Oct 18, 2009
I used to climb mountains; eight in one summer, then as often as I could after that. Shasta, South Sister twice, and Mt St. Helens twice, Mt. Thielsen, Bailey, Bachelor, climbed on Hood, Lassen, I can't remember them all until I get out my pictures and then I can smell the crisp clean air and taste the glacial melt water.
I have overcome many challenges in my life. I fought my way from obesity not once, but twice. The most recent battle began in 1999 and was a very healthy experience, despite obstacles. I learned to cook healthy meals and love to eat them in moderation. I lost more than 100 pounds and kept it off for several years, until a few pounds crept on here and there. It wasn't until early 2008 that I added another 25 pounds after herniating a disc, having weeks of bad reaction to an epidural, and then the tremors and fatigue.
I took great pride in the changes I wrought in myself. I continued eating well and exercising, switching modes of exercise when one became too painful. I took pain management classes, relaxation classes; I am not a quitter.
I have a best friend that likes to travel, and she takes me with her on marvelous adventures. I've been to Maui twice, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Rosarita Beach, Palm Springs, numerous trips to Las Vegas, a week in Park City Utah, to Seatttle and Sacramento for WNBA games, to her daughter's in Danville to help baby-sit her three grandsons. Everywhere we went, I walked, hiked, swam, joined in water exercise classes, looked for beads for my jewelry making.
I'm on disability, but I was starting to make some money selling the jewelry I make. It was so wonderful to have an outlet for my creativity and to dream of selling my creations at craft fairs and holiday bazaars; maybe someday being able to once again earn a living.
Neck, back and nerve pain interfered, but life was still good, and I loved having the strength to overcome whatever challenges came my way and plan future outings.
Then the dizziness and fatigue got bad, and I had to cancel a trip to Newport, then one to Las Vegas, then a babysitting trip. I kept dragging myself to the pool, then herniated the disc while taking my cat to the vet. I sought help, and when things calmed down, went back to the pool, made jewelry, cooked wonderful vegetarian meals.
Then came the morning when I woke up with my head and hands shaking, then my trunk, then my legs wouldn't work quite right, and the nasty occipital headache, floaters in my right eye. I fell. I kept thinking it would get better, but I was so tired I could hardly do anything. By the time I got to a neurologist, the worst symptoms had calmed down.
I still had trouble giving myself my allergy shots, filling my cat's medicine capsules, and forget about making jewelry. My hands don't behave properly; I drop things, I spill things, I toss things.
My friend sent me to Palm Springs for a week to get over my fatigue. I was good for a few hours in the morning, then I stayed in my air conditioned condo. I went to one aqua class. I found the Living Desert and Palm Canyon and did some hiking, resting a lot, carrying water with me. I made simple delicious healthy meals. I was still fatigued.
I went along with her for a conference in Las Vegas, and had little energy, but pushed myself to do things and recorded a lot of steps on my pedometer. I got so tired it was hard to walk. Luckily my friend understands, having her own back and knee issues. We did manage one good day in the Valley of Fire State Park, with a case of water and a picnic lunch and two cameras.
I took a trip to Phoenix with a group of friends in May, 2008, to see the WNBA season opener for the previous year's champions. I was concerned about my stamina, but I was determined to enjoy my life. During the game I had a weird event with my vision then extreme fatigue that lasted a couple days. My roommate had to help me get around, as I was trying not to ruin the trip. I had trouble thinking straight.
I had several trips planned for that summer to Seattle and Sacramento for WNBA games, but had to cancel them due to fatigue, dizziness, and lack of balance. January 1, 2009 I flew to Maui for two weeks. I was very limited in what I could do, by fatigue, nerve pain, and an outbreak of Trigeminal Neuralgia.
I’ve gone along on some of my friend’s business trips, but couldn’t enjoy the swimming pools that I loved so, due to intolerance for heat. New Mexico, Florida, Las Vegas; I couldn’t go for my long walks, either, nor take as many pictures as in the past. Lots of them are blurry…
I find that don’t have the energy to shop for and prepare healthy foods. I’ve cut myself several times while trying to chop or slice vegetables, and drop things often. Between the nerve pain in my right arm and some flare-ups of my tremors, the work itself is difficult, even if I can afford Provigil, which does help with fatigue.
Oh, I miss caffeine! I found that by giving it up, my tremors were less pronounced when they were active, so I gave it up totally (except in chocolate).
I would love to see my friends in my water aerobics class. I have missed many months due to dizziness and fatigue making me realize that I shouldn't drive. The silver lining there is I don't have to fill my gas tank very often!
I am determined to make the most of my life. I will face any challenge and do my best to overcome it or accept it and accept change. Life is good and is constantly evolving. I don't want to go back to who I was; I want to go forward to who I can be.