TL;DR: I am having health problems. I am currently behind on everything, especially email.
Some of you might remember that I went on thyroid medication three years ago, after a tentative diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis that was only partially supported by my blood tests but did seem to fit a laundry list of long-term symptoms: insomnia, fatigue, depression, weight gain despite diet and exercise, infertility. The medication did wonders. I felt like myself again for the first time in ten years, I had my energy back, and oh yes: I got pregnant almost immediately. Obviously, we fixed something that had been broken.
Alas, all those original symptoms are back, and they’ve brought friends. The good thing is that my blood tests finally reflect my symptoms. It now appears certain that I have an autoimmune disorder: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or some combination of those. (“It’s never lupus!” Except lupus does run in my family.) I am waiting to see a rheumatologist. In the meantime, everything sucks.
I’ve had trouble with insomnia since I was four or so, but this is the worst bout I’ve ever had. I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep without medication in over two months. I’ve built up a tolerance to OTC sleep aids. I finally got a prescription for Ambien last week, and even that isn’t working very well. I also have chronic fatigue. This is a delightful combination: I’m tired all the time, but I can’t sleep, and when I do, it doesn’t matter, I’m still tired.
I can’t think. Trying to put together a thought is like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle with blank pieces, in the dark, with fingers gone numb. If I manage to put two of them together, I feel like running around the living room waving my arms in the air and shouting, “EUREKA!” Except that would take more energy than I have.
The weight issue is a constant annoyance. I jog two to three miles a day, three to six days a week, and have been for a year. I also do yoga and Pilates when I feel like it. My weight hasn’t budged. About once a week, someone will peer at my belly and ask how far along I am. I try to be gracious about this and explain that my thyroid is preventing me from losing that weight. I am gradually losing my patience on this point. However, it’s the least of my worries at the moment; the only good thing is that tracking my calories and my workouts with MyFitnessPal over the last few months gave me hard data I could show my doctor, which helped prove that I’m not just tired and spaced out because I have a toddler.
The upshot is that I am behind on everything. Some things, like the continuation of the content strategy series of posts, are delayed a little; others, like Women of WordPress, are just on hold. I catch up on my plugin support threads when I can. I had a couple of good days last week and managed to get caught up on work and email and even poked at one of my novels a bit. That burst of energy didn’t last. I am typing this on my phone while curled up in bed, waiting for another.
Things I can handle: Twitter, Tumblr, cat pictures, rereading favorite books, familiar or repetitive work.
Things I cannot handle at the moment: thoughtful replies to email, new writing, learning new things. Getting out of bed, sometimes.
This will get better. Either the current flare of symptoms will pass, or I’ll get an appointment with the elusive specialist and he’ll have some suggestions. In the meantime, thank you for your patience. Send cat pictures.
(Title phrase coined by Charles Stross; if it doesn’t make sense, you probably haven’t encountered the spoon theory of chronic illness.)
I am sure you can overcome all these simple difficulties through your will power and prayers.
All the best
Sarah Lewis says
I imagine it’s difficult to stay upbeat, but I hope “this too shall pass” comes sooner rather than later and you can get back to doing the full range of work you enjoy. (In the meantime: enjoy Twitter and try and pretend you got to choose the “break.”)
Stephanie Leary says