Tag Archives: babies

Brain and Body – One Unit

With my next surgery only three weeks away, any sort of mental stability has been… skittish, at best. The nice weather has helped instill some good hypomanic moments, but I have been randomly transforming into a raging hose-beast from anywhere to 5 minutes to several hours at a time. Highlights include when my lawyer told me to “call him back when I felt more emotionally stable,” (good luck there buddy), or my explosion at my boyfriend for [me] not being able to find a reasonable anniversary gift for him. Whoops.

Overall, pain and eating issues/the fact that my body isn’t interested in going more than 15-45 minutes without requiring a restroom has been a large stressful addition to an already jacked up mental state. Not being able to eat the food I want (that would normally comfort me in times of stress) has been pretty difficult, and the embarrassment of having to ask the deli clerk to watch my basket at the grocery store while I use the bathroom three times in one 15 minute visit doesn’t feel so nice either.

Ultimately, the issue that my surgeon found during the last surgery is that my uterus (having grown diseased endometrial tissue) has become connected to my colon. While this seemed weird (and the doctors expressed that feeling too) I imagined the two bound by a small, maybe quarter size area that could be sliced apart… case closed right?

Uterus vs. Colon

Unfortunately that isn’t the situation. My uterus is now holding my colon hostage and is connected for a long stretch of both. I am happy that this explains the pain, nausea, and inability to eat… as well as some other, less pretty problems I’ve been having, but the fix isn’t quite so quick as I might have imagined.

Why even write about that here? I mean, I thought about that, and I thought about not going so in-depth about a health problem that isn’t mental health related.

Oh wait! But it IS!

The biggest issue my doctors and surgeons have had to wrap their head around is that I have a pretty severe case of bipolar disorder. Because of this, many aspects of my symptoms, my treatments, and my recovery are different from most people.

My symptoms include physical pain, but this is a big purveyor of emotional stress for me, which means triggers for emotional outbursts and episodes . At the same time, my symptoms of being unable to eat a long list of yummy things (dairy, beef, spices that aren’t salt, fatty or fried foods, seafood, acidic foods, the list goes on…) disrupts my typical “self-care” routine when it comes to finding joy in what I am eating. Having less options to draw on in maintaining my mental stability means less stability!

My treatment of this health problem is atypical because all typical treatments (using hormone therapy) trigger severe emotional reactions for me. That means the best option I have is a procedure (hysterectomy) that is normally reserved for women much older than me. Granted, I have never been interested in having children (so I dodged a bullet there) but upcoming surgery is, again, stressful, and despite my disinterest in having children my subconscious is still grappling with the idea and I’ve had nightmares every night.

My recovery will also be different than the norm because I have the added risk of post-surgery medications triggering episodes (like last surgery). Once again, the pool of self-care resources I will have will diminish as I will be immobile, and feeling “trapped” has always been a big trigger for me. The physical pain will continue to be an issue for a while and there is the possibility I will need to be on a liquid diet for a while as well (depending on how much surgery is done on my colon). So, um… stress much?

All in all, there is no separating my mental and physical health from one another. Even though my brain isn’t down in my abdomen having tug-of-war party with my uterus and colon, they are connected. It’s called a body! It is generally considered one unit.

At any rate, this is a situation that I know will require physical work. It will require mental work. It will require emotional work. If that is the price it takes at a chance of feeling better, as usual, I will take it.

 

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Premature Births Showing Increased Risk of Mental Illness

In the news this morning, a recent study led by Chiara Nosarti from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London paired with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has suggested that prematurely born babies have a significantly increased risk for psychiatric illness.

Risk is increased for more severe illnesses, and the article named specifically psychosis (which is really more of a general, severe symptom), depression, and bipolar disorder.

Scientists believe this increased risk is due to slight differences in brain development when babies are born before the 40 week mark (full term), and babies born before the 32 week period are at an even higher risk than those born only a few weeks early.

The article at psychcentral outlined what the increased risk looks like:

“Psychosis was two and a half times more likely for premature babies, severe depression three times more likely, and bipolar disorder 7.4 times more likely for those born before 32 weeks.”

Increased risk was shown for moderately early babies, but the risk was not as high.

On top of that, Chiara Nosarti who led the research said,

“Since we considered only the most severe cases that resulted in hospitalization, it may be that in real terms this link is even stronger.”

The research only used cases where the psychiatric disturbance was severe enough to lead to hospitalization, so it is very likely that there is a bigger connection than what we are seeing. Many people live with psychiatric problems and never seek/require help that includes hospitalization.

The article also stresses that the majority of premature babies do not develop psychiatric problems, so mommies -no need to panic immediately.

Some suggest that our increased technology and ability to deliver babies that are so premature could have something to do with the rise in prevalence of things like autism and psychiatric disorders.

You can read the full article here

Babies, the Final Frontier

Five or so years ago I was on a quest to find some relief from the abdominal pain I was having when my doctor referred me to get an ultrasound. I remember very vividly because the paper she gave me said, “consequences of not following up with this referral:” and she had written, “cancer, death”.

Talk about a terrible bedside manner!

Needless to say, that terrified me (a 20 year old girl who had fairly recently moved to Seattle) and I had the ultrasound.

The pain, they told me over the phone, was ovarian cysts.

“Oh, and by the way, you have a uterine abnormality and there is a 90% chance that you cannot have children.” Click!

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I hate being around children. They make me overwhelmingly uncomfortable. And my 20 year old self had no intention of ever having children anyway.

But I found myself extremely upset, much more than I anticipated. Like I said, it didn’t really bother me that I couldn’t have children because I didn’t want to, what bothered me was that I no longer had the choice. I would never be able to decide for myself to have them or not, the decision was already made for me.

Over the last five years I feel like I have completely come to terms with the situation. I have relied heavily on this fact to diffuse any possible pressure by my family or my man’s family about us ever having kids.

Sorry! Can’t!

We’ve talked about it often, neither of us wants to. And lets say that by some miracle I hit 35 and become obsessed with having a child in my life, well heck. I’d just adopt one. I have a friend who was adopted and she is one of the coolest people I know!

 

This week I had to have an ultrasound again, and the results were a little shocking.

The abnormality is gone.

Maybe it wasn’t there in the first place and they mis-read my first ultrasound, or my file got swapped with someone else’s, or the Great Pumpkin granted me a new uterus.

I don’t know how or why, but after five years of being told I would never have children I was told Tuesday that, well, actually I could if I wanted.

I guess “shocked” is really an understatement. I don’t know if I am happy or upset, because my ducks were in a row but now there are just ducks everywhere.

I wont lie, having bipolar disorder does have some influence over my decision about procreation. I am not suggesting that people with bipolar disorder make bad parents or that they shouldn’t pass on their genes, people should do whatever they darn well please. What concerns me is discerning what I darn well please and I was satisfied with the decision I had come to. I felt comfortable there.

This really doesn’t effect anything except my own perception of my possible futures. I still feel the same way I did about having children, and as confusing as it is I am glad that I have been given back the choice that was taken away from me 5 years ago.