// [This is a blog archive of personal updates about DJ’s recovery process after an psychotic episode on February 1, 2017] //
It’s been a month since my inciting incident and by the grace of God my body and mind has stayed the course of recovery on schedule. Today is the first day of going back to work 100%, after 2 weeks of working at 50% capacity.
Thank you again for all of those that “liked” the updates here, added a comment, and said a prayer. I believe God took all of those to really melt my heart, and I’m now that much more in touch with my good emotions, a breakthru moment. Yes, I can shed a tear at the drop of a hat now. Life is such a good gift and I look for those opportunities to celebrate it with each and every one of you.
And, I’ll go on record and say that I’ve been inspired to write an eBook or book with a working title, “Losing my voice to find it.” As that begins to take shape, I can add an update here. In the mean time, as I’m approaching good health, the generic title for this group, “Update on Dj,” can still be used to provide occasional updates.
Had an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday, accompanied by my one and only wife Rachelle. For those that don’t have to deal with medical professionals, psychiatrists are the ones that can prescribe medications (the ones you can take to the pharmacy and get mind-altering drugs) and psychologists don’t prescribe meds.
We discussed a plan for my medications, which involves something called depakote for the next month, and then we might switch over to lamictal after that month, depending on how my mind and body are doing. That’s for the mood stabilizer part. And over the next month, I’m taking something called Risperdal, known as an antipsychotic. You know how I can get psychotic, at least once in a blue moon, or least I did last week, so we want to get that under control and under management. And, taking something to help me sleep called Temazepam, aka Restoril, because I’m still working off my sleep deficit that got racked up from 2 days of insomnia last week.
That’s the health update. And, at this point, I’m asking myself, what other updates could I write that would be meaningful to the 100s of people subscribed to this thing? How about this, add a comment and ask a question. We can have a lil’ Q&A session. So if you have any mental health kind of question, particularly related to what I’ve just shared here, I’ll respond with an answer. Ok, ready? Go!
DJ Chuang shared Tom Kang‘s photo.
Just nowYesterday was a festive day with a handful of visitors. Good pastors know how to do that pastoral visitation thing really well, and I was blessed to be with 4: Tom Kang, Jay Kranda, Kenny Jahng, and Kevin Nguyen (not pictured).
And, also got home delivery of delicious food from a previous small group member named Lily, so not only am I receiving loving care from my current small group, I’m also receiving gracious gifts of kindness from my previous small group from Saddleback Church. And, get this, our previous small group was totally randomly selected and appointed via the web app, Small Group Finder https://saddleback.com/connect/smallgroups/join .
I often hear stories of how difficult it is to find a small group or support group to join, due to location or scheduling or affinity or whatever other factor, but when you can find one, it is such a gift to have people in your life that love and support you through the joys and the tough times too.
This is DJ Chuang at the keyboard. Thanks to my dearly beloved wife, Rachelle, for posting the previous 9 updates here for the Updates re: DJ Chuang. I’m doing pretty well, considering the roller coaster of events during the past week. And, thank YOU for opting-in to get these health updates about me. God has been so very very gracious and you’ve been very very caring and loving.
As an aside, instead of this keyboard, I would be at the turntables, but I’m a bit old for that. For those that don’t know that part of my history, I used to be a deejay back in the 80s, when I was a young college student at Virginia Tech (formally known as VPI&SU, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, that over the past few decades, has become more popularly known in the vernacular as Virginia Tech. Go Hokies!) I spun some vinyl records back in the days for a little social club of Asian Americans with borrowed equipment, and did a stint for a semester (actually, a quarter, since we were on the quarter system back in the day, not semesters) at the college AM radio station, on the 3am-6am shift. Good times, not really. One more note: to set the mood while I write this update, the background music is none other than Prince, from the Ultimate album.
I know, most of you are not here for a history lesson, you’re here for a health update! So let me get on with the most important thing. Let me refine the wording of this a bit more. Life is the greatest gift of all. To have life and to live is the best thing of all. And then second to that, to have good health or to have quality of life, those are bonus, icing on the cake by the ocean, but without life itself, nothing else matters as much. And, to live well, that’s the best thing you can do while you have the gift of life. None of us knows how many days we will have, so make the best of the days you have with every breath and every ounce of strength, to show love to your beloved and to your family, friends, neighbors, and strangers too.
First, let me just say THANK YOU first and foremost. Thank you for your friendship, those who are newer to me as well as those that have known me for years. I’m taking this occasion to renew some of my oldest friendships that date back to my college days, too. I really treasure what times we can share together, over a meal or hanging out at a conference or taking a road trip.
About my health: I’m slowing down and getting into a healthier pace for now. I have to figure out the right mix of meds to even out my mood swings, as I have a “mood disorder” diagnosis. I’ll be working with 2 psychiatrists (those who can prescribe meds) and 1 psychologist (one who can listen really well) to get myself better managed. And, my wife Rachelle will be my nurse and digital police to make sure I pace myself well.
Having just authored a book last year (titled MultiAsian.Church), I’ve become quite aware of word count, and I’m thinking to myself, what would be a meaningful update to share with you today, and keep it to under 5 minutes and no more than 500 words. According to Google Docs, I’ve already exceeded 600 words, so that wraps up this update. More to come.
One final reminder, from here on and going forward, these #djupdates will be authored by DJ Chuang and no longer by Rachelle W. Chuang. Unless otherwise noted.
Thanks for praying everyone. Dj is mostly doing well but I’m still his digital police letting him slowly get onto a few devices in short spurts. Many of you here have privately contacted me with your stories, tips and encouragment, THANK YOU! As I expected, his body is still adjusting to the new meds and experiencing some of the symptoms. Even with a sleeping pill and Risperidone, last night he experienced insomnia and nasal congestion (listed on the side effects) so it will take a while to adjust to the new normal.
WOWZA!!!! HUGE ANSWER TO PRAYER. Just got the call from Dr. Chu literally one minute ago that Dj is being discharged today! Interesting, last night Dj told me he believed God was going to get him home in time for the Super Bowl, ha ha. I cannot thank you enough for your prayers. Of course there will be changes and management in the days ahead but for now, wow.
Also our http://saddleback.com/visit/locations/onlinecampus service today was amazing… Pastor Rick spoke on “Living in the Goodness of God: Letting God Meet my Needs” all about the Lord as our Good Shepherd and about not worrying. Truly one of the best and most timely messages I’ve ever heard in my life. Driving up there now!!!!!!!!!
Just came back from a wonderful visit: Dj is much more cognizant and sounding like the regular Dj we know. He had a good day and they even had a little art therapy and he colored this image (with some orange of course).
Thank you for praying for the meds—his psychiatist Dr. David Chu seems to have prescribed just the right combo as here on the 2nd full day of meds Dj seems to be doing much better (Dr. Chu seems very knowledgeable about meds here by the way:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9u1La32OmE). However, Dr. Chu has put Dj on as “14-day hold” even though they may determine he can leave earlier if he continues to do well. Then they told me there will be a “probable cause” hearing on Tuesday at 11am which I don’t quite understand so I’m going to reasearch what this is. Finally, I cannot begin to give God all the glory for surrounding me with such love today. I met with super prayer warriors Millie Gess, Jeannine Kurtzman, Josh Der, Kimberly Ellis Der and Suzanne Welty for prayer. Then tonight’s visitors included Pastor Bumble Ho and Jho Ly, Ron and Millie Gess, our dear small group Cary and Diana Wang Sun and Landon and Miko Yoshida, Pastor Ray Chang, Angie Chu and her friend and Jeremiah Chuang and I closed off the visit. Thank you for your prayers and all the love you have shown me today. I’ll be back Sunday night during visiting hours from 6-8pm, let me know if you want to come too.
Thank God for your prayers, Dj is doing much better the nurse says. He is much more “calm” and “doing well” (their words) than yesterday. They think he can be discharged possibly Sunday. They have him on Depakote and Risperdal. I am visiting him today at 6pm and can’t wait to see my orange man! Thanks for your continued texts, emails, calls and prayers.
Had a short but good visit with Dj tonight! He is much better but not totally out of the woods yet. I told him hundreds of people were praying for him and expressing their care and concern. He was lucid enough to even write this note for you all, which says: “Thank you prayer warriors & friends! God loves you and me so much. It’s been an amazing journey here and He is showing much grace these days. Resting well in Him. 40 days of prayer & break thru. Thank you for joining us! @djchuang”
The “break thru” part references Pastor Rick’s December series when the entire Saddleback Church prayed and fasted for breakthroughs together. Now for the good part. He is definitely open for visitors and I think it will help him as he spent the day a bit isolated with not much to do than sit in the lobby watching TV when he’s not resting. He would love to talk with friends. However, visiting hours at Anaheim Global Medical Center https://anaheim-gmc.com/contact/ are only from 6-8pm each day. If anyone wants to drop by to visit Dj tomorrow come! Check in at the visitor’s desk and NO PURSES or BAGS allowed, just your keys. No one under 18 allowed. Also don’t worry about gifts, just cards and notes. Dj is under “Difei Chuang” in Unit 3. After check in, you have to knock at the Unit 3 door and they will let you in. I’ll be there the entire time 6-8pm Saturday night so hope to see some of you there. DJ will love it. Thank you so much for praying. We hope he can go home Sunday or Monday at the latest.
Thankfully he slept all night and is still sleeping. The nurse says he took his meds. I’m grateful he is more compliant. I will visit him later this afternoon when they let me and give a more detailed update on his condition. It’s been over 30 hours since I’ve seen him.
They transferred him from Psych Unit 6 to Unit 3 which is less acute and they say he’s resting (he got an injection of benadryl and adavant). That’s good news. Thanks for praying and we’ll all keep at it. I know Dj would be touched by your outpouring of love and prayers. -RWC
Latest update from Rachelle:Unfortunately just called the nurse in the Psych ward and Dj is still not doing well. He is spending a lot of his energy determined to get out the door. The nurse Jenny (pray for her by name) says he is still confused. They are giving him Haldol (anti psychotic med) and benydril so he can sleep. He hasn’t been sleeping for days since the incessant coughing keeps him up. So simple prayer requests for: sleep for Dj, compliance with the nurses/doctors, just the right medication to stabilize him. -RWC
Thanks for your love and support of Dj.
To keep it short, Dj is experiencing the first psychotic episode in his life and will remain on hold for 3-4 days at Anaheim Global Medical Center Emergency 1025 South Anaheim Blvd Anaheim, CA 92805. I thought this was a combination of about 2 weeks of bronchitis, laryngitis, cough medicines, no sleep for many days [insomnia] and crazy mania (hence his erratic texting, calls, behavior and weird spiritual statements). The psychiatrist confirmed his manic phase is now psychotic so they are taking him off of Wellbutrin and Lexapro (anti-depressants) to put him on mood-stabilizers and anti-psychotic medication.
They are trying to stabilize him as he is still incoherent and babbling and he can’t have visitors for a while, including me. So just pray to our great God that he would respond well to the new medications this morning to calm him down and be stabilized.
As trusted and mature friends, please freel free to share this information to Dj’s network.
I choose to trust and stay grateful. Dj has been bipolar for well over a decade and has managed it well so this is the very first time he’s had an incident.
Pray that I would be wise to make some decisions and changes in our life moving forward.