Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So tired...

So for the third week in a row now, I've successfully managed to *not* work crazy hours. (Granted, this week is only half over, but you know what I mean.) I'm really only working 40 hours per, if you can imagine! Trouble is, I'm still effing exhausted.

It's pretty damn frustrating. I know I'm not sleeping well, which is just the most obnoxious thing ever. It just feels like such an enormous waste of time - spend hours upon hours in bed, and get up feeling just as sore and weak and tired as you did when you laid down. The docs always say, well we can give you something for that. But it's been my experience (and there's literature to back it up) that, while the drugs might make you go to sleep, and even stay asleep, there is nothing but nothing that will make you actually get good, restful, restorative sleep. So yeah, it feels a little hopeless. No one ever wants to admit that there are unsolvable problems, but I'm sorry, there really are.

Let's take today as a for-instance. I spent darn near 8 hours in bed. Got up feeling like I never went to bed in the first place. Went to the chiropractor in the morning, which thankfully alleviated some of the pain I was having at the intersection of my neck and shoulders. (You know the spot.) I had a relatively easy day at work, took a full hour of lunch, and left a mere 15 minutes past the technical end of my workday. And still, here it is not even 6:30 in the evening and all I really want to do is crawl into bed.

I had really hoped that cutting back my crazy hours would give some time back to me, my work, the things I want to be doing. And maybe whenever this phase lets go, it will. If this is, in fact, just a phase and not just the next level of my baseline. Hard to say - only time will tell on that one.

Ho hum, sigh, et cetera.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Standing up for myself? Yeah, it's this thing I do now.

So on Friday I pretty much flipped out about the hair thing. It didn't help that I felt too terrible to go to work - that doesn't exactly set the scene for calm rational thinking about my health. And really, it just seems that my body has to be fairly taxed to not even want to deal with having hair. It's upsetting.

And it got me to thinking. That I really shouldn't be killing myself over this stupid job. Not that I didn't know that before, because I did. I've known for a long time that the more stress I'm under, the less healthy I'll be, and that the job is a major source of my stress. But this is easily the most tangible evidence I've found so far that the stress is taking a real physical toll. Of course I have stress coming from elsewhere in my life: my family, maintaining a relationship, organizing a wedding, et cetera. But I must say, most of the time the job accounts for as much stress as everything else combined... and then some.

So, I did something about it. Sort of. Maybe. On Monday, after a long weekend of traveling and not feeling too great and waking up with migraine reverberations again, I decided it was time. Once I finally got into work, I found the two attorneys that I primarily work with and sort of laid it out for them. That in the past month or so, I get hives every time I shower, that my migraine episodes are becoming more frequent and more severe despite doubling my medication not long ago, and that I seem to be in the beginning stages of TMJ. (Thursday I couldn't really chew solid foods. It was awesome. That's not all that's happened; it's been a constant issue for several weeks now - just the most acute instance.) And that from everything any of my heath professionals can tell me and everything I can look up, the source of all of these problems is stress. Therefore, to the extent possible, the stress has got to stop.

This was a very difficult conversation. These women are my friends, so I feel relatively comfortable sharing these details of my health with them. Except that to face that these things are happening and making such an impact on what I'm able to do is really quite difficult. Basically, I'm having to face the fact that I am functionally sicker now than I was two years ago. This despite being on higher doses of existing medications, as well as being on an additional prescription. It makes me feel sad and scared (and somewhat inadequate, though I'm still far from it) to say to my employers, "I cannot do what I used to do." I am not inadequate, however. I just can't play superwoman anymore.

It is what it is. It's better to tell them this - to admit this - than to push myself and make myself even sicker. That will not make me any better. Getting more work done for them can't be my primary goal. I have to have something left for me, or what's the point?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Apparently I really am losing my hair from stress.

From the Mayo Clinic:

Stress and hair loss can be related.

The most common type of stress-induced hair loss is telogen effluvium. In this condition, emotional or physical stress — related to a death in the family, pregnancy, severe weight loss or surgery, for example — pushes large numbers of growing hairs into a resting phase. Within a few months, the affected hairs may fall out suddenly when simply combing or washing your hair. The hair typically grows back when the emotional or physical stress is resolved, although this can take months.

This seems to be what I am experiencing. It seems that between the physical stress of the health problems themselves, combined with the emotional stress of them and work and the wedding, is making my hair fall out. The irony being that, I gotta tell ya, having your hair fall out is pretty damn stressful! At least it's only the diffuse kind and I don't have any bald spots...

I stayed home from work today. At some point during my ten minutes of breakfast, I started to feel very weak and shaky and dizzy. It was basically all I could do to get back into bed. I thought maybe I could go in for half a day, but no. I feel better now than I did this morning, but not better enough to deal with the subway, the city, the office.

In fact, getting too dizzy to sit up again, must lay down once more... living in this body is just a laugh riot.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I don't want to take my pills.

I just want to get in bed like a normal person (whatever that might be) without having to worry about this chore. How often have I snuggled beneath the covers soft and warm, and even begun to drift off, only to realize I must rouse and trudge on into the kitchen to get something to drink, and then pull out all the bottles, and go through all the process and hope that tonight I don't choke on anything...

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't, you know, forever. If they didn't have their side-effects. If they weren't so expensive. If they weren't so likely to grow in number as the years pass. If I actually felt healthy for taking them. If they themselves didn't make me sick. If they weren't the most glaring symbol in my life: you are sick, you will always be sick, and if you don't do this every night you might not get up tomorrow morning.

The dependence makes me angry. I've tried, oh how I've tried, to get away from them. I take the fewest number possible, turn them down at every opportunity from numerous doctors. But on so many fronts now they're all that's standing between me and being functionally disabled... so I take the effing pills. Because it's the lesser of two evils, the "better" of two awful choices.

Of course, a hundred years ago society would have just let me die, or at least kept me locked in an attic somewhere. So I guess there's always a bright side.