Author Archives: Tessa

About Tessa

Teresa (Tessa) Smeigh at 60 plus is still going strong despite her disabilities affecting both physical and mental abilities. She has bipolar disorder (mental), Fibromyalgia (nerves), degenerative disc disease (spine), and arthritis (joints). Her new journey's include Diabetes controlled by insulin. She is also working on 2 fiction books (mysteries). The books will probably never be finished. She keeps her blog filled with useful content, occasional devotionals (She is a Christian), stories and poems. Plenty to keep you busy. She has also been interviewed by blogs and had other posts published on many different blogs. She is from Southern, NJ. Her family and blog keep her busy.

Life after a stroke from a daughter’s perspective.

I can’t possibly imagine what my dad is going through. He survived the main stroke plus multiple mini-strokes before it. At first we were astonished at what he was able to remember. We just passed the 4 week mark and he is going downhill and then uphill and then down again over and over.

Everybody is still talking as if he is going home. I participate, but having trouble really believing it. His memory is getting worse. If he goes home he is going to need someone there with him. None of us including him, my sister or I have the funds for a 24 hour nurse. Will he get well enough to just need someone to check in on him during the day. I doubt there are funds for that either. What if he tries to cook for himself. He will want to drive. I can’t see either of those happening.

They gave him a goal of 4 to 5 weeks to see what is going to happen next. Maybe he will surprise us and make a grand recovery. Not impossible, but highly unlikely. This is a hard time to go through. Not knowing what he will be capable of. I know they have no idea at this time and they did say that he is moving forward so there is possibilities that his recovery might be better than we originally thought. We have days when he doesn’t want to live although I have noticed those thoughts are not being expressed as often as they were in the beginning. He is doing what they ask him to do. He is just going with the flow because that is what they are telling him to do and we told him that he has to listen to the doctors and do what he is told.

Him having a stroke never really crossed my mind. I am not familiar with strokes and I always thought it would be his heart giving out. He had two heart attacks at the ages of 59 and 61. Now he is 86 and his heart is essentially fine. He could stroke out again and they watch him for any signs of that happening.

Hard being strong and putting on the strong personna and not letting him or anyone know how scared I am of this whole thing.

Tessa – advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work mostly although occasionally I do add something new here), new work is mainly on this blog


Crazy Sleep Cycles

All my life I have dealt with irregular sleep cycles. There is no rhyme nor reason to them and no predicting them.

If I don’t have plans during the day I don’t care what hours I sleep because I just sleep when I am tired. However with all the doctor appointments and the visits to my dad at the rehab facility I don’t know when I will be sleeping. I am taking naps whenever there is free time as I am feeling so drained and exhausted. It could be partly due to the meds I am taking although they tend to change over time so I can’t pin it to a specific medication.

If I lie down and I am not ready to drop off to sleep my brain just goes round and round and the racing thoughts drive me crazy. This is due mainly to my bipolar disorder. Also due to my fears that something is going to happen and so it runs through my mind non-stop. When I do get to sleep I usually suffer from nightmares. Horrible ones at that. If I sleep more than an hour or two at one time I am usually shocked since that is not normal for me. If I sleep for more than 6 hours straight it is even worse because there are more bad dreams and I am confused when I wake up.

Sometimes I just watch the clock go around and around and around. That is pretty bad also. And I usually fall asleep just before the alarm is set to go off. Nothing helps me get to sleep anymore. I take it when I can get it.

Tessa – advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work), new work is on this blog

Why Fibromyalgia May Worsen Period Pain?

Why Fibromyalgia May Worsen Period Pain?

Back during this period of my life I had extremely painful periods and they were very heavy. Part of the problem was due to having Fibroids or on my uterus. They decided not to remove them so I lived with this problem most of my adult life. Thankfully I went into early menopause. It was so heavy I had to wear a super heavy tampon and 2 thick pads and change every few hours. No wonder I dragged myself around during this period of my life. I was losing a lot of blood, but the drs were not concerned, but it seems to me that blood loss that heavy would take a lot out of me. The cramps always affected my back too. To top it off I had pains in the middle of my cycle. I was told that was the egg dropping down. I gave up on OB/GYNs a long time ago. I do not get a checkup and internal exam anymore and haven’t for over 20 years. My daughters make sure they go regularly and that is good for them, but I got tired of the nonsense.

Yes I understand that they can find cancer earlier if you have regular checkups, but the way I figure it, if I am meant to die from it, no amount of constant checkups would matter. I believe that my life is already mapped out by God and when my time is up, I will go and not before. Besides I am tired of going for all these checkups and something weird showing up and they get me all upset that I might have cancer and it is nothing. Biopsies are painful, especially when the anesthesia they give you doesn’t work. I will take my chances.


Tessa – advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work), new work is on this blog

Extra pain pills helping pain, but making me sleepy! Stroke and memory loss!

I kept dozing off while at the rehab center with my dad. We had a family care meeting to see where he stands.

Right now if he went home he would need a nurse 24/7 (not affordable).

Their current goal is to have him functioning with help in 4-5 weeks as they say he is making progress. Maybe physically he is, but what about the memory loss. He doesn’t know how many children he has. He doesn’t remember his address (I am fairly sure his driving days are over anyhow). He is slowly losing his birthdate, which is important in all things medical and I doubt he remembers his social security number. And now he is asking for my mom’s birthyear. So that is also disappearing. Who knows what else that hasn’t come to our attention yet.

He is in a diaper as he can’t get to the bathroom in time nor use a urinal though that doesn’t surprise me as he is in a diaper that he can’t get off anyhow. We have to hope they know what they are doing.

He feeds himself with his opposite hand due to his left side neglect. Trying to teach him to remember to turn his head with his food tray as he doesn’t know what is on his left as it doesn’t occur to him to look there without prompting. I have also been working with him to turn his plate as half of it is on the left side which he doesn’t see. I find it hard put to think he could do this again on his own. We don’t want him in long care rehab or a nursing home, but it looks like that will be happening. We do not mention it. We still talk as if he is going home.

I haven’t cried yet although a good cry would help clear the air some. He’s lost his dignity and just does what he is told.

This sucks!

Tessa – advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work), new work is on this blog

Stroke update! My pain update!

Dad is experiencing forward movement in some areas, but is going backwards in others. He is losing his memory slowly but surely. He no longer remembers how many children he has or the street he lives on. He knows me and my sister are his children or maybe I should say he remembers us but maybe he doesn’t make the connection that we are his children at times. There are 3 of us although my brother is in another part of the country and too far away to visit. Mys sister and I see to his needs.

We found a nice subacute rehab facility. It has large rooms, looks more like a bedroom than a hospital room. AND they do his laundry for free. Yea!

And that brings me to my problem. The parking lot is really far away from the entrance and then he is all the way down a long hall. They are built out on one floor rather than up. That walk is making the pains in my own body much worse and I can’t go every day, not that my sister or he want me to anyway. They both told me to not be so intense and to take care of myself. They only have one handicapped spot and it is taken usually.

My spine pain is much worse and I can feel it move. The pain dr wants a new MRI to see what is going on in there. My last one was in last September. This puts surgery back on the table as a possibility. She has increased my pain meds from 1 to 2 meaning every 3 hours I am taking either a Percocet or a Tramadol. I have to write down when I take them to keep it straight. 4 of each every day to help alleviate some of the pain since Percocets alone are no longer working.

Tessa – advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work), new work is on this blog

What are the treatment options for Fibromyalgia? Also my opinions on Bipolar Disorder.

What are the treatment options for Fibromyalgia?

Now some of these make work for some people, but in my experience most of us do not respond to any of these treatment suggestions. And the side effects can be worse than a cure.

I have been allergic to some, for example Savella, caused me a terrible rash. Not just hives, but a very nasty and sore rash on both arms when I finally stopped it and it went away.

Cymbalta did not help my Fibromyalgia, but at first worked on my Bipolar depression and then 8 months later I developed psychosis which seemed to be the Cymbalta. My Bipolar Disorder is another problem on its own. I am currently stable and have been for a year or more now. I take Remeron (anti-depressive) and Trilofon (an anti-psychotic). Anyone one taking just an anti-depressant who has Bipolar Disorder or who develops the symptoms should see their psychiatrist and check out taking an anti-psychotic with your anti-depressant because used alone someone with Bipolar will usually see an increase in manic cycles. This wasn’t known when I first was treated with medication for my Bipolar. Now I know why I had such extreme mania. Just remember everyone is different and I am not a doctor just a long time sufferer of Bipolar Disorder (started when I was just a little kid).

Tessa – advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work), new work is on this blog

The positive side of a stroke!

3 weeks ago as some of you know, my dad, had a stroke. My sister and I had never really dealt with a real live person with a stroke. We didn’t know what to expect and I suppose we still don’t really. Every day is a new challenge.

In the scheme of things, his stroke was not catastrophic. He has good and bad days and two good days in a row we celebrate.

He is like a child again and has to be retrained in things we take for granted. We look for the little things that show we are still going forward. His stroke was in the right side of his brain and therefore his left side was affected. He “neglects” it.

We started taking him out in his wheelchair for a walk around the facility and to their outside porch. We pointed out trees and cars and the hospital across the way. He perked up some. That was a good move. Who knew? He seemed so out of it and we just let him be.

Today he went to a new facility. A sub-acute rehab center. When I talked to him over the phone (we have to hold our cellphones up to his ear with the speaker on) he told me about the move and what number his room was and that my sister had gotten him a window bed. He wasn’t there last weekend. There is more hope. We have to learn to re-stimulate him in an interest in his life and future as it is not his time to go.

We have a long road still ahead of us, but now we feel he has an interest in that road and will slowly walk it with us.

Tessa – advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses, also devout Christian

Author – (this blog contains my old work), new work is on this blog