It has been AGES since my last post. To be honest, I was too busy living an awesome life to even contemplate blogging about chronic illness. I was in remission, and full of positivity. I felt completely at peace with the fact that I was having weekly injections, and regular blood tests, and that I technically had 2 chronic diseases – because I felt good! I even went skiing a couple of times over winter!
Then, the bubble burst. I caught a reallllly bad bout of the flu. Now, I’m not talking a regular cold, or sniffle, that people CALL the flu. I mean, I’m even guilty of doing that in the past. There have actually been quite a few times in my life when I’ve felt pretty shitty, and I actually thought I had the flu.
But… No. I recently learnt that up until now, I have NEVER had the flu. The true flu is HORRIFIC. I had several weeks of a hacking, non-stop cough. A fever that left me drenched in sweat, yet unable to stop shivering, to the point that I sometimes was nearly convulsing I was so freezing. A splitting headache that would not go away. Debilitating fatigue. A body that ached right through to the bones.
It sucked. Royally.
My rheumy took me straight off my MTX injections because it was too risky to suppress my crappy immune system when I was so darn sick. Because it took me so long to get over the flu, I was off it for a good month. THEN I tried to get back onto the injections, and every time I had one, I would spend the next day with my head in the toilet, throwing up non-stop, feeling so smacked out that I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
On top of that, my fibro started flaring up, and my joints started to swell. I had taken over 2 weeks off work with the flu, and was then in and out of work, taking more sick days that I didn’t have, because I was just too sore/tired/unwell to be there.
And what I realised through all of this was this:
It is so easy to say that I’m at peace with everything, when nothing hurts.
It’s so easy to be totally zen, and sit there in a cross-legged yoga pose, and talk about how blessed I am that my perspective is broadened by my diagnosis, and how lessons are to be found in everything in life – when I’m in remission and physically ABLE to get into said cross-legged yoga pose.
It’s so easy to think that I’m doing so well at life, when everything is going well, and my body is behaving itself!
When everything goes to shit, all of a sudden, being positive isn’t that easy anymore! I had felt so ‘normal’ for a while. I had mentally and emotionally filed the pain and fatigue as a thing of the past… something that I wouldn’t have to worry about anymore – even if logically and statistically, that wouldn’t be the case. Going skiing, working out – doing things a 31 year old does, and feeling good like a 31 year old should feel – it lulled me into a false sense of security. A fantasy world where my diseases were forgotten… things of the past.
Then: one flu threw all of that out the window.
I am currently so exhausted that I am struggling to even make myself food to eat at home. After taking two weeks off work with the flu a couple of months back, I have now had sporadic days off ever since, and am now in the midst of a whole other week off work… I just can’t get there at the moment. I feel so awful about this… so stressed… and then I remember that stress just makes everything worse, and I stress about stressing!!
I have rallied the troops around me. Doctor’s appointments, rheumatologist appointments, frequent phone calls to my psychologist, guidance from my naturopath, programs from my exercise physiologist. I’m trying to keep some kind of structure to my day, despite the fact I just want to cover my sore body in heat packs and sleep for a decade.
I’m trying to not let myself sink into this depressive quicksand I am currently submerged in. I can feel it tugging my mood down, down, down. I don’t even want to speak to my friends right now, because I’m just so morose. Last night one of my girlfriends managed to get a hold of me me, and told me she was pregnant. I was so very happy for her – yet I got off the phone and cried my eyes out. It feels like I have gone back all the steps I fought so hard to take, and now I’m stuck in this quicksand, stationary – while everyone else’s lives move forward, the way lives are meant to.
This blog was originally started to ‘look on the bright side’. To find the positive, or even the funny, in chronic illness. At this very moment, as I contemplate my life, and face up to the fact that even if I have some good points, there will be times when I feel THIS terrible… well, I find it hard to find anything positive in that.