Yesterday I ate a protein bar I didn’t really want. I had a second helping of bean soup that I didn’t really want. I added extra beans to my tortilla so that it was overflowing and messy. And I went to the store to get a tub of peanut butter when I really wanted to sit at home, then layered that peanut butter on my food when I didn’t really want the peanut butter on my food. This was on top of my normal 3-4 meals. I also went to the gym to lift weights when I am battling Shingles and just wanted to rest. All told, I ate an extra 1000 healthy calories on top of a high calorie day (I eat about 4000 healthy/boring calories a day) and spent 45 minutes lifting relatively heavy weights (200 pound bench press, 130 pound bicep press, 215 pound lat pull down, 350 leg press). Despite all the food I eat that I don’t want to eat, I am almost always hungry – I feel hungry almost every waking minute, even 30 minutes after eating a pizza. Despite all this, this morning I woke up, weighed myself, and weighted 1 pound *less* than yesterday — 155 pounds at 5’11. Ugh. And people always tell me how “lucky” I am, and occassionally will comment that I look too thin.
Having grown up with a parent and her family who battles weight the other way, I know how much work and blood/sweat/tears goes into losing weight. It is hard, and often thankless and endless and downright frustrating. I also know from my own experience it works both ways – keeping weight on for some people is hard and thankless and relentless and occassionally frustrating work. And because I like to stay healthy, it is not like I get to gorge on cookies and ice cream and sausage pizza – I watch my intake of those just like a weight watcher would. But no one — not even my wife, who lives with me and who encourages me to eat more calories but comments how lucky I am – gets that. It is a lonely thing, fighting weight the “other” way.
Anyway, that is my version 🙂
I’ve had Shingles twice before and never knew what the big fuss was about it. The first was a small patch that itched a lot but otherwise I seemed fine, and the second time was similar but with a little more fatigue/pain, although I am always tired and in pain so a little more of that isn’t a huge deal. But I’ve come down with Shingles a third time and I am startging to understand the fuss. I have a series of red patches along my right chest and back (including under the arm) that flat out hurt, like a burn, and I am really sore. I am not sure if it is related (I am sure it is) but I am itching and tender at invisible places in m body: for example, my right tricep is tender (i.e. hurts to the touch) and itches but nothing is there. I have a few places like that on m body (left ankle, right shoulder, etc.). Some of those spots come and go, but others (like the ankle and tricep) are persistent… I am certain that I still have a fairly mild case, but at least now understand/get why some people are truly miserable with Shingles…
I visited the doctor on Friday (they squeezed me in since I was still in the 72 hour critical window for treatment), and I am on antiviral medicine which doesn’t seem to be helping but then again who is to say if it is or not (i.e. maybe it would be worse without the medicine). She also asked about my stress; honestly, I am in a very stressful part of my life (stress being relative). I have chronic health issues, am spending a lot of time in doctors offices while working full time with fatigue, we are having financial stress since Wife M is in school full-time and my earnings have been cut in half since my diagnosis in 2011, and my current employer is having serious financial difficulty which means I am likely back on the job trail again and explaining why I am on my fifth job in 5 years. Sigh. 🙂 The best way to cure the stress will be to get a stable job and to stabilize our financial situation (which will be much better next year when wife M has graduated). I am not bitter about anything – there is just a lot of stress I am trying to manage. 🙂
The last two times I had Shingles were in 1990 during college finals, and three years ago when I joined a high-stress company as a manager (I literally was thrown into the fire day 1 for a chaotic company).
Every 6-12 months I have to go through a cycle of tests to make sure everything is stable. They found some inflammation in my lungs, lymph nodes and muscles so I am in the midst of an endless number of tests and doctors visits right now to make sure all is okay and to determine the best course of treatment. Tomorrow is another half day at the doctor, while squeezing in work before and after that… It is exhausting trying to work full-time but also spending 10-20 hours a week in doctor’s offices. On the other hand, it is nice to have healthcare available to me to manage chronic illness – most people in the world aren’t that lucky and would love to have my problem!
My arms and legs feel soooo heavy and weak,my entire body is stiff and hurts, my vision is blurry, and I just don’t feel right. It has gotten worse these past few days. I don’t know what is going on with my body but I am feeling absolutely miserable. I am glad that I am in the middle of some tests and in the midst of seeing doctors — timing is right by chance.
A few weeks ago I was having strong chest pains but as always did a wait and see approach, since chest pains have come and gone since I came down with lung disease (pre-diagnosis, when my health was sinking, I would have 3 or 4 strong episodes per day, now they come and go a few weeks apart). Today I am having them pretty strong again, the kind where I might think I was having a heart attack if I didn’t know better. As always, I am making note of them and will see if they go away in the next few days. Over time, I’ve come to recognize that lung disease and AS means strange things that come and go, and if I react immediately every time they happen I’d spend all my time in the doctor’s office (which is misery, and honestly, has to be a form of hell akin to spending all day in a sailboat on a windless day), so I wait until things are pretty bad and then generally mention it in my regular (3-4x per year) doctor visits. 🙂
Since January, Wife M has not been feeling well. She has been pale, exhausted, had stomach pains and — most especially — had a daily fever between 99.5 and 100.5. The days when she is at 99.5 she just seems more tired than ususal; they days at 100.5 she is a shadow of her self: pale, rosy cheeked and exhausted. She has been going to various doctors for months trying to figure it out, and had to cancel her MCAT exam because she is so exhausted. We’ve been nervous that it could be a slow growing cancer or autoimmune disease (her doctor said fever is a sign of cancer, autoimmune disease, and infectious disease; also, some cancers are difficult to find/diagnose). This week she saw the infectious disease specialist, and she may have came back positive for a parasite that is easily treatable. What a relief that woudl be! It is not every day you say, “Good news, I have a parasite!!”
After feeling soooo off last night, where my health issues were hitting me so hard, I am feeling better today. Of course I am tired and sore (I am always tired and sore) but the overwhelming fatigue and pain has lifted some, and I just feel better. Again, what I love about therapy is that last night I was able to compartmentalize what I was feeling so that it was only physical, and not emotional/mental/spiritual. It is amazing gift that my therapist gave me, where I able to compartmentalize the misery. I will never be able to repay him for that (even though it has been more than a year since I last saw him).
On a side note, my night sweats have kicked back up again this past week. I’ll wake up damp in the morning, and when I wake up in the night my forehead is dripping wet, like I ran a sopping wash rag over it. Since lung disease, I go through waves – sometimes months at a time — of this, but at least my pajamas are only damp right now, versus drenched (as sometimes happens). It is strange to not be hot and to not even have a blanket on in 50 degree weather, yet drip sweat while I sleep. Yuck. 🙂