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Friday, October 08, 2004

Giving Thanks

I saw the doctor yesterday to tell him I'm not taking part in the pharmaceutical study. The doctor didn't listen at first. It took me a few tries, and a successive reduction of my control - at first: "I have decided", then "My husband and I have decided", and then "My husband has decided". At that point he accepted it. He just wanted me to understand that the study would've stopped at any point I started to show any form of deterioration, and that the deterioration if any would be recognized a lot sooner because the study is a much more in-depth analysis of me on a regular basis than I currently receive. Whatever. He now understands that neither my husband nor I are willing to risk a year of hard won progress for a study.

It's Thanksgiving weekend here. In Canada, Thanksgiving is always the second Monday in October. We will be driving up to my parents, about an hour north of here.

Thanksgiving is one of those really nothing holidays. We don't make a big deal out of things - it's more an opportunity for us to get together as a family, which, as my sisters and brother and I get older, is less and less often.

But this year I am giving thanks.

I am thankful I am alive. This time last year I was so fragile, it really wasn't positive for me that I would make it beyond whatever horizon I could see. Things at that time seemed so difficult, to take so much energy just to pretend anything close to normalcy at Thanksgiving dinner. My family essentially terrified me (I mean my extended family, not Rob and Adam). I didn't really want contact with anyone because I couldn't deal with pretending to be something other than this flawed Quasimodo-like beast hiding in the shell of an average woman.

But I have moved beyond.

That is an incredible lesson to learn.

Bipolar disorder can be incredibly difficult. I still have days that are harder. I still have thoughts that I can't shut out, times I can't sit still, movement I can't control. But I am stronger. I have changed. I have learned to cope better. And that's an incredible gift I've given myself.

The one constant with bipolar is change. We just don't know when the change will come. But if sometimes during the difficult times I can keep in mind that this too shall pass, that I can ride the waves through and arrive on shore, safe and intact, if I can remember all that, then I am stronger for it. I fight the undertow and arrive on the beach, able to lie in the sun and rest.

I feel good.


Blogger synergy said...
Congratulations on standing your ground with your doctor. But, you shouldn't have to say that your husband decided for you. Rather your decision should be enough for him to respect it and no longer push you to take part in the study.

Are you generally happy with this guy or is it worth considering looking for another pdoc?

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Blogger blondzila said...
Thanks :-)

And changing doctors here isn't as easy as in the US. You need a referral. I can't just walk to the shrink next door to his office and ask to be seen. He's okay in general. Middle of the road. His reaction re: my husband's okay vs. my initial decision was more a reflection of his cultural background, I think, than his ability as a doctor - he's East Indian. But I'm trying to start to ease away, have appts less and less often.

But you're right - he's a bit of a dink to have pulled a stunt like that.  

Blogger Cliff said...
Hey girl :)

You are right that we are always our own and best advocate for our rehabilitation. "Therapeutic levels" are averages, some people do just fine on the lower end of the scale. I'll tell ya though, this swollen 40 something guy is quite happy to trade the few pounds/kilos for the good the meds do.

As for weaning off the meds...please don't count on it. Tragically, this is not a disorder that you will ever get over, or get well from, or be cured, at least with current medical knowledge. The best we can do is try to ride that baseline and at least control the magnitude when we swing off of it.

Fortunately, that's a very, very likely outcome. So many of us can in fact get control of this beast with the help of the meds, the docs, and those closest to us. And it sounds like you are well on your way!  

Blogger moodymicello said...
Ditto what Cliff says. I am so happy to hear you have made it so far in the first year. lucky for you they know so much more now than they did 10 years ago. Hang in there with the meds you have but how lucky we are here in the states to be able to pick our docs. Any way you can transfer to one of your choice in time? Happy Thanksgiving truly. Michele  

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