So today is 3 months since my life was saved!
The last few weeks I have spoken a lot with my mum and others about this summer. I'm still learning about my journey through other people and often get random flashbacks from differcult times that I think naturally your brain makes you forget. Like woman who go through labour, they tend to forget months or years later how awful it was compared to how they coped and felt at the time!
I'm often told that it may hit me soon as I am coping amazingly emotionally compared to others who have had a transplant. I've always been a very positive person to be honest though and when I get times where I feel low, or struggle I tend to voice them to those closest to me and it's my way of dealing with the problem, and getting over it, I process it all and then I feel so much better!
But I have to say this didn't happen this summer.
There were days before I got my transplant where I would just lay in bed on my bipap, staring at the wall in my hospital room, life was so differcult I didn't even have the energy to think anymore, I was numb from everything and I can honestly say I've never experienced "depression" and I've always been very skeptical about how easily people use that as an excuse for feeling a bit down or having a rough day, but in all my life I can honestly say if that was even a tiny bit of what it feels like to be depressed, I feel for people who struggle each day with it because it's a dark place to get into!
I also became very anxious and suffered a lot with panic attacks, another thing I never really had a problem with. I use to get my self in mini panic attacks if I would walk up my stairs, I would do it so quick to get it over and done with but after my heart would go crazy and my sats would drop and I couldn't get any air into my tiny barely working lungs, and would feel panicked, but I would always be able to get a grip of the situation and calm everything down quickly.
Where as in hospital the weeks leading up to my call I was out of control. ESP if for any reason I would have to take my bipap off my face to eat or drink or take my tablets. I remember the psychologist Melissa saying I should start some tablets to help, but stubborn me refused as I didn't want to feel out of control and not me! You hear so many stories of certain tablets making you lifeless and have no emotion at all. I didn't want to not be in control of my emotions. ESP at this time of my life, I needed to be thinking straight and stay focused, focus on getting that call and keeping myself alive!
However post transplant a week or so after being back on rowan ward and dealing with the struggles of recovery I needed help! I was waking up in the middle of the night panicking I couldn't breathe and needed oxygen, even though my sats would be 97 and I was totally fine! Other nights I would wake up having nightmares or fast dreams or people chasing me and I'd wake up in such a panic, I thought my heart would explode I couldn't calm myself.
Every time I closed my eyes and drifted off I would just wake up in a mess. Another night I woke up breathing so fast I didn't think I could breathe properly and buzzed the nurse to turn oxygen up and get me a Ventolin neb because I was convinced my lungs weren't working. I was totally fine but my head was still in old cf lung mode and hadn't caught up with everything. It's the trauma from such a big operation too, these are the things no1 warns you about, yet so so common after speaking to others who have gone through the same thing!
I gave in to the tablets, I started 10mg of citalopram and I can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made!!
I was told it would take a few weeks to kick in, and to be honest I wasn't expecting m much and was ready to just feel emotionless but calmer, but the complete opposite happened!
I felt like George again! I was getting so down about being stuck in bed with all my tummy problems too, I was thinking the worse, I was convincing myself my new lungs wouldn't work and I physically couldn't do anything because I was so weak I couldn't stand on my own two feet, I couldn't barely sit up on my own without the bed helping me. All of the things that would normally be such simple easy tasks had been taken away from me. I was so weak I was a Skelton and I was mentally beaten. That's why I kept off social media for so long, I could t face people and everyone had built me up to be this big strong "inspirational" person who never let things get to me or moan. Yet I felt like that George had become lost in all this misery of recovery!
But once I started the tablets, I had my strength mentally back, I had the fight, when the tummy situation even slightly improved so did everything else. I got up on my own two feet (very wobbly) but I did and it just got better and better. I got back on Twitter and Facebook. I started watching tv again. The panics of waking up in he night stopped, the nightmares stopped, I completely broke away from my oxygen. And everything just felt right! I started to embrace the fact I had new lungs and life was starting to get good!
I think when we have a transplant we want to be this big strong persona who can get through it all and doesn't need help! But this isn't something little, we haven't just had something minor. We had an organ taken out of our body and replace by another one! Mentally that is going to fuck us up! And that's fine, it's nothing to be ashamed of and its not something we should feel disappointed or beaten down by because it's all part of the process. I get that now and once I accepted that I felt stronger too. We are also on steroids and emotionally that makes you slight depressed so having these tablets kinda stop the steroids from making you feel down. Maybe not for everyone but certainly has for me!
I'm not ashamed of being on these tablets, you have to be strong mentally to get through this! And they make me feel like George on a happy day so that's a good thing for me! I'm happy and I know if I needed to stop them I would be more than happy too. But right now I feel this is all right and going well. Don't fix what isn't broken!!
Anyway that's my little reflection and thoughts on that
So good to hear you talk about this! I too had dreadful anxiety during a scary stay at The Brompton, I would truly not wish it on my worst enemy. I had a real sort of "o buck up" attitude before but really it is waaay beyond that! I was so anti medication, you hear such terrible stories but like you had to give into it in the end. It was also the best thing I ever did! I'm on 50mg of Sertraline and I LOVE it ha ha certainly do not feel numb just me on a good day and no panic! So glad to see you are doing so well! RxReplyDelete