Adventures of a new mom!

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I feel it August 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Danielle Brigance @ 1:06 pm
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That sneaky feeling of depression and anxiety creeping up. 

It’s been about 3 weeks since I stopped taking my anti-depressant.  Before you go all crazy on me (mom I know you read this), I’m really doing well.  Here’s what led up to this decision. 

  • Getting a job really helped me to feel like I was doing something.  I know being a mom is doing something.  But, when your child is too little to acknowledge the fact that you’re doing a good job, it’s hard to feel like your life is meaningful.
  • Jacob changed jobs.  His previous job provided full family insurance.  His new job (teacher) pays for his insurance and the rates for family coverage are outrageous.  So, we filled out an application for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma.  I didn’t do a great job filling out the application and left some health history stuff off (the fact that I am no longer taking Metformin or Clomid), so my coverage got denied.  I’m in the process of submitting more information and hopefully I will be approved.  Anyways…this leaves me without insurance.  Pristiq-the anti-depressant I was taking, is extremely expensive even with insurance. 

So, I stopped taking my anti-depressant, because I can’t afford to refill it without insurance.  I do have about a month and a half supply that I can start taking again if I start feeling really bad.    I’ve been doing really well without it though.

But because I’ve dealt with it long enough, I know what depression/anxiety actually feels like  when it starts…I can tell there’s something not quite right.  But, I’m not bailing on my decision to be without the medication, just yet.  I’m going to do everything in my power to overcome these feelings. 

I’ve always been one to worry about things I can’t control, and that’s where a lot of these feelings are coming from.  Work has dramatically slowed down and my hours have been cut.  So, the fear of being once again jobless is always in the back of my mind.  Being without insurance is scary as well.  What if I get really sick?  What if Lexi gets really sick?  My weight is a big (literally) factor in my moods also.  I’m trying to watch what I eat.  But, when I’m hungry, I tend to be grumpy.  The heat of summer is killing me!  It’s too hot to do anything.  Just a simple trip to the grocery store is annoying, and even Lexi gets annoyed with the heat, so that makes her grumpy too!

So, I keep telling myself that these are all temporary feelings that will go away.  I just feel like an anti-depressant isn’t something you should take forever and ever.   And I’ve been on some sort of anti-depressant for several years now.  I know it isn’t something to take lightly, and I’m not.  I also know you shouldn’t go off any medication without your dr’s advice….but I’m also very stubborn and think my decisions are always right. 

Anyways…sorry that turned into a long ramble.  Just had to put those feelings out there.


Psychiatrist Appt. #2 April 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Danielle Brigance @ 8:54 pm
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I was so nervous last night that I could barely sleep. I always feel like dr’s are going to make me drag up old emotions and feelings that I don’t want to deal with. I know that’s their job and it would probably make me feel better to talk about some things. But at the same time I feel like I don’t have time or energy to deal with it.
The appt. was good though. Dr. Forbes was content with the new dosage of Pristiq. I told her I had no idea it was even an option to increase the dosage until she mentioned it at my last visit. Why is it that PCP’s don’t give you these options? We talked about anxiety and insomnia. She feels like maybe if I got a little more restful sleep then I wouldn’t have as much of an issue with anxiety. She upped my dosage of Trazodone from 50-100mg to 150-200mg. This is another medicine that no PCP had ever given me the option of.
I was also pleasantly surprised that the insurance had gone back and payed something on my last visit. Yay!
I don’t have another visit until June 1. Hopefully if everything is going well, I will be able to space the appts out even further than that.


anxiety and the weekend March 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Danielle Brigance @ 8:42 pm
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For the most part my anxiety has been under control. But, this weekend I lost a little bit of that control. We were due to spend the weekend with Jacob’s Nana, Papaw, and Aunt Twila. I love them. They are really his step-grandparents and step-aunt, but you would never know it. They are honestly the only part of his family that accepted me from day 1. I’m really grateful for that. But, I haven’t been up there since I had my major meltdown. There was a part of me that wanted to stay home and have a weekend to myself again, but I knew I had to go.
Friday Lexi and I spent the day shopping with my mom. We had fun, and of course it was great to just get out of the house. We made it to Ft. Gibson Friday evening and everything was pretty good. I honestly didn’t start having anxiety issues until Saturday afternoon/evening.
Saturday morning Lexi got up at like 2am. Nana and Aunt Twila were determined to take care of her. And instead of feeding/changing her and putting her back in bed, Nana slept in the recliner with her. I got up a few times to check on them, and just knowing that someone else was up with my child made me uneasy. It’s my job, ya know?! So, I finally got up around 8 am. We just hung out all day, and then headed to the mall that evening. Lexi got her first pair (actually 2 pairs) of Stride Rite shoes courtesy of Aunt Twila. The mall was crazy though. Teenagers were running into me every 3 seconds because they were too busy texting to watch where they were going. Lexi didn’t want to be in the stroller. Getting a littler worse. We went to walmart to pick up a few things. Lord knows that’s always a nightmare, so by the time we got out of there my level of anxiety was through the roof. Then we have to try to decide where to eat dinner. That’s a nightmare in and of itself. By the time we get settled at Buffalo Wild Wings I had to pop a Lorazepam. It did take the edge off some. But, I still wasn’t able to sleep good last night. Not knowing if/when Lexi was going to wake up, if someone besides me would be able to get her back to sleep if she did wake up. Then, I never heard her wake up last night, so I woke up this morning at 8 and started freaking out because she never sleeps that long without waking up. I tossed and turned for a little while and then finally just got up, checked on her, and showered and got dressed for the day. Today we went to lunch with Jacob’s sister and her family. That hour long lunch was too much for me. I felt like I was having to bullshit my way through it. I didn’t want to be there at all. I was just so ready to go home. Even the ride home was stressful.
I don’t know what it was, but I just felt like I didn’t play a part in the weekend at all. That it wouldn’t have mattered if I was there or not.
I’m glad to be home! Back in my own bed! Back to my own schedule!


The aftermath February 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Danielle Brigance @ 10:44 pm
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Wednesday seems like it was a month ago. Yesterday feels like it was a week ago. Yesterday I had my first appt with the therapist. I can’t get in to see the psychologist the psych nurse recommended until March 8th. So, the therapist will have to do in the meantime. She was nice. The office was straight out of the 70’s. I sat on a couch, facing her in a chair.
There were times when I felt like she was trying to break me. Like, she wanted me to cry. I teared up a few times, but didn’t have the meltdown I thought I would. I was more nervous on the drive up there and sitting in the waiting room. She had my paperwork from the ER, so I didn’t have to break everything down.
It was nice to have someone listen. I think that’s why I was so calm once I got to see a dr in the ER. Because someone was finally listening to me.
She told me not to feel shame. She said I was strong for standing up and doing something. She asked me on a scale of 1-10 (1 being fine and 10 being bad) where I felt like my depression was. I told her a 5 or 6. She told me at the end of the session that I was closer to 10 then what I thought. She said if she felt I was getting any worse by the next session she would recommend inpatient treatment.
My next session is on the 17th. That’s a week and a half from yesterday. I chose that instead of a week because of the co-pay amount.
Jacob wants me to find a new psychologist that I can get into before the 8th. Actually he told me that he wants me to see someone this coming week.
Since the beginning of my depression (2005) doctors have always asked me if it was just depression or depression and anxiety. It’s always been depression only. In the days since Wednesday I feel like a different person. I’ve always been easily agitated, but this is beyond that. I feel my toes start to curl and my blood start to boil. It could be about something big or something small. I feel like I’m going to explode. I need something to take the edge off.
I scheduled a drs appt for Monday morning to ask once again for something to help me sleep. Thursday night I only slept for 3 hours, and that was after taking 2 ambien. I’m sure my PCP is once again not going to take me seriously. And I don’t even know how to get into the story of Wednesday. But, I feel like I need to because I want to ask for something besides the depression medicine. And obviously my dosage of that needs to be changed. I know the psychiatrist can change the medicine up, but I agree with Jacob that it needs to happen before the 8th.
I got to hang out with my family today and it felt good. I was scared that people would give me that sympathy look, but I think everyone understands that I would rather not talk about it. I want everything to be back to normal, but I know it’s going to be a long hard road.


PCOS-polycystic ovary syndrome January 29, 2010

My journey with PCOS is a long one. It started way before I was officially diagnosed with it. But, I just want to break down PCOS and some of the things it can cause.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a health problem that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, avility to have children, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and appearance. With PCOS, women typically have:
high levels of androgens.
missed or irregular periods
many small cysts in their ovaries.

About 1 in 10 women of childbearing age has PCOS. It can occur in girls as young as 11 years old. PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder among women in their childbearing years, affecting 6%, or MILLIONS of women.

The cause of PCOS is unknown. Genes are thought to be one factor. Women with PCOS tend to have a mother or sister with PCOS. Insulin is thought to be another factor. For many women with PCOS their bodies have problems using insulin sot hat too much insulin is in thebody.

Some symptoms of PCOS:
infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding
increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach,back, thumbs, or toes
ovarian cysts
acne, oily skin, or dandruff
weight gain or obesity
insulin resistance or Type 2 Diabetes
high cholesterol
high blood pressure
male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
patches of thickened and dark brown or black skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs
skin tags, or tiny excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
pelvic pain
anxiety or depression
sleep apnea
I would like to not that these symptoms will vary from person to person. You may be like me and have almost every symptom on the list. Or you may have very few symptoms.
Tragically, many physicians see PCOS as a "cosmetic" problem when young women complain of the symptoms. Many physicians do not realize that PCOS has far-reaching and potentially devastating consequences.

Basically with PCOS, the ovary doesn’t make all the hormones it needs for any eggs to fully matrue. Follicles may start to grow and build up fluid. But no one follicle becomes large enough. Instead, the follicles remain as cysts. These cysts also make male hormones, which also prevent ovulation.

The treatments for PCOS will vary. For women who aren’t trying to become pregnant birth control pills can control menstrual cycles, reduce male hormone levels, and help clear acne.
The diabetes medication Metformin or Glucophage has been found to help with PCOS symptoms, although it is not FDA-approved for this use. Abnormal hair growth will slow down, and ovulation may return afer a few months of use. Recent research has shown Metformin to have other positive effects, such as decreased body mass and improved cholesterol levels.
Lack of ovulation is usually the reason for fertility problems in women with PCOS. Several medications that stimulate ovulation can help.Clomid is usually the first choice thereapy to stimulate ovulation.
Lifestyle modification Keeping a healthy weight is the main way to manage PCOS. However, when I was trying to get pregnant it was un-nerving to have drs. continue to tell me, "if you just lost 5 pounds it would help."PCOS can be managed with diet. But, PCOS also makes it very hard to lose weight. Even if you are on a very strict diet, with PCOS, the weight just seems to keep holding on.
The list of health problems associated with PCOS is as awful as the list of symptoms:
More than 50% of women with PCOS will have diabetes or pre-diabetes before the age of 40
Women with PCOS have a four to seven times higher risk of heart attack than women of the same age without PCOS.
Women with PCOS are at greater risk of having high blood pressure.
Women with PCOS have high levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol.
The chance of getting endometrial cancer is another concern for women with PCOS.

PCOS doesn’t go away with pregnancy. There appears to be higher rates of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, and premature delivery in women with PCOS. With the exception of gestational diabetes, I had all of the above. I suffered 3 miscarriages before I had a successful pregnancy with Lexi. Pregnancy induced high blood pressure eventually put me on hospital bedrest, and Lexi was born 4 weeks early, and spent 9 days in the NICU.

Possibly the worst thing I found while doing research for this post was a list of Women’s Health: State Rankings. The rankings are based on whether states have adopted 67 "key women’s health policies." The only one of these met by all the states is Medicaid coverage for breast and cervical cancer. Only 3 states met more than half of these policy goals. My state-Oklahoma- ranks 47. That was an F ranking. Go HERE to see where your state ranks.

If you think someone you know could be suffering from PCOS, please forward this blog to them. I so wish someone would have told me about PCOS while I was trying to diagnose myself.

I found the information for this blog at: