Return to function

So many things go through my mind after I’ve had a bad flu or stomach bug for a few days.  It’s as though a prisoner of bad health has been set free, on a sunny day, with a gaggle of waiting family and friends to welcome you back.

Over the past 30 days I’ve made some decisions about why I continued to have nightmares and adrenaline rushes so frequently at night, interrupting my very precious sleep cycle.  Could I be causing these events by remaining loyal to medications I’ve been taking for too long? Maybe it was a theory worthy of testing?

One of my close friends is a seasonal allergy sufferer like me. She has it bad, and each spring and every fall we commiserate about how dreadful it feels to have congestion in the morning, and grisly symptoms of histamine havoc in our bodies.  Like two old pros, we began comparing our results with treatments, and I asked if she’d tried Singulair for her symptoms.  I’d been taking it for years, and it worked well, keeping sinus infections to a minimum, costing very little, and stopping the body’s response to the allergic reaction.  Lucky for both of us she had done reading about it and said “I’m anxious anyway, and I read that one of the side effects of that drug is increased anxiety, and sleep loss.”  I think the color left my face.  For years I had enjoyed the benefits of Montelukast, the generic name, and never once paid attention to the fact that it might contribute in some way to the increased anxiety I’d experienced.

In no way was Montelukast responsible for my pushing myself too hard for too many years of long haul travel, but when many little pieces come together, sometimes the aggregation can cause big, bad changes.  The words of my doctor came back to me… “take a vacation from Montelukast every once in awhile,” and my not thinking much about it because at that time I was  not suffering any ill effects of any note, I’d seldom stopped taking it, always right before going to bed.

Today marks a week without Montelukast.  I’m happy to report that the difference in sleep is positive and notable.   I fall asleep with greater ease, and I am not waking with unbearable sinus congestion though there is some to deal with.  A saline rinse takes care of the change, like using a Neti pot.

I’ve also had some great news with this return to function, that I’m feeling more rested, and more confident that I could successfully return to the work that I enjoyed so much, conducting training seminars for adult learners.  I’m so very grateful that IBM is looking at bringing me back after a 3 year sabbatical!   Living the values of a great company, valuing diversity, hiring people with disabilities, and providing a culture of great people, as I’ve described before as the highest achieving professionals I’ve known.  I’m excited again, and it feels great.  I was afraid to publish this news before now because I didn’t want superstitious jinxing to muck up my great outlook.  This is hope, this is returning to function, and this is a dream realized again– the first time over 30 years ago.

Wish me luck, and keep some hope for yourself, spreading it around if you can.  I’d enjoy hearing from anyone who has had similar results with medicines that no longer provide relief too.

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