Saturday, May 5, 2012

Over the shoulder...

Last night I started developing some flu like symptoms, which I am guessing was the result of the first time truly exercising besides slow walks and laps in a pool in years.  When I was writing my previous post I could tell I was having mental fatigue, having difficulty finding words, and difficulty in structuring a cohesive story.  But I had to get it down...the overwhelming disbelief of what I had just accomplished.

It was not shocking that as the evening progressed I began getting pain in my mid left quadrant and the chills.  I took my typical supplement routine that normally helps with the side pain and then got up and grabbed my gray cashmere blanket that I love for its thin warmth and softness.  I wrapped that around me and went back to bed, the chills subsided and I was able to have a sound night sleep.

When I woke up this morning I had to pinch myself, was it all a dream?  Or did I actually play tennis last night?  I lay still in bed not wanting to move wondering how bad the after effects would be...and once again was shocked that while every muscle in my body ached, it was the good ache that you would expect from anyone who hadn't used their muscles in a long time.  It wasn't the heavy, weighted down with lead feeling I have become accustomed to over the past 6 plus years.

I moved slowly all morning, trying not to look over my shoulder wondering when or if I would be knocked down at the knees and be crawling into bed for the remainder of the day.  As the afternoon progressed I was able to do a few little errands around the house, and I was pretty sure I would be strong enough to head to Build A Bear for my best friend's daughter's birthday.  The only symptom that was nagging at me was my lack of appetite, I had a small breakfast, and then at 2pm thought I really need to eat something.  Again, nothing was appealing.

About a year and half ago, I had this very strange symptom, I couldn't remember how to sign my name anymore.  I remember the day it happened, I was at the grocery store, absolutely exhausted, laser focused I went through the aisles with the only goal to get in and get out.  I went to swipe my credit card and sign the jeopardy like screen and my hand just sat there.  I had been signing my name, HKDreske for over 15 years, the same way, capitol H swirl the horizontal line take the pen up to the top for the K follow that line straight down, pick up the pen make the angled lines for the remainder of the K then straight to the hand started and my brain couldn't' figure out which way to go.  I kind of half signed half printed and left the store a bit dazed and concerned.  I figured it was just a one time thing, but again and again, I could not figure out how to complete this autonomic habitual task.  I considered my options...if I go to my primary care doctor in town, they will either A: say its no big deal or question "are you sure you can't do you have any other neurological complaints...or B: Send me for a whole host of tests to rule out numerous awful things that would result in an otherwise highly functioning individual forget how to sign their name.  So, weighing these options, I did nothing.  I didn't even tell my doctor in Phoenix, I decided to add it to the box of strange symptoms, but it struck a nerve and every time I would use my credit card, it would be staring me in my face.  Like a bad omen that hung around in the back of my brain and every day was a constant reminder that something was very wrong.  Was this the beginning of more to come?

Last October when I went to Phoenix, I decided to tell my physician about it, she said it wasn't too uncommon with other patients she had that were dealing with a multi system illness that the nervous system is affected in many ways, and she was confident that after more aggressive treatments my ability to reclaim my signature would come back.  I had been in Phoenix about two or three weeks, when I headed to Houston's to pick up the oh so delicious ribs, and I went to sign the check and as quickly as my signature had disappeared without knowing how or why, it was back.  I was so excited that when I got into the car I grabbed any paper I could find and began signing my name over and over and over just to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

My point of this is that when I get extremely fatigued, simple things - automatic aka autonomic things - lose their ease. So as I was sitting down, this afternoon the second I bit into my lunch, without thinking, like a child that takes to big a bite the food was no longer in my mouth but spit out on the plate.  The problem then was that my body began to swallow as it simultaneously began to spit out food, the entire act of swallowing again was no longer a parasympathetic response, it was confused and all mixed up in my brain - the how to...I felt immediately as if my throat was in a spasm.  My body was no longer under my control and I felt as if I was starving for air.  Then the adrenaline storm rushed to the surface and myself into a panicked state.  Here it was, the crash....I didn't have any overt signs of the fatigue, but at the core my system collapsed.  And besides needing to be talked down, and feeling overwhelmed by the "attack", I wasn't shocked.

The other symptom I noticed was I couldn't get enough sugar today, again it was like all the glucose had been used up yesterday and I was fighting to regain equilibrium.  It took about an hour of slow sips of Sprite, an Adrenal homeopathic and sitting outside in the fresh air and distraction of some phone calls, but an hour later a calm came and after resting I was able to make it to the 4:30 birthday party and then crash when I got home, slept for an hour and made it to a friend's house for a brief outdoor party.  I only stayed and hour - but I made it - even after the mid afternoon crash.  Again - a monumental shift.  Previously those earlier symptoms would have only been the warning sign of many more to come, however today it was more like a large Blip on an otherwise good day.

It's a very hard symptom to explain, and I would be curious if others have experienced similar episodes in dealing with Chronic Fatigue, and when its happening its awful - its a reminder that you are treading lightly and despite not wanting to have that omnipresent notion that if you push to hard you are at risk to get burned.  But again, the last two days I have experienced waves of optimism, encouraging stamina and many comments that I look and sound healthier.

There is no doubt I am tired, both physically and mentally - take for instance that I didn't catch my pun of 40 - Love...the countdown has begun until the big 40 and last night I was awoken by a dream and had to catch my breathe realizing how time is marching on...and despite not enjoying that I am now more aptly represented by the mother figure on TV and the big screen and if you see 90210 on my DVR someone come and rescue me... I am trying to shift my focus because let's face it the 30's really have not been a walk in the park - so to brighter days...

Here's to Lucky Seven!  Seven on the Seventh! Happy Golden Birthday Kate - here's wishing us both a golden year ahead.  xoxo.

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