Depression from Nadalol: life is full until it’s not.

Hello! My sweet reader. It has been so very long since I’ve sat down to write.  You see, life is just so full…

  • Homeschooling 7&8 year old boys is amazing and surreal
  • Keeping our chickens and frogs and dog is wonderful and stinky work.
  • Making a house a home takes CONSTANT attention as the gardens go wriggly and birds dig up my seeds!
  • Homeschool co-ops are a blessing and a commitment.
  • The continual search for myself beyond the words “wife” and “mother” proves a God size task.

 

Life is wonderfully full! I apologize as this just afforded me no room to write, for far too long.  I hummed along with my health conditions still buzzing in the background of life.  Doing the daily duties while working in endoscopies and appointments with this specialist and that.  Well, about a year ago I was assigned a hepatologist because I was informed my portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is a type of liver disease and I should be followed in case I may develop complications.  The first endoscopy revealed indeed, I had.  They found 3 very large esophageal varices.  They’re like varicose veins in your esophagus (the part that connects your throat to your stomach).  The protocol for this is to place rubber bands around them so they will slough off.  Then, start a blood pressure medication.  The medication is used in a sort of ‘off label’ fashion for me because I have low overall blood pressure… but, not in what remains of my portal system.  There the pressure is too high causing the bulging veins.  If the veins break, a life threatening bleed can result.  So, of course when the director of hepatology suggested I start a beta blocker called Nadalol I did just as he said.  I have two sons to raise and a full life to live. If Nadalol lowers my risk of a dangerous bleed then great!

I was told Nadalol relaxes vessel walls lowering the pressure.  I was not told the mechanism by which this happens.  Let me tell you what I know now. Nadalol blocks dopamine and norepinephrine.  Over time the receptors become dulled… and fewer in number.

But I didn’t know that then…

The first day on Nadalol I noticed I was exhausted and a bit down.  I told the director of hepatology and he advised me to give it time as my body would adjust.  The days went on and for 6 months I continued to take Nadalol 20mg once a day.  I developed migraines for the first time in my life and blurry vision.  Daily life became more and more gray.

Life was full until it just wasn’t anymore…

Depression and blurred vision are two common side effects of Nadalol.

But the prescribing doctor would not admit to this… I found this only after speaking with a pharmacist as I attempted to leave no stone unturned.  I used to be a joyful “doer” type.

Suddenly, I was just listless and joy eluded me.

I became withdrawn little by little until one day the spiritual attacks started. While standing in my kitchen chopping bell peppers the thought came over me like a storm, “You could end it.”  I was horrified. “What is wrong me?” I began to plead with God to make the cloud lift and to bring me through it. I could not understand how I would be in the grips of such an awful thought.  Just 6 years ago I fought to stay alive. I plead and prayed and begged to live.  Now the exact thing I vigilantly avoid for fear of a bleed is going through my mind as if it’s even an option.

In that moment, I knew I needed help!

Well, scripture says that God is faithful to provide a way of escape.  And He did.  Just then, my husband came through the door returning home from a long days’ work with no idea the assault I was under.  Praise the Lord the door opened.

I cried and told him what had happened. I told him I thought it was the Nadalol and I didn’t want to take it anymore. We talked about how that would be a huge risk. You know the bleed!?!

I prayed and prayed.  I contacted my hepatologist’s office. The original doctor had left the practice and a new one took over but I hadn’t met her yet.  I wrote to her anyway explaining the situation and by God’s grace she replied advising me to stop the medication.

She also never admitted the Nadolol causes depression…

We agreed the risks were outweighing the benefits.

At the next endoscopy they found not only more varices but new clotting to boot! The explanation I received for the clotting was that any time blood flow is slowed the conditions are favorable to clotting. I can only conclude the Nadalol also made the environment more suitable for clotting! Why? Well, it slowed my heart rate reducing the pressure and flow. As well, this is the first and only time I’ve developed new clotting since the sepsis that started this whole mess back in 2012. Now I cannot prove my assertion but I feel the circumstances point to the medication.

When I stopped Nadalol I experienced a week of 1-2 hour long anxiety attacks as the once blocked norepinephrine flooded my system. This went in combination with the weighty depression, blurred vision and spiritual attacks.

Thankfully, God provided a few very dear friends to come along side me through this dark night of the soul. I clung hard to the Scripture and saw every doctor I have in my care.

I was validated by my Naturopath who told me Nadalol had depression and blurred vision listed as possible side effects. I will tell you I was afraid to tell her I was struggling so. I had this notion she’d deem me unfit and send me to the hospital to be inpatient. Instead she simply said the medication caused my symptoms and she’d put me on supportive therapy to rebalance my system and stop the scary thoughts of doom and gloom.

I am more and more myself every day. I am following God’s perfect promises and resting in His care. Daily I try to create beauty in some small way and replace every fiery dart from the devil with the living word of God.

I will leave you with this great wisdom a dear friend gave me…

I am not my own. I was bought at a price.

Because of this I’m free from the bondage of sin and a servant to the almighty God. He will never leave me nor forasake me.

My friend, the same is true for you.

love,

Erica

Dear Jesus,

I’m beginning to understand why you allowed this suffering to come. You’ve shown your perfect love to me again through this awful time. I rejoice that I love myself in a new way I couldn’t before because I better understand how you see me. Oh Lord God almighty thank you for carrying me through the scary times and anxiety and fear. Your word tells us not to fear more than anything else. You know our weakness and thank you for helping me to understand your strength more and more. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

 

Advertisements

The Significance of 6! Jesus and Lego’s

There’s something very significant about turning 6! Who knew?!? I anticipated planning a party, buying supplies and singing “Happy Birthday” to our boy. What I didn’t know was that he would become a Christian and learn to build Lego sets alone.

Just a week before Hank’s 6th birthday we went through the Roman’s Road with him:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation of everyone that believeth…” Romans 1:16

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans: 623

“But God commented his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

As I read each verse and paused, looking up at Hank to see what he thought, he professed with his own words that he believed.

I have both joy and trepidation for my son. He will live the rest of his life with the perfect intercessor. He will have the Word of God to rely upon. But, he will also be guaranteed suffering by which the Lord will proof his faith like silver in the fire.

Dear Sweet Hank,

As your momma, I cannot be more proud of your acceptance, belief and confession of faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Don’t take it lightly, you will need your savior dearly at times of suffering and even in times of abounding joy. Your daddy momma and brother are here for you no matter what, to point you back to Jesus. I pray you will read the living Word of God and from it draw strength for the great purpose God has for you.

love,

Momma

On Hank’s 6th birthday, March 15th 2016, we went to Barnes and Noble bookstore and purchased The Action Bible so Hank can begin his daily discipline of reading the Word of God. I am proud of him.

IMG_20160315_142944_edit
Hank holding his new Bible on his 6th Birthday

The following Saturday, Hank had his birthday party as planned (despite my having recently recovered from pneumonia and three of us fighting head colds). He had a wonderful time celebrating with 10 of his good friends at the Dojo where he takes Karate. I must say I really enjoyed it too. There’s a cool joy that comes from watching your child having fun. It trumps almost every kind of joy I can think of (beside the Joy that comes from the Lord, that one wins hands down). Hank received wonderful gifts too. Among them were three lego sets.

Pardon my tangential backstory for a moment:

Several months ago, I asked Hank how he and I can connect more and he said he really likes building Lego sets with me. I took that seriously and decided I would purposely help him with his future sets. I want to do whatever I can to foster meaningful life giving relationship with my boys because I know the benefit will be more than I can measure with regards to their sense of assuredness in life. Plus, I really Super Duper love them and want to enjoy them as much as possible.

After the party we went home and started building legos. To my surprise, Hank was doing them all on his own! I was both excited for his new skill and nostalgic.

Have I missed my chance to build lego’s with him!?!?!

Thankfully, he still enjoyed me sitting by his side as I sat in awe of his ability to follow the instructions step-by-step to completion. I love him so much.

6 is significant! Hank has been maturing right before my eyes. I’ve seen him choose to be generous with his brother. When I ask him to do something, without complaint, he helps me (more and more often). He is becoming a light in this world as he learns more and more how to reflect Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for bringing Hank to you. I am so very thankful that he will have you to rely upon all the days of his life. I pray Lord for his future family too. Please bless Hank as he grows. I pray he will one day marry a woman who loves you too and together they will see their children love and serve you. Thank you for the gift it is to be Hank’s momma. In you I am delighted and humbled. Amen.