Saturday, August 5, 2006

FATIGUE...It's Not A Four Letter Word, But It Should Be

     I want to sleep in this morning, but I can't...the echoes of SEAFAIR and what sounds like World War III (the lovely Blue Angels dive bombing overhead) are just outside my window.  It's also a gorgeous August day outside.  I have a list of things I need to get done this morning.  I want to have brunch with Saint EB.  There IS this blog to write.  I have my daily Multiple Sclerosis blogs to read.  I need to vacuum and wash my dishes before I get ready to go to work this afternoon...blahty blahty blah. 

     My "To Do" is a long list and I'm feeling "To Do Damn Tired" "To Do" any of it.'s not for the weak at heart and it's certainly NOT a symptom of MS I deal with all that well!

     I neither understand nor accept MS fatigue these days.  Oh, I "get" the clinical picture of it...I just don't understand why I have to have it!  I had always been someone filled with what appeared to be too MUCH nervous energy before being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis...always able to go, go, go...always able to rise to the challenge...always able to push myself just a wee bit farther.  That is, until MS FATIGUE came into my life.

     Fatigue, to me, has been the hardest symptom of MS to manage.  Because I mentally have equated it to a "character flaw" or a sign of "laziness", it has been quite an obstacle to overcome and accept in my life.  And because MY view of MS fatigue is so tainted, I assume others in my life must think I'm just "lazy" as well when I am unable to sometimes find the energy to do simple things.  And the longer I hold on to these assumptions (which are usually false projections of my own subconscious), the longer I allow myself to live in my own denial...I HAVE MS FATIGUE AND IT REQUIRES ME TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS...I don't like this.

     It's hard to simplify one's life down to an analogy of a tank of gas, but here goes: 

     I spent my weekend assisting a friend in a car shopping crisis.  Although it was something I wanted to do, it still cost me some "gas".  I then proceeded to take a mini "vacation" to Sequim, WA.  Again, although a want "To Do", more "gas" was spent.  Then there was the preparation for the colonoscopy and the subsequent exam...WAY more gas than I wanted to spend (or expel, for that matter!).  There were the Tysabri papers/decision/contemplation...mental "gas".  And finally, back to work...big "gas" drain. 

     I think my weekly fatigue factor would look something like this:

                  Weekend Car Shopping = .10 tank of gas

                                 Mini Vacation = .10 tank of gas

                            Colon Blow Prep = .15 tank of gas

                                 Colonoscopy = .35 tank of gas  

Daily Living/Mental Wear and Tear = .15 tank of gas

                             Return to Work = .15 tank of gas

                                            TOTAL = EMPTY TANK

     One of the factors that doesn't often get figured into my fatigue cost of living, however, is this:

Cost of Living My Life The Way I Choose = PRICELESS


     So, I'm now out of gas, but I don't regret my expenditures this past week.  I now simply have to figure out a way to get the ol' tank refilled!  I'm staying in bed this morning.  I'm letting chores slide.  I'm rescheduling brunch with Saint EB for tomorrow.  I'm pulling out the "fatigue flag of surrender" and I'm waving it.  I'm trying to remember I'm NOT just lazy today.  I'm trying to accept fatigue is a symptom of a disease and not my character.

     I'm imagining myself sitting on that white bench in the picture above and just...resting...

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