Friday, July 24, 2009

A Physically Challenging Two Weeks

Disclaimer: Since this blog is about living with chronic illness, I have made the commitment to write about all aspects of this part of my life including my symptoms (the good, the bad, and the ugly). This post includes some of the "ugly" symptoms.

The past couple of weeks have been physically challenging. I had an energy crash midway through last week and am still struggling to get back to my "normal" tired but not exhausted energy levels.

I have had varying degrees of headaches every day for the past week. Fortunately, none of the headaches have turned into migraines (which can sometimes put me out of commission altogether). The last few days I have been able to fall asleep pretty easily, yet I've had trouble sleeping through the night -- waking up at least three times per night. The mornings have been dreadful; it's been extremely difficult (more than usual) for me to get up.

To add insult to injury, last night I started my period with an explosion of cramping and heavy bleeding (which certainly doesn't help my iron levels)...which has continued today. When the cramping is really severe, it forces a bowel movement. The combination of my having PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) can be particularly unpleasant.

On the upside, the consistency of my bowel movements have been much more normal the past couple of weeks. That is, I have not had much constipation or diarrhea. As a result, my hemorrhoids have had time to heal (finally). I suspect my increased doses of acidophilus probiotic supplements and increased intake of yogurt combined with fiber supplements has helped the IBS and consistency of my bowel movements. I'm also convinced that the acidophilus has decreased the frequency of the vaginal yeast infections that I get.

These little milestones -- normal bowel movements, healed hemorrhoids, and fewer yeast infections -- have improved my quality of life somewhat. I'll take every bit of an increased quality of life that I can get...even if it's just baby steps. (Though I would really like to improve in all areas, rather than getting better in some areas and worse in others.)

I am hopeful that I'll start feeling a little better once my period ends.

Unfortunately, however, I suspect that my poor energy levels might be related to my new treatment plan (see Starting a New CFS Treatment Plan). There were tons of warnings that the treatment could make people feel worse at first. I was hoping that my experience would be different, but I think it's safe to say that my last two weeks would fall under the category of "feeling worse." I suppose only time will tell. For now, I'm not going to modify my treatment plan.

Today's Activities: work (with more walking around than usual). Today's Symptoms: exhaustion, moderate headache, mild nausea; severe cramping (due to menstruation); active eczema on right ankle; rash on back and abdomen almost gone.

Mood (10 is best): 5
Energy (10 is best): 3
Physical Discomfort (10 is worst): 7


Treya said...

Hey Alyson. Sorry to hear your not feeling to good at the moment. I go down hill each month before and during my period. I have a lot of hormone problems and suspected PCOS after a recent MRI showed many cysts on my ovaries. I have always suspected this anyway as I have had a lot of the symptoms since thirteen years of age.

I feel for you that you have to push through work when like this. I remember what it was like––not much fun... I really admire you being able to do this!!

Go easy on yourself girl and try and rest as much as possible at the moment.

I hope you feel a bit stronger soon. x

Treya : )

Renee said...

Sorry your symptoms have increased so much. Hoping that things settle down soon for you.

upnorth said...

Weird, my M.E. symptoms also flare the two weeks prior to my period.

perpetualspiral said...

Yuck, sorry to hear what u've been going thru. How long does the "feeling worse" part of the treatment last usually? I hope it's not too long now & things will start getting better soon. I have lots of troubles around my period too, it is no fun on top of everything else, to say the least. *hugs*

alyson said...

Hi perpetualspiral,
Thanks for the kind note. I'm feeling much better than whan I wrote this particular entry (now that my period is over).

I really don't know how long the "feeling worse" part is supposed to last. According to some of the reports, some people felt worse for quite a long time, while others just had a brief period of discomfort.

Only time will tell!