Mango, Migraines and POTS

Sorry, this blog post is going to be kind of all over the place so much has happened in the last month! Also sorry for no updates but I have been having a rough month healthwise and have not had much energy at all. Anyway, the above picture is one of the most recent I have of Mango. He is doing so well! He’s growing really big though he is still a lot smaller then most kittens his age would be. He is now eating dry kitten food (Hill’s® Science Diet for Kittens) and has been for a while. He’s such a feisty happy little guy and we are so lucky he survived. Marmalade is buried with another pet cat we lost (well, mom and dad did) back in June, Pumpkin in my parent’s backyard and mom made a beautiful memorial to them. Overall it’s been rough but I take comfort in knowing that he is there with Pumpkin and that he was with me for his last hours and I am doing really well mentally with it.

Physically I am not doing so hot. I have been having symptoms for a while which I thought might be some sort of dysautonomia and it turns out I was right. My family doctor is pretty sure I have POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) which we are now looking further into. I have not been clinically diagnosed by a Cardiologist as I am still waiting to see one but I have been diagnosed with the “poor man’s tilt table test” in both his office and in two different ER’s on 3 different days all of which led them to say it seems to be POTS.

This has led us to talk about a lot of things, including mobility aids such as a wheelchair and other things. I’ve also been diagnosed with severe migraines as well. I have been having issues for a long time with vertigo upon standing or even sitting up  (I have years and years worth of posts about it here), issues with my digestive system including an IBS diagnosis (in my 20s). I have been diagnosed with both chronic idiopathic urticaria and dermatographia. I don’t know exactly when but it was since Eddie and I have been married. Now we are thinking that it might be more along the lines of POTS and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome which makes sense.

Everything seems to be making more sense lately when it comes to my health. Things are starting to fall into place, unfortunately as my health seems to decline a bit. I am now not able to walk very far. I can not walk around a store (sometimes I can get away with it if it’s quick and I use a shopping cart to keep me upright) or go for walks or hikes. Not because my legs don’t work. They work fine. I just get so dizzy and blackout or almost blackout. I have not fallen in a while but only because I know not to put myself into that position, which means doing nothing and going nowhere.

I am back in school and doing well with it and only going up to the city once a week (sometimes twice) but we have been trying to get it to be on days Eddie is off so I have company. Right now the biggest struggle is walking through the campus to class. I haven’t seen my doctor in person in a while because of covid but I might ask about a handicap permit. I am seriously considering what to do because I am missing getting outside. Over the summer we mostly drove the car right down the path to the camp so I wouldn’t have to walk and I crawled up the steps to the pool and got in, once in I was okay. For winter though I am seriously concerned about falls.

I have been put on a medication called propranolol which should help with the POTS symptoms. It’s brought my heart rate down from being about 100 when resting to about 65 and it’s helped steady my blood pressure. I was warned it could make it go too low though so I have been keeping an eye on that. We bought a shower chair because the heat in the shower was making me blackout. By blacking out I mean basically my vision going completely black. I can still hear (though sometimes it seems muffled) and I don’t always actually fall. I try and grab onto something till I feel better and that works around home as my house is not that big and I always have something to grab onto but it’s made outside activities such as walking, hiking, camping, etc impossible to do.

It’s also left me sleeping all night and most of the day. I am getting upwards of 18 hours asleep and it still does not seem to be enough. I fall asleep anytime I sit down and lay even the slightest back. I went from never sleeping during the day to have to take 2 naps a day. I always feel like I have no energy and every single thing I do seems to take double and triple what it should out of me. I still feel like I am getting somewhere though as this time the doctors are actually seeing it. They are witnessing me falling asleep while talking to them, fainting when I stand, etc and now they are taking it seriously. I just hope that covid doesn’t mess with a clinical diagnosis too much.

Not that it matters much, one of the main treatments of POTS is the medication I am already on and also using a wheelchair which I have no insurance for so if I get one it will be out of pocket anyways and will not require a clinical diagnosis or prescription. My doctor suggested a custom one so that I am not doing any more damage to myself and I will also be able to just keep it with me and walk when I can since I should still walk as much as possible. So I guess we will see. I’m not convinced yet.

I’m so over 2020

I know most people are by now, not just me. Things just keep spiraling out of control. I guess I will start with the good news and transition into the bad. We are now on day 16 of no new COVID-19 cases in the province and all cases are resolved, we have no active cases and only 2 people in the hospital recovering. We apparently are doing a good job of social distancing and re-opening the province. The 4 premiers of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, and Newfoundland have made the decision to open our borders to each other as of July 1st. And all but New Brunswick have no cases and New Brunswick seems to have theirs under control and all cases they do have stem from one careless doctor.

That’s good news in a way because it means we can camp, vacation, etc within the four provinces without having to quarantine for 14 days. We all pretty much have the same rules in place so we can have gatherings of up to 10 people who are friends or family without social distancing but it’s suggested that we stay exclusive and don’t visit anyone outside our groups of 10. We can also have groups of up to 50 if social distancing measures are in place. they suggest that it be outdoors and that we wear non-medical masks but they haven’t made it a requirement. In one way that is good. We are currently in the middle of a heatwave that has been about 5 days so far of 20-30°C weather with the humidex in the mid 30 to mid 40°C.

So it is hot and the next two weeks look like much of the same. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick both have shattered a bunch of high-temperature records over the last few days on a number of days and we are on course I think for the hottest June ever in our history. Thankfully my parents have their pool up. I am not sure if we are even going to get the other one up here because there is an issue with the pump. So we might just use theirs. They are about 15-20 minutes away and the pool is 24ft long by 12ft wide so it’s huge and it’s 52 inches deep and we can go in it whenever even if they are not home.

I feel over the last few days as if I am melting. The humidity is absolutely insane and we get humidity a lot here so I am used to it but this is like days on end of 100% humidity and nights too. On top of all that my parents’ cat Pumpkin went missing on Sunday. They looked for him for all day Sunday and all day Monday and we did when we were over too. On Tuesday night we went looking again and I found him at the side of the road. I don’t know what made me look there cause he never went near the road but I was walking with my brother and he pointed out some rags and I knew instantly that it was him.

I sent my brother to get my dad or husband and Eddie came back and we buried him in the back yard. I had a rough day yesterday and pretty much cried all day over it. He was one of the best cats. Such a sweet little thing. Before anyone says anything about him being outside. He was a stray. He had been outside most of his life when my parents took him (he was given to them to be a barn cat essentially) and he was an outside cat. They always gave him the option of coming in and tried to keep him in but other than cold nights in the winter he just would not stay in. He found ways to get out every time they tried.

Today I am doing a bit better and concentrating on school work (taking a break to write this) and then tonight I am going to write some content maybe for The Great Canadian Housewife if I have the energy as I have neglected that a little as well due to things going on. I am just trying to keep my mind off it. I had a phone appointment with my psychologist yesterday and we talked it over and she said I am dealing well with it and I feel I am, at the moment. Just mostly snuggling with Max and with my hubby when he’s not at work and watching some shows. We watched Unorthodox together over the last 2-3 days and we also watched all of Season’s 3 and 4 of Queer Eye: More than a Makeover as he had not seen those two seasons yet and I want to watch 5 and he had previously watched 1 and 2 with me and wanted to watch 5 as well.

Other then that I got an email yesterday from Athabasca University saying I was overdue on my tuition and that I would be suspended if I did not pay it by this coming Tuesday. The thing is student loans sent them the money directly almost a month ago on May 27th, 2020 and of course, neither Athabasca is not taking calls right now due to COVID-19 and have a wait time of 2-3 weeks on replying to you from pretty much any department (which is ridiculous when you have a question for your academic advisor!) and as far as NSLSC is concerned they sent it and the school got it, so now the school is going to suspend me likely for their own mistake if someone does not read my email in time.

Needless to say, I am not happy. I have tried everything. I have emailed my academic advisor, the student center, the finance department, the BsCIS (Bachelor of Computer and Information Systems) department and so hopefully someone will get it before Tuesday. So in the meantime, I am just continuing with the school as long as I have access and then whenever they do get to it I am going to complain my ass off till they do something about it. I might have to call student loans back and also see if there is some governing body I can call as well. I am sure there is. Just no idea who.

So not impressed with 2020… I’m over it.

I Want To Be Hopefull

covid, covid-2019, covid-19

This is going to be another all over the place post and it’s a bit lengthy because once I start sometimes I can’t stop. I think at this point my mind has just decided that it’s shutting down partially to protect me from the emotional side of things. I am doing okay, happy even, sometimes really happy but at the same time, I am really struggling at the same time. I honestly don’t know how to process these past 5 months. To say they have been a mix of the best and the worst of times would be an understatement and COVID-19 is just a small part of it for me (for us). And yet, I am okay. I just need to process things in my own time and just not let the emotions bottle up, which I have not been doing, maybe a bit on this blog but not really.

On Friday the Nova Scotia government announced loosening up on some of the restrictions in place. It seems to me that they are taking it really slow and watching to see how it goes, which I think is a good thing, the whole learn from other’s mistakes and all that. Previously they had re-opened the provincial and municipal trails but that was pretty much it. That was more than a few weeks ago I believe, to be completely honest time seems to be both standing still and racing forward and the weeks seem to bleed into one another at the moment.

Starting yesterday they are allowing two households to join up (two household “bubbles” is the term, I am not sure if this is a Canadianism or not) to hang out at one house or the other without social distancing providing that they are mutually exclusive and do not join up with more than one household. There are still fines for violating social distancing in place and will be for a while I’m sure. It seems multiple provinces are doing this now. Which is good. I think. Honestly, I don’t know anymore.

Overall, I feel as if both Edward and I have been handling the whole COVID-19 situation okay considering, It’s everything else that we haven’t been handling well. This has been 5 months of pure hell for everyone I know, for everyone who lives in my province or has any connection with it and some of that hell is a little personal. I had some major issues with depression and anxiety even before this hit with COVID-19. It’s no wonder though. It started with the car accident in October and spiraled from there. If you had asked me at the end of 2019 if I thought 2020 could be any worse than the end of 2019 I would have said no. And I would have been so so wrong. Yet, there have been some really great times thrown in there as well. Some real breakthroughs for me as well.

This was taken last year when we were camping on my parent’s property.

I am looking forward to going to the beach. I don’t even have to worry about crowds as we have beachfront property access on the St Mary’s Bay. This is something I am looking forward to, it keeps me going, keeps us going, keeps us all going. I have never gone swimming there (not on that side but I have on the side of Digby Neck), just gone walking when the tide was out in the wet sand. It was one thing I really enjoyed about last summer and I am looking forward to it again. We can camp, we can swim, wade, walk, and beachcomb. I have never loved Nova Scotia more then I do right now and I have loved it here since day one. I will love it to my very last breath I imagine.

My parents seem to be dealing with everything for the most part as well. It’s been hard for everyone, my brother especially. My mom is in good spirits and was keeping herself busy knitting and with crafts and DIY projects. My dad has had a harder time, mostly because of pain and weakness from a herniated disk and pinched nerve in his back. He is awaiting surgery for it. No telling when that will happen, but he has been gardening when he can, cleaning up down at the beach and camp (about a 1km walk from the house through woods behind the backyard) and just generally switching between puttering around and trying to stay active and sleeping and resting when he needs too. Other than that it’s hard to tell with him. He keeps things to himself, always has. He’s loving and caring, but just likes his privacy and doesn’t complain much.

They were both excited to see me yesterday and today. Mom and I bought a Cricut Explore Air 2 yesterday and we played around with it a bit yesterday and today. We did the above glass as a test just to see what we could do with it, my parents are renewing their vows next year down at the beach and my cousin who owns the property is planning it (she lives in Connecticut) and mom and I are going to make her dress and all the decorations. We did everything for our wedding as well. I absolutely love the Cricut. There is so much you can do with it!

That’s been our weekend mostly. I felt bad for Edward because he worked both days, he’s off tomorrow though, it’s Victoria Day, a holiday in most provinces. He’s also off Thursday and then this coming Saturday as well. We are going to spend some time with mom and dad and my brother tomorrow and on Saturday we were planning on going to a local trail for a hike as it’s something we can actually do now, all day-use provincial parks are open so long as we still distance when we come into contact with anyone. It’s one we’ve never been to before called Mickey Hill Provincial Park and it’s less than 10 minutes away and it opened for the season yesterday at 8 a.m.

We need to get out after everything going on so far this year. It’s been a bad one, not just COVID-19 but more everything else that’s been going on as I mentioned above. It’s been a devastating year for us, for all of us. I don’t think there is one person that I know that has not been affected by the events since Jan 1st. In January our dentist was killed when her plane was shot down outside Tehran in Iran. Nova Scotia, more specifically Halifax lost a number of people in that incident, mostly professionals and students.

Then after that the events in April with the mass murder in Portapique in which someone with ties to our family was killed as well as 22 other people (I did not know them personally but honestly it was so horrible that everyone is dealing with it) and then the military helicopter crash off of Greece that killed 6 all of which most had a tie to Nova Scotia, some were from here. May 6th and the days and week’s following were devastating again as a 3-year-old from Truro went missing and has not been found and then today, we’ve had another tragedy for the province. One of the Canadian Snowbirds (an aerobatics team) planes crashed during their country-wide tour in support of the victims of the previous 2 incidents I mentioned. It crashed near Kamloops, BC, and one of the pilots was a Nova Scotian from Halifax. It’s just been non-stop.

So, yeah, basically I am done with the first half of 2020. I know it’s not technically till the end of June, but I am done with it now. I am ready to move on and make the rest of the year more positive, find the positives in as much as possible. I am not worried about this as I know I’ve got this, but it’s hard all the same. I just feel like the rug has been pulled out from under my feet and I am falling and falling. I know I am not the only one though and that keeps me going. I know my family and friends and strangers are suffering just as much as I am. COVID-19 is just an added insult to the misery that has been 2020 so far.

And that is why I need to keep looking on the bright side, wherever that is… not really finding it right now sitting here with tears streaming down my face as I think of all this while my husband sleeps on the couch at 1:30 a.m. but whatever, it is what it is. He’s always here for me and me him so I am not worried about that either. We are solid and that brings me some relief. I should really wake him up though and go to bed.