Acknowledging I Can’t Do It All

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So I’m one of those dense people that will damn near kill herself, just so I can convince myself that I felt a little bit normal.. at least for a moment. Especially when it comes to my heart. My broad diagnosis is Autonomic Neuropathy, tack on Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and I’m a big bag of fun.

I take care of myself for the most part. I up my salt intake, stay super hydrated, exercise to the best of my ability, the works. Sometimes though, it’s just hard to admit that I can’t just do everything that I used to be able to. Hell, it’s hard to admit that somethings are just different. 

A great example is temperature regulation and sweating. I have a super hard time regulating my body temperature, and when I sweat, I sweat A LOT. This past summer, I decided to take the kids to Summerfest to see Reverend Horton Heat. It was a partly cloudy, 75 degree day, and it was time for the kids’ baptism by fire into rockabilly. I was psyched. We got there, and by the time we got halfway through the park, I was overheating. It wasn’t hot, it wasn’t even particularly humid, but I could feel the sweat beading up on my forehead and on my back.

Walking through the park was starting to fuck with my heart rate, so once we got to the bleachers, I sat down for the show. Despite sitting, getting my heart under control.. I continued to sweat. By the end of the show I was soaked. By soaked.. I mean drenched. I looked like I had jumped in the lake. Talk about embarrassing. My face was beet red, I was burning up, and all because my body couldn’t control itself. We spent the entire ride home with the kids chattering, and with me beating myself up inside my own head because I stopped to by myself an over priced DRY shirt.

So yes, I have a hard time accepting all of this. Especially the symptoms that effect my day to day drastically. I’ve had a decade to get used to all of the Crohns Disease symptoms. I guess the heart shit is just more.. fresh? One of the things that really gets to me is how it effects my outdoor activities. Especially my yard work.

It sounds kind of lame, but I thoroughly enjoy working outside in my yard. Whether it be mowing the grass, or weeding my garden. The last couple of years, it’s just gotten progressively more difficult.  I mean, when I first started gardening, I used to be able to dig up my garden bed, by myself in a day. Add the fresh dirt/manure/etc wasn’t a huge deal, and I could plant everything by myself as well. Mowing the lawn? That was something to be done with a couple of cold beers set off to the side. Raking in the fall? More beer and a fire at night to burn it all. (Sidenote: there’s no leaf pick up here, and there’s a no burn law – so I burn at night because.. my yard. Eat me.)

Now, digging up my garden and adding new dirt is a two person job or it takes me all week. Planting, I still manage to do by myself, but it puts me on my ass for the rest of the day. Mowing the lawn? This was my heart rate: Screenshot_20191015-120436_Fitbit.jpg

.. and I have a relatively small yard too. It only takes me half an hour to mow it. There’s no beer involved anymore, just two bottles of water. So that leaves me to raking leaves.

Let me precursor this with a little information about my next door neighbor. I share a driveway with a very lovely family, and the father in this family has very nicely tolerated me for a decade now. He helps me out from time to time, and I like to think that he’s adopted me even though it’s much more likely that he just thinks I’m a moron and he doesn’t want me to die some preventable death. It’s hard to tell as we don’t speak the same language, much as we try. His house and yard is very nice. He is super neurotic about it. Now, my yard isn’t horrible, and I like to plant flowers and fill my bird feeder, but I also don’t cringe that hard at the bald patch in my grass by the front door. His yard makes mine look like a dumpster, and unfortunately for him, my two gorgeous maple trees that just dumped all of their bright yellow leaves onto the ground? Part of that ground includes his driveway and yard.

My poor neighbor has been out with his leaf blower every day, blowing the leaves from my trees off of his yard, driveway, my driveway & walkway, both of our drainage ditches back into my yard (he’s also known for shoveling my walkway in the winter when he thinks I’m not looking, much like he unclogs my drainage ditch or fills my car tires).

I know it bothers him. I know it does, and I feel horrible. Jon hasn’t been able to handle it with his work hours, and then of course we got a random 4 inches of snow on his day off. (because who needs an Autumn when we can hop right into Winter riiight?!) and while I handled the first round with the mower, I haven’t raked because.. well. I know I won’t be able to handle it this year. I know I can handle some of the raking, but when I say there’s a lot of leaves, I mean… a metric fuck ton. Like a good 3 inches of leaves covering my entire yard.

… and I’m not ready to just hand over the fucking reins to Jon or someone else and admit that I can’t handle taking care of my own lawn despite the fact that I stay home. It’s my god damn yard, fuck off. 

So I spent sometime online just searching for alternatives. From mulching attachments for the mower, to leaf-grabber-thingies to baggers. What I ended up buying was a push yard sweeper. It’s similar to what I’ve used up on my Dad’s property behind his atv. It essentially uses a brush to sweep yard debris into a bag which to empty when it’s full. It isn’t perfect, but it’s less work than raking. I’m excited, it should be here by Monday, and I plan on tackling the yard on Tuesday barring more snow.

However it occurred to me, this was my first purchase I’ve made purely to assist myself because I couldn’t just do something the same way I used to anymore. I guess it’s the first time I’ve admitted defeat in a way, instead of letting myself use my stubbornness to figure out a way to complete a task. I don’t know, it’s an odd feeling. I guess I’ve avoided this moment for a decade plus and now my brain isn’t quite sure how to process it.

Either way. At least I won’t have to listen to the leaf blower every day now.

 

A Battle with my Body

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I’m having a bit of a hard time lately. With both my body and my mind. I am so incredibly frustrated that I’m not sure where to even begin.

I’ve gained a bit of weight over the last couple of years from a lack of exercise due to both my Autonomic Neuropathy and Depression. So I stepped up my game a bit and got more active and restricted calories. While it seems to have helped my mood a bit, the weight is staying.

It’s frustrating because of some limitations my wayward heart has set. Lately I’ve just been doing small bits of exercise and walks with my pupper, but without being able to do any cardio, or anything that makes me exert myself.. I’m at a standstill.

At the same exact time, I’m frustrated with myself for hating on my body. Out of the last decade plus change, this is the healthiest I’ve been. Sure, I may be a bit overweight, but my Crohns Disease is behaving, migraines are pretty much gone, and my IST hasn’t knocked my ass into the ER for Adenosine in years. So it’s like.. well.. I’m angry at myself for being angry at myself for not being perfect? It’s a weird circle-jerk of self-loathing at a time where my only real problem is some extra pounds.

I don’t have much of a point to writing this beyond getting the thoughts onto “paper” and out of my head. I’m just frustrated.

Slow down there heart.

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I am exhausted, even though I slept a bit last night and had a nap it feels like I ran a marathon. My muscles in my shoulders and neck are tight, my chest hurts, and I have a lingering headache that thuds along with my heartbeat.

Why? My heart decided to take off running for no damned reason last night and continued through this morning. So instead of resting with a nice low heart rate, I was at 160bpm just sitting down.

It’s honestly frustrating and simply tiring. By this morning, standing up made me dizzy and nauseated. I am sick of it. However, I also know that my heart is a lot better than it used to be. I know I have more good days than bad, yet it still gets me down.

Either way, I have spent the entire day taking it easy. I’m starting to feel more like myself almost 24 hours later. Hopefully the entire weekend won’t be lost.

Headaches and Headache Balm

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Most of you know I’m pretty science based. Hell, when you have a chronic illness, you kind of have to be with all of the treatments you have to endure. I’m the first one to throat punch a person who tells me to stop my meds and eat some raw foods to cure my Crohns, or take a walk instead of take my antidepressants. I don’t particularly believe in god, though I tend to swing more towards agnostic rather than militant atheist these days. (Fuck organized religion though!)

However, over the last year or so, I’ve surprised myself by being a bit.. holistic? I’m not even sure that’s the right word I’m looking for. I started using essential oils to treat my anxiety and headaches among other things.

It all started back when my heart started acting up. (Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia, although as time goes by, it seems closer to POTS, but I don’t have the funds to see a different EP for a second opinion.) I had always been a very anxiety-ridden person, and having a racing heart that occasionally needed to be medically stopped, shot my anxiety through the roof. So a friend of mine gave me some essential oils to try for my new-much-more-hard-core panic attacks. They seemed to work.

So I started investigating different kinds of oils and what people use them for. Now, I’m not one to say “Oh, try ingesting 3 drops of this oil, twice a day and you’ll be cured of this ailment!!”, because that’s crap, and we all know it, but I do think that certain scents are calming, and certain herbs have been proven to work as anti-inflammatory (and disproved – I’m looking at you Turmeric.) Over the past year, I started diffusing certain scents that help me calm myself down when I’m overly stressed or anxious, or help me (or my daughter) sleep when a bout of insomnia strikes.

I’ve also started using Headache Balm (which is essentially peppermint and beeswax) which delivers a cooling sensation when applied to the neck and temples. Combine that with breathing and some Excedrin, I can battle my way through a tension headache or migraine without having to use my injections or head into the ER for IV medication.

Last night/today was a prime example. I went out to have drinks with a friend of mine, but a couple hours after leaving the house, I got that twinge in my head that signaled a migraine coming on. I borrowed some of her headache balm and called my boyfriend for a ride. I came home and was able to get some sleep with more balm and a lot of Tylenol.

Woke up this morning, and it was still there. It was miserable. Jon massaged my head with balm and I took a Zofran to battle the nausea that came with it. I also used some oils to keep my anxiety down (which I always get once I get nauseated or am faced with using my very expensive medicine that I can’t afford). By mid-day, it was finally subsiding, with no real damage beyond time lost, so I came home to nap.

Now, I’m enjoying my Saturday night, curled up in my bed (with a a bit of a Crohns flare, been bothering me for a few weeks) and my diffuser going to help me stay relaxed.

The way I figure it, is if the balm and oils has a placebo effect, than great! I’m all for placebo effects! If they don’t work! Then my house smells great and I’m moisturized! I’m not delusional enough to think that some ginger oil is going to cure my crohns, but I do think that some lavender oil helps me sleep, and some lime and geranium picks me up. No matter what, patchouli has always helped me stay grounded. So why not give it a try?