Categories
Emotional Work

Day 504 and Write Down

I woke up coughing so hard I couldn’t catch a breath. I’ve forgotten how exhausting being sick feels. I legitimately completely forgot how it felt to be tired and in pain. And what a fucking luxury that is to realize.

I was in a miserable mood this morning. Why was I losing an entire week when I’ve been functional and dare I say normal since the new year? I haven’t had any issues since I got Covid over Christmas break with the exception of a couple nasty migraines and a few modestly shitty days. But today was Thursday and I haven’t felt even modestly human since Monday. It looks like I just have to accept in having a bad streak.

My husband very sensibly pointed out that I didn’t need to act like this was a catastrophe. I’m always looking over my shoulder in fear that I’ll have a relapse and be reminded of he limits of chronic disease. And truth be told I will have them. But I’ve been making the choices that shorten those bad days. I’ll be living a life in the country in support of keeping a strong body. It’s almost comical to type that as it feels a bit like tuberculosis and moving to the west. But then again I’ve always been a mountain woman at heart. It was only a matter of time till I returned to the terrain of my family. Maybe I’m a bit of a traditionalist after all.

Nevertheless this week is a write down. It won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I’ve made the good long term choices. I’ve accepted that the fight is long and the odds aren’t great but this is America so you’ve got to fight like you might be one of the lucky few that win. I can only hope I am treading a path that gives me the chance to make a better life. And that I’m being reasonable clever and reasonably hard working and that’s often enough.

It’s actually quite hard to trust the math. You want to give in to all sorts of silly biases. Like that every second counts. When no it’s mostly just how your habits add up over time. The mind really strains against basic math like compounding. But I’ll try not to get my fear get in the way and trust that the figures probably add up and I’ve generally done the homework to trust my inputs.

Categories
Medical

Day 503 and Halftime

I really thought I’d kicked the flu this Monday. I drove back from Montana and I was feeling amazing about my life and my decisions. And then yesterday I just straight up crashed back into symptoms again.

I managed to both write and correctly tag and post while I was riding a modest fever high. Which is pretty fantastic. That’s how you know your habits are good. I was able to maintain my writing schedule on the strength of the rhythm alone. My husband who got tagged in yesterday’s post on Twitter was impressed that I was actually coherent. Practice really does make perfect.

I’m a bit annoyed that the flu had a halftime show. Now I’m fighting out the second half of the game and I probably didn’t take advantage of the respite of having a decent day or two. Now I’m back in the storm, to use an entirely different metaphor, and I’m upset the eye has passed.

Categories
Medical

Day 502 and Fever

I had a late lunch today. Maybe at 3pm or so. I took cough syrup with it. It’s now 7:13 and I’ve been asleep with a fever tossing and turning the entire time. I vaguely recall my husband coming into the bedroom to tell me he was going to tennis. I couldn’t wake up enough to tell him I was sick and needed help getting situated for the evening.

My best case scenario is I’ll crawl out of bed to the bathroom drug cabinet for NyQuil. I don’t think I can make it downstairs for more water though. I’ll have to drink from the tap. I’m finding myself wondering how much longer Alex will be out. One hour? Two hours? How long is tennis? The shades calendar isn’t on my phone. I’d need my laptop to check and I have no idea where it is as I’ve not unpacked from Montana. My Whoop needs a charge. That’s at the edge of my fever brain. Maybe I can wait till he’s home to address that as well. What’s one night without data right?

I keep trying to access parts of my mind about what I need for a stable night I can sleep through. Do I have it? Can I wait? Will I be able to wake up enough when Alex is home to get the help I need? Can I push through with what I have now. I actually had no idea I could still spike a fever this far into the infection. And I bet when I read this post without the fever high it will make even less sense than it does now.

Categories
Emotional Work Medical

Day 496 and Pardon the Interruption

I’ve been on quite a streak of processing as I’ve written through the emotional rollercoaster of a potential move to Montana. We found a house that seemed absolutely perfect but had to work through our feelings on the matter. We put an offer on the house and as of tonight we are the leading offer and negotiating the legal deal points.

I am however really sick. Alex tested positive for Influenza A last week and while I briefly felt under the weather, I thought my hyperactive immune system had beaten it. Alas the data suggests I very much have the flu and I’ve done my famous “double dip.” This happens to me fairly regularly where it looks like I’ve beaten something abnormally quickly but if I am stressed or not well rested the latent infection doesn’t quite clear and a week later it roars back full force.

Welltory reading showing high stress, los energy and my health at risk
Whoop reading showing a dangerously low blood oxygen count and an elevated respiratory rate this morning

Given my current status I am going to take a bunch of NyQuil and stay in bed and send my apologies to anyone who might need me tonight as I’m clearly a bit addled in the head.

Categories
Medical

Day 489 and Day Dreams

I had a dream during the day today. I mean the rapid eye movement kind not the fantasyland imagination. I had laid down to rest my eyes while my migraine medication worked it’s way into my system.

Generally I don’t fall asleep in the middle of the day. This is doubly true if I’m beating back a migraine. Triply so if it’s a particularly bad one. This migraine was so bad I needed nausea medication as well. I frantically texted my husband in the other room to help me look as I couldn’t locate my medications as keeping my eyes open triggered cascades of lightning flashes behind my eyes and nausea so bad I was afraid I’d lose the contents of my stomach.

I put on noise canceling headphones and a face mask and passed out. I woke into a dreamscape city that resembles the west village in New York. I was being instructed by a coach of some sort to forgive someone. Maybe it was myself. Maybe it was a cofounder of a past startup. The texture of the city was busy. Tourists were everywhere blocking the sidewalks. I recall a conversation about the end of the pandemic. Perhaps everyone was out celebrating. There were posters for movies or shows on every available service. I distinctly remember one in front of a fry shop that had media quotes promoting Billy on the Street combined with Family Guy characters. I’ve never seen Billy Eichner’s television show.

I woke back up nearly four hours after having originally gone to lay down. I felt dazed. I had the slightly unsettled feeling one gets upon waking in a bed that is not one’s own. I was disoriented and dizzy even laying down flat. My nausea still has not disappeared entirely. But the migraine had mostly passed.

Categories
Politics

Day 488 and Life

I woke up today feeling betrayed. I’ve never been concerned that my reproductive health would be decided by anyone but me. It’s been a luxury not to fear my own body knowing I had a right to chose for myself. It was my belief my family would do it’s own planning.

And we did plan. We did fertility treatments and it went catastrophically badly. Four years later I’m just barely stabilized from the attempt to extract eggs and freeze eggs and embryos. The vast majority of people have to cope with our reproductive health in some capacity. Having a family is pretty standard issue. Mine just happened to be a little more dramatic than average. But I never had to worry if it was my life or my unborn child. Or who would get to chose. I never got that far and now I’m a bit afraid I never will. I’m afraid to be pregnant in a world where my health decisions are not my own.

In case you missed the news, last night someone decided to leak a draft opinion from Justice Alito (supported by the conservative justices but without any indication where Roberts stands) that would overturn Roe vs Wade. Abortion would no longer be a federal question but devolve to state authority if Roe is overturned. After 49 years it looks like a major reversal is possible. To be clear it is a draft and while Chief Justice Roberts confirmed it’s authenticity, he said it’s not final or representative of any current justices or the courts final authority.

But it didn’t fucking matter what anyone intended. Chaos has absolutely ensued as various parties look to assign blame for such a massive breach of judicial norms. Everyone is jockeying for position and speculation is rampant. A topic like when life begins is guaranteed to generate strong emotional response. Who gets to decide is a big question. But I’ve generally fallen onto the side that the woman has autonomy over her own body. A fuck ton of other people felt about the same as I did. I’ve seen social media erupt in fear and hurt.

I’ve got very complex feelings on abortion. I’m against it in principle (and I’m deeply grateful I’ve never been faced with that choice) but I am not convinced a fetus is a person. Lord knows if an embryo is a person I know I’d have a very different opinion. I’m not even sure I would have been comfortable doing IVF if I thought an embryo was a person.

This is all complicated by the fact that I don’t think any of society’s crucial issues should be legislated by courts. They enforce laws they don’t make them. We have a legislative body for a reason. Why won’t we try passing federal legislation for anything? Like honestly I’m sick of the courts having to be a backstop. I think most people are. I just don’t get it.

I don’t fully understand how we build out laws to enumerate natural rights but I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be an amendment. We have sucked at this amendment thing traditionally and I don’t really grasp why.

I failed Constitutional Law so my opinion maybe doesn’t count. In my defense, I took it with Will Baude as a fellow classmate as an undergraduate and well now he is is famously a world class constitutional scholar. He absolutely wrecked the curve for my class of twenty. But maybe I understand the issue marginally better than I imagine. Just not as well as say someone tapped to regularly review how the court operates. I don’t know! But at a certain point the contentious shit is going to be an amendment right?

I don’t have a tidy summary to any of this except to say I know this is hard for everyone. I wrote this post because I’m scared and hurting. I can now imagine a world where if I’m faced with crisis like an ectopic pregnancy it’s not clear that the choice to terminate to save the geriatric mother would be in my hands. And I don’t think that’s right.

Categories
Chronic Disease

Day 472 and Missing Out

I never had headaches in my twenties. Migraines were a cultural phenomenon I was aware of it never experienced. After I did fertility treatments about four years ago my body went though a number of changes for the worse. I developed an inflammatory condition. And I became acquainted with migraines.

My migraines are the light and sound sensitive type. They leave me nauseous enough I have a prescription just for that. I’ve tried a number of treatments for the migraines prophylactically, but only Imitrax really helps once it starts. If I’m lucky I can turn one around in 3-4 hours with medication and a cold dark room.

Today wasn’t a day where I could turn it around fast enough. And I feel sad and alone and depressed about it. I was supposed to meet friends for a nice meal to celebrate with them and I’m missing it because I couldn’t control the migraine fast enough. Alex my husband made it to dinner with our friends but but alas at home in a dark room waiting for my Imitrax to kick in.

I debated if I could force myself into showing up but it was decided the amount of pharmaceuticals required wasn’t passing a cost benefit analysis. I tried to make a case for it saying if I just tossed enough pain medicine at the migraine maybe I could do it. But the rational vote from Alex was a veto. And he’s right if it takes an opioid to get me out the door that’s not something I can justify for a social event.

The irony is I actually dislike fancy dinners out. I find them to be exhausting. Having to sit on uncomfortable chairs and socialize for two hours is very expensive energetically for me. It probably takes a day to recover from the energy expenditure and I often have to up the doses of my stabilizing medications. I tend not to say yes to them as it’s expensive for me and I don’t enjoy them.

So I don’t know why I’m so upset that I’m missing this dinner. But I am so upset. Maybe it’s because I’ve had months of stability without any issue. When I said yes let’s go I expected to be fine. The last time I recall having a major crash was in early February. Since then I’ve flown internationally, lived on my own, and made it to a crypto conference in Miami with little incident. So maybe I was due for a bit of a crash. Maybe it’s just inevitable that if you push you need to rest.

But I feel miserable, inadequate and guilty about it. Like I should have tried harder. Should have taken more drugs. Or at very least been more upfront that sometimes my body is unpredictable and I find it challenging to have be “on” and in public for social things that aren’t strictly speaking crucial. But now do you tell beloved friends that they aren’t crucial? You can’t really. I just have to hope I can do it. And mostly I can. But not today. Today I couldn’t.

I feel like maybe I owed my friends a performance. I can perform in even dire circumstances. I never miss a dinner or event or appearance at which I’m required professionally. But I don’t hold myself to that stand personally. Sometimes things happen and I just can’t do it and I have to let my body dictate my schedule.

That reality makes me feel isolated and alone. Because I can’t make the same commitments as regular people to socialize and enjoy normal things. There is always the risk that I’ll have a bad day. And I save my energy for work because I have to. So that means I don’t get to have a normal social life like other people. I don’t usually mind but today I do. Today I’m missing out.

Categories
Biohacking Chronic Disease

Day 463 and Caretaking

My husband has a a weak immune system. He used to get colds once a month or whenever he would travel. I, on the other hand, have a wildly overactive immune system. I never get colds.

His immune system doesn’t fight shit off well, whereas mine seemingly never ever stops reacting. I have an auto-immune disorder which is marginally worse than getting colds so on balance Alex does more caretaking of me than I do of him. But it wasn’t always that way.

I used to take care of his regular colds when we first got together. When he married me and we lived together, he slowly absorbed my overly active immune system, eventually cutting down on his colds to a couple times a year. And yes this is weirdly a thing that happens. Your partner affects your gut biome. My health sadly got kinda worse over the course of our relationship. I doubt Alex’s shitty immune response made my life any worse (if anything I would be thrilled for mine to chill out and I take drugs to subdue it) but arguably him getting my overly active immune system has done wonders for him.

I stopped being a caretaker for him. He became a caretaker for me. It was an interesting transition I didn’t really clock at the time. Alex was used to constantly being sick for years but through exposure to me he kinda forgot how much it sucks. This was further exacerbated when the pandemic hit and we stopped being exposed basically any infections.

Alex went two years without a cold. It was miraculous! Alex really enjoys his identity as a health person. Hell he thrived as an active Colorado outdoorsman in a way he never did as an indoor New Yorker. But travel and life is rebooting and it would seem Alex’s old weak immune system is so out of practice it doesn’t do well with crowds and travel and public appearances. We’ve been in Miami less than a week and he’s sick as a dog. Thankfully it’s not Covid. But guess who got to remember what it was like to be a caretaker again? Yeah, I’m responsible for Theraflu and nose spray. I didn’t do any of the conference I’d planned for the day and had to cancel on a bunch of plans but honestly it’s not so bad. Caretaking is an act of love after all.

Categories
Chronic Disease Emotional Work Travel

Day 443 and Chores

I’ve got a mix of personal and professional and familial reasons I’m spending the month in Europe (mostly in Germany). But one of the reasons was to get some time apart from my husband Alex. Yes I know it sounds kind of shocking. What a bad wife!

We’ve barely been apart during two years of pandemic living. I also had an additional year or two where he was my primary caretaker during medical challenges. My reliance on my husband is something I am very forthright about. I’m deeply grateful for what he has enabled me to do. But we both felt like our marriage would benefit from being on my own for a little as the pandemic becomes more manageable and my health has become stable.

It’s been amazing and invigorating to be on my own again. Anyone who deals with me closely has noticed how much more inspired I am to be in a new place on my own. It’s enabled me to see some of my coping mechanisms more clearly. For instance, my inner child feels safer in the chaos of new things because she got used to moving a lot when I was little. That has given me a gift for startup work, but it also means that I can become resentful and stifled if I feel trapped.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t disclose that a big factor in needing to be on my own was to learn if I could do my own damn chores. Holy shit I still absolutely hate how much I energy it takes to keep me clean, watered, medicated and fed as a moderately disabled person. My husband is a natural caretaker and I will happily enable that.

It’s so much damn energy from my limited reserves to care for myself. Alex has always done it better than I do. But if I’m apart from him I don’t have the backstop of him picking up the maintenance work of my life. I wanted to know if I could survive it. In order to freely accept his love and help I needed to know I could live without it.

And I am. This Saturday was dedicated to grocery shopping, laundry, doing dishes and tidying the Airbnb. I had to lay down and rest because of the effort of my day “off” from work. But I did it. Kinda. I still haven’t put the comforter cover back on the bed. But I’m working my way up to it.

Categories
Chronic Disease Medical Travel

Day 437 and A Mood

I’ve been struggling with allergies ever since I arrived in Frankfurt last week. The stress of travel and the constant itching affect my mood more than I’d like.

It’s a weird situation if I’m honest as I’m so happy to be traveling and on my own after two years or being in the same place and with the same person. I love my husband and I love my home but I’m sure everyone can relate at the end of the pandemic for the need to be alone.

My mood has largely been buoyant except for the constant low level misery that is these damn allergies. My eyes water. The skin around them is red and raw. My skin keeps finding new intermittent patterns to express hives and eczema. And I’ve built up quite a tolerance to Benadryl.

The allergies stress me out and then my spinal pain worsens and then suddenly I’ll find myself in just a miserable sad mood. I’m grateful I can write it all down so I can get the mood out. I just want to be comfortable in my own skin and smiling again.