E., that last post was for you. A tribute to our youth that has taken on a different meaning now.
I spent the weekend in bed for the most part. Today starts a fortnight of medical appointments every single week day. I’m worried about this. I should probably reschedule some, but they’re all ones I’ve been waiting for: overnight sleep study, neurologist, the Good Doctor follow up, a ten-week group therapy class that allows me to keep seeing my therapist for a little while longer for a much lower price tag, albeit in a group. Eek. I’m not a big public sharer, believe it or not, although maybe it’ll be okay because I am an open book, especially after this illness: I have never cared less what people think of what I say or how I look. That doesn’t mean I don’t care if I offend people or I don’t care if I smell, rather, I have no problem wearing no make-up, crying snottily, and talking about my bowel issues and crushing grief. Why disguise? What is there to hide?
Physically, I think I am worse than I’ve been since I left work. The pain is not as bad as it was in the days after my Big Day Out on the 13th, but, when the debilitating pain eases up, the regular pain, aches, exhaustion and flu-like symptoms are waiting underneath. As I mentioned before, I’ve only left the house 3 times in 11 days (for doc appointments). I haven’t gone to the grocery store, the drug store, the dog park ~ I haven’t done anything and I usually would be feeling a lot better by now. I feel faint, I am clammy, I keep getting a pitter-pattery heart and tight breathing, I am absolutely exhausted, I have a bad headache (this morning, there is an expanding and contracting ice pick in the back of my skull on the left), my muscles are stiff (I’m trying to come up with a better description ~ I walk and bend like the Tin Man, like I have immobile metal braces attached to all limbs), both hands and all fingers are in pain (haven’t had that in a while), and a new one: my leg muscles ACHE. They feel like they need to be moved and stretched, which is probably exactly what it is, but, it hurts. I lay in bed jiggling them, tensing them, punching them, trying to get the throb to ease up. And my brain is mush. I’m excited that I can type this morning because last night I could barely form sentences and not feeling smart is scary. Actually, the worst is not feeling quick anymore. The thing I valued most about my brain was how fast I could interpret, anticipate, respond, reason, argue, predict, accomplish… and I could tackle 10 things at a time. The ultimate multitasker. Gone.
Medicinally, I am taking a quarter of a Norco before bed, as well as my thyroid hormones, antihistamine nasal spray, albuterol inhaler, birth control pill and all the supplements and IBS-helping products. That’s it. I want to start something new this week ~ antibiotics or Lyrica or the Chinese herbs or something. I have an electric blanket on my bed, have changed to flannel sheets (heaven) and I’m trying a sun light box thing, which “is sure to deliver a therapeutic sense of well-being in any setting”, says the leaflet.
Emotionally, as I’ve said, I’m not in a great place. When you really start researching M.E., you realise that people don’t recover very often… hardly ever. So, I’m in this terrible shock-plan-grief cycle.
This can’t be happening. Okay, I’ll try X/Y/Z treatment. But, why? I’m just going to get X/Y/Z side effect.
I can’t believe I’m getting worse, not better. Okay, meditate, stay positive, have hope, keep going. But, there was so much I didn’t do, there was so much I didn’t try, there was so much I didn’t accomplish… Now, it’s all gone.
Wow, based on case studies, this can actually get much worse. Okay, I will concentrate on constant rest, every day. What’s the point? I’ll never have a life back, I’ll never have my health back, I’ll never have happiness.
My husband said, “You had the same problem riding a motorbike. You have to look where you want to go and lean into the curve with your eyes ahead of you. You have to focus on the point you want to get to.” I never looked at the end point; I was always afraid of the lean. I was always looking at where I was ~ scanning the ground for danger, watching my speed, making sure I hadn’t left my turn signal on ~ and not where I was going. Which is ironic since I know I am a future thinker and a constant planner.
For example, I have planned the documentary that I am going to make about M.E. I am going to travel this world and interview patients, doctors, people who have recovered, caregivers. It’s going to be informative and moving and it’s going to make some noise.
I have also planned the business I am going to start to bring services to home-bound patients. It’ll encompass everything: walk/wash/groom/play with your dog, wash your dishes, change your bed clothes and do your laundry, clean your home, mow your grass, cut your hair, take care of your feet, talk to you, listen to you, help with your meds, help you fill out paperwork, help you organise your files/calendar/appointments, bring a mobile library of movies, music and books from which you can borrow for free … I will have subcontractors that bring their services to your home. For example, landscapers, vets, acupuncturists, massage therapists, physical therapists, reiki practitioners, reflexologists, guided meditation helpers… It’s going to be epic and so fulfilling.
I have also planned to get a medical degree and go into research on M.E. Or, even better, doctor education. When I have some letters after my name, I will find a platform in the medical community and make some noise.
I have also planned to become a yoga teacher, a salsa dancer, a chef, a marathon runner, a gymnast, a horse rider, a dog trainer and, of course, a writer. Although, maybe, after years of this, I’ll be like Laura Hillenbrand and just not want to go there ~ Not want to write about M.E./C.F.S. because I live it.
Hope is hurting me, but only because I so desperately want to conquer the world. I am grateful for every minute of every day that my legs hold me up and my brain still works.
As a fellow CFS Sufferer 3-years on from diagnosis of Hypothyroidism and CFS I would like to offer you some words of encouragement:
I have got better. It can be done, try not to focus on the case studies that have got worse, focus on the ones that have got better. I still struggle, I still have days that I feel like rubbish and want to give in to my body and give up the struggle to keep fit but it can be done.
I got there through pacing, using a energy rest and sleep log and a pedometer. And sheer bloody mindedness not to let this best me when I realised how much my bloody mindedness had kept me going when I had no reserves.
I think your goals are fantastic and I’ll offer myself to be part of your documentary when you make it, but don’t forget to add some objectives to your aims…. in order to make your documentary what are the steps you need to take to get there? What are your one-day, one-week, one-month, one-year targets that will all add up to your documentary?
Don’t forget to make your goals S.M.A.R.T…
When setting your goals, look at yourself and list the qualities/skills/connections you have that can help you get there.
I know where you are/have been, I’ve been at rock bottom and dragged myself out. I do know how it feels to be trapped in your body and the fear you can feel when your mind gets in on the game and starts failing you too. Check out my blog if you want, I’ve written it in an attempt to help others see how I’ve come out the other side. If i can help with any tips, advice, or simply being a sympathetic email-shoulder to cry on then let me know.
One last thing, with the heart palpatations have you had your thyroxine levels checked? They can be a symptom of your T4 levels being on the high side.
[…] I never stop dreaming about my next career. I have a different idea every day. I miss working, I miss having responsibility and helping people, I miss being good at something, I miss having the security of an income. […]