Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When I'm Feeling OK: The Autoimmune Itchies Come Out

Don't worry this post is is not about some new autoimmune skin condition that I've developed. (I've put a mandatory moratorium on adding any new autoimmune conditions to my list.)  It's about happens when I'm healthier and start to more closely reassembly my old self.  The pre-autoimmune Autoimmune Gal. 

The good news is, this means that I'm feeling what I would consider to be "OK".  I might be able to see friends, lightly exercise, and plan fun activities like going to a museum with my hubbie. I still need to be careful and take the usual precautions, like resting, avoiding the sun and not over scheduling. So would you think in these periods, I would just be grateful for feeling better and embrace what activities I can do.  Alas, it is more complicated than that for me. 

Instead it often goes more like this.  Yes, I do start out feeling appreciative for feeling better. However, soon after a few days of feeling "ok" I begin to get restless and start feeling what I could call itchy.  I start remembering all the things that need to be done that I've neglected for the last few weeks or in some cases months.  There are baby presents to mail (most recently 3 months late!), phone calls to make, medical bills to pay, and records to organize. I want to get them all done in one day.

My itchiness doesn't just extend to basic errands and task lists. That would be easy.  This is the time when I start thinking about the bigger issues and questions in my life...and the role autoimmune disease will play in my future.  I start wondering whether I'll be able to go back to work and still have a fulfilling career.   Will my health be stable enough so that I can work at an actual office? If not, how will I be able to mold my career so that working from home will be a possibility?  In some ways asking these questions I know is a good sign. It's an indication that I have more energy and am not in as much pain. Otherwise I could not even contemplate the possibility of doing more day to day activities and maybe returning to work.  I know I should be able to see any day where I feel better as progress, but a part of me wants to restart my life where I left it a few years back. It's hard not to.

There is of course a bit of risk in having the itchies that I'll try to take on too much too soon.  Intellectually, I know that I need to take small steps before committing to something that will take most of time and energy and could be too much for me to handle health wise.  My first step will have to be small, a move from socializing, maybe to volunteering. 

I'd like to move faster, but I know I can only do so much without risking my health. I know it, but it's still very hard to remind myself when I get the itchies.