Again, again, again, it's far too long since I last blogged, and again I apologise. I've been wanting to blog since shortly after my last post, but there was something stopping me ... something I couldn't quite put in to words. I've been thinking about this over the past few days as again I've had itchy fingers for blogging without actually putting fingers to keyboard. It should have been obvious to me what this was about, but for some reason it wasn't until now.
Some of you will be aware that a couple of months back I had some trolls on my blog, and as much as I hate to admit it they got to me. Coupled with the depression I've been battling even without the trolls, I've felt uneasy about sharing myself with the ether as I've previously done, but I've come to the conclusion that I can't let them win. They are bullies and I can't let bullies win. I can't even let them hurt me because they're not worth it - they're not worth that power. So today I'm writing my blog.
Last time I wrote I said that things were improving in respect to the depression, and it's true that I'm not in the same place of crisis that I was earlier in the year, but over the past couple of weeks I've realised who unstable that improvement is. It's not that I'm suicidal again (as I was earlier in the year), but I do still struggle. Considerably. A couple of things have happened in recent weeks that have shaken the weak foundations I was trying to build myself on, and consequently I've fallen. I've seen my psychologist and again spent the session in tears, after a few sessions when I felt as though I could get my thoughts and feelings out without tears coming with them. I'd got to a level where S thought that we should try making the sessions fortnightly instead of weekly, and I thought this might be manageable. We tried it, and it was okay for a short time, but then at the end of last week's session S suggested she see me again this week because of my downward slip. I was pleased to accept the increased frequency, even if it's only for a short time. I know that for now I need that extra bit of support, but I don't like to suggest it myself because I know too that S's time is limited and in demand.
One of the things that's happened recently is that I've had yet another diagnosis added to my list. I've been feeling unwell in a different way for a while so I went to my GP with some suspicions of the cause of the unwellness. I thought I was developing diabetes, which is a common side effect corticosteroids, especially when you've been on them for a long time like I have. I went through my symptoms with my GP, and as I had already been checking my blood sugars (BMs) some of the times I'd felt particularly unwell (I used to get low blood sugars for some reason so had a monitor from this time) I was able to tell the doc that BMs had been very erratic and often going up to between 11-13. The GP said he was 90% sure that I was right, but wanted to do some other blood tests to confirm. These were spread over about three weeks, so it was stressful time of kind of being in limbo - having a strong suspicion of diagnosis, but nothing actually confirmed, and no treatment when feeling so unwell. Eventually the results came back and I was called back to the GP, and the results weren't quite what we were expecting. In many ways this is a very good thing, but it's also confusing because I'd pretty much prepared myself for a diagnosis of diabetes. The actual diagnosis that's been made is Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) - basically pre-diabetes - but the perplexing thing is that with IGT I should not be symptomatic, and I am.
One of the gold-standard tests for diabetes is a blood test called HbA1c. This measures the average blood glucose level over the previous three months, and for me this came back as borderline. My GP is wondering if perhaps diabetes has developed relatively quickly so there's been a sudden increase in my blood glucose levels, but that because the HbA1c is an average then this has given a lower reading than it would if I'd been diabetic for the full three months. Does that make sense? So, the upshot is that I have to go for another HbA1c blood test at the end of January - exactly three months from first one. However, the weirdness continues, because as well as the HbA1c I also had to have some fasting blood sugar tests (basically BMs done by the GP first thing in the morning before having anything to eat or drink), and these results were rather all over the place. One was normal-low; one was normal-high; and one was high. I am confused and my GP is confused. I still have symptoms. I still feel unwell, particularly with what I've come to term 'hyper-head' - a weird kind of feeling of pressure building up in my head, sort of a headache, but not quite a headache feeling, and it comes on when my BMs are high. But even with hyper-head and other symptoms I'm not on any medication to alleviate any of it. That's usual for IGT - not to have medication - except sometimes when it's steroid-induced, as mine is ... but then with IGT I shouldn't be symptomatic.
It may not sound like much really, but actually it's all been stressful, and the lack of anything to alleviate any of it is difficult because I can do nothing to make myself feel better. The suggestion at this stage is diet control, which would be fine if there were much I could do to alter my diet, but I already eat a high fibre diet with wholegrain pasta, rice, and bread rather than the refined white stuff (I'm allergic to the white varieties, which is too complex to go in to here); I don't eat many refined sugar products; I don't/can't eat ready meals - all main meals are cooked from scratch by my carers - because of allergies, and that's also in accordance with a pre-diabetes diet. I haven't yet found any major changes I can make to my diet to suit IGT other than to reduce the number of oranges or other high fructose fruits I consume. Oh, and reduce the amount of fruit juice I have, not that I've drunk litres of it before now.
You know what's ridiculous about all this? The cat (Zach) was diagnosed with diabetes in the summer. When I got home from hospital in August I was really worried about him because he'd lost loads of weight and just didn't seem right. I took him to the vet thinking that the problems with his kidneys may have returned/worsened, and actually that's what the vet initially thought. She did some blood tests, and much to her surprise his kidney function was back in the normal range, but his blood sugar was high. She did a test similar to the HbA1c, and after a half hour wait the results were back and diabetes was confirmed. Zach was immediately started on insulin injections twice a day, initially on a low dose, but further tests a couple of weeks later showed the insulin had to be increased. He's now a lot better, has his energy back, is back to running around the house, eating properly again, and loves to munch on people again too (this isn't something I enjoy, and try not to let him do it, but he's particularly 'characterful'). He'll have to go back for another full day of tests in a month's time - just before Christmas - to see how things are going with his bloods through the course of the day, but he's so much better.
When I first started to notice my own symptoms, I thought I was imagining it, or just had too much empathy with the cat, or something. To be honest it was kind of a relief to have the doctor confirm that something was awry, but actually I'd much rather have nothing more be going wrong.
Is it petty that it's all been getting to me and contributing to my depression? It some ways it feels it is; in others it seems reasonable. I could just do with some time of no added stress, but it doesn't look like that's going to be any time soon, what with all this, various other big on-going stresses, and my lungs playing up.
I didn't really mean for this to be a moan, so apologies for that, but I guess this is me not being defeated by the bullies - I'm telling it how it is.