have an enormous amount of head pain today. So everything is being done … gingerly. One of my neurological drugs has been “retired” and taken off the market. Unfortunately the whole family of ergot-based drugs has been “retired” so there’s nothing to replace it with.

It’s also one of those “don’t stop taking this drug suddenly” ones and well, we didn’t realise it was more than a temporary production glitch until yesterday – the day I ran out.

So things shall be quiet for a few days – not that anyone will notice the difference 🙂

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