When deciding to publicly share my life managing a chronic illness, I promised myself that I would not whine, complain, or feel sorry for myself. What’s the point of that and who wants to read about someone full of self-pity? I know that I don’t!
This is why I haven’t written anything in the past few weeks. The discouragement of still feeling weak and achy with constant ‘brain fog’ after a couple of months of weekly acupuncture was enough for me. Then, I got a nasty cold and cough which lasted a couple of weeks. I am finally feeling more strength and while there are other setbacks, I do think that my treatments are helping.
I am not a patient person and while my husband always urges me to relax, I have a family gene that makes it difficult to let things come in their own time. I wouldn’t call it a type-a personality but I do feel the need to fix things, solve problems, and resolve issues. Unfortunately, I can’t fix having days of feeling crappy though I am doing my best to find ultimate resolution. In the meantime, here are some things that I do to help the days pass until I can get back into the swing of life:
– I try to maintain a daily routine of getting up by 7 regardless of whether I have a sleepless night or not. I drink a cup of coffee, check emails, news sites, and facebook. I confess that I do play a couple of games on fb – farmville and treasure island – as they are distractions that show personal progress.
– I walk with my dogs almost daily though some days the walk is only about 5 minutes long. In another posting, I will share my belief of how important pets are for people with chronic conditions, particularly dogs for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I truly believe that they have saved my life and certainly my mental health.
– I try to read for pleasure though lately, I am rarely able to read more than a couple of pages. I did finally finish a terrific book the other day – Edmond Morris’ The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – which I found fascinating. To digress briefly, I enjoy biographies and have been interested in Teddy for a while, especially after reading River of Doubt which describes his journey through the Amazon. Perhaps it was his ability to ovrcome chronic illnesses as a youth that drew me to this man who seemed full of dichotomies: he was a big hunter and environmentalist; he was a staunch republican who believed in the need to help those less fortunate; he fought to make corporations pay taxes but tried to pay as little in taxes himself by changing his residency from New York to Washington, D.C. Anyone interested in American history may want to pick up this well-written book. There are two more volumes which I’ll get to some time.
– I believe that I have already mentioned that my acupuncturist, Kristen Hoerner, also provides me with behavioral therapy and one of her suggestions was for me to take up a hobby such as knitting. I had crocheted on occasion and learned to knit as a teen so I decided to take her suggestion to heart. What a great idea! the great thing about such handiwork is that I don’t have to try and think, I can watch a movie or listen to music, and while I don’t feel like I’m doing anything, there is a finished product! While I am not very good, it is satisfying to cast off a scarf or afghan, try to fix mistakes in hopes that others don’t notice, and give a gift to someone.
– I do a little house work, whether it’s dishes, laundry, or sweeping the kitchen floor. The other day, I finally washed floors for the first time in a month! Believe me, living in the country with three dogs, I should be washing floors at least weekly but for a while, it simply wasn’t possible. What a great accomplishment to be able to walk barefoot on our floors again – if only for a day or so.
– I usually make dinner, as cooking is great therapy for me.
I think one reason why I had difficulty getting stronger was that I did some traveling while in the midst of a flare-up. My mom came to visit and I picked her up in Dallas and we stayed at her brother’s (my favorite uncle) for a night. We came home and I was too exhausted to start the planting of seeds I had started so I watched my mom do the planting for two days. Watching your 76 year old mother do your garden because you are too incapacitated is tough to take! Fortunately, she loves to get her hands dirty. Unfortunately, we had a cold spell and most of the plants did not survive.
That weekend, we went to Austin. I had never been and have a cousin who came to our wedding though before last summer, I hadn’t seen her since the 60s when I was a little kid and remember admiring her tease her hair for a Friday night date. We had a great time with her and her husband and I liked Austin a lot.
It was great having my mom here and I loved seeing relatives and a new city. But during flare-ups, traveling is probably the worst thing I can do. Any last bits of energy were gone and my already compromised immune system was just waiting for a nasty bug to invade my body.
Slowly, my strength is returning. I am beginning to sleep better and may even be able to get into the garden tomorrow.
Ok, I am trying to learn patience, appreciate small steps of progress, and am back to a more positive outlook.