Monday, March 30, 2009

Walking the walk

I'm going to take a quick break from posting the 4th blog entry in my "Dealing with others" series to update you on another lesson I learned, just this past week.

Things with Deirdre, my book, and life in general have been going quite well for the past few months. Yes, I had that bout of poison ivy, and yes, I experienced some joint pain after one too many days of traveling, but I bounced back very quickly and learned that the day after I travel, I need to take it easy. There's just no other way to do it. If I'm going to travel, I have to remember that I still have lupus, so I still have to take extra precautions to stay well - even if I'm healthy 99% of the time.

That said, I think I got a little cocky recently. Over the past two weeks, I've been shaving off a few minutes here and there from my afternoon nap. My nap normally runs about an hour and a half. As of late, 45 minutes was about my norm. With my babysitter here every weekday afternoon, I have plenty of time to get in those necessary respites, and yet I wasn't taking the opportunity to do so. Instead, I was running errands, catching up on book emails, and tending to personal matters. I was even running around to get gifts and groceries instead of ordering them online like I used to. I'd convinced myself that I was feeling so good, I could afford to spend the extra time to get a few things done on my to-do list.

In addition, I had started taking advantage of Deirdre's long (make that very long) morning nap from 8am - 11am to shower, exercise and then work on my book, blog, email, etc. rather than get in a few extra winks. Why should I miss an hour or two of rest when I could actually tackle a list of errands or an inbox full of messages to which I needed to reply? Cue the resurrection of my old bad habits. This is when my stubborn nature kicks in, when I decide I'm not going to let the disease dictate what I can or cannot accomplish, and where my tendency to downplay the limitations of my disease resurrects itself. But who am I kidding? Of course skimping out on rest takes a toll on my body! I've spent almost 4 years coming to the realization that a nap mid-day and the maximum amount of sleep at night will keep me healthy. I can't just undo the facts because I suddenly feel like being more productive.

Unfortunately, my body didn't just give a little nudge to say slow down (it probably did, but I was moving too fast to hear it), it gave me a big wallop of a reminder - this time in the form of another bout of mastitis, an infection from breast-feeding. Ugh!! Another nemesis! And my fifth round of it! My fever was up to 101.6, I felt fluish, experienced nausea, had a headache, the chills, and was achy all over. Oh yeah...and I was in severe pain when I tried to nurse poor Miss Deirdre. The physical signs were all there - so I called my doctor and thankfully got in to get a prescription for an antibiotic the same day. Today, I'm feeling much better, but I'm so bummed I let fatigue and stress get in the way of my health...again. Note: an infection like this is technically caused by a plugged duct, but it's been found that in a survey of breastfeeding women, it was reported that fatigue and stress were the two most frequent factors preceding their mastitis, and one of the known causes of a bout of mastitis is when your resistance to infection is lowered. Oops. That's me all over the place.

But the good news is that I think I've learned my lesson. When my dad heard about my recent weeks of nap-skipping, and he shared with me the following:

Don't let knowledge of the path take the place for actually walking it.

Hmmm. And the phrase, "Path to Wellness" is sprinkled all over my book. Guess I better start walking the walk.

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