I made a decision the week before last. In the midst of an Endometriosis flare-up, I decided that I was going to push through and force myself to go to work and complete my normal daily activities, NO MATTER WHAT. Well, as long as it was physically possible anyway. I have had many flare-ups that render me completely, 100% incapacitated and during those I would not have been able to simply “will my way through it.” This one however, I could and so I did.
Did I succeed? Yes.
Did I feel good about myself? Yes.
Was it a good idea? In hindsight, no.
Do I regret it? Yes and no.
Will I do it again? I’m not sure yet.
What I didn’t think about at the time was the inevitable backlash. I didn’t think about what I should have known could and most likely would happen. I should have remembered “the spoon theory.” I should have realized that by ignoring the very loud and obvious signs that my body was screaming to me; I would end up causing the flare-up to last longer and the pain and fatigue to linger, catching up to me one way or another, if not right then, eventually and likely in the very near future. The “very near future” happened last Wednesday. My body and mind finally gave out and I was forced to stay home and in bed for the majority of the entire day and night. I used so many extra spoons for so many extra days, the week before, that almost an entire day’s worth of spoons were gone by the time I woke up and I had nothing left for the day. I was worthless.
I didn’t feel much better the next day or even still really. I’m still in pain. I’m still exhausted. I’m still stressed. I’m also depressed. I feel guilty about missing work last week and undoing all of the “good” that I did the week before, when I came to work on my death-bed, fully pretending to be OK. I did it partly because I desperately need to save my precious leave bank hours for upcoming procedures, surgeries, and dental/doctor appointments that Billy and I both have planned and scheduled.
It could have been worse, I suppose. I could’ve missed two or three days, instead of one, but I would’ve rather missed none. How can I get ahead and accrue the hours that I need to take off for procedures that we need to help us get better if I’m so sick now that I have no choice but to use all of the hours that I earn, plus some? Thank God I haven’t been quite this sick throughout my entire career at the City and have had many years when we couldn’t afford a vacation, so that I do still have a few weeks worth of hours remaining, between my paid sick and vacation leave banks.
If I could avoid any additional stress for the next few months, I might be able to make some progress. Just a little extra stress can set me WAY back and send my pain levels soaring. That is almost impossible though. Between work, my constant pain, watching my hubby’s relentless pain, dealing with the emotional turmoil created by chronic pain, and the never-end medical bills, avoiding stress is impossible. I try but I am fully convinced that it cannot be avoided (or even well-managed, in my case).
As much as I hate chronic pain and the horrific, incapacitating flare-ups that come along with it; I think I may hate the chronic fatigue that continuously suffocates me just as much. I feel like I can’t breathe. I can’t think. I feel like I can’t move. I feel like I’m walking through quick sand. Sometimes I feel like the quick sand will fully engulf me and I will drown.
At least my doctor will help me dull the pain with medication. No one seems to acknowledge the fatigue, nor will anyone try to treat it, despite the fact that it is almost as disabling as the pain itself, and sometimes even worse.