Today, I am going to borrow a theme of discussion, from my friend, Loretta, at Life with Lupus.
Chronic Fatigue as it presents in Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis.
This kind of fatigue happens because our internal immune system is in a constant hyper-drive, fighting our bodies own tissues or organs. That is why we, those of us with these diseases, take immuno-suppressive drugs. To stop our immune system from attacking our good body parts and causing damage.
Yes, sometimes the drugs cause fatigue, too. I know, it just isn't right, is it?
The thing about this Chronic Fatigue is that people think you are just "tired". Or worse, maybe they think you are lazy, or unmotivated in your life to do for yourself and do more.
Believe me, that is NOT the case.
The way I describe the fatigue to people who are not sick, is to imagine that everyone who is "well" moves through a world made of clear broth. Simple enough.
Now, imagine those of us who are sick moving through a world of thick, gooey, pea soup. You have to fight to move your muscles with 2 or 3 times the effort of the "well" person. You cannot see clearly, think clearly or move easily. There are obstacles (chunks) in your way. Your choices are limited, everything you do must be considered and weighed as a decision, because the wrong one, and maybe you will fall out of the cup. You can't tell where the edge is because it's thick pea soup.
It is hard, and it is debilitating. Especially, when no one understands. All they see is someone who looks "well enough" parking in handicapped, or not exercising, not cleaning, not cooking, or not working. The perception is you are lazy.
Actually, there are some who do understand. Unfortunately, they are usually in the same bowl as we are.
Sometimes, "well" people do get it, and we are so grateful for those few in our lives.
Today, I was lucky! I woke up in clear broth! I was thrilled because today was my "fall cleaning" day. I got my storage bins and my garbage bags and I was raring to go.
I would have been happy just to get Pumpkin Muffin's closet done. It was a disaster area awaiting a Hazardous Materials clean-up crew. I conquered it, sorted it, eliminated and re-organized it! YAY!
But, that is not all! I had energy left! So, I tackled the school book area, two baskets filled with stuff in my living room, and some of the play room.
I was a tornado of efficiency!
Alright, I needed to lay down afterward, and took an hour and a half nap, but I spent 4 hours working straight! That just does not happen around here!
After my nap, I got showered and dressed and greeted the kids to do homework at 3pm and still felt good! My husband, who walked in at 3:30pm, knew what I had done, and was very worried that I did too much. He was pleasantly surprised when he came home that I looked, rested and happy!
I have to say I am surprised, too.
Here is another difference from the "well people". I know that this will not last. I am happy and grateful for each day like it, and if I can string a few together in a month, wow, I am really thrilled and feel really blessed.
It is days like today that I almost feel... um, <looking around> normal! I fear that speaking it aloud will break the magic spell and the pea soup will fall back down on me in an instant.
So far though, so good. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. That is the unpredictability factor of these diseases.
And, that is the one symptom no one lists for Lupus or RA, but all of us learn to cope with pretty quick.