The most difficult thing about my disease for me is learning to pace myself. I have struggled with this for years. I fight my body constantly, forcing myself to do things when I am exhausted. Fatigue is the major problem not the pain.
Pain is dealt with by the medication really quite effectively, even though rarely 100%. That is a minor gripe. What the medication cannot do is deal with fatigue.
I have had a pretty good week. I swam and walked on Monday. I did neither on Tuesday the but I did do things in the house. I swam and walked on Wednesday and Thursday although on Thursday I had to abandon my swim as I just could not do it. Again, not through pain but through weakness. I came home and I rested until it was time for me to go and do a talk and demonstration.
I knew that today would not be a good day physically. I planned for it. I didn’t actually have to do anything I just knew and accepted, which is the most important thing, that I would be feeling today as if I had done a dog show yesterday. I did not hurry away from the place where I did my talk and I did not hurry to bed when I got home. I allowed myself to sit and unwind, eat a meal, watch some TV, and then go to bed. I did not set the alarm and I slept in.
I am doing nothing today other than what I have to do for the dogs. I am not even knitting because I feel too weak. Instead I am reading a book on my Kindle, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, and farting about on Facebook.
This has resulted in me mentally feeling good. I am not feeling guilty for being lazy or for giving in to my disease. I am taking care of myself.
I am not perfect and I know that I probably have not finished pushing myself but I consider this to be a major step forward in coming to terms with my situation. I would never have believed that having a disease that caused 24/7 pain would produce challenges for me that have nothing to do with the pain itself! Like most people I am sure, I would have thought that the pain would be be major issue. As with everything else in life, it is my attitude that makes the difference. Once again proving to me that what we think and believe is of the utmost importance because it affects our life in every way imaginable.
I really cannot think of a time previously that I have mentally prepared for the type of day I am having today. I knew how I would feel today because I know my disease well and I mentally prepared for it. Even when I do dog shows, and I know that I will be stuffed for two days following, I have still fought against it. By not doing so today, I have relieved myself of unnecessary burden and so consequently I don’t feel miserable either. I just physically feel buggered and that is okay because it will pass as long as I take care and rest.
It may seem elementary to most people and perhaps some reading this will be perplexed that I have taken so long to come to the obvious. We are complex beings and we all face different challenges. Having this disease has helped me to see areas of myself that I have not even known were there and that still need work. It has also shown me strengths that I did not know that I had. Tenacity being one, optimism, fortitude and the ability to push into the background the pain that could overwhelm. This ability does of course have its negative side in that I can become unaware of the need for rest and medication. It is an ongoing education.