I have found out in the past year that I have chronic kidney disease. My levels have been pretty much constant since 2003. The nephrologist has told me that years of lithium use may explain the CKD that I now have. The good news is that creatinine levels and eGFR levels have not progressed that dramatically since 2003. I have been on clozapine since 2008.
I have also found out yesterday from the nephrologist that low blood pressure can be as damaging to the kidneys as high blood pressure. My PCP never mentioned that and never caught it that my levels were too low when I brought in a journal of my blood pressure levels from the last year plus earlier in March 2023.
This serves as an alert to all my friends taking psyche meds and other meds out there. Please double check with your psyche doctor and your PCP about your psyche med impacts and their side effects and other meds (like high blood pressure meds) and their side effects. I would hope this information would be taken into account when we are prescribed certain meds we need for mental and other health stability. Does not make sense that we would have to take a hit on our physical health just to get the right psyche meds.
The more information we can gather the more we can make an informed choice about our whole health. It appears that whole health requires we look at all meds we are taking and be sure side effects are kept to a minimum.
Please keep informed! Please keep well!
Asking about memory issues is popular on my blog, so I thought I would start a similar discussion on weight gain.
Back in 1985 when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was prescribed a combination of lithium and tegretol. There was a five to ten pound weight gain associated with those meds. With a diligence for exercise I managed the weight implications associated with lithium without a problem. As long as I stayed on lithium off and on until about 2004 my weight seemed largely manageable.
Fast forward to 2004 after the birth of my daughter. I never got off my baby weight. Also due to the postpartum depression, I suffered additional weight gain in that I ceased to be motivated to run 4 to 5 times a week. In fact, I am doing well now to get a short walk in.
In 2008, I was prescribed clozapine / clozaril which largely became therapuetic for me but also was associated with a good bit of weight gain. To this day I am 20 to 30 pounds heavier than I want to be. I also want to be walking regularly. In addition to the meds’ impact on weight, I began to eat as a nervous eater and a stress eater. This did not help with the weight issues.
I am hopeful if I can jumpstart myself back into an exercise regime, I can begin to address the weight-gain and the stress eating. Because my daughter is pescatarian we largely eat healthily as a family but portions are too large and snacking is too much.
Becoming a Mom has been the greatest gift God has ever given to me.
I got married at 38, got pregnant at 39 and had my child at 40. I often talk and think about how as a person with a behavioral health diagnosis I have done everything “late.” I have to talk with myself about how life events like graduating from Ivy College or graduating from Business School or obtaining my professional project management certification may have occurred on God’s timeline rather than on my own.
Perhaps I am not late in achieving these life events any more than I am early in my perceptions or thoughts about time and matter and anti-matter. Perhaps all of these thoughts and events and timelines are under control with the ultimate project manager – God himself.
Still, I have a hard-time accepting that these successes are on God’s timeline rather than my own. I want to be able to say “I’m normal” and therefore “my successes have occurred in the way I have prepared for, planned and executed.” In reality these successes are contingent upon allowing myself some “grace” and the opportunity to pursue my accomplishments in an elongated timeframe. There are many goals that I have currently that I continue to pursue – the message to myself along these pursuits is that God is in control of these developments, even though I would prefer to be in control myself. I would prefer to be in control just as that ten-year-old child within does so as perhaps despite myself to take full blame when things don’t go according to plan. If my child within is six and/or if God is in control, I am no longer in control of the outcomes of my life. If I give my life over truly to God, then every outcome including the potential for child abuse at age six is part of his plan for me and I need not accept any particular outcome as “my doing” or “my fault.” Perhaps my role in God’s eyes is to tell my story of abuse so that others will not have to endure such happenings or at a minimum can feel some solidarity surrounding those events.
So it was with having my daughter — the biggest accomplishment of my life. For years, I heard that Lithium was contra-positive toward being pregnant and carrying a child. For years in my twenties and my thirties, I asked to change my meds so that I might be ready once I got married to carry a child. When I met my husband, we talked at length about the fact that bipolar illness has a huge genetic component and that there would be some risk of passing the illness along to my child. I considered this strongly and even looked into the idea of surrogate eggs and surrogate Moms. In addition, there was a study occurring at a local university hospital which posited that risks to the fetus for heart impacts associated with lithium use by the mom were grossly overstated. My husband was not keen on the surrogate or adoption alternatives, so about 7 months after we were married, we started to try through traditional methods to get pregnant. I was 39 at the time. I believe that prior to this time, I may not have been ready to be a Mom, at the same time I do not really advise people to wait too long to have kids. My husband and I were very blessed to become pregnant within two months of trying. For most people at the age of 39 in vitro and other pregnancy/fertilization tactics would have been needed.
Even amidst the throes of postpartum depression and related problems, having my daughter in my life and experiencing her as part of my family with my husband continues to be the greatest blessing in my life. Even now in the midst of the teen years and our occasional head-butting, my daughter continues without a doubt to be the love of my life tying with my husband.