Tag Archive | acupuncture

Beware: Hibernating readers may wake at anytime…

Hello World. Yes I might actually be back. Despite my absence for 65 days I did not in fact forget about you I just had a bout of computer phobia. When my M.E. related depression gets bad I get anxious just thinking about turning on the computer. I won’t even nip on my mum’s which is almost always running to check email. So all my online activities have suffered from my complete absence. It is quite amazing how many emails you can stockpile in two months.

 

While I’ve been hibernating there have been many developments. Today’s cumulative good news is that my sister is now officially a doctor of philosophy in Psychology. She submitted her corrections a week ago or so. Her confirmation letter came in the post this morning and she is on her way to collect her certificate this afternoon. So we now have a doctor in the house! 🙂

 

In other news my mum has completed her radiotherapy sessions and is now dealing with the aftermath. Her arm is still very sore from the surgery at Christmas. But at least she is not having to go the hospital every day as she was for the radiotherapy treatment. Otherwise she has weathered this storm with her usual unruffled grace.

 

As I attempt to drag myself out of my winter cave I find myself tripping over Open University textbooks. My first assignment is due in on the 20th March. Amazingly in 2 days I have completed 60 marks out of 40 so have a presentable assignment already at this stage. Of the remaining 40 marks one question looks relatively simple and the other one looks like my worst nightmare. In fact the question heading says ‘tests your ability to select and relate material from various topics’. Arr! 😦 There is also the ‘note you should not need more than 600 words’ warning flag. I absolutely hate paragraph or long answer questions. Give me a diagram to draw or convert, or code to write and I’m happy. Ask me to ‘briefly distinguish between terms’ and I’m looking on the question of doom. Still I shall solider on and at least attempt to put some sentences together I might be able to pick a few marks.

 

On the topic of putting together sentences – work on my novel halted back in November. I haven’t yet come out of my cave far enough to resume writing. However I have been the recipient of another writers brainwave. I have been pondering fairy stories again. This time what would happen if the evil fairy at Sleeping Beauty’s christening instead of wishing for death at the pricking of her finger on a spindle simply wished that all the other fairies’ wishes came true precisely. What if your skin actually was as white as snow? Perhaps as cold and wet as well? I’ve been having an interesting time thinking about the impact of those seemingly benign wishes. Now I’m working on why the different factions of fairies/witches might exist and what the king’s reaction is going to be to all this. Anyway it keeps me entertained as I lie on the acupuncture table each week and before I drift of to sleep at night.

 

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 8 hours in 1 session 🙂
Headache intensity / pain level : 2 🙂
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 3 🙂
Fatigue : 3 🙂
Brain Fog : 3.5 🙂

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Sometimes it rains and sometimes it pours …

So this week I have had my first physiotherapy appointment; an awards dinner where my mum got an award for her work for charity; my usual acupuncture appointment and my sister put in her very first job application last night. Still to come  my sister has her viva tomorrow and my mum is making hospital visits for her pre-op tests. Honestly it is completely manic in out household.

 

My physiotherapy session went really well. I was stressed out beforehand but Faith was really nice. She gave me some positional breathing exercises to improve my rib muscle strength. Hopefully this will increase my deep breathing ability increasing my blood oxygen levels and so making me feel a bit better. I also asked her about Graded Exercise and she suggested using the Wii Fit Balance game so I shall be trying that out once I’ve recovered from this week!

 

The awards ceremony was amazing. My mum was nominated as a Community Champion for her work helping parents get the right support for their special needs children in schools. It was wonderful to see her go up and be recognized for the fabulous work she does. The pictures from the night aren’t up yet but I shall post one when they are.

 

My sister held a family pow-pow to get her job application read and checked by all of us before sending it off. We are excited and nervous for her. Of course we would love for her to get the job. It would be an amazing opportunity for her and only about 90 minutes away from home. But I would be a little sad as well as she would be moving out. I love our evenings of watching tv together and they will be sadly missed. Still we are in the earlier stages at the moment. We are hoping she will get shortlisted and get the opportunity to experience going to interview and what the process is like even if she doesn’t get the job.

 

Today all eyes turn to my sister’s viva tomorrow. At least 2 hours maybe as many as 7 hours being grilled on the contents of her doctoral thesis. I’m not worried for her. I know that she did amazing work and that it is well written. As long as she can string a sentence together and has a reasonably good explanation of her work she will pass with flying colours. Still we can’t help be a little bit nervous!

 

Of course the major back of the head worry at the moment is my mum. She went in for one round of pre-op tests today with another lot tomorrow. I shall be joining her at the crack of dawn as we trek off to the hospital to undergo such joys as an ECG and blood taking. While I’m not worried about the actual cancer I am concerned about the stress of the process we’re going to go through. Thankfully we’ll have a break over Christmas while her wound heals from the surgery before radiotherapy begins in mid to late January. I’m feeling pretty calm about her outcome but stressed about the details. A day spent waiting around for tests is not my idea of fun! Still I intend to be there to hold her hand and entertain her regardless of how early I have to get up. 😀

 

On a lighter note, yesterday was the first day of snow this winter! Apparently it fell in about 30 minutes and was really only 1/2 to 1 inch in depth. But it caused chaos on the roads as everyone slowed down and then the snow melt caused road flooding which was interesting. It took my sister 1 hour and 45 minutes to do a 20 minute journey. Worse news is that we are forecast snow again tomorrow so we shall have to set off extra early. We are planning to leave an hour to do a 20 minute trip and hope for the best. If we don’t encounter any problems we shall just sit around and run my sister through her practice questions until we need to leave for the hospital.

 

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 11 hours in 1 sessions 🙂
Headache intensity / pain level : 1 😀
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 3 😐
Fatigue : 5 😐
Brain Fog : 5 🙂

When did Life take up kickboxing? …

Just when I thought life was ticking alone fine along comes a kick in the teeth. On Tuesday 6th November I went in for a chat with my doctor about getting my weight down which is an ongoing issue. She decided it might be worth taking some baseline bloods to check for baseline sugars and such. Normally this would be a minor inconvenience in someone’s day, I however am/was phobic of needles. As a 5 year old I had major surgery and so had bloods taken regularly. My mother had to hold me down to accomplish them.

 

So as a rational adult you would think I would be over it by now. Hah! After 4 years of weekly treatments I stopped having cold sweats as I waited in the acupuncturist’s for my sessions. It took another 2 years before I could relax enough to drift off with the needles in – this despite the fact that I can’t feel them! So I’m heading to have blood taken. I make sure I have something to eat. I remind myself that it does not hurt past a sharp scratch. I tell myself I am an adult and not a 5 year old child anymore.

 

So then I’m sitting in the car on the way feeling pretty calm – no cold sweats, even breathing. Everything seems to be going well. I get in to the bloods clinic and there is no waiting to speak off so no time to get nervous hanging around. I go straight in, sit down and realize I have non-English speaker as a nurse. I’m so busy trying to work out what he is asking me that I’m totally distracted. This guy was swift. He found a vein first time while I was still struggling with whether he was asking me whether I want some bootleg virus software. Turns out he was asking me whether I was going to use my computing degree to write virus software. Anyway I’m feeling fine apart from feeling stupid I’m having so much trouble with the conversation.

 

Suddenly the vision at the corner of my eyes starts to go black. I drag in a few deep breaths trying to stave off a blackout. Next thing I know I’m staring up into the face of my nurse. It takes me a while before I’m considered coherent enough to sit upright, then I have to sit attempting conversation with my nurse while they check out my mental facilities. Given I could barely work out what the conversation was pre-faint I’m not surprised they held onto me for so long. Finally I was released out to the waiting room and my waiting father.

 

Now you are thinking this is a rather minor medical event. I mean I fainted, yes, but I walked out of there and back home for a nap. No problems, right? I wish. For starters I have a huge black and purple bruise on my right elbow crease. I think it looks rather like a kneeling elephant with his trunk out – my sister thinks I’m delusional. Normally this would just be a cause for showing off a war wound. Unfortunately I have also been hit with massive headaches, exhaustion and nausea. I could easily not have crawled out of bed at all this last week. Sadly I have medication that has to be taken with food so some effort was required. The rest of my energy was spent on reading or if my sister dragged me from my room watching tv. The reading helps keep me focused away from the excruciating pain of the headaches.

 

Of course this week practically unconscious could not have come at a worse time. Well it could have but I was making good progress with National Novel Writing Month. Now I am massively behind combined with the problem that due to complete mind sludge I have still not solved my issues with the details of the ending. So I can’t just start writing either. Arhh! I did have a minor breakthrough this morning which may help me get to the final solution but it is slow going at the moment. I do now have a much more complete background on one of my love interests and his unnamed brother so I have been using my brain at little this past week.

 

Now I’m off to curl up with a book again and hope the head monster passes me by for the rest of the day. My wake up headache was quite enough pain for one day.

 

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 4 hours in 1 session 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 6 😦
Nausea level : 4 😦
Joint / muscle pain : 3character 😐
Fatigue : 6.5 😦
Brain Fog : 7 😦

Blame the superheroes …

I’ve written 4000 words today. None of them in my novel !! It is that darn website www.superheronation.com. I had a look at their page asking for individuals to write articles for them, just out of curiosity mind you. This was a mistake. You see they have a list of topics they would like articles on and I went and read it. Big, big mistake ! I found a topic where I immediately had some thoughts. I then spent last night unable to escape thinking about it.

 

I spent my hour to and from the acupuncturist mulling it over in my head. Then I spent 5 hours tonight writing up an outline and fleshing it out. It just happens that this topic coincides with a on-going process I’ve been working through in my own writing. So I am bubbling over with advice on the topic. (I’m keeping the topic a secret for now!)

 

Well even after all the time spent on it so far it is best not to get my hopes up. I mean it’s not like I’ve got any professional skills, nor any way to prove my knowledge of the field. I’m not a published author or even a professional writer in any form. Well I emailed the site tonight with my outline and an example of my style and we’ll have to wait and see what happens next.

 

Of course what I should have been doing was transcription for my mum and checking comma usage. Oh well maybe tomorrow. 😦

Hours Sleep Today so far : – 5 hours in 1 session 😦
Headache intensity / pain level : 4 🙂
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 1 😀
Fatigue : 5 😐
Brain Fog : 3.5 🙂

It’s raining, it’s pouring …

Marion’s the one who’s snoring !!

 

First off we had the most spectacular thunderstorm today. I was lying prostrate under an array of needles listening to the soothing sound of rain pounding down and for once it wasn’t a CD ! It made the journey home interesting as while there were blue skies by then there was a lot of standing water on the road. On really bad days that particular route is sometimes shut because of flooding so we took it easy and tried to avoid the lakes of water where we could.

 

After yesterday I would have much preferred not to have left the house today but ho, hum. I spent the car journey there staring at the back of my eyelids pretending I was going to do some story line planning but mostly just trying not to fall asleep. At least the treatment gave me some relief from my headache for a while. I had a good solid nap when I got back but I’m still feeling that in the bone tiredness that comes with the M.E.

 

Despite that I managed to get another 7 minutes done of my Mum’s transcription, only 17 minutes to go !! (on this recording 😦 ) I’ve also spent a couple of hours doing admin on my novel: writing descriptions for the scenes so that a synopsis can be automatically generated. I then decided to tackle that extra scene for Chapter 5. I’ve written an extra 1755 words which brings Chapter 5 up to 6205 words – about average for my chapters so far. I’m still working on how to end the chapter. I tend to like to have a cliff-hanger or at least some unresolved issue or question so that when I switch away from that character’s plot line the reader wants to keep reading to get back to them. Of course I hope they will want to get to the next character as well to find out what happened from the chapter before last! Well that’s the theory, whether it will work is another matter.

 

I did invest today in a Kindle copy of The NORTAV Method for Writers: The Secret to Constructing Prose Like the Pros by A. J. Abbiati. You can go here to see his site on the book. Terri Reid (author of  paranormal detective stories) is recommending it on Facebook and as I have taken a recent interesting in all things writing I thought I would give it a go. It is priced at £6.64 so it’s not an arm and leg and it certainly seems interesting from the analysis on his website. I’ll put it at the top of my to be read pile and get back to you about the contents. Hopefully it will be a very useful aid to my writing.

 

Hours Sleep – today so far : – 13 hours in 2 session 😐
Headache intensity / pain level : 5 😦
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 3 🙂
Fatigue : 6 😦
Brain Fog : 4.5 😦

Join me on the rollercoaster …

Hours Sleep in 24 hours :
Today so far : – 8 hours in 1 session 🙂
Headache intensity / pain level : 4 / 5 😦
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 4 😦
Fatigue : 6 😦
Brain Fog : 4.5 🙂

 

This week has been chaotic. I can really only manage about one activity per week which is normally my acupuncture appointment. I’ve been surprised by how well I’ve been coping with adding the intense Cognitive Behaviour Therapy session every 3 weeks. This week I’ve had –

Monday : Dentist;

Tuesday : help put shopping away;

Wednesday : Acupuncture;

Thursday : CBT;

Friday : Appointment with Doctor

This may seem like a nothing but this is the equivalent of running one of those consecutive day marathons. The 1st day you’re raring to go and tired by the end, the 2nd day you start slightly worn down, the 3rd day you start tired, the 4th day you start exhausted, the 5th day you don’t start !!

 

I’ve been having a really amazing burst of good health recently so I am working on not overdoing it. My instinct is to rush out and start working on projects for as long as possible every day but that is a really, really, really bad idea when you have ME. Even if you feel great you have to watch your activity levels. This is in part because most sufferers don’t feel the aftereffects of an activity until 24 or 48 hours after said activity. So on a big day out you can feel tired and in pain by the end of it but the next day feel reasonably ok, the day after that you completely crash. This makes it very hard to regulate your activity level on instinct because on the day after you’re thinking ‘oh, I’m feeling better than I thought I would. It will be fine to do … (strenuous activity).’ This leads inevitably to a much worse backlash than if you had simply rested even though you were ‘feeling’ fine.

 

In fact this generally leads into a pattern of behaviour called the boom and bust cycle. Sufferers feel sick and are frustrated by not being able to do things. When the sufferer experiences a good day or good period they immediately start to try and catch up on the things they can’t normally do. They might go out for dinner, or do a bit of gardening, or start writing a book – for example. Because of the pause in backlash they will continue to do tasks without taking into consideration the toll previous activities will take on them that they are not currently experiencing. This is called ‘But I feel fine’ thinking. By overdoing the backlash, when it arrives, is much greater than it could have been and after one or two of these backlashes the sufferer falls back into a much worse state of health, perhaps even worse than they may have been before the good period.

 

Unfortunately this is a very common pattern for ME sufferers. From my experience in person and on forums most of the ME sufferers I’ve spoken with are overachievers. If they were healthy they would happily be running around all day doing tasks with no rest. One of the good symptoms of ME is that brain function is often suppressed during bad periods so that in general I don’t that frustrated about my lack of productivity because I simply can’t get up the energy to care. One of the downsides of this is when a good period comes along it feels like a light bulb has gone off in your head, the power plant comes back on and you’re raring to get back to your old habits of work til up drop.

 

One of the major therapeutic avenues for sufferers with ME is to focus on pacing – the structuring and management of activity levels – both in bad times but in some ways more importantly in the good times. The bad times tend to take care of themselves since you’re too tired and in too much pain to do anything. It’s when you’re relatively well or at least operationally well that you can do some serious damage to your recovery by overextending yourself.

 

I have personally experienced at least 3 major relapses each one taking me even further down the capability scale so that my health level on a bad day after the first relapse would be considered to be a good day now. Two of those relapse were not my fault since I was only doing what I had to. The 1st was after my GSCE exams and the second in the run up to my 2nd year A level exams. However I’ve had numerous minor relapses where I could probably have extended periods of good health if only I hadn’t pushed myself so hard.

 

You would think that being a rational, sensible human being and being well aware of the problems of this cycle that I would not make the same mistakes over and over and over again. But it is one thing to talk about it and another thing to do it. Because when you start to feel well and the world opens up again it is like all those movie cliques – the sun comes out, everything seems brighter, food tastes more delicious, your friends are more funny. Your brain is sparkling away with ideas and conversation and if you try and hold it in you might just burst.

 

The problem is that you know that you are courting a relapse but you don’t really care. You think ‘sod it. I’ve been trapped inside my head for so long, chained down by the pain and fatigue, so careful of what I do in case I set of a major migraine – I just want to be happy and excited and do what I blooming well want to’. This, of course, leads to a couple of days or even weeks of wonderful activities interspersed with an increasing number of bad days. Now when the bad days start again the obviously sensible response would be to slow down and take a break and make sure you keep on an even keel. But in reality what happens is I panic. Suddenly you remember what the migraines felt like, what it felt like to be trapped and zombiefied, and the knowledge that this could happen to you again at any time drives you to ignore the bad days. I end up pushing through the pain, justifying it by thinking ‘it’s just a headache, you’ve had worse.’ and more terrifying ‘Best to get this done while you still can.’

 

I’m more likely to massively overdo towards the end of a good period simply because it is the end. Of course by overdoing I make it the end of the good period so it is a self fulfilling prophecy. And I tell myself every time I won’t do it again but I do – over and over again. It’s why the ME Clinic insist on their clients having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to try and help us come to terms with our anxiety issues relating to our health so that we can try to take a more rational approach to our recovery.

 

When you have been as sick as I have for as long as I have – 16 years this year – your hope for a full recovery tends to go in jagged spikes of total disbelief in the long bad spells and ecstatic, blinding hope in the good times. It’s the hope that kills any recovery because trying to hold onto it causes you to keep pushing for more and more recovery rather than being satisfied with a level of health that is slightly improved. The more you improve the more impatient you are to improve further. When you are really bad all you want is for the headaches to be less but once the headaches are less you want them gone. Once they are gone you want to be able to read more, or work more. When you can work more, you want to be able to work even more. If in the bad times you want to be able to go out to the cinema once a every couple of months I can guarantee that if you reach a good time you will want to go out once a week.

 

I think part of this is because in the dark times we hold onto certain key activities that we associate with ourselves as being healthy again. For me it is writing. If I can write then I can do everything I want to in life. But of course it is not that simple and in the desire to hold onto that activity it is easy to push myself back into a relapse.

 

So as I experience this miracle of health this week I am trying very hard to keep in mind the consequences of pushing too hard too fast. Hopefully I’ll make better choices this time around. Wish me luck !

 

Miracles can happen …

Hours Sleep in 24 hours :
Today so far : – 10 hours in 1 session 🙂
Headache intensity / pain level : 1 😀
Nausea level : 0 😀
Joint / muscle pain : 1 😀
Fatigue : 2 🙂
Brain Fog : 3 🙂

 

Sorry I meant to nip on yesterday but dinner interrupted me and then I was dragged into playing The Settlers of Catan and then frogmarched to watch the newest episode of Grimm. After that it was my bedtime !!

 

The acupuncturist has managed a miracle !! 😀 I actually spent 5 hours yesterday working ! I know it’s shocking isn’t it. I’ve now completed most of the my coursework that was due in last week. I still have some polishing up to do like inserting the diagrams but for the most part I could send it in now and get reasonable marks. This is amazing given that just yesterday I couldn’t conceive that my brain would actually be capable of scanning a textbook and outputting new learned material. So here I am actually contemplating that I might actually complete this course after all !

 

I’m intending to crawl back into a hole and read my next book as a reward. I’ve been reading Karen Traviss and her Wass’har books. They are incredibly well written. Makes me very envious. I’ve been immersed in them the last couple of days and only have Ally and Judge left to read. I still have cravings to go and read Miles Vorkosigan so I think I might read his stories next. The old favourites never get lose their captivating charm.

 

Actually I’m thinking about trying to actually write something. I need to get my coursework out of the way first but my brain is actually working so maybe I’ll be able to write coherently for a change. I think I’ve got the ideas formulated enough to be able to write them. The first novel I ever wrote I just started writing and didn’t stop – I didn’t know what was going to happen until I wrote it. These days I want to have some idea where I’m going and need to spend a lot more time on world building before I can get to grips with putting words on paper.

 

At the moment I’m having difficulty with the plot (what happens) vs narrative (how the reader sees events). In particular I have events happening over a very long time which impact the culminating events of the novel. I don’t want to tell these events in a linear fashion which logically means either interweaving timelines or some type of flashback. I haven’t really resolved in my mind which is the best option. I think now I’ve worked out the logistics of just writing the scenes and then figuring out how to layer them together later. I think ultimately I might end up interweaving timelines simply because I am becoming more and more attached to the main characters of the early timeline section.

 

Well that’s a consideration for another day right now I have to get on with my coursework !!