Living With Chronic Fatigue

I decided to chronicle some of my struggles with chronic fatigue. Sometimes, being a person who advocates so much for a healthy life, I feel like I can't share my struggles. Because if people knew that sometimes I felt like crap maybe they wouldn't believe in healthy living!! Well whatever. Here's the thing - I live a healthy lifestyle because I HAVE TO. Because of my son's health and then ultimately my own health difficulties, I have had to live this life and I LOVE IT! I wouldn't (and couldn't) live any other way. It is true that we have seen a lot of healing, but unfortunately, with some things, healing doesn't happen overnight (or even in years, or even at all sometimes). Yes I still struggle. No I am not perfect. But my goodness, do I try to be healthy because my body happens to speak very loudly to me and when I'm not listening, it gets even louder. Here is a glimpse into one of my harder days.

I wake up to the sound of kids stirring. Pitter-pattering feet. Clanking dishes. Occasional grumpy yells or sweet voices. My eyes are heavy and I struggle to open them.

7:30 AM. Time to try to drag myself out of bed and wake up. Have to get my boy to school! My husband shares the brunt of the workload, helping pack lunches, getting kids dressed, making breakfast, doing dishes. If it weren't for him, I don't know how this would all work.

After the race of the morning routine is over, I crave sleep. I crave finding a quiet moment to rest my head. Some days, the promise of a nap is all I can think about. Netflix has become one of my best friends - yes - it's true. The girls watch a few shows and the baby naps while I sneak some shut eye nearby.

It's time for lunch so I drag myself to the kitchen. Sometimes cooking energizes me. It is a chance to be creative. Sometimes it's just survival. Today is one of those days where eating just feels like survival and the creativity wanes. 

I struggle to be present for my kids. I do my best to read to them and play with them. On my rough days, the guilt can really begin to eat away at me.

"Why do I feel so terrible? I must not be doing things perfectly enough. If only I was more strict with my diet. Yes, that's it. I just need to be perfect all the time, then I wouldn't feel this way." 

Sometimes those thoughts are on repeat. They're not true, but when I am down, they speak to me as if they were truth. "If only I were..."

The afternoon is usually my best time. I get a small amount of energy around 3 or 4 pm that sometimes lasts until dinner, if I'm lucky. On my hard days, I don't get the surge at all, and if I do get it, it's gone in a moment. 

7:30 PM. The kids are in bed and I crash on the couch. Finally, another surge of energy hits me and by 9 PM I feel like I can conquer the world. So I read, I blog, I clean. I do everything that I can't do the rest of the day. I stay up way too late because even though I know it will backfire, I just can't seem to give up those fleeting moments of energy.

I recently got some (hopefully) very telling bloodwork back. Remember when we did a NutrEval for my son? Well, we did one for him again and this time, I did one for myself. I am meeting with the doctor this week to go through the results so after that I will come give an update on what exactly is going on, what is likely causing my chronic fatigue, and hopefully a really strong game plan to get me feeling consistently better.

I have moments where I feel pretty good - like when I am REALLY strict with my diet (which is unfortunately, only one part of the equation and it's impossible to stay perfectly balanced ALL THE TIME, especially when struggling with fatigue!!). Diet especially helps my digestive issues. But it seems like no matter what I do - how well I eat, how much sleep I get, how good I do at reducing my stress, energy and emotional work - the fatigue is alllllllwwwwwwaaaaayyyyys there. Always. Sometimes more than others, but always there. This bloodwork is sooo tellling because there is honestly quite A LOT biochemically that is just not working properly in my body. So hello! Of course I feel tired!

If you ask me what my preferred activity would be - hands down it would be "TO NAP." In fact (I hate this memory...I feel ashamed...time to do some EFT on this I guess!) the first time I went to Paris, we had a long day out and about walking around. When we got to the Sacre Coeur, I was sooo tired. It was so hot. If you've seen it, you know there are a million stairs. I couldn't bear the thought of walking up all those stairs (this was when I was 18), so instead of going and seeing that wonderful, historic site, I sat at the bottom of the stairs by myself while my friends went and toured around. Now - I was perfectly content about sitting there alone - but looking back and seeing that opportunity that I missed because of my fatigue - I do feel a lot of pain and sadness. I know I can't erase the past, and I can't hold onto "should haves" but I do sometimes mourn the (many, many) things I haven't done because I was too tired. I really hope someday that this can change. 

Pictures I took from the Sacre Coeur on my first trip in 2004.

They say there is no cure for chronic fatigue. But man, I am fiercely driven and by golly, I am gonna find a way to "cure" myself of this. Details coming soon on my plan.

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