Coping with Illness

Deleting Emails

For the past few weeks (three?), my son and I (and my husband, but he’s taking care of us) have been sick with gastroenteritis. I haven’t been able to keep up with my usual writing, or with sharing mental health resources on social media. To cope with the many emails piling up, I’m deleting most of them. Yes, I could schedule sharing them, but I simply don’t feel up to it.

When I checked my email this morning, I saw that I had incurred a late fee and interest for a missed credit card payment, which I thought I had already paid online. (Called the credit card company and had the charges reversed.) If I can’t pay bills on time, I need to cut back and focus. I pride myself on managing money well (my last paid job was as an investment analyst for an entrepreneur).

Honestly, all I’ve been up to is watching TV and doing jigsaw puzzles on my iPad. Far cry from workaholic investment analyst.

My Kid Gets Migraines

My Son driving a Lego car at Legoland

My son has suffered migraines since he was at least two years old. I would regularly get phone calls from daycare to pick him up because he was sick again. We did not know what was happening. We thought that he was getting gastroenteritis, aka “the stomach flu.” Then my sister observed that when we celebrated holidays with extended family or friends – every Christmas, every Thanksgiving, every Easter, every birthday party – he would get sick, that he was over-stimulated and overwhelmed.

He still struggles. He still gets debilitating migraine headaches that land him in bed. Now, though, as a teenager, he can tell us whether his illness is gastroenteritis or migraines. He can tell the difference. He knows what he needs to recuperate from a migraine – usually sleep in a dark air-conditioned room, with a cool damp cloth over his eyes, sometimes ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Migraines are still much of a mystery. We have much to learn.

Migraine Resources

Fear of Loss

My Son as a Baby. Now He's in High School.

Thursday night I saw my psychologist over the disaster that was Tuesday. First I had her listen to the distraught voice recording I made that night. I told her about my son’s recurring gastroenteritis. He’s suffered from migraines with vomiting since he was a toddler, has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and gets gastroenteritis regularly during the winter and spring months.

I talked about how the illness and death of Melissa Nemeth brought forth defended feelings of grief over the loss of my brother-in-law to lung cancer. My psychologist asked me if I’m afraid of losing my son. I responded I don’t think so. Then I described how Melissa’s small intestines had to be removed, and she died waiting for a small intestine transplant from UCLA. At that point, I broke down sobbing, “Oh, my God!” Yes, that was exactly what I was afraid of. My son is still sick. After all these years. After seeing so many doctors. Still sick. Still vomiting far too much for any boy. Still in pain with debilitating migraines in spite of medication. Melissa’s death realized my worst fear – that I might lose my son.

On May 5th I’m taking my son to a pediatric neurologist (again), and to a pediatric gastroenterologist on June 1st. Both specialists are affiliated with Children’s Hospital. Hopefully they’ll have some answers. Please, this time, pray for my son. He I love most of all.

I’m Sick & Had to Cancel

I am SO disappointed. Woke up this morning with gastroenteritis. Not able to go on my trip to the San Franciscod Bay Area. Not able to be interviewed for Rebecca Gitenstein’s study on mothers with bipolar disorder. Not able to meet up with my old friends from high school. Not able to meet my friend and fellow bipolar blogger (I know, I know, bipolar isn’t an adjective – whatever) Dyane Harwood in person. Major bummer.