Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Belated 16-Month Status Report

The main thing bothering me these days is my lack of stamina. Yeah, the shoulder and the strange visual vertigo thing are still issues, the scalp is still a little odd, the balance goes now and then, but those are all manageable, or ignorable. The thing that I’m having the most trouble figuring out is my energy. It doesn’t really seem reasonable to me that one long day should be followed by a day with almost no physical exertion because there isn’t any energy to do anything at all, or that something pretty normal, like travel, should carry the price of several nights where ten hours of sleep seems to be required. That doesn’t leave much time for life’s productive endeavors. There also doesn’t seem to be much choice about it, so I’m back to the task of adjusting my attitude, and finding ways to enjoy slow haredom.

The next measurement of my cortisol levels now that I’ve been off steroids for a while is still a couple of weeks away. It feels, on a daily basis, like it should be possible to do without any more external rebalancing of my brain chemistry, and I hope that turns out to be accurate. While I hit the wall after I’ve had a day of serious exertion (the 16-hour trip to Atlanta and back, for example), in general, I’m getting along from day to day. The overall energy available is lower than ever before, which continues to be deeply disconcerting, but it’s also nice to be off the steroids and, in the world of tradeoffs, I’d rather be med-free and learning a new balance than to be back taking stuff with such unpleasant side effects. Among other issues from the meds, I’m at a peak weight for my entire life, weighing now even more than when I was 9 months pregnant. This is disheartening to say the least, especially since our eating habits are pretty healthy and sensible already. I’d love to be able to identify an extra couple hundred calories a day that would be easy to cut out, say giving up soda pop, except that I don’t have habits like that, other than chocolate. It should go without saying that isn’t an option to cut out. What’s left is all that tedious stuff about portion control and more exercise and balancing intake and outtake. Ok, so deep breath and turning next to that task. Even if not with very good cheer.

Thus, overall, while there are clear physical effects leftover from my menigioma adventure, it seems to me that most of the aftermath, 16 months after surgery, is how I manage my own reactions and attitudes. I continue to feel broken, cognitively, and less than I used to be in the way I think and work. While that feeling doesn’t really go away, I’m learning better ways to work around the parts that are most frustrating and becoming more accepting of the rest of it.

I wouldn’t have picked these challenges, but since there isn’t a choice about whether to be this way, what remains is choosing my attitude. That’s an ongoing work in progress. I still feel lucky and count my blessings pretty much every day. After that, though, I’m still that same old cranky, impatient, bossy self. Some things never change.

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