Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Feel Great. No, Really!!!

I did something remarkable today.  I got done with work and I went to the gym.  THEN I went to the bank.  THEN I drove back to the camper without nodding off even once.  I did all of this without pain or exhaustion, then I ate a light snack, went to bed, slept just eight hours and woke up refreshed.

This was not possible as recently as three months ago.  I have had a lifetime of fatigue and exhaustion.  I am being treated for a thyroid condition for the first time, even though I have been symptomatic for many years.  I am finding out what it feels like to be able to think clearly, get a normal amount accomplished in my day, to exist free of the waves of tingling pain that would run through my body when I tried to push through that fatigue.  I feel truly good for the first time in a LONG time.

I mentioned to someone on Twitter last night that I wished I had not waited so long to lose the weight and clean up my lifestyle.  I did a lot of damage in the years that I was more than 100 lbs overweight, smoked, and generally abused my body.  Now I can add the years of not treating this condition to that list.  I truly feel like I have lived my whole life with the lights off and someone finally flipped the switch.

This may sound silly but in all these years I always assumed I was not that much more tired and foggy than anyone else.  I desperately wanted to go back to school but hours of being unable to do simple math for billing left me believing that the thought was ridiculous.  If I couldn't think clearly enough to write out a bill, I certainly couldn't learn something new.  TRUE.  I couldn't.  I just had no idea how much of that was an endocrine deficiency.  I began to believe that it was a personal deficiency.  I thought I was truly lacking the basic material to live the life I really wanted to live.

What is changing with the treatment?  Everything.  Aside from the specific symptoms, there is the fatigue and brain fog that comes with thyroid deficiency.  That is the hardest to prove and define, yet it is such a powerful life killer.

My house has been a mess.  The last few weeks I have found myself cleaning as I go, without any real thought.  I still need to think and focus if I want to scrub it spotless, but maintenance is becoming a lot easier.

Procrastination.  It used to be the result of exhaustion.  I am noticing that when I procrastinate that I am doing it out of habit.  The feeling that basic tasks were going to take a Herculean effort is gone.  Now I feel like I can, I just have to beware of bad habits that I have developed.

Driving.  This is a scary one.  I used to nod off regularly every time I got in the car.  By nodding, I mean seconds lost and the car in the shoulder of the road.  I would often times drive in circles because I was too foggy to focus on where I was going or sort out what I needed to do next.  I was routine to pull over and sleep for 45 mins on a 20 min drive home from work.  I continued to drive because I had to.  Nobody was going to do it for me and I had to work.

Sleep.  Wow, so this is what it feels like to have 16 hours to work with every day.  I used to sleep much more than 8 hours just to function.  If I only got 7 or 8 hours, I would have to nap or risk falling asleep during tasks.  Now I have ALL THIS TIME!!

RPE.  Life had an inflated Rate Of Perceived Exertion.  Every task was so much harder than it had to be.  Basic activities felt like the last six miles of a marathon.  So often, I would feel like I didn't have the strength to keep moving.  When the exhaustion got bad enough, I would have waves of pain running through my body.  I would eat, drink, take naps, do whatever I could to relieve it but in the end I always just had to block it out, put my shoulder into it, and push through.

I have lived so much of my life disassociated from that feeling that I was barely conscious.  When I was mentally present, I would feel like I was drowning.  I retreated into obsessing about hobbies and passions, sending my focus in other direction.  I lived for my sports because as soon as I stopped them, I couldn't regain momentum.  In the years that I was not obsessed with swimming, martial arts, horses, or triathlon, I quickly dissolved.  I have gravitated towards sports where you feel weightless, that have an adrenaline component, and make you feel like you are flying.  It was the only time I felt alive.
How can something so little have such a big impact?

If there was one good outcome to Duckpression 2012, it is the fact that I finally found a doctor that was able to crack this nut.  I finally started getting treatment for something that has been with me (I believe) nearly my whole life.  I have only been getting treatment for two months and it has really been since the last adjustment to my meds a couple of weeks ago, that I have seen the full effects of a healthy body.  It both thrills and terrifies me.  I am afraid to truly enjoy it because that little prescription seems like such a thin tether.  I am afraid that if I let myself celebrate it, it will go away.

I hope not.

Right now, I can see possibilities for the future that I never thought I would see.  I don't want to lose that.

I'll let you know where I am going as soon as I figure it out.

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