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anxiety career Coping skills Dog Donation hearing hearing aids mental health mental illness NAMI Recovery schizoaffective stock stress

My Week

Image: Yorkie with words you just won a free pet portrait from I’ll shoot your pets a $250 value!

I was at a Halloween event at Hala’s Paws pet store in Mission Viejo, CA. I entered raffles and won 2 prizes. A Target gift card and a photo shoot of my dog by I’ll Shoot Your Pets located in Temecula, CA. They came over to my house to take pictures bringing a toy and treats to get his attention. Raider was pretty cooperative, but grew restless by the end. He was laying on the couch so the photographer took pictures of him there. The pictures turned out great. I had the choice of a large canvas photo, 3 8×10 prints or a ceramic mug. I have a large picture my niece made with pastel on wood, so I opted for the 8x10s. Here is the link to the photos.

https://galleries.page.link/Q9XLV

I own a small amount of shares from a company I used to work at in the 1990s. I received a package in the mail of documents that they want to buy the shares back. I want to sell. The only thing is I misplaced the certificate and it is over $100 to replace it. Then I can sell and make a small profit. My friend says it does not sound legitimate. The company is definitely buying the stocks back. He just thinks I should be able to do it all electronically. I have never sold stock or tried to replace a certificate. I have the holdings statement. I am going to look through our files this weekend and try to find the certificate.

The hearing aids are in limbo, my primary dr got them authorized but it is not with the right company, so they are working to get that straightened out. I will have them by the end of the year. I just don’t know when. They can’t order without the insurance authorization so for now I am just waiting.

I am going on a walk for NAMI Orange County, CA tomorrow. I am bringing a friend and will see people I know there. I have a fundraiser on Facebook and the Nami walks website. I have met my goal and will add to my collection of T-shirts.

https://www.facebook.com/donate/326881332539007/?fundraiser_source=external_url

https://www.namiwalks.org/participant/359276

The position I applied to transfer to changed from full time to per diem weekends so I withdrew. I will keep my eyes open. Fortunately, I like what I am doing now. When I told my friend I was anxious just deciding if I should apply he said “ don’t suffer twice”. I wish I knew how to turn off precipitatory anxiety. Now, I can relax.

Have a nice weekend!

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career Coping skills hearing hearing aids mental health mental illness Recovery schizoaffective schizophrenia stress Therapy TikTok work

Will it be too stressful?

Image: STRESS spelled out in scrabble

I have been stable for 15 years, but I have really decreased stress in my life. I find that when stress increases my symptoms can increase. I did not work for a few years after diagnosis. Then, I volunteered part time for years. I have been working part time for 6 years and I am doing well.

I found out about an open position at my work. It is higher pay, but more responsibility and full time. I put in a request to transfer and am waiting for an interview. I have no offer yet, but I am starting to worry if I am doing the right thing. (My opinion does not represent my employer). I want to ask my psychiatrist his opinion on taking on more, but he is out of town.. I emailed therapist but I don’t know if she will get back to me.

I have a delay with the hearing aids. The audiologist contacted my insurance and they said I have no coverage. That did not sound right, so I called. I have a $1000 allowance but it needs authorization from my medical group. I asked my primary care and she said she is not the one to ask, I had been referred to an ENT when they sent me to the audiologist so I don’t know if the ENT is supposed to get authorization. I am hoping I get them before the end of the year.

I am still doing TikTok videos on coping with schizoaffective disorder. Username Schizoaffective Dog Mom. I used to do live Periscopes. Few people came, but it was fun. TikTok has a live feature, but you need to have 1000 followers (I have 50). I guess it does not make sense to go live with no audience, but I am a little bummed I can’t use that feature. I have enjoyed viewing live videos.

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ALLERGIES earwax hearing hearing aids

Can you hear me now?

Image: Scrabble Spelled out Hearing

I have been having trouble hearing soft sounds for years.  I get a lot of wax buildup so I have to get my ears cleaned periodically.  I finally told my Dr I am still having hearing problems after my ears are cleaned out.

She referred me to an ENT.  I went today. The first thing I did was see the audiologist.  He did all kinds of tests and concluded I have hearing loss and need hearing aids

The ENT agreed.  I made an appointment to have a consultation on hearing aids next week. They may be covered by my insurance.

I am congested from allergies.  I take Claritin D and Flonase. He said I should not still be congested and prescribed  another spray.

I am glad I will be able to hear conversations now. I don’t know much about hearing aids and if they are a hassle or just like glasses.

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anxiety Coping skills Dog insurance mental health mental illness schizoaffective Therapy TikTok

TikTok @Schizoaffectivedogmom

I made my first TikTok video https://vm.tiktok.com/ZM8DvPD97/ my username is @schizoaffectivedogmom I wrote a blog post early on about coping skills called Coping with Schizoaffective Disorder https://lorib434.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/coping-with-schizoaffective-disorder/ so I am starting with a series on coping skills. The first one is my dog because he is the best. He is cute and funny and likes walks and being pet.

Image: dog on bed

I will keep blogging. The reason I was drawn to TikTok is that I went to an online NAMI CA conference and someone recommended a few users on TikTok. I liked what I saw and would like to add to that. I am older and not very technologically adept so we shall see how long I last. I did make some periscope videos when those were a thing, but few people came.

I am doing well. I just took my dog, Raider, to a Halloween event at a pet store. They had treats for dogs and people, lots of dogs dressed up, raffles, an artist, a dog rescue with the cutest puppies. Raider gets nervous but he seemed to have a good time meeting the other dogs. I just put a bandana on him. I entered the raffles. One prize is a portrait of your dog which would be awesome. We have one that my niece made that I love.

My health insurance, including behavioral health, changes Jan 1. My psychiatrist takes the new insurance. My therapist doesn’t but can apply for continuation of care and if it is approved the new insurance will cover her. Otherwise, I found someone highly recommended who takes the new insurance but retires in 2023. I was really anxious at first but now I am calm since it should work out.

ETA: hey I won the pet portrait from I’llShoot Your Pets (gotta love the name). So excited! and a Target gift card.

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Dog Medication mental health mental illness moderation schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety

In Sickness and In Health

Image dog on bed

I have had sinus congestion and headaches off and on for a couple of weeks.  It is finally starting to clear up.  I swear I have a barometer in my head and get headaches when it is about to rain.  We had a storm with thunder and lightening and then my head started to clear.

 

My husband and I went to San Diego for a couple of days to celebrate 25 years of marriage.  Mental health issues can be hard on relationships and I am glad we have been able to get through all of these years.  My daughter stayed home with the dog.  I don’t think she missed us but the dog did. We mostly relaxed and ate.  Everything was walking distance from where we stayed.

 

The first night we went to a restaurant, Rockin’ Baja Lobster.  We were there at happy hour.  I went way off my keto diet  and even had a few drinks.  The next day we had lunch at a Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao.  It was fancy but we just had the salad bar. It was pretty filling.  That night we went to a dueling piano bar, The Shout House.  That was a lot of fun.  They called people up on stage which would have embarrassed me.

 

Now we are home and getting back into our routine.  My mother in law is taking us out tonight and then I go back on keto.  I plan on going alcohol free until April.  I belong to some Facebook groups for moderate alcohol drinking.  I asked about any live groups and was told about one over zoom.  I went, but when I told them I drink twice a year the host was surprised and I felt like I did not belong.  My issue was, I am not sure if I want to expand on that, but I think I figured out what I want to do on my own.  I am keeping alcohol out of the house, but if we go to an event where I am not driving I am giving myself the option to drink.  With Covid there have not been many social occasions.

 

I have health insurance through my husband’s work.  They decided to change insurance companies coming in January.  Our PCPs are in network but behavioral health is different.  As far as psychiatrists, I have been on the same regimen for years so I mainly just need someone to refill my prescriptions.  But, I have so much trouble finding a therapist I click with.  I like the one I have now, but she does not take the new insurance.  I have been searching but I don’t know how to look.  I found one therapist who is great, but is retiring in 2023.  I am not sure if I want to start all over then.

 

 

 

 

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Calories coconut milk yogurt diabetes Fitbit intermittent fasting lactose intolerance Medication Myfitnesspal Uncategorized

Making coconut milk yogurt

Image. Coconut Milk Yogurt, luvele.com

I recently discovered I am lactose intolerant. I just bought a yogurt maker and was making yogurt with half and half, which was a simple recipe, but now I am trying to switch to coconut milk. So far, I have had little success. I have made gelatin, which tasted okay but was definitely not yogurt. I had a batch that did not set and one that turned out sour. I used them in smoothies. They are fine to eat, but not what I am looking for.

I am using this recipe https://www.luvele.com/blogs/recipe-blog/best-dairy-free-gut-loving-coconut-yogurt-recipe. It does not seem too complicated but I am having trouble. I have a new batch going now. Fingers crossed it works. They have a different recipe that uses coconut cream that I will try next if this fails.

I probably would give up and just buy non dairy yogurt, but I want to use the maker. I don’t know what else it could be used for.

I have been making green smoothies, too. I drink them most mornings now. Our blender died after 20 years so we got one that makes smoothies and is durable. I put in ice, soy or coconut milk, spinach, cucumber, coconut milk yogurt, ginger, chia seeds, plant protein powder and blend. It is pretty filling.

Image coffee mug with coffee and coconut milk, green smoothie

My weight has been stalled since I had a medication change in June, but my glucose is good and I am in ketosis (on ketogenic diet). I had been logging my food on Cronometer but I think it was overestimating my energy expenditure so I switched to myfitnesspal. You enter your foods and it calculates the calories, carbs, fats, protein etc. I am not perfect at logging but it gives me an idea of where I am at. I have it linked to my Fitbit and scale.

I am still doing 14 hour fasts. It is not too difficult for me. I have not noticed any changes with fasting. I do feel a lot better now that I am not having much dairy.

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coconut milk yogurt diabetes Digbi Health DNA lactose intolerance Virta Health

Going Dairy Free

Image bottle of milk and glass with red circle and slash

I am in a weight loss program with Digbi Health. I found it looking through programs offered through my insurance. Unfortunately, they do not cover me because I have type 2 diabetes and they refer me to other programs. I called to find out why it is not covered and the sales rep explained that to me and gave me a discount that expired that evening. I thought about it and maybe impulsively signed up.

I am still doing keto. Digbi recommends a lot of veggies with meals and I am having trouble staying in ketosis but my glucose is okay. I want to find a way to work the Digbi program and Virta keto together. I tried asking both how I can blend them but I guess I was not clear because I have not got much of an answer from either program.

With Digbi they do a dna and gut biome analysis. I got the dna results. Some things I found out are that I am lactose intolerant and my blood pressure changes with sodium intake. I have been making yogurt with half and half and have had some digestive issues but I had not put the 2 together. I tried making yogurt with coconut milk and it became gelatin. Not sure if that was the recipe, the coconut milk brand or me. I am going to try a different recipe next time.

I don’t know if i have to avoid all dairy or if things like heavy cream and cheese are okay. I found a sub on Reddit. They were helpful, but they told me it is an individual thing. I got some lactaid tablets, too.

Some other things I found out were vitamin and mineral requirements, like I need more vitamin A and Copper. They don’t test levels, it is how you metabolize. I also have a lot of weight gain tendencies which just means I have to be diligent. Apparently, I have high heart capacity, poor flexibility. I found it interesting. I am going over the results with my coach this week.

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anxiety Calories depression diabetes Donation intermittent fasting keto life lessons Marrow Medication mental health mental illness schizoaffective schizophrenia stigma Weight loss

Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Stigma in Plasma Donation

Image of insulin and glucagon levels over time source Digbi Health

I saw the image above of how insulin drops between meals and while fasting. While insulin is low, glucagon can burn body fat. I was intrigued. I am 10 lbs away from a healthy BMI, but still have abdominal fat. I am type 2 diabetic and asked my doctor if fasting would be safe. My glucose is pretty well controlled and I don’t have hypoglycemic episodes. She said it is fine, but recommended 12-14 hour fasts. Which is mainly cutting out the nighttime snacking and eating breakfast later.

So far, no change. My weight has been stalled for awhile. My diabetes medication was reduced in June and my biometrics went south. Glucose up, ketones down, weight up. Thankfully, that stabilized but I can’t get my weight to go down. I log my food on an app (Cronometer) but sometimes I estimate weights. I am going to have to get better at calorie counting to start losing again.

So I am gung ho on intermittent fasting. Watching Dr Fung YouTube videos. Then, I saw this study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34135111/
A randomized controlled trial to isolate the effects of fasting and energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic health in lean adults

All I can see is the abstract and I heard a review but this is what I got out of it. There were 3 groups. One calorie restricted, one calorie restricted (same as group 1) but alternate day Fasting and a third group with no calorie restriction. The calorie restricted groups both lost the same amount of weight but the non fasting group lost more fat.

It was a short study 4 weeks, I think, and these were lean adults. Also, they were doing longer fasts than I am. But, I don’t know what to make of it. I would have expected the fat loss to either be similar or more for the fasting group since they have lowered insulin during the fasting period. if anyone has any insights let me know in the comments. I will stay with 12-14 hr fasts and keto diet for now.

I tried donating plasma at a donation center. I tried calling ahead to ask about restrictions but they do not give that information over the phone. And, they don’t take appointments for first time donors so I had to walk in and wait. For what it was it was not too bad. First someone checked my veins, which are fine. Then I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork. Then, I watched a video on plasma donation and read through a manual for first time donors.

Then, a woman, I don’t know her title, took me to an office to go over my paperwork. She got to the medications and asked what each was for and looked them up in a huge book. I take 7 medications for various conditions. After she goes through the medications she goes over them with me.

Most were fine. I take antidepressants but as long as anxiety and depression are under control it is fine. But, I take metformin for diabetes. She said that is a temporary deferral. If I was off it for a year I could come back. I don’t know what the likelihood of me maintaining my diabetes by diet alone is, my husband is able to, so possibly. Then she got to abilify which is an antipsychotic although it is sometimes used along with an antidepressant for depression. But, I told her I take it for schizoaffective disorder. That is a permanent deferral.

Bone marrow donation has the same policy. It is not the safety of the product. They consider me a safety hazard. I have been stable for 15 years but still people are afraid of me because of a diagnosis. They should have a sign out front: schizophrenics need not apply. So, I would not have had to waste my time.

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CGM diabetes empathy keto mental health mental illness support Therapy

Empathy Postcards, CGM, and my week

Image Cover of Empathy Postcards

As part of a gift in a gift exchange I was given Empathy Postcards by Emily McDowell. It reminded me of a time I was hospitalized for my mental health . In art class I made a card to myself. No one brings cards when you are you in the behavioral health unit. I think they just don’t know what to say. These empathy Postcards are perfect for times like that. I think I will use them for friends when they are having a rough time.

Image if this is God’s plan, God is a terrible planner (No offense if you’re reading this God. You did a really good job with other stuff, like waterfalls and pandas.)

I also was given some keto friendly snacks, a little stuffed poodle that looks like my dog, dog treats and a nice note.


As far as keto, things are going well. My labs were good last month, so.my Dr took me off of one med, Januvia. Everything went wacky for a few weeks. My weight was going up, glucose went higher than when I started keto and I was out of ketosis. My Dr gave me the option to give it a couple of weeks more or to go back on Januvia. I decided to see how it goes in a week. It started improving. My weight started dropping and fasting glucose lowered. I am back in ketosis


I asked my coach from the program I am in, for type 2 diabetes, Virta, about a CGM, continuous glucose monitor. The Virta Dr called in a prescription for Freestyle Libre 14 day sensor. I got a voucher from the freestyle libre US website to bring to the pharmacy. It is a free trial. My insurance won’t cover more sensors but I am getting a lot of data. My glucose drops in the early morning and then rises. The sensor does not always agree with the fingerstick. It reads interstitial fluid. The range is set at 70-140 mg/dl and I am in range. I am going to lower it to 126 to see if I can tell the difference. It has a graph but it is hard to read. It is small. So far the biggest rise in glucose is just from waking up and not from my food. The app lets you write notes to go with the readings.

I have sleep apnea and wear a dental appliance. After my dentist adjusts it, he orders a home sleep study. I have done about 4 so far. I did one this week and have seen the results. I wore a t-shirt with tennis balls that is supposed to keep me in my side but the device read as if I was on my back most of the night. I still have mild apnea with the appliance so he will most likely adjust it more. It is not painful but it gets uncomfortable the more he moves my jaw forward and it takes time to get it back in position in the morning.

I talked with my therapist this week. She asked how much time I spend online. I don’t know so I told her that, but it is a lot. She said she spends an hour. She wants me to keep track. I don’t have to change but she says I should know. I like her but don’t like her assignments



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anxiety Co-occurring job keto Medication mental health mental illness peer support psychosis schizophrenia support Weight gain Weight loss

The Keto Roller Coaster

Image of roller coaster

I have been on a ketogenic diet for about 5 months to help treat type 2 diabetes. I was taking 2 medications. Metformin and Januvia. I am monitored through a program called Virta. I have a coach and a physician through Virta, it is all done virtually. There is also an online community for people on the program. It is covered by my insurance.

At the beginning of this month I had labs that my endocrinologist had ordered. The results were really good. A1C of 4.8 and fasting glucose 98. Everything else was normal, too. For some reason my endocrinologist office cancelled my appointment so I had to reschedule for August. The Virta dr said that I could try going off Januvia since my labs are so good.

So, I go off Januvia and everything goes screwy. I get ravenous at night and have to eat after dinner. I had been slowly losing, now I am gaining weight. My fasting glucose is higher than before I started keto. I test my ketones and they are low. I chatted with people in the community and they tell me to stick it out, that my body will adapt. I am not so sure. I put in a message to the Virta dr to ask for his opinion but I won’t hear until at least Monday. I did not even know if the Januvia was doing anything but I now notice a difference without it.

I rarely talk about work, but here I go. My opinions do not represent my employer.

I work in peer support in a 20 bed mental health crisis stabilization unit (CSU). I have worked in peer support at an activity center for people with mental health issues and in a residential program. The people we see are much more symptomatic than I had worked with in the past. I am available to talk and offer groups but I don’t get much interaction because people want to sleep, are too symptomatic, want to be left alone etc.

It is a new facility and peer support is a new position for my employer. I have been there about 5 months and still have not found my footing. My boss is aware of the issues of people not wanting to interact and told me to keep being available and offering groups. She is going to give me some additional duties once they are approved.

It also can be anxiety provoking when patients are loud or aggressive. I am not involved with dealing with those situations but I feel tense. I help out where I can. I like the place and what we do.