Topamax TS medication wasn’t for me

So for the first time in more than 15 years, I decided to try some medication for my Tourette Syndrome. I had heard about it, and so I decided to give it a try. It’s called Topamax, and fortunately I decided to keep a daily journal of all the positives, negatives and generally how I felt:

Day 1 – 50mg: Not much difference, slight relaxation in tics

Day 2 – 75mg: Body tics noticeably better, face tics same as always. Very tired, bad taste in my mouth, and my heals feel like they are falling asleep (pins & needles)

Day 3 – 100mg: Body tics much better, facial tics remain the same. I have to chew gum to counter act the nasty taste constantly in my mouth. Sometimes I find it hard to focus. I also find myself bored easily

Day 4 – 100mg: Same as yesterday. Foods taste weird. I no longer enjoy the sweet sweet taste of coke and red bull. Sometimes feel a bit jittery. Tiredness beginning to subside. Over all I do like the way I feel aka lack of tics.

Day 5 – 100mg: I constantly lose track of what I am doing. I constantly misspell things. My memory has gotten a lot worse. I hope these side effects even out. My mind no longer races with 50 thoughts at once

Day 6 – 100mg: I find that my OCD is no longer what it used to be as shaving my head and parking my car (perfectly) are both next to impossible

Day 7 – 100mg: A dull headache and frequent sick stomach plague me. Nothing overwhelming but defiantly noticeable. Occasional dizziness, possible depression? Not sure yet.

Day 8 – 100 mg: I sometimes find it hard to talk, and when I am done talking my mind feels “empty”. My whole body buzzes occasionally. My lips tingle. I am starting to miss what makes me “ME” Not sure if this all is worth it.

Day 9 – 100mg: Went to men’s breakfast at church, when it was over we went to go up to the upper building to watch a video but for some unexplained reason I ended up at my parents’ house 15 miles away.

DONE WITH TOPAMAX

Side note — Though I enjoy the feeling of being “normal,” I find it to be quite boring!

I just got interviewed and shared about my TS!

Whew! So I just got done doing an interview with the wonderful Ms. Angelica Carrillo from KCBY news, as she was looking for someone who wanted to share how they’ve overcome suicidal thoughts — so I volunteered! I shared how I have Tourette Syndrome and how I dealt with the depression that came from it and the thoughts of suicide in my teen years. I’ll post a link to the interview as soon as it becomes available!!

My Story: “One Twitch At A Time” part 8

Here’s the continuation of my story, which I started posting on here a few months ago and initially started on my One Twitch At A Time page on Facebook.

On Sunday, Dec. 6, Joyce and I hit the road with only our essentials crammed into my dumpy old Subaru Brat. The drive was long and scary, mainly because I had never done anything like this without my parents before and Portland was a totally foreign place to both of us, but we wanted to prove we could make it on our own and nobody or no place was going to stop us.

As we rolled into Portland on Sunday night, it had begun to snow — something I had never really had to deal with — and by morning there was roughly 18 inches covering the city. So on Monday morning I chained up the tires and slowly made my way to my new job.

Obviously we had no place to stay yet and we were at the mercy of local churches. Our first night was at a hotel paid for by a local church, but the second and third night was spent in the tiny cab of our Subaru Brat. Yes it was cramped, uncomfortable and cold, but we weren’t giving up.

Joyce would tag along with me to work and spend 9 hours in the Brat reading and listening to the radio. Thankfully, God provided us with a camp trailer in a church parking lot to stay in until we got on our feet. We stayed there for a little over a month and even had our first Christmas there. It was small but cozy and we knew it was only a little longer until we could have our own place.

Just after New Year’s 1993, I was finally able to sign the papers for our first place. I remember Joyce and I sitting in the middle of the floor of the barren apartment with nothing but two sacks of clothes and huge, proud smiles our faces. We had nothing but we had all we needed. Eventually my parents were able to get all the contents of my old bedroom up to us so we spruce the joint up a little.

Now, Portland was an entirely different world than good ol’ North Bend, and soon things began to take their toll on me. I had developed a dangerous case of road rage while dealing with the PDX freeways, and the various “Nudie” bars began to become an all too frequent part of my agenda. I knew this stuff was becoming a problem but didn’t know what to do about it. My walk with God was nonexistent at this point, but that didn’t mean He wasn’t looking out for me.

Joyce was a big fan of one of the local craft stores, and while browsing through one of the aisles, I heard some nature sounds being played through the store. It instantly reminded me of back home, and the smell of the natural twigs and branches in the aisle hit my nose, further reminding me of home and then something in me SNAPPED — I looked over at Joyce and said “Dude, we gotta move back home!”

Now, of course, she thought I was crazy — we both knew how the job market was back home — but at the same time we both knew we didn’t want to raise kids in the big city. So after almost 3 years we packed it up and moved back home. I remember laying there the first night back thinking about the job I had given up & about the 401k I given up and said to myself, “What the hell have I done?!?!?”

I was able to get various part-time jobs here and there and we were able to make it work, but we both knew something was missing. We’d been married for 4 years at this point and things were getting rough. It seemed as though our marriage was falling apart and nothing was working. Even my favorite time of the year, Christmas, seemed to have lost something. It was only by the grace of God that we made it through 1996 — commonly referred to as “hell year.”

Joyce & I were able to work out the various problems the year had thrown at us, though it would take years for the scars to fully heal, and we decided it was finally time to expand our family. We’d always talked about our future children, and giving them names, personalities and even faces, but we never felt like the time was right until then.

After a few months of trying and failing we began to get discouraged, but as Jeff Foxworthy once said, “If there’s anything to be a failure at… ” Moving on, we kept at it and each month hoped for the best. Finally, one night Joyce took the test but didn’t have it in her for another disappointment, so I decided to check to see if it was one line or two.

Moments later Joyce knew something was up when the talking turned to silence, then from silence to a strange noise she had never heard me make before. She came in to the bathroom and with tears pouring out of my face in a way that had never occurred before I showed her the test and squeaked out “WE’RE HAVING A BABY!”

My Story: “One Twitch At A Time” part 7

Here’s the continuation of my story, which I started posting on here a few months ago and initially started on my One Twitch At A Time page on Facebook.

I know it’s been more than two months since I posted part 6, but the past couple of months have been a tad strange/difficult. Foremost, we had a death in the family so that took most of my attention, and after that I was just not “feeling it” because of personal issues, then I got straight up l-a-z-y.

But I’m back on track now. I’m going to try to keep them more Tourette’s-focused, as I noticed that the past couple of installments seemed to veer away a bit to much. So here we go …

I had managed to scrape up enough money to buy an engagement ring but I had no idea what size to get it in, so I embarked on several attempts to covertly measure Joyce’s ring finger. After realizing what an impossible task it was I just took my best guess and bought the ring. So with ring in hand I invited Joyce out to my house and led her out to my old go-kart track.

I remember just how clear and starry the night sky was that night, everything was in place and I was moments away from one of the biggest crossroads of my life. We talked for a few minutes, but I’m sure she knew something was up, so in the middle of the old track I got down on one knee and asked the most wonderful, beautiful, smart and caring woman in the world if she would marry me.

Much to my relief she said “Yes!!” so as I slipped the ring on to her finger I realized that my estimate of how small her finger was waaaaaaay off, but it didn’t matter because I was now ENGAGED, something I never thought would ever happen to me in a million years. My whole life the world had told me I was worthless and nobody would want me, and God came along and said “Oh yeah? Well check this out Billy” and gave me the perfect fit for a soul mate, for a lifelong friend and for a wife, He gave me Joyce.

Now neither of our families were particularly well off so as far as the actual “getting married” part we were not really sure how or even when it was gonna happen. By this point it time Joyce and her Dad had had a bit of a falling out and so my parents offered to let her stay in the camper we had until we were able to get married and out on our own.

Meanwhile, my mother had been planning on taking us with her on a trip down south to San Diego to visit friends & family and was a little concerned that may look a little odd for us to be “together” but not yet married, so one early July morning we all met in the kitchen and out of nowhere my mom says, “Hey, do you guys want to get married TODAY?”

We were genuinely surprised at the offer but we knew it was a golden opportunity so we jumped. Later that day we were standing in the Coquille County Court House exchanging vows, Joyce in her best white and blue dress and me in my best Levis and tank-top, the only thing missing was an angry father with a shotgun!

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my job at McDonald’s was never going to pay enough for us to get out on our own but I had no real skills or experience, so I was rather limited on what I could do. Then one day in October 1992, Joyce’s step-cousin-in-law came and told me about what sounded like the perfect job for me — it was warehouse work at an industrial hose company, it was full time, paid well and had good benefits, so I took a shot at it and went and interviewed then waited. And waited. And waited some more.

So I decided if they weren’t going to call me, I was gonna call them. So for the better part of two weeks I called every day and finally in what I’m sure was a desperate effort to shut me up they finally said, “Yes we will hire you, you start Monday.” I was ecstatic, I was married, I now had a real “grown up” type job and things were looking awesome. The only thing was, the job was in Portland, Oregon…

To be continued …

My Story: “One Twitch At A Time” part 6

Here’s the continuation of my story, which I have posted on here over the past couple of weeks and started on my One Twitch At A Time page on Facebook.

Fortunately, Mok was able to brace himself and avoid getting thrown from the car. He got a huge bump on the head and a nasty raspberry on his arm. I, however, did not fare so well — the back of my head was busted wide open, my nose was split open, my left eye was cut open and almost took out the eye, there was a gash under my right eye, my tail bone was cracked, and there was enough road rash to make any motorcycle rider cringe.

I remember coming to and not being able to see anything as my eyes were crammed with dirt and sand, and I had the worst headache of my life. My dad’s buddy (also named Bill) was one of the EMTs first on the scene, and he recognized the car and must have deduced that I had to have been Toms’ son.

He was talking to me and in usual “Billy Dibler” form, and I was trying to joke around and be a goof — not quite realizing just how close to death I was or even what had even happened, for that matter! I just remember him trying to be calm and keep me from moving too much.

Soon, the ambulance arrived and took Mok and I to the local hospital. I remember being strapped down to one of those boards they use, still not able to see anything, but I felt some packaging from some gauze they had left on my chest, so I grabbed it and blindly made a paper air plane out of it.

Other than that, I really don’t remember the next few hours outside of the fact that they had not cleaned any of the rocks and roadside debris from my head wound before strapping me and my head down. It was becoming very painful, as the rocks were digging into my exposed skull. Continue reading

My Story: “One Twitch At A Time” part 5

Here’s the continuation of my story, which I have posted on here over the past couple of weeks and started on my One Twitch At A Time page on Facebook.

I was in shock … the girl of my dreams, who I had last seen almost 2 years ago, had somehow found me and was now standing in my front yard! We all headed into town and hit McD’s for some cheap grub, Joyce and I talked and talked, and she was every bit as wonderful as I remembered her being back in Brookings.

At the end of the night, Mike dropped me off back at my house, and once again I found myself having to say goodbye to Joyce. This time, however, I WAS GOING TO GET HER PHONE NUMBER!!!! I remember she tore the top off of her pack of Marlboro Reds box and wrote her name and number in it, and she gave me a hug good bye.

I remember feeling as though I had just had the best hug of my life (outside of Moms hugs!) we just seemed to fit together, like we were made for each other. But like I mentioned, I already had a girlfriend and I really wasn’t the cheating type, so Joyce and I talked on the phone for a couple of weeks before I finally became single again. And on March 16, 1991, we were finally able to be together! At long awaited last, the one who never saw the tics, the one who never saw the “weirdness” the one that God had made especially for me was finally mine!

It was amazing how well Joyce and I clicked. We never argued, we always had a great time together, and best of all we made each other want to be a better person. I immediately gave up my drug use, and I no longer felt the need to shoplift — that stuff all just organically went away.

We had been dating a few months, with our parents giving us rides to meet up. Then in July 1991 my father gave me his old VW Baja, and we were no longer at our parents’ vehicular mercy. Now, I was an extremely inexperienced driver and one day my buddy Mok and I were helping another friend work on his car, but he didn’t have the correct tool for the job, so Mok and I hopped in the ‘ol Baja and went to go raid my dad’s tool box for the right tools, but we never made it to my house.

We were on our way down Highway 101 when a big gust of wind caught my car and knocked me off the shoulder of the road.; So being the inexperienced driver I was, instead of slowly correcting the vehicle, I jerked the steering wheel and massively overcorrected — causing the car to slide sideways in the gravle shoulder — and as the car got to the asphalt, the big 31-inch tires caught traction and sent it rolling three times between a car and a semi, then two end-over-ends — tossing me out along the way before coming to a rest, leaving me a mangled, bloody and broken heap on the side of the highway.

To be continued …

My Story: “One Twitch At A Time” part 4

Here’s the continuation of my story, which I posted on here last week and started on my One Twitch At A Time page on Facebook. But PLEASE BE WARNED, I TALK ABOUT SUICIDE AND OTHER ADULT THEMES IN THIS PART, SO PARENTS KEEP THAT IN MIND IF YOU HAVE YOUNGER READERS READING THIS.

At this point in my life it seemed that bad things were happening in rapid-fire succession — girl problems, tic problems, not getting along with my parents … you name it, and it seemed to be going wrong.

Not long after the “15-word” incident mentioned at the end of part 3, I found myself at the end of my rope, and I decided that I no longer wanted to be the world’s whipping post. Late one night, I found myself sitting on a bench at one of our local apartment buildings. I sat there thinking about things like, “If I’d have known you were a retard, I’d never have went out with you,” and “Can you please stop doing that, it’s really annoying” whirling over and over in my mind.

I was in tears as I pulled my pocket knife out of my pocket and put against my wrist. I kept thinking, “Just pull it and that’ll be the end,” and after what seemed like an eternity I finally decided to end it and just as I went for the cut, out of absolutely nowhere my big buddy Shawn (The B.U.S.) walks up and sees what I’m about to do.

He grabbed the knife out of my hand, threw it Lord knows where and said, “You stupid SOB, if I ever catch you trying to do that again I’ll kill you myself!!!” God was watching out for me that night and sent in the right guy at the right time. God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect!!

It was around this time my family started going to a new church and I got involved with the youth group they had. They did things like Christian summer camps and winter snow camps, and while my motives for going may have been more on the carnal side (camps were a gold mine for meeting girls), God was really beginning to rub off on my heart. I never really prayed all that often, but when I did, I asked God to find me a girlfriend that didn’t see my tics, that was blonde and was beautiful. I prayed that same prayer whenever I prayed in hopes that God was listening.

One weekend, after yet another failed relationship, my mom roped me and Shawn into going to a youth convention down in Brookings. I did not feel like doing anything at that point in time and I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t want to spend two days with a bunch of happyJesus freaks,” but reluctantly I went. Continue reading

My Story: “One Twitch At A Time” part 3

Here’s the continuation of my story, which I posted on here last week and started on my One Twitch At A Time page on Facebook. But PLEASE BE WARNED, I TALK ABOUT DRUG USE & DRUG ABUSE IN THIS PART, SO PARENTS KEEP THAT IN MIND IF YOU HAVE YOUNGER READERS READING THIS.

The freedom that NBHS’s open campus policy provided was both a blessing and a curse. I loved being able to roll over to the mall next door during lunchtime while at the same time using the various stores as my personal playground.

Lord knows how many dollars’ worth of merchandise I absconded with, but at the time I didn’t care. All I knew was that I was good at stealing and the kids that weren’t were willing to pay me for “services rendered” (I sure hope the “statute of limitations” protects me here!!).

But soon enough the thrill began to wear down — not to mention finally getting caught — and I soon realized that no matter how much I stole and tried to buy acceptance, the so-called “mean kids” were still there and still took great pleasure in making me feel like some sort of mistake that never should have been.

I was desperate for some sort of escape and soon found there were plenty of people willing to get the twitchy guy high. We’ve all heard the old idiom “first hits free,” but for some reason, while the 1st, 2nd and 3rd hits were free, I never once had to pay for any of my dope. People were constantly giving it to me, and I was not gonna turn it down.

I know that marijuana has been known to help some with their TS, but it never did anything for mine. All it got me were conversations with street lights, barking at classmates, attempting to make light black by mixing white and black paint only to discover I had made gray, being branded a stony looser by teachers and some old friends, and making the already difficult task of classroom learning completely impossible. Continue reading

My Story: “One Twitch At A Time” part 2

Here’s the continuation of my story, which I posted on here last week and started on my One Twitch At A Time page on Facebook.

Wow, what a different world this North Bend Middle School was — it seemed so big and ominous. I was both excited and terrified at the same time (excitified??), but I knew that a couple of my old KCS friends were somewhere. I quickly reconnected with them for a time, but I soon began to make new friends, guys like Tom, Mark (aka Mok), Jarrod and of course Shawn (aka “The B.U.S.” — Big Uncle Shawn, as my kids would eventually call him).

Though I was making some great friends, the inherent attention grabbing nature of Tourette Syndrome kicked in full force. Obviously there were the various “grunt”-type of noises, but my “built-in evil twin” — as I like to call TS — soon discovered that it really liked the attention that making a “kiss/smooch” sound garnered, and so I spent Lord knows how long making that God-awful noise.

Bus rides home were especially agonizing as the junior high and high school rode the same bus, and man … them high schoolers were ruthless. Now there was no way in hell they were gonna let some junior high kids sit in the back, so we were always chased to the front seats — at which time I had to endure various things being thrown at the back of my head, the ever popular “ear flick” or if I happened to wear a hat that day it would promptly be snatched and passed around the bus with God only knows what inside of it.

At one point, things got so bad I refused to go to school because I simply couldn’t take the harassment anymore, but thankfully a lady at our church — Jeannie, I think — took some time to pray and go through some choice Bible passages with me. And with God’s help, I eventually went back.

There are apparently a lot of stories and instances that I have completely forgotten about because of a very bad car wreck I was in in 1991 (more on that as the story progresses), so I guess you could call it partial amnesia, but when I started this blog my longtime friend Mike shared a story from our junior high years that was completely lost to me: Continue reading

My Story: “One Twitch At A Time” part 1

I have been contemplating doing this for quite some time, but never really thought anyone would be interested or if I even could. I recently discovered the blog of a new friend of mine from church that I found quite inspiring, so I decided to finally jump in and do it.

I was born in El Cajon, California, in 1972. In 1977, my mother, Tess, moved us to North Bend (Hauser, to be exact), Oregon, because of some rather unpleasant happenings in our neighborhood. I lived a “normal life” — I played with other kids getting into all sorts of good old-fashioned mischief.

One day, my friend David, who was the son of the pastor of Hauser Community Church, told me about Jesus. I remember thinking that he sounded like some sort of superhero, but I was genuinely interested in what David was telling me, and so some time there in the late ‘70s I accepted Jesus into my heart.

I began going to Sunday school there at Hauser Church, and soon my parents started attending Sunday service also. Soon enough, I was enrolled in school there at North Bay Elementary, where everything went — at least to my recollection — according to plan … that is until I turned 7 and was in the second grade.

I really can’t recall what my first tic was, but it quickly got the attention of my teacher — who if I recall was not a very nice lady to begin with, and she had no patience for some little cretin causing a disruption in her classroom. I vaguely remember the principal talking to me about it, and then of course there is the famous family story of my dad, Tom, taking a swing at the principal for suggesting I was a “retard.”

Needless to say, I was quickly removed from North Bay and soon found a home at Kingsview Christian School (KCS). I was among the first few classes to go to this fantastic learning institution and was instantly welcomed with open and loving arms.

Not long into my KCS career, some of the “perks” of Tourette’s started to become evident, and by perks I mean stuff like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and a few others I’d rather not mention (not a word, mom!!). Continue reading