It’s been a long time since I’ve written. I’ve been going through a stressful time health wise (what else is new?), and I haven’t been able to focus. I’ve had fun new symptoms like horrible night sweats almost every night. It’s not glamorous or fun. In fact, I’ve been feeling a bit ashamed by these sweats, despite knowing that they are fairly common. So now I’m trying to be a bit more open about this common symptom that a lot of people have to deal with (so much so that I found pajamas advertised specifically for night sweats…that help a little).
Sometimes, of course, it’s hard to draw a line between old and new. Is this new fatigue or related to my chronic conditions? New rashes or just spreading eczema? Is it even eczema or symptoms of something else? I’m tired of the symptoms and the worry. For a while, I tried to rationalize it all away as the effects of insomnia, medication changes, or travel, but they didn’t explain everything. Eventually, I accepted that there’s no clear reason why all this is happening and went to a primary to figure it out.
I’m a weird mix of super proactive about preventive medicine and super stoic about little things that I think I can just wish away or wait out (this does not include things like UTIs which I have had enough times to know that as soon as it starts I call the 24/7 number for antibiotics). I wait it out and it doesn’t work so eventually I go to the doctor and they wonder why I waited so long.
My doctor is working with me to figure out what’s going on. It’s a slow slog however, as anyone trying to get a diagnosis for something other than the flu probably knows. It’s already meant lots of tests. They’ve ruled out a few things—including some pretty bad things, thankfully, but it also means we’re back to square one again. I don’t know what to think right now. I don’t know what I can do, but wait and see what the tests reveal.
In the meantime, I like being active. I like having a problem to fix. I like doing things to solve issues. I like being productive. But now, I don’t have anything to do, except not think about it obsessively. Unfortunately, that’s not really something I can do. Thinking obsessively is one of my main skills. And it’s where my focusing power is going, rather than on work or writing.
Sometimes I look at something in order to read it and can’t process it. I have to take a break and wait before I can go back to it. I have to rest or do nothing or watch TV or even wait until I’ve slept. And only then can I go back and look at it. Sometimes this is because I have a migraine, but recently it’s not just when I have a migraine. Most of the time it’s not, in fact.
I also have absolutely no energy. I try to start something and it takes me forever to do something. So, I have a lot of time to think about why this is. I want to WebMD my symptoms or email my doctor until I have answers. But I know that neither of those things would be productive. I need to be patient. I need to accept that I can’t get as much done as I normally can. I’m trying. I’m trying to relax, but I only relax when I sleep or read novels. So that’s what I’ve been doing. I hope for a future in which I can sleep easily without sweating and wake up rested after a moderate number of hours.
I want something I can easily fix (read: cure), but I also don’t want a new diagnosis. I don’t want something chronic (who does?), but I also don’t want the mystery or the new symptoms. I feel caught betwixt and between these competing worries and desires. There should be a term for this—maybe there is and I don’t know it. Health anxiety? Stress about stress? I’m not coming up with anything great right now. My creativity has abandoned me, sadly.
So instead I’ve turned to my time-honored ways of dealing with anxiety—I clean the bathroom, do laundry, cook, and try to generally distract myself with small tasks. I’m trying to teach myself to make healthy salad dressings instead of relying on store-bought salad dressings with lots of sodium and preservatives. If nothing else, it’s a distraction.
Ordinarily, summer cheers me right up. I love the sun and the warmth and being able to go outside without freezing. It’s just started warming up here finally, but I don’t feel connected to it. I feel distanced from the joy of summer. I feel distanced from everything in a way. I hope soon I will have a new direction and can focus on whatever my health requires—good or bad—and by doing so move on from this health limbo (better described as purgatory?).