Monday, July 18, 2016

That Wall Tho

I knew it would happen, and given the week I had I knew the likely outcome, but hitting the chronic illness wall is a NOT fun, NOT safe, zero out of five stars, DO NOT recommend EVER sort of experience. 

The week started with work: too much, too exhausting, too physical, too busy. I went home every day more and more depleted and even going immediately to bed and not getting up until work the next day wasn't enough to even begin healing (because that's what you have to do every day when you have a chronic illness: you go home and heal so you can hopefully get out of bed the next day). 

I (very stubbornly) insisted on our Wednesday run and we had a good time.  It was my birthday. 

There was no way I wasn't doing exactly what I wanted. Besides, I reasoned, I had taken the day off work and spent it lounging in a spa. I had even risked a massage (pro tip: chronic illness + massage = severe and debilitating pain the next day no matter how gentle the therapist is because your body hates you and wants you to die). So the run didn't seem unreasonable even though I knew I was in a bad place (this is just baaaad judgement calls I know better than to make happening here). 

By Thursday -- and my week starts on Tuesday -- I already knew I was in my danger zone of serious collapse and started to have to deal with a constant migraine. The massage, as noted above, was a bad idea, and even though I'd slept a ton, I wasn't even scratching the surface of recovery. Friday morning rolls around and I'm in a bad mood and refuse to give my illness any more control over my life. I do everything it wants: I cannot eat anything except a small number of very safe items, I sleep immediately upon coming home from work, and I've given up everything fun that I used to do. I wasn't going to add my Friday run to the list. 

It really should go without saying that when I hit my collapse zone, I can't think and I make poor and dangerous decisions. 

The circles under my eyes continue to darken, along with my mood. 

I spent the entire workday on Saturday desperately trying to get ahead in ONE aspect of my job and managed to make a dent in it before going home, piling into the car with Gabe and driving to Vancouver for my ten-year UBC reunion. 

I don't travel well health-wise when my chronical illness is in a normal range of suck. This was not a normal range or a good time. My body was in collapse and I just kept pushing. 

We arrived late and I was beyond thrilled to see my sister, so more bad decisions ensued and I stayed up late talking even though I felt like dying, still had a migraine, and had commitments all the next day. We slept on an air mattress that hilariously deflated in the centre within an hour of us lying down and my body started screaming it's joint-pain howl. Needless to say, my sleep wasn't the greatest. 

When I woke up the next day I was determined to run. I could only grasp one idea with any clarity I was so gone and the idea I had to run was the one coherent thought I grabbed. I have no idea how I convinced Gabe I was in running shape. No clue. I literally can't remember because I don't remember things when I'm tired and I get easily confused. But we went to Burnaby Lake and completed our longest run to date : 10.4km (6.5 miles). 

By this point there was no hiding it: I was dying. But I was determined to push through (like the ultimate idiot) and continued to pursue the rest of our plans, not even telling Gabe I'd lost half my vision to the migraine. 

We went to my Dad and Sue's house for lunch -- easily a trip highlight -- and had a really wonderfully visit.

My dad made me a huge steak, too, which saved me from immediate collapse and bought me a few hours while I was there. 

But by the time we made it back to my sister's house, I was coming apart at the seams and my body was screaming. I collapsed at her house, the details of which involve the washroom and bed, and missed my UBC reunion activities. At 730pm I pulled myself together to go out for an hour while the group got drinks. 
I had a wonderful time. Not the time I'd planned, but I made it out. Gabe then picked up and took me home where I continued to devolve into my chronic illness collapse. 

Making dumb decisions, and "dumb" here must be defined as any attempt made to have a normal life or veer ever so slightly out of the chronic illness prison, is not easily forgiven by my body. The next week came and I was destroyed still. Tuesday rolled around and I didn't have the energy to talk but still dragged myself out of bed to run. 

I immediately had to return to bed where my body felt too heavy to move and my brain stopped sending the right breathing signals to my muscles, which caused me to wake gasping for air as though I were a fish mouthing a pond's surface. 

To say this was distressing is a severe understatement. But, given the context of my illness, it doesn't surprise me and I'm better able to take it in stride than Gabe who finds this extremely upsetting. 

On Thursday I should have rested more, but we went for a very slow and easy run. 

The rest of my week was shaped by attempts at recovery. I managed to get mostly out of my collapse danger zone. 

My mom and grandmother came to visit and I had a nice time with them. 

And Gabe and I went for an easy run on Sunday. 
All that said, today is Monday. I am still far from recovered and feel like I will have another two weeks before I get back to where I was before, which is a chronically fatigued and worn-through plateau of constant struggle, balance, and vigilance.

 Tomorrow I see one of my many doctors again to plot out our next steps. 

What more can I do but that? 

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