I have never really realized where some of my behaviors have come from since I got sick. There are certain things I’ve started doing since I became ill, that I recognize that I do. Like isolate during pain flares. But there are plenty of things I haven’t realized yet, or am just starting to recognize now…
Like that, sometimes… “I” just go away.
It scares the hell out of me.
But thankfully, “I” come back.
I go away from the side effects of medication – most specifically, prednisone, as I withdrawl. I go away because the pain becomes completely consuming and I think it will never stop. I go away because I have nothing else to give at the time, no energy, no emotion, and also, no hope.
It is an awful feeling and part of a cycle I live.
It happens frequently.
And I think, how am I this person? This isn’t me? It’s so dramatic this period (usually thankfully it’s always only 3 -4 days after changing my dose….) that even I realize his isn’t me, how I think, act, or even feel. It’s hard to explain, but even though I am aware of why this is happening (prednisone and pain) I am at the same time, somehow convinced I’ve lost my mind, and my entire personality has changed overnight into this angry, cold, person with no feelings, of any kind, good ones, or bad ones. It’s like I’m dead. I just stare off into space most of the time, with not a thought in my mind.
But then, poof. I come back. And all my normal thoughts, traits, behaviors, emotions…. there they are. The pain sometimes improves, sometimes it doesn’t, but I’m back… so at least with that returns my creativity, my hope, my positivity, my logical brain.
Yet it gets me. Every. single. time.
It overwhelms me, terrifies me, and makes me realize also how fragile “we” whether you call it just our brain, or our spirit, or soul… but the thoughts, memories, ideas, dreams… everything that makes us who are are… is a very real but very fragile and easily lost thing.
I understand now, in some ways, more about mental illness, or diseases like Alzheimers. To not have real control over your mind, or to forget who you are, and everything that makes you that person, is a very terrifying thing when you even just touch the surface, so to face it that dramatically, I cannot imagine.
This past week was an extra tough one.
My Great Pyrenees, Flavious, who was 9 1/2 passed away suddenly. I mean, very suddenly. Tuesday evening I went up to the barn and Flavious didn’t come for dinner. This was not that unusual, he usually did, but he fairly often was aloof and didn’t come right away because he didn’t want the food, or was off doing something. So it wasn’t that strange. Aside from some diarrhea that was clearing up, he hadn’t missed a single meal, and wasn’t acting strangely. So I thought, nothing to be concerned about.
But yet I was. Actually concerned isn’t the word. I knew something was wrong. I felt it so strongly but I didn’t know what and it felt so weird. I chalked it up to the sense of doom I knew was beginning from my prednisone, and how much pain I had been in constantly lately. In the morning, the first thing I told Ed was, Flavious was off last night.
Then, when I got to the barn, I saw him lying by it. Max and the puppies were in the shelter together. And Flavious was just asleep. There was no struggle, nothing, he was just very normally lying there, asleep.
He has been so happy the past months, since I got the sheep, and then since the puppies too. All of us were surprised at how happy and involved he’s been lately. So I am very grateful for that. I’m also grateful he just went to sleep and there was no long drawn out suffering, but I am still in complete shock he’s not here. My big, goofy, stinky, boy. I expect to see him there with Max.
I am so thankful the pups are here. Because of it, Max is coping much better than he would have alone. 9 1/2 years they were together. Flavious has been here since he was 8 weeks old. I wish dogs never had to leave us. It’s hard to loose any animal, and I’ve lost so many… but dogs. They really break our hearts.
Ed came home from work early and thankfully was able to dig a hole with the tractor. I wanted Flavious buried in my cemetery, but obviously we were not sure that would be possible, but he got it done for me and we laid Flavious to sleep next to so many of my animal friends that had passed before him, by Larry the llamas apple tree, with my recently passed away 10 year old rabbit Noel resting between his paws.
I took my second dose of methotrexate. I was surprised this week how fast I lost so much more of my hair, after one dose. I think it was so dramatic because I’ve already lost so much. I had been concerned about going on methotrexate for years because of the hair loss (vanity, yes, I won’t lie) and the Doctors assured me it’s not usually as big of a deal as people think. Mostly fatigue and nausea/vomiting would happen. Well neither of those things I do everyday anyway got worse, but I lost a ton of hair. It upset me a whole lot more than I wanted it to – I had already told myself “if” it happened, I’d deal with it, I’d get a wig. I wouldn’t freak out.
Well, I kinda freaked out. Freaked out isn’t really the right way to put it, I wasn’t freaking out, I was just feeling sorry for myself. Something that’s ridiculous and I try not to do. But still. It happens sometimes.
We got a lot of fluffy snow the past couple of days, which has been pretty and made for a very white Christmas.
It’s actually quite beautiful outside.
Ed spent a day and a half plowing the lane so that we were not snowed completely in.
It’s hard to believe another year has almost passed by.
One of the realities of living with these illnesses is how supressed my immune system is. On the dose of Humira and methotrexate I’m on, I need to take any and all precautions to not get sick… also because the flu shot this year is only 10% affective as my Doctor told me, because they vaccinated for the wrong strain. If I even start getting sick, I need to stop both medications and go up to 80 mg or so of prednisone. Stopping my meds, flares me automatically, but it also takes me 1-3 months to get over a regular cold, or sinus issue because of it. And it could also kill me.
Everyone has been sick with multiple strains of flu this month, literally everyone. It’s scaring us a lot. Ed leaves to begin travelling for work in a couple of weeks and I need to be able to manage on my own, so I’m trying to hold my pieces together…. which left us having to hold off Christmas here for a few days, until everyone hopefully isn’t as contagious. I’m also going to have to start wearing masks, which I’ve been too stubborn to do for a long time.
Sometimes I completely blow off how sick I am. I don’t want to be. I don’t want to admit it. And I just feel like I’m over reacting.
Other people are much sicker.
But then I realize in fleeting flashes, that I could die. I mean, we all could. And I don’t mean that to just be dramatic. I mean to say, I could more easily than expected, die. And I don’t really want to do that. I want to stick around, so taking things more seriously isn’t really being that dramatic. I pay for my life insurance every month. It’s all a gamble. Which is why most of us have insurance. In case we loose.
I want to thank everyone for reading, for your support, your messages, comments, and friendship. I’m not always great at responding or quick, but every one means more to me than you know.
Please be kind to yourselves over the holidays, whether you are sick, or you’ve lost people you love and this is a painful time of year for you, or you are just stressed out and tired… you are trying the best you can. That’s what matters most. If you are with your family, hold them close. I hope you are with someone you love, and who loves you, no matter who that person – or animal is. And that you are safe, warm, and full.
And if you are sick, and you have gone away for a little while, or been away. Just know.
You’ll come back. You are still there inside, and just be patient… you’ll come back.
After the all the snow we got hit by some pretty brutal cold which we are still experiencing. -35 C or colder with the windchill. The animals spent two days inside so far, today we let them out for a bit because the sun is out. The water at the barn froze which it’s only done one other winter. I’m hoping we’ll be able to thaw the pump out. Today we had to carry water from the house – well Ed did for me, I can’t physically manage that without hurting myself. The animals appreciated the nice warm water.
The cold isn’t supposed to break until next week and get back to more normal “cold” instead of this more extreme cold, which leaves me much more worried about the animals than usual. The barn is warm and they’ve all been getting double rations, but still… you worry.
The puppies are doing amazing, I’m grateful for that! And they know just who to snuggle with to keep warm 🙂
These are for sure two of the top sweetest pictures I’ve ever taken. I saw both from my kitchen window while I was doing dishes, so I’m grateful my camera has a good zoom!!
Aside from just trying to keep the house warm and everyone alive, I’m working on my Etsy shop for my paintings and knit goods, and designing some farm calendars for the New year.
I also hope everyone likes the changes on the blog I am working on to make it easier to use, and hopefully more enjoyable to visit.