Friday, January 24, 2014

Running On Empty

Running On Empty
Running on Empty by Chris Metcalf via flickr

It's been about a million years since I felt like I was full of energy. But lately, I'm really dragging. 

Somehow, I thought once Ellie was older (she turned nine last month) and needed less entertainment and active supervision, it would be easier. And it is, in some ways. I'm blessed with a kid who can happily spend hours with her nose in a book or playing with her Monster High dolls. (Yeah, I hate those dolls for so many reasons. But they're the big thing right now among third-grade girls, and somehow, even though I refuse to buy them for her, she has accumulated a handful.)

But nine-year-olds have a surprising amount of homework these days, way more than I remember having. (And I was nerdy enough to keep a diary of my math homework in third grade, so it's not just my faded memory that I'm comparing!) And supervising homework (which is mostly keeping her on task) is exhausting. 

She also has more activities that she needs shuttling between. Now that she's at public school, she goes to Hebrew school twice a week. She lacks self confidence in her math skills, so she now does Kumon twice a week. And she skates three times a week, but I don't do any of that shuttling.

It's funny -- I used to dread weekends because they exhausted me due to having my family home more hours and doing more with them. These days, the weekdays pile on each other and leave me hanging on by my fingernails, and weekends are good because I'm usually not in charge of anything.

I'm sure it doesn't help my fatigue levels that my thyroid is out of whack. Apparently, my body didn't like the switch from Levoxyl to Synthroid when the former was taken off the market, and a routine test last month showed my TSH level had skyrocketed from 1.0 six months earlier to 9.98. Tweaked the dosage after the results came back, and now I'm waiting to do another test next month to see if my hypothyroidism is back under control. But I've never really noticed an improvement in my energy levels when my thyroid levels are under control versus when they aren't. Maybe this time will be different -- I can only hope!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Year, Same Old Chronic Illness

I recently got a new (mean!) comment on a blog post I wrote back in December 2007, when my illness was still fairly new and extremely debilitating.

Before I'd adjusted and gotten used to it, and accepted that my world had shrunk dramatically.

Back when I still thought it was just a matter of time and the doctors would figure out what was wrong with me and know how to cure it. Back when I still believed that most illnesses had a cure.

Back when I still believed that someday, my life would go back to "normal."

Once I got over my disbelief that someone would bother to spew meanness about a six-year-old post on a patient blog, I re-read that post and remembered how, back then, it felt like I was ricocheting between bumpers on a pinball machine (Remember pinball machines? I'm dating myself!), constantly reacting to the latest bad news.

These days, I don't really worry about whether I'll ever get a real label for my chronic illness. I know it's unlikely that there's anything like a "cure," although I still hope for remission.

I believe chronic illnesses are something to be managed and, when necessary, accommodated. I've learned that like with Newton's third law of physics ("for every motion, there is an equal and opposite reaction"), that I can choose to do activities as long as I'm willing to "pay" with increased pain and fatigue. And sometimes I choose to do things knowing I'll pay the piper later, and other times I decide that the price I'd pay is too high and I don't do that activity. And sometimes I regret the choice I made, whichever way I choose.

These days, life is what it is. In some ways, I do more than I could have imagined back in December 2007 if I'd known I'd still be dealing with those health issues this much time later. My kid is older (I can't believe she's 9 now! How did this happen?) and can understand my limitations while not needing quite so much hands-on care, which means we can actually spend more time together now.

Mostly, I try not to dwell as much on my health. I try not to think about it. I try to see doctors as rarely as possible. I don't particularly like to talk about it, although I still sometimes whine about it to my husband. (And he might argue that the "sometimes" is more of a "frequently" ...)

I like to focus on my family, our little crafty business Foster's Beauties, my hobbies and my volunteering. I spend way too much time on Facebook and, for that matter, in both paper- and e-books.

That's life here in 2014. How's your life looking these days?