I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Lisa Emrich, of Brass and Ivory, certainly wasn’t the first towarn me about the M.S. “wall.” I’ve been warned by doctors and other patients for months now. But as I read Lisa’s comments on my article: Cherry Blossoms and Real Sunshine, I did take a moment’s pause. While I don’t believe I have hit “the” wall (a place where I assume I’ll be down for the count, even for a few days; a place where a relapse is major and more debilitating), I do believe I have hit “a” wall of sorts.
I’ve been under immeasurable stress these last three weeks. It’s been a combination of a big work project, a little bit of traveling, a terrible IPIR/allergic reaction to my DMD, and very little downtime to just relax and regroup – or even to just breathe. I’ve come to covet my post-work evenings and my weekends, where rest is factored in and even sometimes scheduled. All of these items on the list really weren’t a true “choice” though. I work. I work full time and part time. I don’t work just for the sheer joy of it all. I work because as of now (a) I still have to and (b) I still can. Ok, and I’ll admit, I do find pleasure and even a huge reward in my work. Some of my life’s challenges and stressors are going to be unavoidable. Unfortunately.
The last three weeks have definitely caught up with me. I’ve told several folks that I feel like I’m in a full relapse. My symptoms are definitely flared more than the last several months. The fatigue has returned like a dark cloud and doesn’t seem to be letting up. The fatigue is really the tipping point. I can manage with all the other symptoms, but when fatigue pays a visit, it is in control – not me. I call this “a” wall vs. “the” wall because I’m still getting out of bed in the morning, still working more than my 40 hours a week, and still functioning very well. But I realize that if I don’t start paying attention, “a” will turn into “the” any day now.
Luckily, my giant work project has come to a close. It seems as if my life and schedule will move back to a place where after work I can rest and rejuvenate. I lost three weekends somewhere in these last few weeks – my normal days of rest were replaced with long hours of additional work. My weekends have returned – and I realize it is just in time.
So, what’s an M.S. gal to do? I can’t forego my job and with that job (or any job I’ll be working) will come periods of stress and long hours. I can’t hide under a rock, fearful of the wall caving in on me. If nothing else, this “episode” or perhaps even relapse, has made me realize what WILL happen if I am not more careful, or at least a little better prepared. Sometimes awareness is enough to help manage some of these factors before they get entirely out of control.
I plan to “unplug” this weekend. The hubby and I have barely even had a long conversation these last few weeks, let alone had any measurable fun together. I plan to partake in a little bit of fun, mixed in with a huge helping of rest. And, I plan to do it all in the center of whatever room I’m in; far away from any walls.