Attention Prilosec / Omeprazole Users Who Have Intense Fatigue…

Obviously, folks should check with their doctors, but here’s an observation I have made in the last two days.   I’ve been on omeprazole or pantoprazole for about 7.5 years.   That coincides with the approximate time when my energy level tanked big time.  I wasn’t great before, but really went downhill.  I thought it was from various other things- including other meds and  chemo, which is a special kind of “nobody home”.  But I’ve been done with chemo for almost 4 years… and have still had debilitating fatigue.

A week ago, I changed over to ranitidine (Zantac OTC); I’d talked to my doc about changing because of cost a while back.  I finally got some, and made the switch.  The first week wasn’t great with the GERD, but I was more alert.  I’ve doubled the dose this week to see if that makes a difference (checked the package label to be sure dose was OK).   Today, I looked up some of the interactions and side effects with omeprazole (and PPIs)- and sure enough… there were issues with the other meds I was on, as well as other people talking about severe fatigue.

I’m on clonazepam (seizures and dysautonomia), which doesn’t clear as well when taking PPIs (class of drugs omeprazole is in).   I didn’t know that !  Diuretics are also not great with the PPIs.   Plus, now, they’ve been linked with heart attacks.

I’m not running marathons, but have gotten some things done that have been sitting here for years (literally).  I sent an e-mail to my doc (she’ll get it on Monday).   Anyway, I’m just throwing this out there in case some other folks with horrible fatigue might be on one of the meds in the same class as omeprazole ( they end in ‘-azole’).

How Far Can I Safely Restrict?

I’m struggling with weight loss.  I gained a lot during chemo for leukemia, then went into menopause shortly after finishing cancer treatment.  My ability to drop weight nosedived, and it’s been really hard to look at what my body has turned into, and not be able to get rid of the weight.  With a history of anorexia and bulimia, I also struggle with how much I can restrict my intake, and not fall back into full-on eating disorders.

I’ve done the Nutrisystem thing (I can’t take all of the sweet food).  I count calories.  I watch fat and fiber content.  I see what I look like, and desperately want to get rid of the horrible weight.  I’m not looking to get skinny… just not ‘gross’.  I’d come to terms with my weight before the cancer, and while I wasn’t at my ideal weight, I could live with myself.  I know that appearances are ridiculously stupid reasons to diet- but how I feel in my own skin doesn’t seem so superficial.  It feels really important.  My thigh muscles are atrophying from neuropathy (diabetic and that was made worse from chemo as well), so I need less for them to lug around !

SO, how do I reduce calories more, but not get crazy?   How do I see the numbers go down (about 20 pounds total so far from the highest post-chemo weight), and not slip into the ‘numbers game’ ?   How do I resist the urges to not eat once I start losing weight steadily?  (Assuming I will lose weight steadily).  How do I get healthier, without getting sick in other ways?  How do I not get back into the ‘high’ of losing weight?   And it was a ‘high’. A really strong, gripping ‘high’.

I already think about it 24/7.   My grocery list would make Jillian Michaels proud.  I buy things in single portion packages when possible.   The produce section is my favorite place to shop.  I can eat plain fish or shrimp,  cottage cheese, and hard-boiled eggs, and LIKE them.  I’d rather have an orange than the ultra-junk Nutrisystem desserts.   But even healthy fats make me nervous (avocado, olive oil, nuts).  “White” foods (rice, potatoes, pasta, bread) are ‘bad’.  And yet, I’m not losing this disgusting fat.  I don’t know what else to do.  I just want to feel healthier from a weight standpoint.  And not fall apart.

The More I’m on Social Media…

…the more I don’t much like people.  I don’t mean the people I actually know (though I’ve pruned the herd on Facebook recently- I mean really… who needs to be ‘friends’ with someone they have had no relationship with other than passing glances 30 years ago at church?  I keep ‘friends’ limited to folks that I have something in common with besides some mutual friend).  I’ve booted some nice people, who just have nothing in common with me, other than some superficial acquaintance-ness in high school.

I LOVE Facebook for keeping in touch with family and friends who I actually know, and who add something positive to my life.  The updated photos, blurbs about what they are up to, the chance to wish them well during good and bad things in their life, etc…. that is what I want to keep in contact about.  NOT some fringe association with someone who is negative, or has an ego larger than their zip code.

The folks who really drive me up the wall are the negative posters.   Those who find all they can about some situation or person that is negative- even if nothing of the sort is part of the actual article.  Some of this is on Facebook, and some is in the comments of articles elsewhere online.  They can’t see something positive in anything.  IF someone handed them $1M in actual cash, they’d whine about the serial numbers on the bills.  I don’t get it.   Their lives must be so miserable that to spread their nastiness is the only way they can feel better about themselves.  Pretty pathetic- and not something I want to bother with.   That last part is hard, since I do like to interact... (online is my primary source of human interaction)… it’s just gotten to the point of anticipating that there will always be jerks, and the nice folks get lost in the shuffle of bitterness.   IF someone posts a photo of a baby wearing sunglasses, some bonehead will want to alert child protective services, as the sunglasses could break into pieces that could puncture the kid’s eye…. all from a photo, and a staged one at that.  Geez- lighten up, and enjoy the cute kid !!

Why is it so hard to look for the positive?  I’m not exactly sitting here without challenges.  I’m disabled, and essentially homebound- and yet I’m so thankful that I’m still able to live independently, with a functioning mind, ability to read, crazy dog, nice TV, safe apartment, etc.  I could dwell on the negative things that have gone on in my life, but what would that accomplish?  I’m in pain every day.  I’m diabetic. My spine is deteriorating. Blah, blah, blah… but I’m here, and find joy in the simple things.   Do I miss my life before things went south?  Yep.  But things can ALWAYS be worse.  When I worked on a neurology/neurosurgery floor, and later a head injury rehab center, I saw some seriously messed up people.  Many would never function independently again.  Others would eventually die from complications from their disorders, diseases,  or injuries.  THAT is sad.

I also don’t understand the self-righteous outrage about things that are irrelevant to the person being so negative.  Who cares what someone else does?  If there is no obligation or mandate that I do what I don’t like, why does it matter if someone else does?  I can’t live any life but mine.

I’m a Christian, and constantly hear about how ‘stupid’ Christians are.   Well, I don’t find atheism to be logical based on my beliefs, but who am I to tell someone that they are of subpar intelligence because of that?  Just over a difference of beliefs or opinion?  Why?  Why make it an attack?  I’m not demanding that someone believe what I do.  How are my personal beliefs of anybody else’s concern?   Am I only supposed to express what someone ELSE finds acceptable?  Does the First Amendment only apply to certain folks (a list that changes daily)?

It’s so hard to be a part of anything where the participants are so hellbent on being cruel and condescending.  Why would I want to believe or listen to someone who hears one thing, and makes a snap judgement about me, and is always negative?  Or interact with someone who can only see things through their own limited knowledge about who or what they think I am?

Now Facebook has settings, that I can’t change, that ‘force’ me to weed through posts made by and to my friends.  People I don’t even know have their stuff on my newsfeed.  If anyone ‘likes’ or comments on something or someone else’s page, I have to see it.  That means if I like or comment, my friends are stuck with it on their page.  How is that supposed to be pleasant?  I want to keep up with people I know- not their friends who I’ve never heard of.  Getting specific personal messages on my newsfeed from my friends’ friends that were posted to them specifically seems intrusive.  The messages weren’t directed to me- why should my friends’ personal interactions be on my page?

“Old fashioned e-mail” is looking better.   And I’m so glad I have a dog to interact with.  She might not talk much, but she’s always positive ;)


The Weird Thing About PTSD

I was raped, sodomized, and beaten for six hours back in January 1987.  Twenty-eight years ago.  Initially, I knew what I “should” feel like, but didn’t really register much.  But that wasn’t really anything new- I’d been pretty good about not registering specific feelings for a long time.  As I’ve gotten older, and had more life experiences, the specific emotions have become much more identifiable.  And unpleasant.  I’ve been through enough therapy to recognize specific feelings, as well as have a greater understanding of what others go through who have been in similar situations.  And sometimes, not so similar situations.  Those can be triggers as well.

I had never been much of a crier.  I’d boo hoo once in a while, but for the most part, I could suck things up and move on.  That has changed.  Some of that is from a good thing: I’ve been able to understand how other people feel with both good and bad events.   That has been a huge ‘plus’ in so many ways, but it also makes my own memories and reactions that much more intense.  I’m a regular faucet now whenever there’s anything that remotely sets off my own memories.  Doesn’t even have to be all that similar.  Just has to trigger a feeling of some sort.

With another parole protest going on, I’m even more on edge.  For the most part, my daily functioning is ‘normal’.  Movies and TV shows can be really tough.  The news stories can be absolutely grueling.  I feel SO badly for those who are violated and/or lose a significant part of their life.   I have to ‘pace’ my exposure to the news.  With TV and movies, I generally have seen most of the episodes before from several series, so know to ‘brace’ myself during specific scenes… but sometimes even that doesn’t work so well.   In one episode of “Law & Order: SVU”, ‘Olivia’ walks out into the squad room after having been held hostage by a serial rapist/stalker who takes her out of the city to a seasonal house (that doesn’t belong to him).  She beats the snot out of him, and has to make a statement.  When she walks out into the squad room, it brings up all sorts of feelings of when I had to walk out of the apartment of my neighbor, after being raped.  There were news stations/cameras and people lining the sidewalk, and looking at me.  One of them lowered her camera, and looked down- giving me the first bit of dignity after that life-changing event.  When ‘Olivia’ walks through that group of people, it stirs up so much.

Some would argue that watching such shows as “Law & Order: SVU” and “Criminal Minds” are poor choices given my background, but I disagree.   In those shows, they show as much as they can about the impact that crime has on the survivors (I hate the term ‘victim’) and, they get the bad guy in 48 minutes.  The good guys win.  There are characters that include the ‘collateral damage’ of crimes against individuals.  And sometimes, the shows are hard to watch.  But it was much harder to live through an event that would be a plausible story line for those shows.

I’ve been much more ‘tender’ this time around with the parole protest.  I’m getting so tired of them, but at the same time, I feel responsible to keep fighting to keep him locked up.   He doesn’t deserve to be out. He agreed to a 60 year sentence in a plea bargain.    He offends EVERY time he’s on parole. Since he was 18 years old, parole is just another opportunity to rack up more ‘victims’.  I’m angry that the woman he attacked prior to attacking me just blew off sentencing.  Had she made sure he got as much time as possible, I wouldn’t have been raped.   I don’t want that same burden on my shoulders.  I may not be able to control the decisions of the parole board, but I am involved.  If they let him out, it’s on them.

In the meantime, I have to talk myself down now and then.  And sometimes, I have to just let myself cry and feel whatever is going on.  On good days, I write.  And every day, I have to remember how much I have to be thankful for.   PTSD isn’t something that gradually resolves in a predictable manner.  It comes and goes when the triggers set something off that is associated with some memory or feeling.  It doesn’t have to make sense.  It just is.


Brain Dump… or Just Getting Weird

OK, for those who know me, the ‘getting weird’ part might be nothing newsworthy.  I go through times when I’m skating along fairly well with the medical stuff, and then something happens, which freaks me out because of the cancer history and neurological issues, and I get in a funk.  I’ve been having trouble swallowing consistently, and have finally asked for a referral to the ENT (should hear about an appointment time soon).  Raw carrots and medications get stuck regularly, and things like rice or dry chicken are sometimes downright scary.   I guess I’ll find out about that when I finally get to the appointment.

The continued atrophying of my thigh muscles is still an issue.  I do what I can to stretch, walk around the apartment, take out the trash, and do my own grocery shopping (very painful).  The days after my monthly grocery store trip are generally miserable- but I’m also not good at taking the pain meds.   I try to make them last, and since hydrocodone is now a Schedule II (and requires a paper prescription for each refill- no faxing from the pharmacy), it’s inconvenient and painful to go get them. But, I’m going to have to give up and just go get them.  My doc can give me two refills per trip- just all dated for different months – so have to be filled at spaced intervals.  And, I have to take them.  I’m meticulous with other meds- but the pain meds hit me the wrong way- like I just need to buck up and get a grip.  That doesn’t work well when I’m lightheaded from the pain.

My blood pressure is also shifting (going low), so that is a problem.  I’m adjusting the meds for that.   I’m requiring less insulin, which is good- but sort of trial and error as I readjust the dose.  None of these things are any big deal… but sometimes the pile-up of several things is exhausting.  I’ve also lost a little weight (about 25 pounds from highest chemo weight; 14 since March 1st )- so that’s good, but still trying to shed more.  But I bailed out of Nutrisystem.  It was getting too focused on numbers, and my history doesn’t bode well with compulsive number calculations.  I get back into thinking about how much easier it is to lose weight when I’m NOT following some relatively rigid rules.  I think it’s a good program, but NOT for someone with a history of eating disorders.  I could feel those old patterns swinging from the rafters of my brain.

Then I look at the world at large, and the horrible things people do to each other.  I’m not going to go into specifics, since I’ll just get upset.   When I see tragedy on TV, I just want to reach through the screen and wrap my arms around those who are suffering.  SO, I pick and choose what I watch anymore. Tonight I had the weather on, as we were having severe storms again, and more tornadoes hit the area.  We had an EF-4 come through on April 9th that really tore up one whole town, and heavily damaged another subdivision.  Tonight, a 6,200 ‘lot’ camping ground was hit.  They’re still looking for people as I write this.  The other towns hit in April haven’t got their lives back together, and now some folks 10-12 miles away are looking for their lives, that are scattered around the neighborhood.  As of now, they know of 5 who are injured, and trapped  by flood waters.  But they haven’t accounted for everyone yet.

The shooting in South Carolina was an abhorrent act- and the congregation of that church are amazing examples of how NOT to hate back.  Truly inspirational people, and all before a week has gone by since nine of their friends and family were mowed down.

My brain is tired.  My limited ability to DO anything to help is so frustrating  (I can’t be outside in this weather because of the heat intolerance).    And yet, I have SO MUCH to be thankful for- and I do realize that.  I’m very blessed in so many ways.    Today, I got something I’d wanted to try for a while – Mexican street tacos- they were outstanding, and a real treat since I don’t leave home more than 2-3 times a month for groceries and MD appointments.  This did make me happy today :)  They were so good.

Street Tacos with steak, pork, and beef tongue (which was like pot roast)

Street Tacos with steak, pork, and beef tongue (which was like pot roast)

Sometimes, I just need to blow off steam :)

2015… Another Parole Hearing for Numbnuts

Here we go again.  The numbnuts (does he deserve a human term?) who raped, sodomized, and beat me for 6 hours in 1987 is up for parole… again.  The same numbnuts who has been on parole at least 5 times since he was 18 years old, and NEVER got off parole before offending again, with increasingly more violent crimes.  He’d been out for less than 40 days when he raped me.  SO what other reasons could I have that I haven’t  stated before, for keeping him behind bars for at least another few years?

Carl Edward Chambers TDCJ # 453210 Convicted rapist

Carl Edward Chambers
TDCJ # 453210
Convicted rapist

I want him in prison for my own peace of mind.  There.  I said it.  Maybe it’s selfish, but that Saturday morning in January 1987 changed my life forever.    I don’t want revenge- I want the sentence he agreed to when HE changed his plea mid-trial, and said he was guilty.  He agreed to a 60 year sentence, and he’s proven repeatedly that he can’t function on parole.  He does something to get back ‘in’. Every. Single. Time.   I realize that there are mandatory release dates- and he’s already blown through one of those.  He will reoffend eventually if he’s let out- and at what cost?

I protest his release because of what he’s capable of doing to someone else.   He’s 56 years old now, and I have no doubt that he still  has the strength to repeat what he did to me, and possibly ‘finish’ what he started, and actually kill someone.   I have no doubt that he would have killed me had I not escaped.  He’d talked about it, and ‘acted out’ dismembering me.  I knew his name, where he was staying, his sister’s name (it was her baby I was taking care of that even put me on his radar- before he stole my address and phone number from her purse, and hunted me specifically- I looked like his first wife). He couldn’t leave me alive.  He plans and carries out his crimes.  His last victim before he attacked me (for whose crime he was on parole) said she would have fought harder for a better sentence if she’d known what he could do (he put a screwdriver to her neck at an Austin bus stop). That means he wouldn’t have been out of prison that Saturday morning, and I wouldn’t be writing this.  I do know what he can do, and I won’t just sit back and let him slink around the justice system without my presence ( if only on paper) being known.

I had always dreamed of having a husband and a bunch of kids.  January 10, 1987 changed all of that.  My first experience with sex was being brutally raped at 23 years old.  And it was my last.  I don’t want anybody that close to me.  I don’t want to smell someone’s breath in my face, or feel their sweat against my body.   I don’t want to be a body orifice for someone else’s ‘amusement’.  I don’t ever want to feel that pain again.  Numbnuts impregnated me. I had his offspring inside of me- but evidently it was defective, because after a lot of cramping one morning,  it fell out into the toilet about 10-12 weeks after the rape.  That’s a visual I can’t unsee… the tiny placenta and jagged edges of tissue sitting in the toilet.  I didn’t want that baby, but it was still a baby.  The only one I’d ever carry.  It was a blessing to lose it, since I couldn’t imagine any of the other alternatives.  But it added to the pain of the entire situation.

If he got out because I didn’t remind the parole board what he’d done to even BE in prison, and did something to someone else, I couldn’t live with myself.  I have to be active in this process, and yet I hate it.  I hate knowing that the date/year is coming up AGAIN, and I’ll have to think even more about that morning, and put something into words that will make some sort of impact on those who decide MY fate with his freedom… or hopefully, continued incarceration.  I shouldn’t even know about the parole process.  Nobody should.

I hate the word ‘victim’.  I was a victim while he was hovering over me, beating me, fucking me (it wasn’t  sex;  it was a brutal, vulgar act- I don’t use that word lightly), sodomizing me, and holding a knife to my neck.  Or spine.  He had me get on my hands and knees when he peed, and used one hand to trace the knife along my spine.  But when I got away from him and got to the phone in my neighbor’s apartment to call 911, I became a survivor.  Or at least I had the chance to be a survivor.  It took a while to actually morph into someone who wasn’t defined by what happened that day.  It took a lot of work.   When the parole reviews come up, I feel that ‘victim’ thing all over again, and that makes me feel like I’ve failed at surviving.  But in the end, he doesn’t define me.  He changed a LOT in my life that day, and in many ways my future was murdered.  At least the one I’d dreamed about.  But Carl Edward Chambers, career criminal, doesn’t. Define. Me.

I was able to have a good nursing career until 2004 (and very briefly in 2005) when I became permanently, physically disabled. Twenty years. Too short, but it still mattered.   That was what defined me.  It still does, even this many years after having to stop work.  I will always be an RN, and even though I’ll never use it again, I keep my license active.  I don’t want to say I was an RN.   I AM an RN.  I was raped, but I am a nurse.  I’m a daughter, cousin, niece, and friend.   I was never a wife, mother, or grandmother.   He took that.  But he didn’t take the things that really made my life mean something.  I was able to help people, and show some compassion.  I have been able to answer questions for family and friends who were facing medical challenges or terminal illnesses, and needed someone who they felt was a reliable resource during those chaotic and painful  times in their lives.  That is what defines me.  My mission has been, since the decision to go to nursing school, to be useful to others.  He didn’t change that.

I believe that things happen for a reason.   I also believe that I don’t always have to make sense of the reason… that God has it figured out.  But just maybe He allowed me to be raped because I won’t sit back and do nothing about his parole reviews. Maybe I can help keep someone else from knowing what this is like.  Maybe that is my purpose in this.  The rest is up to those who vote on numbnuts’ parole  status.   At least I know I did what I could.  Sometimes, that has to be enough, but I hope with all I am that his parole is denied.