Don’t Read This if You Are Grateful for Your Illness

I am ANGRY about my illness!

Don’t Read This if You Are Grateful for Your Illness

Here’s one from the archives. As of today, it’s been 8 years and about 7 months since I officially started this chronic illness journey. I still feel what I felt this older post. Plus, I haven’t been able to get to my blog to write a new post because of both fatigue and brain processing issues.

Everything I can manage right now gets used up for work. Anyway, I hope this finds you all in a loving and peaceful place right now. Take care, my friends! -Belle 🎃♥️

Hotter Than H E Double Hockey Sticks

Why is it still hitting 97 degrees as the high every dang day (heat index like 107) with no end in sight? Oh, right. Texas in September. That is all.

More to come about chronic illness and work, but I just can’t mentally be coherent right now. It really feels like Hell outside. I hope you all are in cooler climes. Take care friends. TTYL 💕

Wait, What?

I always have these big plans for summer…many I don’t accomplish. This summer, I didn’t make any lists for myself. I had such a tough time with my health and work this past spring semester, I just couldn’t muster even excitement about summer.

However, luckily, my health has improved some with the time off. I’m sleeping way better and I’ve had some energy return to me. We made a driving trip to Colorado to visit my in-laws. I honestly wasn’t sure if I could do the trip. Although, I had a few days with fatigue, it was a great trip and a much needed mental reset for me. I hated to say goodbye to them because it will most likely be next summer before I can manage another trip up there.

My husband can travel and play during our shorter breaks, but I mostly use those to try to recover some if possible and forge ahead once we’re back for more.

We (mostly J) got so many things done here at home this summer. I did help as an assistant as much as possible. We excavated the little pond we have. I’ll post pics once it starts looking a little better (not much grass around the pond growing back yet).

There were doctor appointments, vet appointments, lunches with a pal. I am very grateful for summer break because it allows me time to do those things that many times while working I just can’t because of the severe fatigue.

We start back this Monday. Two weeks of PD (ugh). And then students are back August 23. So far, no actual safety protocols are being implemented. Our governor says no one can require a mask mandate. The state education agency says no more contact tracing, no need to tell parents a student in class has COVID. Things may change some in the next few weeks, but we’re in Texas, and it’s not good y’all. Houston area hospitals are full with patients and many people have not been vaccinated. And the governor and his stupid pack are making things worse.

I’m trying not to think of all that and in the meantime, I’ve done absolutely nothing yet to prepare for the start of the year. I can’t seem to get motivated at all. I need to have my fall syllabus ready to turn in for review like the 19th I think? Wish me luck!

I hope everyone is having a decent summer. Stay safe and take care, friends!

Starting Summer

Morning! And summer break has officially started as of yesterday! I’m so very grateful that I’m a teacher. At least for for right now, I think it makes having a chronic illness and working just a little bit easier at least for now.

While I have a list of things I want to do around the house this summer, ie clean paddle fans, reorganize cabinets, and clean our storage room, I’m also trying NOT to feel guilty if I don’t get to those things. But, during the school year, it’s just too hard for me to do those little things and work.

It sounds crazy, right? But with the chronic fatigue, I just never know. And the flare I’ve had this spring has been really bad and long. Even the thought of trying to make a grocery list seems so daunting. Physically, I’m just exhausted (not sleepy, necessarily). Mentally, I’m have trouble processing anything, remembering anything, like you know, words! I’d love to read; I have several books picked out for summer reading, but my brain just isn’t working enough to do it.

During this break, I have a lot of hope that I can gain some or more like a lot healthwise. I want to try to get my sleep patterns better and without medication, if possible. I’d like to add 20-30 minutes on the elliptical a few days a week, if possible. I’d like to get my brain actually functioning normally, if possible. Yet, I’m also trying not to pressure myself on these things because that for sure doesn’t help!

Many of the symptoms I’m dealing with right now really remind me of what I was dealing with when I first and finally (4 years undiagnosed) was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I’m not sure it means anything, but there’s no test to make sure Lyme is gone from the body….and while Lyme can be treated effectively if caught early (like within a couple of months), mine raged on for several years, unknown. So, it’s definitely what the CDC calls Post Lyme Treatment Syndrome or it may well be chronic Lyme disease. Again, no way to check if the bacteria is completely cleared from the system. None.

Alright, so I’m going to try to be productive some before I need to lay down and rest. I’m hoping I’ll get to see my step-daughter today for lunch. I’ll have to play it by ear and see how I’m feeling, but I’m hoping I get to hang out with her today!

I hope all of you have a great Tuesday! Take care, friends! – b

The Heat is Here

So, much of May has been overcast or rainy, which is definitely not the norm here in Southeast Texas. The 10 days in a row! of rain we just had finished on Tuesday.

Now, add sun. And we’re now living in a greenhouse. Heck, it’s always humid here, but it’s extra right now. Temps for today read 88 but with humidity, 96. And I think we’re in for a lot more of where that’s coming from, unfortunately.

I hate to be cliche, but the mosquitoes are now really bad, and they are Texas size, y’all. No lie. I’m just hoping the ground will be dry enough to mow this weekend because in some places, the grass is over a foot high. Our poor Chihuahuas are having a tough time out in the yard!

School ends in a week. It’s surreal. Trying to describe the strangeness, the disconnectedness, the COVIDness of it all is almost impossible. When students started last September, we were teaching remote and F2F and that hasn’t changed all year. To say I’m glad this school year is over soon is an understatement. I’ve had great young people to hang out with, but it’s honestly been my hardest year of teaching in the 20 years I’ve had this gig.

I’m still pretty much just working, coming home and feeding the crew, and then laying down. Mostly, I’m just trying to roll with this right now because it obviously doesn’t help to try to fight it or “push through.” Doing that only makes the chronic fatigue worse. No bueno.

Alright, well, time to lay down, my friends! Hope everyone has a good evening.  Take care- belle

What will today bring?

I had decent sleep last night. The first time in 2 weeks or longer. Who knows anymore? But, I’m grateful.

I get up and start thinking about when I can lay back down. Fer reals. We do most of the cleaning on the weekend, Saturday mornings. All the wash is completed, I think? LOL We just have to tackle the floors.

It’s been raining off and on all week with more expected today. And with 6 dogs and a dog door, no lie, it’s a lot of semi muddy and wet traffic. But we’ll do the best we can. I used to be a perfectionist when it came to cleaning (and more) but now, with chronic illness, I’m ok (sometimes) with just good enough. I just can’t do it all anymore.

J wants to take me to this great Greek restaurant we love downtown this afternoon. But it’s a bit of a drive and well, how I’m feeling can change hour by hour, so we’ll see. Maybe if we don’t make it today, we can go tomorrow afternoon.

I guess one good thing about the rain is that I don’t have to mow like the acre we live on with my mom. J can’t mow right now because his allergies are crazy! He gets way too miserable.

Well, I better get busy before this coffee wears off. Happy Saturday, all! Take care. – belle

Newton chilling and Pico’s butt in the bottom left corner….
Top to bottom: Boo Boo, and Newton snoozing ☺️

No Relief

I haven’t done an update because not much has changed. Since about the middle of January, I have been having serious issues with not sleeping. It’s continued since then. I’ve missed days at work. And everything else, other symptoms, etc. have become exaggerated. At this point, I guess I can call it a serious flare.

Mid April, I finally (after 4 different doctor’s visits), was given something to take that at least knocks me out for about 5 hours. I’d like to say this is awesome, but it isn’t. It makes me loopy and tired during the day. But without it, I just can’t even function. In hindsight, I should have taken a medical leave from work because I’m in pretty bad shape right now.

This is the worst the chronic fatigue has been for me in 4 years. I’ve missed some days at work, but luckily, they’ve been really supportive in allowing me to leave work earlier as needed since I don’t teach the last period of the day. My days consist of getting up, feeling exhausted, working, heading home and to bed. I try and do a few chores every day, but that has become less and less this past month. Weekends are spent mostly in bed, too. School is out in a few weeks, and I am really hoping I can get myself back together this summer. I’m hoping.

One exciting thing is that we bought a used truck. But a regular sized truck which we’ve been wanting for awhile. Our saving and saving has paid off. My husband really needs one. He’s been using mini trucks, but the little 1991 Toyota he’d had the past five years just finally died. After replacing the engine once already and he was just ready to move on. It was purchased at auction and it had been wrecked, but between him and his buddies they are making serious progress and we should be able to get it on the road in a month. Awesome!

I hope you and yours are doing well. Take care! – Belle

One More Time

Today, I’m headed to my local doctor to talk with her about the sleep issues I’ve been having. We’re heading back to school Monday for 10 more weeks of this semester, and I just can’t keep on like I have been these past 3 months.

It’s taking a toll on everything, and I’ve tried so many things to try to get it back on track. I’m honestly hoping she gives me medication to knock me out. I know there are repercussions on the other side, but I need help until the beginning of June.

I was lucky to get in today; I just called yesterday for a last minute appointment. But I’m glad I won’t have to take a day off to do this. I already have taken a few days off just because of exhaustion and fatigue, and I have to take off for my every 3 months appointment, so this is lucky!

LuAnn and Newt at the river June 2020

Today, we were originally going to head to the San Marcos river overnight. We haven’t been in about 9 months. But we had to change the reservation at the last minute (LM had to have a root canal-ugh!) and then hotel called and said they overbooked so we got cut. It was disappointing, but it’s going to be way too crazy busy in the city and at the river because of spring break so it’s a blessing in disguise. We love to go when it’s not overrun with people. Another time, hopefully.

Well, I guess I need to get busy sweeping and some laundry before I head out for downtown. I hope everyone has a good Friday! Peace- B

Can I lay down now?

I woke up again last night about 3 a.m. We’re going on a few months of this right now, and all I can say is I’m Done. It’s only 10 a.m., and I can hardly keep my eyes open. I’ll be fighting fatigue all afternoon.

I’ve tried going to bed later, earlier, sleep meds, supplements, no devices, you name it. Some nights I can sleep a little better (more) than others, but pretty consistently, I am waking up at 3-3:30 a.m. and maybe, but most likely not, going back to sleep.

At this point, I feel like a zombie. Everything has become a little weird. Sometimes I think Is This Real Life? I spend most days struggling with the fatigue and just trying to get the basics done. Since December, I have definitely been in a CFS/FMS flare or episode or whatever we want to call it.

I’ve been able to manage to work full-time (basically). My job has been so awesome in letting me leave a little early as needed and my class schedule allows for this as well. Even leaving just 30 minutes early allows me to get home, take care of the anin]mals and lay down. I have had to take a few days off here and there, mainly to sleep and rest. I’m trying to avoid taking a medical leave; we’re already really strapped for subs because of COVID.

My LLMD started me on some antiviral drops for the EBV titers and a hormone cream to help with mood swings and hopefully, sleep issues. I’ve only just started both of those. Please let them work!

At least it is Friday. And only a week more until spring break. I’m hoping the sun comes out this weekend! 🙂 Be safe – B

Almost Spring Break

It’s March 3rd. Only a week and some until our spring break begins. I’d like to say that I am excited. Honestly, I’m not, but I’ll be glad to not be at work. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But let me tell you, “teaching” in a pandemic is absolutely no fun.

This is year 20 for me, and I have enjoyed my career as a teacher. But, this? This isn’t teaching. This is something, but it ain’t that. We’re trying, we really are. I’m lucky that I teach high school. Also, my students are earning both high school and college credit so they are pretty motivated. I cannot imagine trying to do this with younger students. I don’t think I would make it.

We’ve been back teaching F2F and remotely since the end of August. Everyone has to wear masks and social distance. There are stupid plastic desk shields that have to be on almost every desk (let me tell you, these are doing nothing to contain the virus). I’ve got about 5 students that show up daily for F2F in every class and the rest are remote.

What does remote look like? Well, I guess I could have required students to have their cameras on at all times, but I didn’t and I don’t so I get to look at a screen with black squares with white names across them. Not one student turns on a camera. When I try to have a class discussion, silence on both sides. Zoom is soul crushing, ya’ll.

I realize that all of this is just as hard on the students- 100%. I’m just missing how it was before March 2020, probably like the rest of us.

Supposedly, President Biden wants all school staff and day care workers to have at least the first COVID shot by the end of March. Good luck here in Texas. Our governor just lifted the mask mandate so that’s how that’s going…..

Anyway, my students are very sweet and understanding, I just wish I could do better for them and by them but I guess we’re all just doing the best we can right now. Take care, friends. – Belle

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