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Side Effects

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:53pm
I promised to continue my story so here we go...

There are a few things I forgot to mention about what I went thru after my first and second surgery. First of all, vision problems. After my first surgery I had a couple of vision probs. I had some blurriness and double vision. One day when the physical therapist took me for a walk I started to see double. I didn't feel dizzy or anything, just saw double. I told the P.T. and she made me sit down and she took my blood pressure and it was fine. After a minute or so she took me back to my room. The double vision wasn't constant, but it was annoying. When the doc finally came in to see me- it wasn't my doc, but his partner- I told him about it. He said it sounded like a side effect from the Dilantin - the anti seizure medicine they had me on. He changed the dosage and the double vision stopped. The blurred vision continued.

I went to see an Opthamologist about the blurred vision. he said I had 20/20 and the blurred vision was probably a side effect of the surgery and that if it didn't go away in a few months to come back. It eventually went away.

I also started to get twitching on my left side, similar to how it felt when I was having seizures, so I told my doc. Blood tests showed the Dilantin was not staying in my system the way it should so they took me off Dilantin and started me on Keppra. The twitching continued, but not as often or as bad.

After my second surgery- which was for the infection- the blurred vision came back. And I started to get this weird pulsating pressure in my head. That also went away, but then came back a couple of weeks before my 6 month check up MRI- which showed that my tumor that was removed had started growing back in two places. At first the doc wanted to do gamma knife, but it turned out I wasn't eligible so I needed surgery, again. I was now up to 4 tumors. But before that MRI, when the pulsating pressure came back, I was still working and getting very stressed. Work was hard and my on set help wasn't helping as much as he should have. I should have made him, but I had already asked my boss to talk to him about it and had already talked to him myself and nothing worked. My boss even said that if we couldn't get along he would fire us both. I didn't want to cause any probs so I tried to just do it all myself. I got really stressed and it started to show, and it started to effect my health. I was trying so hard not to lose my job, that I think I caused myself to lose my job. This is when the people at work stopped being so helpful. The higher ups used my condition against me. They made me take a medical leave. They said I was snapping at people and that the crew was afraid of me. They were saying things that weren't true and I believed them because they made it sound like I was going crazy, memory lapses do to my meds, anger caused by my meds, etc... I was so upset I was in tears! I really thought I was losing my mind!

I cried a lot the next couple of weeks. I had nothing. All my friends were working so I had no one to talk to and nothing to do. It finally hit me that I had brain tumors. I had successfully kept myself from dealing with it while I was working because I had something to do, something to look forward to- I love doing my job (although I really did not like that particular show)- and I was always surrounded by people. It makes it much easier to deal, or not deal for that matter, when you are always surrounded by people who care about you. At home alone I had no one to care about me. I couldn't do anything with my friends because they were always working and when they weren't they had their own lives to deal with. I don't have a significant other, or even a "best friend" so I am not really a priority on any ones list. Yes if I really need something, I am sure I could find someone to help, but at that point in time I felt completely alone. I started to see a Psychologist and even she didn't know what to say to me. She really couldn't help me. It was nice to have someone to talk to but she felt sorry for me, I think I even brought tears to her eyes once or twice.

A couple of weeks after I left my job I realized that not everything they had said to get me to leave was true. I admit that I was touchier than usual, but I never yelled at anyone. I don't think anyone was afraid of me, though they might have been afraid for me, seeing how stressed I was getting. I think I said something out loud that upset someone in power and it cost me my job. I was very vocal about my feelings on the way the show was run and I think the wrong person heard me. I think that person took advantage of my condition to get rid of me. Maybe that's just paranoid thinking, but who knows, I just know that I wasn't as bad as they said. And I don't blame my boss. He only knew what he was told and unfortunately I do believe there might have been one or two people who would have lied to get rid of me. And, although it still really upsets me the way I was treated, I now know that it was for the best. I think the stress I was having at work, mostly because I was too busy trying to prove myself instead of asking for help, made my tumors grow back faster and leaving work may have saved my life.

It took a long time to realize that though. Most of August was spent in depression. I wasn't so depressed that I couldn't do anything, but I did cry a lot. I questioned my faith, but then I realized that like at work it doesn't pay to ask why- there usually is no logic behind the way things are done on set, at least not that we on set can see!- that asking why would not get me anything but frustration in this situation as well. And I wasn't asking "why is this happening to me" I know that things have to happen to someone, I was trying to figure out why I was all alone during all of this. For years I have been praying for someone to come along to be a support system. I used to drink a lot and I would pray for a support system to help me stop. I drank because I was lonely. When I had a close friend I tended not to drink as much. But it has been at least 6 years since I had a close friend, a best friend. And I have never had a significant other so I prayed for someone to be there for me and my prayers were never answered. Yes I have friends and they have been great during all this, I couldn't have survived without them, but I still don't have someone that I can call at any hour that would be here for me in a second, regardless of why I was calling or what I needed. I have tried reaching out to the friends I do have, and yes they are supportive, but the truth is they have their own lives with their own best friends and significant others and can't always make time for me. I completely understand that. Plus in the industry that most of us are in it is hard just to make time for anything, so I do understand, I am not blaming any of my friends for how I feel. I am just stating facts that although I have many supportive friends, I do not have someone who can be there for me whenever I need them. That makes it hard to survive sometimes. Like why I am still here. But I have learned that it doesn't get me anywhere to ask why. There may never be an answer to "why." I have been learning to live on my own, which is about time because I have been on my own for years, but I think I am finally accepting it. It helps that I cannot drink. I am not able to drink my way thru life because of the medication I am on, so it forced me to accept my situation and move on. I am now concentrating on myself and what I want and how to make myself happy. And as much as I would love to go back to work, I am not rushing into it just to be around people. I need to make sure I am well enough first.

Well, I am drained for now, but there is more to come...
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