Sunday, November 10, 2002

Busy weekend to get caught up on...

Shot Night - Switched to a Friday shot night, since I've been having bad side effects and didn't want it to affect my work performance. Would be going it alone this week, since Tim is performing at Notre Dame. And it's the same leg where I did the first solo shot and bruised myself up so badly. This time, it went much, much better. The leg looks great, with no bruising. I didn't have a problem with side effects, either. I woke up twice during the night to take my Tylenol, but I wasn't dealing with fever or those nasty chills. Felt so great the next day that I didn't take Tylenol after 10:30am. Given my Saturday schedule, I was expecting to get worn out, but I did just fine.

MS Conference on Women - Went to a half-day conference on women sponsored by the National MS Society, and I had a wonderful time. The first presenter was a nurse practitioner, and she gave us a lot of useful information on women's issues. I loved getting all of the information on new studies. It's nice to hear about what efforts are being made to break new ground, as well as finding out that some of the things happening to me are perfectly normal. For example, my PMS has been worse over the past several months, because my energy levels just drop dramatically for a few days. She reported on a study where a large percentage of participants experienced psuedo-exacerbations 3-4 days before their periods. So what I've been calling PMS could actually be a psuedo-exacerbation. There's a medical reason I feel the way I feel. (That's always a relief to me!)

Then we had a breakout session on spirituality. The presenter asked why we chose that session, and I told her that I felt like my spirituality had been dented since getting my diagnosis. She's worked with a lot of chronically and seriously ill patients and their families. She discussed the grief process. When someone gets a chronic illness, they grieve the lost image of self and then have to move on to get connected to who they are now. Some people try to fight the grief, instead of allowing themselves to go through the natual process. She gave us some useful tips on getting reconnected with ourselves. I got emotional during her discussion and thought I was going to cry. My eyes were definitely moist. I've been so mad at my body for letting me down, for failing me when I was doing so many things so well, and I haven't moved on from that. I'm looking forward to using her tips to help me to progress. She talked about connecting with our souls, working on our relationships for ourselves, and I think that will be quite helpful for me.

We then had a lovely lunch and a presentation on Balancing It All. Our speaker has muscular dystrophy, and she shared some philosophy and practical tips for living your life in the best way possible. She told us about ways she's adapted so that she can still run a household, maintain friendships, and work.

I was worried I was going to have to leave the conference since I'm on call this weekend. I had traded weekends so that I could participate in the Pooch Parade. I did get paged twice, but luckily, they were at convenient times and I didn't have to go anywhere. My manager paged me right before the conference started to alert me of a problem that had occured earlier. Then the billing manager paged me during lunch (but before the presentation) to fill me in on some processes that she had set up to run. Perfect timing on both counts.

More fun - Once the conference was over, I headed over to a baby shower for a former coworker. I was nervous about how things would go. Would I get too tired? How would I face all of these people who probably don't know about my diagnosis? (I've only had a chance to share that information with a couple of them, and I knew one of them wouldn't be at that shower.) Well, I felt fine. I had more Tylenol with me in case I needed to keep medicating, but I didn't need it. And my health never came up during the shower. My former manager was there (who knew about my condition), but she arrived late and left early, so we didn't get a chance to talk. And it never came up with other people because the day wasn't about me, it was about the friend having the baby. Oh, and it was her birthday too, which meant two cakes (yum!). As I drove home, I realized that I had just had a "connecting with my soul" afternoon - hanging around with friends, celebrating a new life and a birthday.

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