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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Allergies, Antihistamines, bvFTD ...and a kitchen project.

Here it is nearly the end of April, and I have not posted anything since February. Here is a link to my February update. There are a few good reasons, or maybe a few good excuses for not posting anything. I have been a little busy, and I have not had anything to say. I have had some good days, and some bad days as usual. I had a string of bad days all in a row which was (...)(I wrote something here which disappeared when I tried to put in a picture. Gotta love Blogger! I have no idea what I wrote, but those days were totally lost to me. Pretty sucky!)

April seems to be a difficult month for me. I have suspected that my allergies play a large part in the impact of my symptoms on everyday living, and this year just adds more support to my theory. There is plenty of research available regarding the histamine pathway, allergies, allergy medications, and memory. There isn't anything directly looking at bvFTD or other forms of dementia and antihistamines. I should probably say bvFTD (Behavioral Frontotemporal Dementia, and Frontotemporal Degeneration) just so Google knows I am still here!).

My anecdotal account is that the allergy symptoms themselves make my symptoms worse. It happens every year when the tree pollen levels climb in the Spring. I notice my short-term and working memory take an especially hard hit when my allergies are bad. I also notice a huge lack of energy and motivation when I take antihistamines. I currently take a generic for Zyrtec. My former neurologist thought that my allergies acted as a general stressor making my symptoms worse. The Zyrtec is probably interacting with my other medications, but I am not planning to t4est it by discontinuing my other meds while I take the Zyrtec. I will just get through the allergy season as best I can.

The end result is that I have a few more bad days than usual, and sometimes when I take the antihistamines I just want to stay in bed or lay around watching TV all day. I would prefer to be outside enjoying the Spring weather, but somehow on those days it is way too much of a struggle to make it out the door. Then the next day everything is fine again. It is very inconsistent. The symptoms seem to mirror depression, but I am not in the least bit depressed. I can see why doctors often misdiagnose bvFTD as depression.

Well, I have not just been sitting around on my butt this whole time watching TV. I have had a couple projects. Together, Cindy and I redecorated the kitchen. It took a couple weeks working mostly on the weekends. All we really did was paint, and move some furnishings and knick-knacks, but I am still very proud of the accomplishment. I was able to stick to it, and complete a fairly large project.

The only real time when I noticed my bvFTD was when I was doing some electrical wiring. I added a receptacle to the back kitchen, and a light over the sink. That is huge! This house is 115 years old, and it has never had a light over the kitchen sink, or any receptacles in the kitchen except a couple on the counter. Having a plug in the back kitchen is really nice.

So, I turned off the breaker that controlled the circuit I wanted to add the light to. I drilled, and ran the wires, and put up the light without any unexpected difficulty. Then it was time to add the receptacle. I cut the hole in the wall, and wired in the box. I decided to add it to an existing circuit in the basement which was conveniently located, and did not have much load on it. I turned off the breaker, and proceeded to cut the wire.

That is when things got interesting. I shot sparks halfway across the basement. OOPS! Wrong breaker! It was labelled incorrectly in the breaker-box. I quickly tested, and found the correct breaker, and turned it off. No real problem. I completed the wiring.

I turned on the juice, and the receptacle was not working. I changed the light I was using to test it. Nothing. I pulled the box out, and changed it for another. Still nothing! I figured there must be a break in the wire, so I totally re-did everything. Still nothing. I re-wired the box where I was tying into the existing circuit 4 times. Still nothing! I was really frustrated.

Then I noticed something. My bvFTD had struck again. Remember I had flipped the incorrect breaker at first because it was mis-labeled? Well - every time I tested my new addition I turned that same damn breaker back on. Never once did I remember that I was now working on the breaker right next to it. Yup! I did everything right the first time. I just turned on the wrong switch so of course it didn't work. That is how sneaky this disease is. I can still wire a building, but I can't remember 10 seconds ago exactly which breaker I switched off.

Yeah. I know it was no big deal, but it was frustrating, and a very good example of how bvFTD enters into everyday projects. Oh! There were lots of little things doing the painting and decorating. I sometimes didn't do things in the correct sequence, but nothing major. Painting is a pretty forgiving project.

I must give credit to Cindy. She painted the downstairs bathroom all by herself, and did a great job. It used to be a warm off-white, and now it is light green. As long as it is not blue I like it just fine. Of course my bvFTD intruded by making it nearly impossible for me to help choose a color scheme. I just couldn't decide on anything, so I finally just told her to do whatever she wanted - and I tell you that was scary! It worked out well.

I finally got the results of my EEG. Some overall changes noted by a diminished amplitude. There was too much noise activity from my medications to tell much of anything else. I find it refreshing to see that an EEG shown that the medications I am taking have my brain working overtime. It needs it!

In order to get the results of my EEG I saw my General Practitioner. My Neurologist, or more accurately "my former neurologist" never returned my calls. I am moving on. He didn't listen anyway, and seemed pretty clueless about bvFTD. I have a good recommendation for another neurology specialist, but I am in no hurry to go unless something changes.

Actually I saw my regular doctor as part of an annual physical,  and asked about my EEG while I was there. Except for my triglycerides being elevated (as usual), and having bvFTD, I am fairly healthy.

Somewhere during the past couple months we managed to host a Murder Mystery Party - OK - actually Cindy did all of the work, but I was there - and in spite of bvFTD I think I did as well as anyone else. Everyone, including me, had a great evening.  Also mixed in there were some visits with friends, and a Birthday celebration. Easter was a nice family dinner at Cindy's brother's house. I managed to make it through the day, but was ready to leave when it was time to go. The Saturday before Easter was what I would consider a rough day. Mostly I napped. I don't remember if I did anything else. That is indicative of the way things have been this Spring.

I am still taking Aricept, Namenda, and Ritalin. When I do not take them even for a couple days I notice a huge worsening of my symptoms. Everyone else notices it also, so at least for now I am going to continue taking them. in spite of the occasional side-effects. Right now due to tight finances I am not taking any additional supplements except occasionally some pomegranate juice.

Cindy, Gracie, and I are doing well. Of course I have days when everything is a challenge, but between Cindy and Gracie my rough days are not as difficult as they used to be. Well - at least for me!

Some days are better than others, but most days are good.unpleasant, but I managed to get through it.

 Following are a few pictures. I tried to put them into the post, but this blogger program is totally screwing up the placement, moving everything around, and randomly deleting text where I put a picture - and then it still moves it to the beginning or the end. As a former programmer all I can say is ...OK - I won't say that!. ...so- I am just gonna stick them here at the end and let you sort them out.


Front kitchen before

Back kitchen after.

For the first time in 115 years this room has a light and plug

Gracie likes Spring!

Crocuses mean allergy season has arrived

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