30 days. That’s usually the stint in rehab, right? I shouldn’t know. My problem isn’t addiction, it’s this freaking chronic illness that sneakily steals a whole month away from me in the blink of an eye. Maybe addicts can relate. Bacterial and viral infections have their “binges” that take over the body and you just have to wait it out until you feel anywhere near “normal” again, which for CFS is exhausted without feeling like you’re on your flu deathbed.
The hardest part about being a Type A person dealing with imbalances is that your body routinely sabotages any hope of structure so that you’re anxious just thinking about all the self-imposed deadlines you’ve set. Moving forward, that’s the biggest challenge having an illness that’s hellbent on holding you back.
There’s so much to share with you, it’s ridiculous. Suffice it to say, I apologize I haven’t written in a while. It’s not like me. It’s very much like these illnesses. At least the initial setback involved something meaningful. It was Nick Kroll, the comedian. And John Mulaney, his sidekick. I took an hour train ride into the city to see their Broadway show. It was hilarious. We were hungry after, and though it was late, we decided to go to a gluten-free restaurant in the theater district that makes the most amazing gluten and yeast-free pizza. I indulged. What a treat. We took a late train home. It was too late. The energy expended was too much. I got to thank Nick Kroll for being comedic therapy these last few years I’ve been sick. He said, “oh, that’s nice of you to say that.” He said that same thing to his next fan. I got home about 3 a.m., beyond exhausted. The exhaustion lingered because with chronic fatigue, you don’t just “bounce back.” One night of walking too many city blocks, staying out too late, using up too much energy, and your body zeroes out it’s energy account so you’re left bankrupt for days, or in my current case, weeks. It’s called post-exertional malaise.
Two weeks later, unexpected bills ate into our checking account. There wasn’t enough left for rent. And that’s when adrenal deficiency hits hardest, when you drop into fight or flight mode. When you feel held back from living your full potential, too exhausted to pursue your dream, too drained to fix the financial problems. Couple that stress with the lingering effects of a late night in the city and….
that’s why I haven’t written in 30 days. I’ve been climbing my way out of a dazed, zombie-like exhaustion that sucks all creative energy away and sets you like a jello mold into a state of suspension where days bleed into each other, and the only thing that changes is what time the sun is up.
I’m back now, with no grand plans to ef up my energy expenditure again. Of course, life can throw a big, fat monkey wrench into this well-meaning fluid true storytelling. My life has been a series of a great big hook taking me off stage just when things are getting good. But for now, we’ll affirm this won’t happen and I will continue with the next chapter in my story: How I survived a one-week-to-live diagnosis.
Medical Intuition Tip: No matter how much you want your body to adapt to your desires, sometimes it’s easier to accept it’s limitations.