pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
The Vyvanse got less and less effective as time went on, and it was impossible to tease apart how much of that was physical acclimation, how much was psychological, and how much was the additional strain from gastro-intestinal ragnarok. Now that the stompocolypse is over, we can better analyze.

First, it did not go quietly. I finished on 10/30. But that was just the stomach/large intestine apocalypse. My doctor has been on my back to do a test for the small intestine since we met in May, but it involves both several steps and fasting and I don't cope well with either of those things. But I wanted it done and I was already taking a long weekend for Samhain and I decided to just do it, and the agony it induced justified time I've ever pondered fasting but decided I couldn't do it. I was very literally shaking by the end of it. That was Saturday morning, and I spent the rest of the weekend recovering. I also took the weekend off from Vyvanse as well, and then started my new, higher dose on Monday.

Here is what I have noticed so far:

  1. Even with the raised dose, it is not quite the magic of my first few days on Vyvanse. That is unsurprising but still disappointing.
  2. Despite the lack of super powers, the dose is high enough to disrupt my sleep. That's well within expected parameters and it may well dissipate, but I miss the time when everything was wonderful at no cost.
  3. And by no cost, I mean no side effects and a nominal amount of money from me. I looked at what Vyvanse costs retail and Jesus I have amazing insurance.
  4. It appears to cost the same no matter what your dose is. Maybe they don't have to worry about pill splitting for schedule II drugs? It annoys me that the FDA has defined any variability in how much I take in a day as fraud of one form or another.
  5. I've stopped using the HCl pills, but use a lot digestive enzyme pills.
  6. My aversion to protein and ravenous desire for fiber that came in the last days before gastromaggedon haven't changed much. I'm nudging myself to eat protein, but it's hard going. What I really want is fiber. All the fiber. Soooo much fiber. I feel like I'm trying to slow down the food in my GI tract.
  7. I stopped wanting junk food about halfway through stompocolypse, and that's stuck around. It has been replaced with a desire to eat all the grapes in the entire world. Grapes have fiber.
  8. Also, for some reason, salmon, which work has steadfastly refused to provide me in the quantities to which I wish to become accustomed. Of course, I was done with salmon after two pieces of sushi, which is not so impressive compared to that entire bag of grapes I just ate.
  9. Between the slow release meth and the four horsemen moving through my stomach, my adrenal glands (never the strongest) were shot. I was really afraid I had pushed myself back to where I was in 2009, and wouldn't be able to keep taking the pills that make my brain actually work. The fear is bad enough I am just assuming that if my doctor AND the lady at the health store both this completely untested herb will help, it must be true.
  10. After three days off I'm feeling a lot better. I was already planning on one dark day a week, I might up that to the entire weekend, at least for now.
  11. Two medical professionals have commented I just look healthier. It's possible they're confusing healthier with thinner (I'm down 25 pounds from June, which is 5 pounds below what I think of as my set weight), but I'd believe my skin and constitution look better too. Maybe I don't look quite so overwhelmed all the time.
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
It turns out that it was not so much illness affecting my stomach as my stomach affecting an illness. I mentioned an attempt to treat my digestive problems as an aside to my Ode To Vyvanse, but three weeks later the stomach treatment is a much bigger influence on my life. The treatment could best be described as "we had to destroy the village in order to save it." The weapons may be particularly effective against H. pylori and my mystery parasite, but mostly we are rooting out everything so as to leave my stomach an empty canvas, on which we can paint the ecosystem of our choice.

This was all going fine (module moderate cold-like symptoms) until my two week check up (it's a 30 day treatment), when I told my doctor things were going fine, and she upped my dose significantly. Now I have a lot of gastroitestinal... not pain, but ickiness, discomfort, and nausea. My cold symptoms are alleviating only slowly, and the nausea gets much worse if I'm in a moving vehicle. I'm back to not really being able to digest protein, even with *a lot* of pills. I went through $40 worth of digestive eynzymes in 4 days.

For a while I was treating this with Pepsi, but ginger tea has supplanted it. Unfortunately the loss of caffeine plus inevitable attenuation to the Vyvanse means my ADD symptoms are returning. Not as bad as they were, but enough that they're a burden.
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
I am leaving my families cell phone plan, and need both a new phone and a new carrier. Carrier wise, month-to-month plans are both cheaper and yet the only place you can get unlimited data. I'm concerned, but it's probably fine. But I don't know how to pick one, so let's look for phones first.

First, I look for phones with physical keyboards, but those no longer exist. Fine, can we at least get one that fits in one hand? Using http://smartphones.findthebest.com/ , I enter the following constraints: android 4.2, <4 inches, 4g. There is one phone. It comes with " Samsung's own TouchWiz interface and apps suite on top" even if you buy it unlocked. This discourages me, until I stumble on a post explaining to me that if I want stock android with timely updates, it's a nexus or nothing. Beyond that, it's just a matter of how much bloatware. A friend informs me that samsung and HTC are the worst offenders, although you can get stock HTC one through the google play store, for a mere $650 dollars.

Okay, let's relax and allow android 4.1. That brings up several more samsungs (bloatware), a ZTE imperial that will only run on US Cellular (never heard of it, I check, it's not a good carrier), and LG Adapt (Verizon only). Still no good.

I hadn't realized bloatware could come from manufacturers, I thought it was just carriers. Become outraged. I accept that my relationship with carriers, like airlines, is about them delivering me the worst experience they possibly can while I pay them as little as possible. But if I am buying an unsubsidized, unlocked phone, it is *my* phone and it will behave accordingly. Further realize internet uses bloatware to describe custom skins, which do annoy me but at least it's not ruining my porn TED talk viewing experience to auto-update an app I don't want it to install. Decide to stick to principles and buy stock phone, if only because it narrows down my choices.

Check http://smartphones.findthebest.com/ again. The only nexus with a screen < 4.5 inches is 29 months old.

Look up size of too-big current phone (4") and just-right previous phone (3.7). Sigh.

Go to google's website, only place guaranteed to have stock phones. Hate device store with violent burning passion. Take *many* seconds to find and check prices on all phones. HTC one and Samsung galaxy S4 are $600 and $650 respectively. Nexus 4 is much more reasonable $200-$250, if only it were still for sale (kudos to google for designing the page such that the thing it does not have in stock is the only phone it appears to be selling).

Check Boost and Straight Talk. Neither offers a nexus, unclear what a nexus would need to be compatible with them. Remind self that phones are returnable and one month of a prepaid carrier is not that expensive. Check virgin mobile and discover it has a 3.5 inch phone with qwerty keyboard. And it provides unlimited data for $35/month.

Look at unlocked nexuses on amazon for a while.

Call virgin mobile, discover they don't work with outside phones. Call Boost, same deal. So my choices are now a nexus on straight talk, or the keyboard phone on virgin.

An amazon question says the nexus 4 will work on virgin, but I don't believe them. I could probably take an existing sim card and put it in my own phone, but they won't sell me a sim card without a phone. Find an article listing the best carrier-intermediaries for your nexus 4.

Decide I really like the idea of not being locked into a single provider and am still angry about the bloatware thing. Consider waiting until upcoming nexus 5 announcement before buying phone. Decide I can always return phone or hope credit card has price matching. Order phone and straight talk sim card.

Marvel at lack of analysis paralysis, and how I don't feel exhausted even though research took forever.
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
The only negative side effects I've had so far are a lightheaded feeling (which be a sinus issue), drinking a lot of water, and mild diarrhea (which could have been caused by the new digestive system treatment my normal doctor gave me, which I started at the same time. it's not an idea experiment, but I wasn't willing to wait on either). Of those, only the water consumption is still around.

Unexpected positive side effects include significantly reduced back pain and needing dramatically fewer magic food pills (could be the digestive treatment, although our initial guess was that that would make me temporarily need more).* I still enjoy r/trypophobia a great deal, but r/AdviceAnimals is just stupid. When browsing article-heavy subreddits, I actually read and appreciate the articles and don't feel an internal clock to get back to reddit itself.

The Vyvanse very definitely wears off. It's startlingly obvious if I'm doing job-work at the time, but I can eventually tell even if I'm doing something lighter. Vyvanse is well known to cause sleep disturbances, but in my case the only problem is that it isn't present to prevent late-night internet fuckery cycles. Once I break out of those, I fall asleep just fine, possibly even better. And yet I'm waking up earlier, and engaging in less phone internet fuckery before hauling my ass out of bed. To be clear, I am more awake and focused and able to act before I have taken the pill. Either some of it is sticking around overnight, without disrupting my sleep, or whatever system let me get anything done before is able to do a better job now that it's not bearing the weight of the entire world. And even the late night internet fuckery cycles are a little more focused and a lot less facebooky.

I still haven't had a full day in a room with the co-workers with no indoor voices, but I did go to a convention hall full of screaming children yesterday. Given the choice I would have done without the screaming children, but their presence felt more like a tax on my enjoyment and less like an overwhelming assault.

Part of me thinks I could do with a higher dose, but my stomach says that would be pushing my body too hard right now. I need more protein. And now I have the wherewithal to make that happen even on days work is not feeding me. And by "make that happen" I mostly mean "ask my boyfriend to cook for me", but that is still one more step than I was managing previously.

This was a triumph/ I'm making a note here, huge success

*Digression: my doctor's hypothesis is that I have an infection of H. pylori, best known for causing ulcers. There are two tests for H. pylori, and I tested positive on the less conventional of the two. I also tested negative for every known parasite but there is some DNA in my poop that should not be there, so I maybe have a parasite. The conventional treatment for H. pylori is massive doses of antibiotics plus a proton pump to raise stomach pH. It's an apocalypse for your digestive ecosystem and doesn't have a very high success rate. There is no conventional treatment for bonus DNA in your poop.

My doctor (ND, not MD) has prescribed some pills with herbs and spices in them. A cursory search on google scholar indicates that people have in fact studied these spices as anti-H. pylori agents, but the studies are small and the results are mixed. It's still fewer side effects than the conventional treatment, so I might as well give it a shot.

Given that magic food pills work by lowering my stomach pH, and part of the treatment is raising it, my doctor warned me I might feel really icky for a while. I delayed the start such that I'd be finishing the 30 day treatment on Samhain. We'll never known now, because I happened to get into my psychiatrist on 10/2 and I was not going to wait on the Vyvanse in order to let the secret recipe pills work in isolation.
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
I've been on stimulants of some sort twice before- cortisol for hypoadrenia (I spent the first night vibrating like a hummingbird and didn't eat or sleep a week and then it was pretty much like normal except I could wake up in < 2 hours) and suadfed + armor thyroid + cortisol (doctor said it was okay, but three hours pacing around the office followed by collapsing under my desk say she was wrong). Vyvanse doesn't feel anything like either of those, or the jittery feeling my doctor warned me I about. I do not feel sped up at all. There is a mild lightheaded feeling, similar to after a good workout, and my back has a lot less pain and tension.

I was way more productive at work today, but I was also much, much happier. I could actually stick to what I was doing and produce something. I don't even want to look at facebook because it's so noisy. I didn't put on music all day either. It's easier to get into pleasure reading. Even when I was taking a break, I stuck to one thing a time rather than jumping back and forth.

But the biggest difference is that a problem I didn't notice I had is now gone. It used to be any time I had a thing I wanted to do (say, code a thing that does a thing), and it took a second or a step longer to complete than I thought it should, I'd feel like a failure. It should be done, why is it not done, it's not done because I'm stupid. It was the GTD loops theory, that your brain doesn't understand the concept of "working on", it just knows what should have already happened. But I only felt that while I was working on the thing I needed to do- there is no deadline or end goal to reading tvtropes, so I wasn't failing at it.

Things like e-mail or even facebook used to give me a little productivity ping, which was awesome. Real projects never gave me that on account of the constant low level feeling of failure.* I haven't done the exact math, but it feels like I'm getting the exact same number of local productivity hits as I was before, but now they're in a thing I actually wanted to produce. I think this explains some of my compulsive phone use in meetings- the second we weren't making progress towards The Goal I had to go find something I could Accomplish, even if that thing was liking a picture of a cat in a boot.

I haven't tested it with the co-workers with no indoor voices yet, but other people and their associated noises felt easier today. Exchanging mandatory pleasantries no longer feels like people are stealing from me. My ability to sit still and connect with my body** has gone up, which is pretty much the opposite of what I expected. I'm naturally more aware, and I can connect and listen deeper without feeling overwhelmed.

It's supposed to be a 12 hour pill, but it very clearly starts wearing off around 8 hours in for me, and is gone by 10. Suddenly everything is hard. I'm back to fucking around on the internet. Nothing sounds fun.

*A friend of mine more or less banished the sims from her life for this reason. It's major selling point was a quick hit of productivity. Do you know when that is most fun? When there is a large, unpleasant but mandatory thing you are avoiding.

**not a euphamism for masturbation

ADD

Oct. 3rd, 2013 08:12 am
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
Long story short: I started treatment for ADD yesterday*. I've joked about having it for over a decade, when I went to a psychiatrist it was high on the list of possible diagnoses, but for a while it looked like the magic food pills would cure it (it being a lot easier to focus when your body isn't constantly on the edge of starvation). Recently, that hit a wall. Why this happened is an open question. I initially blamed the open office, but I've been in it for months. Psychiatrist suggested it was a side effect of all the dietary + digestive improvements I've made recently- that there's a mass die off of the bacteria that thrived under the old regime, and that this is stressful for everyone but especially for me because of my bad copies of the MTHFR gene and also I was starving for 25 years, and that one possible side effect of this is worsening sound sensitivity and less executive function. On one hand, this sounds like the kind of bullshit naturopathic practitioners use to explain away anything they don't want to deal with. Sort of an eastern "it's stress." On the other hand, I did start spontaneously sucking down massive quantities soda after three months of not missing it.

My doctor's attitude on the whole ADD thing boiled down to "yep, those are a lot of symptoms. Take these pills and see if it helps. If it doesn't we'll try something else, if it does keep taking them, but stop every once in a while to see what happens."**, which is exactly what she would have said if she didn't suspect ghost bacteria were causing the problem. I like this doctor

Yesterday was day one of taking Vyvanse, which is in the same family as Ritalin and Adderall (ampthetamine salts), but more on a more gradual release schedule, which makes it both more effective therapeutically and less useful recreationaly. My observations so far:

  • it's significantly less powerful than cortisol, in that I'm not vibrating my leg while quietly saying "zoom zoom zoom" under my breath for minutes at a time. There is sort of a lightheaded feeling, but I'm not jittery.
  • The DEA has arranged a catch-22 so archetypal they should be congratulated and then hanged. Schedule II prescriptions can not be phoned in, you have to physically pick them up. That's okay, because for the first few months I have to see my doctor every 30 days anyway. Eventually she will be allowed to write me Rxes for three months at a time. But not one Rx with two refills- three different pieces of paper, which cannot be given to the pharmacy ahead of time. Because if there's one thing ADHDers are good at, it's not losing things they won't need until a month from now.
  • I am typing very fast.
  • Frustrating work things have not magically become easy. I am not even focusing on them for any longer than I was before. .
  • OTOH, I went 7 hours without checking facebook or my non-work e-mail.
  • I am drinking a lot of water. Hard to tell if that's a dry mouth, responding to dehydration, or I'm newly able to sustain the focus to get water refills.


I don't know whether I have a serious problem that I have mostly been able to mitigate with substantial gifts (primarily in the raw intelligence department), at the cost of a lot of hidden pain, or if I'm buying into the pharmaceutical-industrial complex's idea of what a worker should be, and drugging myself to uphold their ideals when what I need to do is simplifying my life. On one hand, I have wonderful friends and a job that is so much better than what most people have that it, in a statistical sense, doesn't exist. I'm not, Hyperbole and a Half style paralyzed by ADD. I'm not wetting my pants because I can't focus long enough to get to the toilet. I'm not the friend of a friend whose ADHD rendered him unfit for any employment beyond target. For fuck's sake, I graduated from one of the most difficult universities in the country with a double major in two of their hardest subjects.

On the other hand, I'm functionally incapable of feeding myself anything that takes more than 2 steps, the only reason I don't have a Bernard Black style meltdown when asked to mail a letter with a stamp is that I don't have the energy, and I job-hop at a rate that would be prohibitive in any other field. My social interactions are significantly hindered by the fact that I react to boredom like most people do physical pain- and oh, the fact that they actually are painful due to the misophonia, which is entangled with attention issues. I feel like I have a lot of potential that is twisting in on itself until it chokes, and that is not the same as feeling like I'm disappointing my corporate overlords. I don't need to be as severe as any of the examples in the previous paragraph to benefit from help. How I did at school 10 years ago does not negate how I am doing at work now.

So I will take the pills and see how it goes. They will probably be less revolutionary than the magic food pills, but maybe they will help.

*ADD technically doesn't exist anymore, it's been rolled into ADHD. But I'm not hyperactive, and my symptoms best match inattentive-ADHD, which I am considering renaming to "AHDH for lazy people".

**This is pretty much the only psychoactive medication for which that is a good idea.

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