Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Glimpsing the Rainbow

"Nobody ever had a rainbow baby, until he had the rain..."
-Jim Croce

I've loved Jim Croce's music since I was about 12. He was a great singer/songwriter who really knew how to use words. I've just recently started to listen to Big Jim again and can only wonder what he would have done with his life had it not been cut short at 30.

It's been about two months since my last post. It's been a frustrating and finally rewarding time. Lots of rain and not too many rainbows...

As of one month ago I am now off of the anti-seizure medication Tegretol, which is a good thing. In the mean time I've been battling some episodes of anxiety and insomnia. Not exactly panic attacks, but intense anxiety, especially at night after I go to bed. I'm not sure if they are related to coming off Tegretol or are related to symptoms I was having prior to surgery (I don't think this is the case) or perhaps some PTSD-ish stuff. Whatever is causing them, they're not fun. Also, I feel like my balance is off. Not exactly dizzy, but just a little off at times.

Initially my GP prescribed Paxil to help with the anxiety. I picked up my prescription, then decided not to take it after reading that coming off of Paxil can be difficult for some people. Because the anxiety wasn't happening every day, but maybe just a couple times a week, I asked if there was something I could take as-needed rather than a daily med like Paxil. So, the GP gave me Xanax instead. Xanax definitely calms my nerves enough to let me sleep when the anxiety gets bad. I've taken it about 6 times in the last month or so. It seems like the episodes are slowly becoming less frequent or less intense as time goes by. Or maybe I'm just learning how to manage it.

Whatever is going on, I am clearly not 100% back to the good old me. And perhaps this is the new me and I won't ever feel the way I did before all this started nearly a year ago. I feel different. It can be difficult to concentrate and sometimes I can't come up with the words I'm looking for. I also feel like it takes more effort to think and solve problems.  If this is the new me, I'm having a hard time accepting it. I suppose only time will tell and I'll just have to wait and see what the future brings.

Monitor Pass, July 2010
On a brighter note, the creative part of my life is slowly moving forward. In October I taught a planum printing workshop at my home to a small group of very kind people. That was a good warm-up for a 4-day workshop I taught in Yosemite in early November. The Yosemite workshop was fantastic. My dear friend David Eisenlord came out from Minnesota to help me with the workshop. It was great having him there. It's nice to have such good friends who "have your back" when you need it. The six students in the class were fun and enthusiastic. And they were kind enough to cut me some slack when I needed it. One of them happened to be a massage therapist, and that didn't hurt either. Well it did, but in a good way.

El Capitan, Yosemite

Bridal Veil Falls

El Capitan

Bridal Veil Falls

So, on I go. Always thankful to have my beautiful family who are there to prop me up when I can't stand alone and loving me, even if I'm not quite the same "me" that I used to be. And thankful for my friends who show their friendship in so many ways. To my friends that are going through your own health and medical issues, hang in there and don't be afraid to ask for help. I don't think I'll ever be able to repay all the kindness that has been sent my way, but I will try.

Happy Thanksgiving.

I am a lucky man.