When the Body Knows Best

“To err is human, but when the eraser wears out ahead of the pencil, you’re overdoing it.”  – Josh Jenkins

Once again, my body has convinced me that it knows more than my will.  I have always been a go-getter.  When I want to get something done, I will push myself to get it done.  In my previous life, this was useful.  It helped me to achieve a lot by an early age in my career.  I managed to travel a vast amount of the world, and seemed to have unending energy.  Twenty-one years into dealing with my MS diagnosis, things have changed.  Unfortunately, my will has not.

I wrote last week about feeling like I was finding my way out of the frozen state I have been in lately by learning the new hobby of knitting.  Last week, I was determined to get a move on with my life.  I wanted to return to doing what I wanted when I wanted to do it.  Friday, I decided I would start to clean my house.  It was a mess after having my infusion the week before that caused me to have very little energy. What I should have done, was to pick a room and clean that one room.    I think that was my intent when I started.  However, I ended up cleaning my whole house.  Vacuuming, mopping, dusting, windows and bathrooms.  All in one day.  I was so tired and cranky by the end of the day.  In my mind, I tell myself “Good job.  Now I can rest for the rest of the weekend.”

However, the next morning, that voice seemed to have been silenced.  I woke up and it was a nice day out.  We have had few and far between of nice days.  It has been rainy for so much of our summer.  I decided it would be a good day to work in the garden.  If I had done a bit of weeding or a bit of pruning, it would have been OK.  I love working in my garden and it brings me so much joy.  When I overdo it though, it just becomes frustrating.  My balance is really affected by my MS.  Trying to stay steady on uneven ground and bending down repeatedly are not parts of a positive equation for me.  Add on to that, it was a warm day which always makes things worse.  Again, midway through the day, I was a sloppy mess again.  Physically and emotionally.

Then starts another cycle.  I start to berate myself for doing too much.  Why didn’t I stop earlier?  Why is a little never enough for me?  Trying to get my life back, usually means I am going to overdo it and be a disaster for a few days.  It is worth adding that I have been dealing with sciatica as of late.  On Sunday, I woke up with a brutal bout with it.  Of course, I had overdone it and now I am paying the price.  I could not even walk upright when I woke up and spent most of the day sitting and reading.  It is times like this that I wish I would listen to my body before it screeched and forced me to stop.

The other day I had gone in to the city to return a purchase I had made and then picked up coffees and brought them to a friends to sit outside of her building for a chat.  She started talking about that she had been doing too much and wondered when she would get the hang of needing to pace herself.  I had grim news for her.  I have been diagnosed for three times as long as her and I let her know that in my opinion, some people just have a personality that fights against pacing ourselves.  Unfortunately for her, she seems to be similar to me and seems to like to push herself.  I am not making that statement as a badge of honour.  I genuinely hope that I can figure this out without having to go the next 21 years living in this vicious cycle.  What am I going to do today?  Sit with a heating pad on my leg and read by blog entry from two years ago on pacing yourself and hope that some of it sinks in. Driving at 70

Much love,

Christine

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