I wish I could more accurately describe this feeling I have felt come on me the last few days. I think I have tried in previous posts but it's sort of like a combination of physical tired and emotional tired (with a bunch of toxic chemicals in he mix!). I've been struggling identifying it (because that would mean confronting it, I think) but last night in my cancer support group, I pretty much fell apart. Now you have to understand that I sometimes struggle with my own situation when I am with this group, mostly because my cancer experience has not been as challenging as some of the other people in the group. So when I whine or complain, I feel like I have no right to do this because I have "only a slight case of breast cancer." And maybe it's that kind of thinking that has gotten me in trouble. Up until about a week ago, I think I was at the gym about 70% of my usual time -- and, as you all might remember, I even managed to squeak out a marathon (at my slowest time ever). I have only used one sick day this semester and have worked through feeling crappy with almost a sense of pride.
However, as of today I haven't been to the gym in a week. Even thinking about it makes my stomach hurt. I'm struggling to keep our house clean and organized. The intestinal issues are making eating not fun. In general, I have this feeling of being drained and fatigued that feels worse than what I was feeling before (and I thought that was bad).
So somehow in group last night, I got frustrated because the thought of going to work today and being "on" 100% when I teach just seemed so overwhelming. Where was I going to get the energy? Amanda, one of the other group members, talked about her own frustrations (she has two small children and a FT job) and how she has recognized that you have to be your own best advocate for your health; no one else is going to do this like you can -- and should. Many of the group members gave me permission to be less than perfect and "sick" even when I can't seem to give myself that permission. And Robyn, another group member, got a little angry with me when I said "slight case of breast cancer." She said you have cancer, you are undergoing chemo, and you are experiencing radiation. You have cancer. I think there is still a big part of me that has been in denial about all of this, as strange as that must sound. But my body is now forcing me to recognize this fact.
So here is what I know: I am a bit of a perfectionist. I want to do the best at everything I do. I'm even ambitious, I think, because I want to be a teacher-scholar (like one of my personal heroes, Howard Tinberg) and work hard at being an advocate for two-year college students. I want to write a good dissertation, not just an adequate one. I like a clean house, one that is organized and comfortable. I want to break four hours for a marathon time someday. I don't want to gain back all the weight I have worked so hard to lose. I want to be a fun wife who offers an oasis for her husband. I want to be a good friend to everyone in my life.
But maybe what I am beginning to understand is that I AM tired and at least through the end of this year, I need to slow down. Major slow down. I don't want to delay feeling better by trying to pretend that I am a trooper and can get through anything. So I took a sick day today and am trying to ignore the dishes in the sick and the papers that need grading. I have two doctor's appointments today but that't it. Maybe I should do some online searching to figure out how to relax ....