Who Needs a Therapist When (Pt. 26)
I Return to the Living?
So, I've had something of a tumultuous, crazy several weeks.
But, it means that things have calmed down enough that I can kind of go back to sometimes posting on here.
So, a recap of the last several weeks first.
A) Someone generously tipped me on here, and bless you a thousand times. I used it to buy a prescription, haha.
B) I spent six weeks working an office job—the sort of boring nine-to-five office job that pays good money, but that I've put off for forever. They hired me for my Excel skills. My Excel skills meant that there were only ever about three hours of work to do in a day. But, I also wasn't allowed to surf the internet, or do anything other than play around in Excel. It turns out that being forced to be indolent is worse than being overworked. I only made it six weeks because that was how long it was before the new job started (the new job I got an offer for within the first two weeks).
C) That new job is actually teaching! It only took three years after Masters, but I am teaching as an adjunct in not just one, but two different community college classes, teaching English Composition Courses. It is a lot—I have about two times the course/workload of a full-time professor, without any benefits. But, I do have enough classes to pay the bills, even at the impossibly low rate they pay me. Also, the relief of being paid to do something that I am good at, that isn't customer service, is indescribably fantastic.
D) Because I have actually had health insurance over the summer, courtesy of my partner's job, I was able to go and seek medical attention/therapy/etc. And, some of it was not super helpful (I haven't been back to that therapist, and the psychiatrist actually prescribed the anti-depressant that I had been on, that is neither effective nor tolerable), and some of it has been... something else.
E) So, I found out that I have a small, inoperable, non-cancerous brain tumor. It's apparently a really common tumor on my pituitary—like, a sixth of the population has these. There are basically two types. Tiny ones, like mine, are usually discovered because they make one of the hormones that the pituitary makes, and you get side effects from too much cortisol or growth hormone or whatever. If they aren't discovered, its because they aren't secreting the hormone—they are just chilling out. Mine is just chilling out. The second type gets discovered because they get big, and push on your brain bits. This is where mine gets... weird.
So, mine isn't creating hormones, mostly because it's growing on the part that doesn't create hormones. It just talks to the rest of the brain. But, I have elevated hormone levels, which means that even though it is tiny, it is pushing on the brain and causing problems.
Now, if this were a big tumor, they'd operate to remove it. But, brain surgery is sort of a big deal, so they only do that if it looks like it is threatening to destroy the brain/surrounding area.
And, if it were producing hormones, they would use chemicals that target the hormone to destroy it.
But, mine is doing neither. So, they've given me a prescription to manage the side effects, but otherwise, I just kind of have to wait for the tumor to get big enough to cause "serious" trouble.
I'm having a hard time dealing with that, for uh, obvious reasons. But, there are a couple of silver linings:
- I now KNOW that something really is wrong. And, some of the effects of that something include things like depression, sleep apnea, sinus issues, and a whole host of others, which means that, the next time a doctor tells me that I'm being a hypochondriac, I get to point at the brain scan where there's a tumor.
- The medication they have prescribed is a "dopamine agonist." This means that it is raising the effective dopamine in my brain, which has been kind of phenomenal. Like, demotivation is gone. I think about things that I have to do, and while they are still miserable and I don't want to do them, I am capable of doing them. It's been great.
F) During the health crisis, my thyroid came up. Now, my thyroid is problematic itself, and has been since I was at least 16. It functions normally, but it is riddled with a whole bunch of cysts. It's gross, it's huge, and it presses on/restricts my windpipe. It also isn't cancerous, which is why they've decided to leave it in. They'd have to remove the whole thyroid, and that'll mean pills, and regular doctor visits, and could mean that I would lose my voice forever—which was a really big deal at 16, when I was planning on studying Opera Performance.
But see, the thing is, the stupid blob keeps changing, which means regular doctor visits and regular painful biopsies anyway. And, there's a good chance that the fact that my windpipe is constantly being crushed is why I'm experiencing sleep apnea, especially since when they biopsy and shrink the cysts, I sleep better, function better, and am happier.
So, I will be having major surgery later this year. Not brain surgery, thank heavens (?), but still pretty serious.
On the plus side, it is nice to have a health thing that CAN be fixed, and that might mean that, by the time next year rolls around and I've recovered, I might be a healthier, happier person all around. So, that's the state of the union. Depression is a bitch ya'll, and it would be really great if this years-long bout was due to something medical that can be fixed, instead of just my brain deciding it is done working for the rest of my life.