So here I am four weeks into my recovery. I started off well. Major fatigue for a week or two, but I expected that. And then a gradual increase in energy and stamina. Nice one. I soon got back on my bike, cycling along our gorgeous seafront. Woo hoo. I even vacuumed our constantly play doh covered floor (once!). Who would have thought I would have enjoyed that one…
And then recently I collapsed into a heap again. I had been warned it might happen, but I did that thing that you do when you’re about to have your first baby – ignored the warning and assumed it would be different for me.
Fatigue sucks big time. It is not tiredness. It is also not how I felt when I had a baby. That was sleep deprivation which was quickly improved by the following:
a. The little blighters started sleeping more
b. I got used to it and accepted my new zombie-like state as normal
c. I lived on coffee and biscuits and dealt with the sugar induced energy slumps by eating a cake
Fatigue is also not how I felt when I had been burning the candle at both ends. Again, this was easily improved with a bit of kip and some sort of vegetable laden casserole.
Fatigue is an overwhelming physical and cognitive exhaustion, often with a sudden onset. It makes your whole body feel like lead and your brain feel like foggy jelly. A flight of stairs can feel like a mountain and getting dressed (especially the choosing what to wear part) makes you breathless. Simple decisions are really hard to make and most of the time you wish the person asking you the question would either stop asking you stuff or make the decision for you. Additionally, for me everything feels loud, bright, sharp, heavy, and really close to my face.
In this scenario, what I should really do is hide away in a dimly lit room for a day or two and do nothing but eat freshly made soup and practise deep yogic relaxation. But unfortunately I do not live in an ayurvedic retreat in India and I also have two children and a job. So the reality is that unless I simply cannot drag myself out of bed and muster up the energy to get un-naked, I carry on. I hate having to rest. I love being able to do it all. Because I am a young(ish) woman with a young family. I want to do everything and be there all the time and not have to miss out on the fun bits of life because I have MS.
But I do have MS. So I do have to rest more. And I do get frustrated. And I know that I am not the only one with tricky stuff to deal with. Poor hubby – I am such a terrible patient. And just like MS, I am also sometimes a bit of a pain in the arse.