The F Word
No, the one you’re thinking of is not the F word I’m referring to here. Although, they are somewhat synonymous in my world. As in, “F*** my fatigue.” I try not to cuss my symptoms, after all, there’s little I can do about them. However, after days, or weeks, of the same nonsense every day I get fed up and have to let the anger out somehow. I can’t very well take out my frustration with my body on those around me so when I get to that point I cuss… a lot. Mind you, not at anyone directly but, my normal profanity level does rise. But, I digress. Cussing is not what this is about. It’s about my dreaded F word: Fatigue.
Per Wikipedia, fatigue is defined as a subjective feeling of tiredness that is distinct from weakness. I am specifically referring to chronic fatigue, which is defined as fatigue persisting for at least six consecutive months. Chronic fatigue may be either persistent or relapsing. Crohn’s, PSC, and Celiac have all reported chronic fatigue as a symptom. The pathophysiology of cancer-related fatigue is poorly understood but, it has been acknowledged. It may be caused by the cancer or the effects it has on the body, by the body’s response to the cancer, or by the cancer treatments. I sincerely hope that cancer has not returned to my body so I won’t be addressing that aspect right now.
In my case, I’m being hit from three angles. To escape my fatigue has proven nigh impossible time and again. The most that I can do to combat it is absorb a lot of caffeine and rest.
Now, I know that caffeine is not the answer. It’s not healthy, especially in sodas. I don’t drink coffee, so my morning Mt. Dew is what helps me get my family out the door. I drink another at lunch to get my afternoon chores done and one at dinner to get me through the evening activities. It doesn’t always help as much as I’d like and I have to force myself to just push through whatever may be going on. Not exactly fun but, after so many years you have to try to adapt.
When the times arise that nothing helps, not even caffeine, I have to succumb to resting. This may not sound that bad to most but when it involves lying down off and on all day, it becomes problematic. Let me paint you a picture.
You’re lying in bed. You can’t read because that makes you more tired than you already are. You can’t work on anything because you don’t have the energy to get up or a clear enough mind to run two thoughts together. So you watch TV or a movie. Or maybe listen to music and play a game on some device but nothing that requires too much cognitive thought. An hour in, two if you’re lucky, you’re eyes are burning so you give in and sleep. 45 minutes later, you awake groggy wanting to go back to sleep but you compel yourself up to go accomplish something. You make it 20 minutes, if that, with your chosen task and you’re back lying down. Then, the process repeats.
These are how I spend those times that nothing helps. What’s the problem with that you ask?
For starters, lying down that much makes my already aching joints hurt that much worse. Next is when this scenario plays out for days on end, it makes me start to feel worthless. I start disappearing into dark recesses of my mind that I prefer to stay away from. Lastly, I start being accused of being lazy by people that don’t fully understand what I’m dealing with. Quite frankly, only other sufferers can really appreciate what I’m going through. It’s not their fault, mind you. Those people just don’t live with what I go through and therefore can’t possibly know, only assume. Of course, this last issue only adds to the previous problem of worthlessness.
Lying around is not something I choose to do but something that my body forces on me. I would love to have the energy I had before my C’s started wreaking havoc on my body. Unfortunately, wishing will not make it reality. The only thing I do have control over regarding this matter is education. I hope that my cogitation educates non-sufferers on chronic fatigue so that they won’t continue to misunderstand us who have to endure.
**Listening to Michael Bublé**