I am just returning from another one of my time lapses. If you have chronic illness you know what I am talking about. Another one of those pieces of my life that went missing to my illnesses. Another chunk of time. Gone.
I credit this most recent loss to the fibro monster, and the most painful flare I have ever had. This time, I think I lost about two weeks, but it may have been slightly more. Hard to say, the edges of my missing time blur into each other.
I am most grateful to have returned from this lapse, and hope I will stay back here for awhile. But another one of those big bad barometric pressure shifts that plague Texas quite frequently is due later this week. Hopefully the body has recovered enough that I won’t go missing again. But if I do, please remind me I will be back again soon. I forget that in those foggy moments outside time.
I wish I knew what caused this last lapse. Sometimes I do know, and then I learn from it, and try to do what I can to stay here. For instance, when I travel, I need a whole day after I get back of just rest and doing nothing. Not laundry, not grocery shopping, just sleeping, and vegging by the TV. If I do something that takes the whole day Saturday (like my recent car purchase) I need to do nothing and rest Sunday, and make sure the upcoming week I take it easy. If I don’t do this, one of those lapses is bound to happen. Problem is, a lot of what sets me off, I don’t see coming until I am blindsided.
So I got blindsided. In retrospect, I can credit a whole lot of things. My precious friend Buddy passing unexpectedly in his sleep the night after Christmas, and finding him gone when I woke up. The 2 month bout of recurrent bronchitis I shared with a few co-workers starting about two weeks later (who, unlike me, are very healthy so I can’t blame chronic illness for that nasty bug). Not being able to exercise because of said bug. 3 rounds of antibiotics (which my system doesn’t always do well with but needed). Bringing home Layla (our Doberman) and spending a lot of time working and playing with her. Then, buying a new car because the old one really wasn’t safe to drive anymore (re: I couldn’t wait awhile). Going to see family the following weekend and not getting enough time to recoup from buying the car. And work stress, which is rather the norm in special education.
Other than losing My Buddy, after which I had a baby time lapse, I really wasn’t thinking any of those things would sap me so bad. And if they did, I thought it would be fatigue, not massive burning crushing pain. But maybe the combo was just too much. I keep trying to convince myself that I am fine, and can do what anyone else can do. My mind may believe that, but my body just won’t abide it.
This time lapse really scared me. In fact, the fear was worse than in any lapse I have had before because I thought (and this may still be a possibility), that I was getting worse, and possibly adding a new diagnosis onto my collection. Before, when I have had the onslaught of a new illness, I really didn’t know what I was in for. But now I know. I know I am very very fortunate because I can work full time. Very fortunate because although I am always in some pain, I am not often in A LOT of pain. Not like I was the past two weeks anyway. Because this exceedingly bad pain wasn’t confined to one place (like my bladder or my low back), it was everywhere. Typically my everywhere pain is bad, but liveable. This was not. It hurt so bad I felt like crying all the time because of it. I began to descend into a depression unlike any I have had for years. I began to believe that life wasn’t worth living, because it isn’t life with that much pain, all the time. It isn’t living.
The barometric pressure has stabilized. But more importantly, my mind has stabilized. I rested my body this week. I began to see I am part of what makes me lose time. My own high expectations for myself. My own worry, my own fear, my own stress. Trying to do too much. Not too much for someone else, but too much for me.
I also returned to my beloved massage therapist. I stopped monthly massage last fall because I got tired of having so many medical appointments. In retrospect, very bad choice as my pain has been worse all year. I didn’t make the connection until one night all my mind could think, was I needed massage. So I went back, and today my body feels better than it has in a long time. I will return next week, and then go back to regular massage. I had no idea it was helping as much as it was.
So for tonight, I am back. If I should lapse again, remind me it will pass. If I should lapse again, remind me to slow down. And just stay here with me, even if I appear missing. I will be back soon.
Me and My Buddy, Christmas 2011