Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Hear Me Roar!

(The lovely work of grimhrakkar.deviantart.com.
The Retired Brideburner - somewhat excited about Game of Thrones Season Three, if you hadn't guessed.)

This post is going to be as much about catharsis as kicking myself up the backside I think, but as we all have these kinds of ups and downs I think it’s worth documenting in here.

In short without wishing to jinx myself a couple of potentially exciting opportunities have arisen in the past couple of days.

What’s the problem, you ask? Well hold your horses.

The past week or so has been a little worrying. I’m unsure if it’s a bad phase (which I think we all have) or if this is actually a spike in severity that’s going to remain in place. In all honesty it doesn’t *feel* like a phase.

I’m aching all over more, and it seems to be the kind of aching my somewhat punishing exercise routine isn’t helping. The exercise isn’t making it worse, which is a good thing and means I can keep at it, but I suspect I’ve hit a plateau in effectiveness which might need a new approach to tackle. I am hoping to take up a new form of exercise in a couple of weeks time so I’ll see if that makes a difference before widening my search for possibilities.

Also, my bowel is just being silly. Pretty much as silly as it was when this all started. The problem with this is (potentially) if I go to my new doctors here with what’s happening, they’re going to send me back to Gastroenterology who are going to perform the same tests again (all of which were unpleasant) and I suspect come out with the same results. Whatever it may be, I genuinely don’t think it’s an inflammatory bowel disease. I’m reluctant to go through all that again, jeopardise future work opportunities with further hospital time and end up in much the same place as at the end of the last bout of tests – ie “we don’t know what it is, good luck.”

However, if I’ve gotten this far I am most certainly not going to give in now.

I’m wrestling with my own emotions and fighting to keep calm – we all know worry and anxiety are not going to be remotely helpful in this instance. For someone who is by nature quite highly strung I’ve been surprising myself with how “zen” I’m managing to be. I think I might be finally accepting that worrying about it won’t make it go away or indeed change anything for the better, so it’s a waste of precious spoons I could put to use in more productive fashion.

So, I’m maintaining the exercise (somewhat toned down today due to both knees making their displeasure felt) and keeping on eating and drinking regularly and healthily. I generally find food is the last thing I want when my bowel hurts, but I’m quite determined to not forsake my overall well being for as long as I’m physically able to keep in control of it. So I’m eating the pasta bake I had planned for tonight whether Petunia likes it or not.

I’m also putting my noticeably reduced energy levels into relaxation – which for me means long hot baths, music and a good book. When I go back to work I’ll have less time with which to do these sorts of things so I’m trying to train myself into doing them when needed now without apologising for it or indeed telling myself “you should really do that ironing” or “you haven’t vacced for a couple of days”. Whilst I like a clean house, I can accept spotless is beyond me nowadays.  I’m hoping this approach will mean it’s easier for me to come home from work, maintain regular eating times and still get the relaxation I need.

I find the little pieces of mind training are just as important as the larger steps in working towards combating a chronic illness. I could succumb to worry and allow myself to be anxious about my situation and what’s possibly going to occur in the future (some small part of me has accepted I will need to return to Gastroenterology and find some answers) – but it will make the present levels of pain and fatigue worse, so I don’t allow it. 

Whatever I need to do for adequate distraction I do at the moment. I won’t insult the intelligence of anyone reading this by suggesting that’s an easy thing to achieve – it isn’t and it takes hard work and a lot of discipline. I’ve found it is helpful and worth the effort though, and I have real hope it will stand me in good stead for dealing with returning to work in the future.

Whatever my body is going to throw at me now or one year or ten years from now, I have a quiet confidence I can learn to face and then beat it, as I’ve learnt (and in some ways am still learning) to do now. I won’t allow myself to be afraid or to consider any alternative but my being in charge – not Petunia.

And if all else fails my partner in crime introduced me to Good Old Gaming over the weekend, and I am now the proud (read: unashamed!) owner of a fully optimised copy of Icewind Dale, Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster. So if nothing else, I’ve orcs to take my frustrations out on – now what could be more relaxing than saving the Ten Towns, I ask you?

Bless you, gaming nostalgia.

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