originally part of training/fundraising for the Hepatitis C Trust's Nepal trek. Now, sporadic musings...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Not the Lady of Shalott

A week since I made a very quick post on a busy Friday morning...
If twenty-four hours can hold a panoramic sequence of events, how much more is a week capable of...
That faith I spoke of... Utterly indispensable. Lots of reconnecting to that in the space between last week and now.

The story from there to here... is an ongoing process.

I have made enormous changes in my life. Stopping smoking is one. Greater food intake - knock-on effect of not smoking! - is another. Exercising as regularly as I can manage - which means squeezing that in somewhere, despite not being able to find the time to work AND exercise for the last sixteen years. Consistently every year, my New Year Resolutions have included 'EXERCISE!!!'

I can build up my fitness easily enough - if I don't have regular work to go to. Put work into the daily routine, and exercise time is squeezed out...

So, there are big changes to be assimilated. I have hep c. Change and hep c are an argumentative couple - the liver gets very easily out of kilter during such spats. So I'm symptomatic. My IBS is aggravated (had what I call 'baby poo' for weeks - more or less since giving up smoking), I have the most embarrassingly offensive wind (makes me feel sick!), I'm experiencing sudden mood swings...
My periods aren't irregular, they're regularly early at the moment - a tidy three week cycle; if the body is metaphor, then mine is expressing my speeded-up lifestyle - and very, very painful cramps (though the duration of the whole nonsense is thankfully short - but roll on menopause!).
Lots of joint and muscle pain this week, noticeably worse night sweats. Brain fog. I learned my sprite poem the week before last, but on Sunday, I lost it altogether. I know it again today - with no additional memorising (I'll forget it again tomorrow no doubt).

Not being able to recall 'sprite' after such a lot of care with it really depressed me (among other things, like pain, chronic fatigue - I slept most of Saturday, but had no trouble sleeping on Saturday night after being up only for a matter of hours). Slept 50% of Sunday (although at least I manage a very short stroll with Crysse to Las Strada for a latte - which has no noticeable effect; as I'm not caffeine tolerant, I must have been wiped). I probably snooze away the same proportion of time on Monday. The price of driving myself too far, too fast...

It gets to the stage that I remember Angus's assertion that 'On a bad day, if you can do just one thing, that's a big plus.'

I manage two things on Monday. I wash the dishes and have a bath.

My concentration is very erratic - right at a time when I need to be focussed and on the ball...
I've had terrible sugar cravings which I've been unable to resist. My gums are bleeding copiously, I wouldn't be surprised if I haven't got a mild urine infection, and I'm breaking out in spots all over the areas that sweat. My scalp itches and my eyes burn most of the time. My face and hands are dry (but that's time of year as well).

The headaches are better. So that's a plus. When I'm not knackered, my libido is increased, so the energy and creativity surges from that are pleasant and very useful.

BUT - people I haven't seen for months are commenting on how well I'm looking. And I know that I'm healthy by comparison with - well, most people, really. I'm really very lucky because I know why I'm underperforming, I know what's causing all these niggly discomforts. They should actually be less worrying now than pre-diagnosis - it's my natural anxiety and catastrophising which makes them an issue. And takes precious energy that I can ill afford.

This past week has reminded me of the fragility of my plans. I have not been 'in control'. I can't be 'in control' - really, we are none of us 'in control' - we just often manage to construct that illusion for ourselves.
Positive visualisation is hugely powerful, but it's not control.
I conflate influence and control, expect predictable simplistic outcomes x + y = z
something like
a x (b-c) + (d x d) - (b + c x 29.174%) = f squared
is probably more characteristic.
I need to try to be less reductionist, remember there are subtleties and complexities to all this - delicate neurochemical, physiological fluctuations that I can't bludgeon into submission.

There's been psychic conflict with number one son this week, too. Particularly over the weekend and start of the working week... That's a huge contributory factor.

I had a couple of nicotine lapses. Quite fascinating effects - dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, that weird circulation thing in my legs again, and racing heart. Scarily nasty, in fact.
But the mental effects - it's like I pull myself together, like gathering disparate and scattered threads up into a cohesive entity.
After the first lapse, I change from being an amorphous fatigued, depressed mass into an ill person who is nonetheless focussed and motivated.

Feeling like shit from something I have chosen to do, that I'm familiar with - and I can deal with it, I just go into autopilot.

I watched a body art programme this week which was compulsive yet repulsive - people staging performance body art involving pain and mutilation. One of the artists explained how she experienced incredible adrenalin rushes afterwards, sensations of invincibility and power - not that surprising, she was suspending her weight in a sitting posture from hooks inserted into her shoulders and knees. She would get an enormous adrenalin buzz from inflicting such trauma on her body.
We're back to this pleasure and pain thing, the inextricable nature of the two in our biochemistry... (apparently, just WATCHING such activities triggers the same response in the audience - maybe that's why I'm wide-awake after a long day at work, but I incline more to being pretty paid-up at the sleep bank after the weekend!)).
Why is body art so different from extreme sports and mountaineering, which also often create altered perception through pushing the body through adverse conditions, often creating damage in the process? Yet we almost certainly do all view them in different ways - and generally, find some more acceptable than others. Why should that be?

Things to ponder - and I've only got to the end of Tuesday 14th so far (& it's Friday now).
But I must go to bed. I'll catch up as best I can over the weekend... (in between performances...)

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About Me

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I began blogging during training for a trek in the Himalayas... several lifetimes ago. Currently working on my novel - in the tiny spaces left by a 50 hour plus working week...