Monday, April 25, 2016

Postpartum Depression

I suffered from postpartum depression after the births of both my children. The first time I wasn’t sure if I was depressed or just not cut out for the job. Lily was a hard baby, and I did not have a support system. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I would call my husband at work, sobbing and telling him that I couldn't take it anymore. I had daydreams of killing myself. I honestly felt like the only way I would ever get a break was if I killed myself. I asked myself, “What is wrong with me??? Billions of women have been moms! Why can’t I handle this???”

So, one day I called my OB/GYN's office and told them I thought I might have postpartum depression, (I even told them I had suicidal thoughts). And they told me "you just need a break." Can you believe that???? They told me to take Lily to the gym and drop her off in gym daycare. But I knew that dropping her off at gym daycare would not work because she would cry uncontrollably and they would call me to come get her after 15 minutes (no joke – it got to the point that I would twitch every time I heard the loud “BEEEEP!” over the loudspeaker). I hung up phone with the OB’s office and sobbed, feeling helpless and alone. I felt like I was dragging myself through life, forcing myself to go on.

It got better as Lily got older, and, when she was two years old, we decided to try for another child. I was terrified. My mom didn’t think I could handle another. But I had always wanted two kids, and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t try to have another one.

The second time around, we got pregnant after our first IUI. And I found a new OB. I told him about my previous postpartum experience, and he agreed that I should immediately start Zoloft after giving birth.

After I had Grace, I started the Zoloft and I felt AMAZING. I wanted to scream from the rooftops: “If you ever think you need an antidepressant, take one!!!” And I did tell people, because I knew there is a stigma with antidepressants, and I didn’t want other people to have to go through what I went through.

I still feel that way today. Depression is a disease. The brain isn’t making enough serotonin. People take medicine when other organs aren’t performing correctly, it should be considered the same with the brain.

I now believe that, if a person is wondering if they need an antidepressant, they probably do. And it doesn’t hurt to try one. It could change their life.

Unfortunately, I experienced excessive bruising with the Zoloft. It was so bad that Greg was worried I might have cancer. So I was switched to Lexapro.

And that didn’t work. I slid downhill again - more crying, and more suicidal thoughts. And I got blown off again. I called my OB’s office and they told me I had to stop breastfeeding if I wanted to change medications. (And that wasn’t an option for me at that time.) I tried to see a psychiatrist, but I couldn’t find one who was taking new patients. So I stayed on Lexapro, even though the side effects killed my sex drive and it didn’t seem to work.

At one point I went into my OB’s office, complaining of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, and the nurse practitioner told me, “You are in the season of your life.” I looked at her and said, “What does that even mean?” And she replied, “It means, you will feel like yourself again someday.” Thanks for nothing :/

When Grace was about two and half, I saw a counselor, hoping she could help me get into a psychiatrist. I loved talking to her, and she referred me to a psychiatric nurse practioner. The nurse practioner switched me to Brintellix, and that did help, although it wasn’t as dramatic as my initial experience with Zoloft.

Around the same time I started the Brintellix, life also got easier. Lily started full time Kindergarten, and Grace went to preschool part-time. I was no longer depressed and felt much better.

I also started to learn more about my genetics, and how they were influencing the way I felt….And that will be the next part of my story!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Why I "Quit" Blogging

I started this blog because I couldn't find information about pregnancy in women with CF. Since that time, so many of us have gotten pregnant, and there is so much information out there!

But that is not why I quit. I quit, because, frankly, having two kids is A LOT of work! I am so very thankful that my health has been stable, because, otherwise, I don't know how I would have kept up with it all. Lily is almost SIX - (how did that happen?) - and Grace just turned three. I have been busy, busy, busy.

I have also been TIRED. This past year has been a health journey for me, but not one that I expected. I didn't understand why I have been so tired, and now I realize that it is partially because I am entering new "uncharted" territory of the CF world. I am in my late 30s, in a body that has been dealing with a chronic illness and harsh medications, and having two kids took a lot out of me. I wasn't expecting that.

And now I want to share the information I have learned along this journey in case it may help others. Stay tuned, I really want to get back into this blogging thing :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Kalydeco Week 3

I just wanted to post a quick update, although there is not much to report. The Cipro seems to be helping, but I am still coughing, my lungs are still rattling, and my FEV1 is still down. Greg and Grace are still coughing too. Sigh. Hopefully I will have something to report soon!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2.5 Week Update

This coughing virus is a beast! My husband and I are both still coughing. Last week it was so bad I almost threw up a few times, and the same thing happened to my husband. I was talking to a friend who said she and her husband had the same virus - she said she was coughing forever and that her husband threw his back out.

So, with that said, I still can't really say for sure how Kalydeco is helping my lungs. I usually blow about 3.3 L on my FEV1 monitor. At one point last week I was struggling to blow 3.0 L, but I started feeling better, and at one point I got it all the way up to 3.9 L! I didn't believe it the first time, but I managed to blow 3.9 L two more times. H-O-L-Y C-O-W. The highest I have ever blown on that thing is 3.6 L, and that was over two years ago, when I was pregnant with Grace and my FEV1 was 120%. BUT, two days ago my numbers went back down and I started feeling worse. I had horrible night sweats and fell like crap yesterday - coughing a ton and feeling short of breath. So, last night I started Cipro.  I already feel better this morning. I don't remember Cipro working this fast in the past, so I'm not sure if I would have felt better anyway. But, hopefully I am officially on the mend!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Kalydeco Days 8 & 9

Warning! Talk of mucus ahead.

I'm sick! Everyone in the house has some sort-of coughing virus. No other symptoms, just a cough. But, I am the only one with a productive cough...I was hoping Kalydeco would prevent that, but maybe it's too early, or maybe it's because I have some mild bronchiectasis. My mucus does, without a doubt, seem thinner when I cough it up - it feels just like saliva, instead of a blob. So that is exciting.

If it weren't for my husband having a cough too, I would have chalked this up to part of the "clearing out" stage. Last night I was coughing so much I was gagging and I couldn't sleep, so I ended up taking cough syrup, something I never do. Wow, that stuff worked instantly!

My sinuses continue to feel awesome. Hopefully my lungs will too once this cough goes away.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kalydeco Days 6 & 7

Day 6: No night sweats or night time wheezing, but I woke up feeling wheezy. I was coughing and clearing my throat a lot this day. But I had plenty of energy and felt good overall.

Day 7: No night sweats or night time wheezing, but I again woke up feeling tight and wheezy. My nose was less congested this morning. But, I had slight rattling in my lungs and I was coughing all day. I hope this was just Kalydeco loosening things up.

So far, today seems to be a repeat of yesterday.

It has now been a week since I started Kalydeco. I would say that I think it is helping me, but it is not as obvious as I was hoping for. I haven't had a bad day since starting, which is unusual for me when the cedar pollen is high. Usually I feel very run down, tired, achy, and drowning in mucus. My sinuses feel really good!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kalydeco Days 4 & 5

I think one detail I need to remember is that it is currently cedar season here in Austin. Many people, including myself, suffer from cedar allergies that make them miserable, CF or no CF. This time of year, I almost always end up needing a round of antibiotics to treat a sinus infection. The week before I started Kalydeco, I had lots of mucus in my sinus rinses. So, some of what I am feeling is most likely influenced by that.

Day 4: More night sweats a bit of tightness in my chest, but I didn't need my inhaler in the middle of the night. Woke up feeling wheezy. Had the usual mid-morning cough & coughed up a big (for me) blob of green gunk. I went for a run and wasn't able to run any faster than normal (my pace is about a 10 minute mile). At the end of my run, some sweat ran down my face and into my mouth, and it tasted salty. But, I wasn't coated in salt, like I sometimes am. Still, I started to worry that Kalydeco wasn't working.

Day 5: More night sweats and nighttime wheezing. But, I didn't wake up with a sore throat, which almost always happens thanks to post-nasal drip, and my mid-morning cough was a bit less. By noon I started to feel really good. All afternoon I kept taking deep breaths, expecting to feel the usual bit of mucus build-up on the back of my throat, but it wasn't there. I started to get excited that maybe the Kalydeco was doing it's thing!

I have also been obsessively using my PiKo FEV1 monitor, and I am holding steady at around 3.2 liters. My peak about a year ago was 3.6 liters. I'm not sure if I am going to see much of an increase because my FEV1 is usually 110-115%.

Last night I didn't have any night sweats or wheezing, but I woke up wheezy and congested. We'll see how today goes!
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