For the last week or so, I’ve been incredibly tired. Waves of exhaustion just flow over and for about 15 minutes, I’m ready to collapse, and then it passes for a while and I get a second/third/forth wind. I get this tired fairly often and for years, I’ve put it down to my asthma, despite rarely getting any of the usual asthma symptoms. I don’t wheeze, I don’t cough and I rarely get chest tightness. But I get tired. So, so tired.
Most doctors I’ve been to have seen a diagnosis of asthma on my chart and immediately put most of my health complaints down to the that. You’re tired? Asthma? You’ve been coughing for over a year? Asthma (actually walking pneumonia but who’s counting?). So it stands to reason that I’ve stopped going to the doctor over being tired because who needs to be told the same thing over and over again when I know what they’re going to tell me to do?
This time, The Boy convinced me to make a doctor’s appointment and even though I was sure I could parrot back what the doctor would say, I made the appointment. Oh, the things you do in your first year of marriage! So yesterday, I called in sick and made my way to the doctor.
I’ve been going to the same practice for years (from before I moved countries) and most of the doctors there are good but they tend to see ‘asthmatic’ and go with that as their first diagnosis. This time, I saw a new doctor who ordered up a bunch of blood tests to check my iron, folate and thyroid (among others). I’ll find out if there’s anything in it on Friday.
So, until then, I’m yawning through my day and trying not to snore but feeling a little more hopeful that I’ll be taken seriously instead of being fobbed off as just another asthmatic. After hearing about cancer diagnoses coming out of nowhere, I’d rather be tested for anything and everything than be dismissed.
Maybe it is all in my mind. Maybe it is my asthma. But I’d rather know than self-diagnose and keep doing what I’ve always done if it’s not really working.
I like to think I’m a strong person. I like to think I know what I need and how to get it. I like to think that after everything I’ve been through, I know how to ask for help and how it’s not weak to admit that you need help.
I like to think all these things but in reality, I’m not as smart as I’d like to be. Instead of admitting that I’m not perfect and strong and unaffected by life and events, I hide behind the whole “if I don’t talk about it, it’s not there” façade sometimes.
This is not to say I don’t get affected by life and events and stuff – hell no, I am an emotional person. I cry from sadness, I cry from anger, I cry from frustration. I cry without realizing that I’m emotional and then I have to stop and think “why the heck am I crying?”, which is a little disconcerting when it happens in front of a friend.
When I started telling people I was moving at the end of September, so many people told me how stressful it would be and how I’d need help and I laughed it off. I listened but didn’t really listen to them. I was all “I’ve done this before, I was fine, and I’ll be fine this time too” and look where that got me.
Last week I was convinced that my anxiety and restlessness was because of my sinus medication. While I have no doubt that it contributed, I was wrong. Had I been right, the anxiety would have gone away just.like.that. And what do you know, it didn’t. In fact, the anxiety was joined by a lack of motivation, anti-social behavior and constant exhaustion.
What’s that you say? It sounds like depression? Well, you’d be right. It took me a littlebitlot longer to get there. You, my friend, are smart. Me, not so much all the time.
I had a mini meltdown on Monday (hey, lookit that alliteration!) and had a few tearful conversations with my folks and then with the Boy the next morning. I really clicked on Monday that I was falling into the hole and it scared me. It scared me enough to write a post about it and then, at the last minute, make it private because making it public would make it real and I still wasn’t ready for that.
I’ve done the medication thing before and I had a love-hate relationship with it. Loved the fact that it stopped the tears and overwhelming sadness and lethargy. Hated how difficult it was to get off it and how it made everything so much the same. I needed it at the time but I really don’t want to go back there unless I absolutely have to. But I realized on Monday that I needed something to calm me, something to help me focus and not get overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done and cannot be done and omg I’m such a failure – you know, that stuff.
On Tuesday we had a power outage which saw us all being sent home at 2:30, so I took the opportunity to suck it up and go to my local healthfood store and ask about something natural. I didn’t want something with side effects or something that would take forever to kick in. I wanted something simple to calm me down a bit, that I could take easily and not worry about. Enter Holy Basil. No, I’d never heard of it before either. But apparently it’s really good for calming you down, with a great side job as an anti-inflammatory and asthma reliever.
I took 1 tablet on Tuesday night and am sticking to 2 a day (as recommended) for the moment. I’m feeling a ton better – more relaxed and focused and definitely not as anxious. And as a FANTASTIC side effect, my asthma feels better too. I know a lot of the natural remedies can be a mixture of psychosomatic and real physical improvements, much like a combination placebo effect, but whatever it is, I am feeling better physically and emotionally and for that, I’m grateful.
Now, if I could only find a pill to make my assistant smarter and actually willing to make my life easier, then life would be perfect. Anyone?
I’m boycotting the scales this week, partly out of choice and partly out of laziness. Being on vacation means that my usual routine of showering and then weighing is out of whack and I’m not weighing in now, after a few meals and with clothes. That is just setting myself up for disappointment. That, and it’s TOM so yeah. No weight update.
The dairy challenge has been interesting. I have to admit that it’s harder than I thought it would be. I didn’t realise how much dairy I actually ate. I knew about the cheeses and the milk in cereal, but I didn’t take into account the little bit of light sour cream I use with my fish tacos. Or the milk powder in my 90 calorie snacks. So while I can’t say I’ve cut it out entirely, I’ve cut down on it and we’ll see. I don’t see a huge difference, except I’m definitely not as gassy and bloated. I bought a small So nice chocolate soymilk drink today and I think I can handle it as a chocolate milk replacement. My next challenge is to try almond milk, which has had rave reviews in my comments!
The dresses have not been altered as yet, but I am going to take them to get altered today. I’ve been enjoying my vacation plus yesterday was a civic holiday here so nothing was open. Yeah, yeah, excuses. I know.
The water drinking is going well. A little too well I think. I got really dizzy in training yesterday so I think my sodium levels are down again. I got a G2 Gatorade on the way home from training to replenish my sodium and I think it helped. I need to really keep an eye on that. It’s difficult sometimes because everything you see is about the evils of sodium and how you should use low-sodium this and low-sodium that and drink more water, but I’m realising that I need to add salt to things a bit more than not. I’m keeping an eye on this and hoping that drinking some Gatorade occassionally and adding some sea salt to dishes will help.
I failed on the recipe front too BUT I am making brown rice pasta today – does that count? My trainer raved about it and it’s gluten-free etc (low-sodium too LOL) and low calorie (only 200 calories/cup) so I’m trying it out either for a late lunch or for dinner. I’ll let you know how that goes.
On the exercise front, I took it easy over the weekend. My asthma/bronchiectisus has not been great and I’m on a broad spectrum antibiotic because I think I have a low-grade infection. Not fun. But I did buy a skipping rope and OMG it’s amazing. Who woulda thunk that a simple rope with handles would be a full-body workout? I used it for a bit on Sunday and my whole body hurt. But I am majorly uncoordinated. I realise this now. I could so film myself, upload it to youtube and be famous. LOL
So things are going okay. Not great on the health front, okay on the exercise front, great on the getting-relief-from-stress front. All in all, not a terrible week.
This is not a metaphorical post about the joys of taking a break. No, this is about the actual beauty of being able to breathe properly. You know, the act of inhaling and exhaling that oxygenates your blood and helps your heart pump and therefore gives you life? Yeah, that breathing.
I have asthma. I’ve had it all my life really (I supposedly had pneumonia as a baby but when my asthma was properly diagnosed, the doc said it was probably my first asthma attack) and have been hospitalised a number of times. That said, I’ve thought I was going to die once and that was at the mall during work about 9 years ago. I felt disappointed that my life didn’t flash before my eyes but I was only 19 and I really hadn’t had much of a life to flash. Anywoo.
Flash forward to today. My asthma is generally well controlled – I take Advair every day, twice a day and as much as I would love to stop taking it, every experiment has been a failure. Breathing techniques are all great but when your symptoms sneak up on you anyway, it feels like a waste of time and you’re still reaching for the Ventolin. In addition to my lovely asthma, my lungs are also scarred from walking pneumonia, undiagnosed by a stupid doctor who told me I was being a hypochondriac and I should accept that my persistent cough – which was never a symptom of my asthma – was just asthma. I now have bronchiectasis, which means my persistent cough will be with me for life in some form or another, unless I want to add another daily steroid into my life and thanks but no thanks to that.
My symptoms are not usually immediately obvious to me. A usual “attack” starts slowly. I start getting really tired and needing to nap. A lot. A full night’s sleep is not enough. I take longer to recover from workouts and I can get a little low. It usually takes my mother’s light bulb moment of “how’s your asthma going?” to make me sit up and click. I don’t live anywhere near my parents anymore so it now takes me even longer to click.
This morning was my lightbulb moment.