Taming the Wolf

The ups and downs of life as an early 30s career girl trying to balance the various demands of life, including fibromyalgia. autoimmune and dietary issues. Somedays I succeed more than others, but it’s an adventure…

Trying too hard April 4, 2009

Filed under: Misc,work — jwz1978 @ 11:48 am

So the past week or so I pretty much pushed my body to the edge in terms of stress and strain due to work, and yet again, I was reminded that it will push back.  I traveled for three days last Wednesday-Friday for a case and series of meetings that resulted in long days, air travel (which is always hard on me), lots of car time, and then working back at the hotel afterwards.  And definitely not eating all that well.  I got back Friday night only to work all weekend and then work until 3 am Monday night and long days Tuesday and Wednesday.  But, we met our filing deadline and I was thinking that I actually felt pretty good considering the situation.  I was tired, but really, not bad.

And then, the adrenaline rush was gone and reality set in.  Wowsa.  The body was not happy with me.  Migraines, flu-like symptoms, aches, pains, major fatigue, muscles tightened up into little balls (or so it feels) and just general misery.  The migraine part was the worst though, I couldn’t even function due to the pain, working was out of the question.  A not so gentle reminder that in the tug of war between me and my body, the body will always win.  ALWAYS.

Two days of sleep have helped immensely, along with finally being able to eat some bread and take some excedrin last night.  The stomach is still a bit queasy and I am not eating much, so despite the rather uncomfortable joint pain, I’m going to have to deal with sans drugs because I don’t think the stomach would take any pills at the moment.

The worst part of all of this is that due to sleeping away two days, I’m now way far behind on the next series of projects with upcoming deadlines.  I’ll work a bit today, but the energy level is still way low and so not a lot is going to get accomplished.  I know that I need to work to try to better balance time and health and work and life, but there are times where there just doesn’t seem possible and it’s always my body that gets sacrificed.  I’m not sure how these next couple of weeks are going to go, we have a series of deadlines that are going to be hard to meet, just in one case, let alone the work for others I work on.  Step one will be trying to get past my love of procrastination, but even that isn’t going to solve all my problems.  My goal is simple though now, avoid feeling like I felt this week!

Despite low energy, I think I’m going to get a boost here soon of the non-prescription kind.  My best friend since birth (really) is on her way here for a visit.  First time I’ll have seen her in a year and a half, and I cannot wait.  I know that just having her here for a few days is going to get some positive energy going, hopefully enough to push me back over the edge to feeling good (relatively speaking of course).  That and we’re going to see New Kids on the Block Monday night…nothing like reliving your teenage years to make your joints feel young again 🙂

Best wishes for a happy weekend to all!


Heat? Ice? Neither or both? March 9, 2009

Filed under: Therapy,work — jwz1978 @ 8:07 pm

At my massage appointment on Saturday, the therapist recommended heat to try to ease some of the tension in my back.  I’ve done heat before, it does help.  But, my concern is that heat can increase inflammation, and there seems to be no shortage of that in my body right now already.  So my question to the world: should I use heat, perhaps on a limited basis, to try to relax some of the tension?

On the other hand, I wonder about cold packs or ice?  For the headaches/migraines, ice and cold seems to help.  I wonder too if it won’t for some of the other various aches and joint flareups…I just don’t know.  Or maybe alternate with the heat?

The other debate is that both are somewhat frustrating to try to use at work.  I’ve been looking at a variety of various flaxseed satchels that can be microwaved, some that can be frozen as well.  I just don’t know how or if these types of products actually work?  The satchels and bags would be much easier to store and use at work too.

Anyone who has experiences or thoughts, I’d appreciate hearing from you!


Admitting I can’t do it all… March 8, 2009

Filed under: Flare,FMLA,Misc,work — jwz1978 @ 8:22 pm

Friday was probably one of the hardest days I’ve had emotionally dealing with my health.  I had to admit, to myself and to others, that I just couldn’t, and haven’t, been able to keep up.  Anyone who lives and dies by the billable hour knows that once you get yourself in a whole, it’s hard to dig yourself out of it, even if you’re feeling particularly healthy.  Since my flareup started in November or so, I’ve had a huge drop in productivity.  It’s amazing how fast it all adds up.  Arriving at work later and leaving earlier.  Not working nights or weekends and just sleeping.  Less productivity even at work because I’m so tired or in so much pain it’s hard to focus.

Unfortunately, the drop in productivity and work is just one more stress and one more thing to worry about.  On Friday I had to sit down with two partners and talk, try to figure it all out and figure out what I needed to do.  The first time I had a flareup, when I was diagnosed, I was in college.  It was a whole lot easier to manage when in school than when working.  I could work with professors, had a much more flexible schedule, it wasn’t a piece of cake, but it was easier.  Later flares, when I was working before I went to law school, were harder, but still easier.  I had a job with a lot less pressure and many fewer demands.  Now, the fact I’ve chosen such a stressful, demanding, time-consuming career is an added challenge.

In the end, I had to call and talk to someone in our main office and start the process of working with HR, getting medical/physician forms filled out, and getting a paper trail on this.  The partners were very good about it all, stressing we needed to get it sorted out for my benefit, and making it less of a concern for me.  That however, didn’t make it easier for me to accept.  All my life I’ve been a total overachiever.  Involved in everything, volunteering for everything, generally trying to do it all.  And for the most part, I’ve done it, or at least managed to keep up.  After my call to HR on Friday, I sat there in my office and just lost it.  In fact thinking about it makes me start to tear up again.  Luckily I have an office door, and no one tried to touch base with me until I managed to get myself under control and until the facial redness had relatively faded.  But it flat out just sucked.  I felt/feel like a total failure because I can’t manage my health, my job, my family, I just can’t manage.

In my head, I know that lupus and fibro, autoimmune diseases in general, aren’t something you can control.  I know that I can’t do it all, that in trying to do so I actually can make it worse.  Knowing that, and admitting that, are two different things though.  I’m fortunate that I have people who care, and a job that is going to work with me on this.  I just really, really, really hate the fact that it’s come to that.  I hate not being able to tell them, well, I was sick, I flared up, but now I’m over it and it’s all better.  Or, I’m flaring, but hey, I’m really almost done and by next month, I’ll be back to myself.  It’s the not knowing I hate.  One of the things I hate.

When I get the paperwork from HR, I’ll be taking it to my doctor or my specialist, depending on what it requires, and getting a doctor to sign and fill it out.  At this point,I really have no idea what that all entails.  It’s all a bit new, a bit scary.  And aside from the feeling like a failure, and hating having to admit that I can’t keep up, it bothers me too that now this is on my record.  I have no problem talking about my health problems, and the treatment and how I’m feeling, but I hate that this is now part of my employee file.  I think that comes from a lot of years of being in remission, and a lot of years of convincing myself I was ok.  I know that it could be a lot worse, and I think that’s what scares me a bit too, knowing how much this is affecting my life now, wondering what will happen if the next time I flare, whenever that may be (and assuming we finally get this one under control) it’s worse yet?

In the end, I came home Friday, and then totally lost it again when my wonderful husband took one look at me, gave me a hug, and asked me what was wrong.  It’s his first time dealing with me and lupus and all the effects, and he really is handling it all well.  And then I decided I needed to do something (other than hug my husband and my dog) to make myself feel better and made the massage appointment for Saturday.  🙂

That’s my vent for the week.  Again, I know, the logical part of me, that overall, I’m fortunate.  But, even “knowing” that, accepting the changes and limitations that my body is wanting to force on me is not an easy thing.  The emotional side of me is back to the kicking and screaming and whining phase (at least internally, and now thanks to the internet, on this blog). I’ll probably never accept it, but at least now I guess I’ve started a process on the professional side that will let me deal with whatever my archenemy the wolf decides to throw my way.