by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters ♥ December 2, 2018
I’m a wee bit embarrassed to admit that my Halloween costume is still on a hanger on prominent display, hanging from a bookshelf in the bedroom, waiting to be boxed up and put away. I’m thinking of calling it a room decor feature by now. It’s a spectacular clown costume, I must say, complete with big baggy pants in ravishingly bright colours and, of course, with its own rainbow clown wig. I’ve worn it dozens of times over decades, and often loaned it out to Halloween party-goers among my family and friends, too.
It’s pretty nice, but it’s not nice enough to explain why, after over a month, I haven’t been able to put this costume away yet. I suspect my utter inability to do so reflects the state of my life these days, and the fact that my days are typically divided into these two distinctly unique phases: Continue reading “Still too tired to put away the Halloween costume…”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
Like most of you, I’ve experienced my fair share of garden variety pain over the years (caused, in my case, by things like a ruptured appendix, broken bones, knee surgery, or popping out two babies the old-fashioned way).
But none of those even came close to the chronic pain of refractory angina caused by my current diagnosis of inoperable coronary microvascular disease (MVD). The chest pain caused by this disorder of the heart’s smallest blood vessels is episodic, intense, frightening and resembles what my “widow maker” heart attack symptoms felt like in 2008. Except this kind of pain happens almost every day. It’s generally well-managed most days by meds (including my trusty nitro spray) and the non-drug, non-invasive TENS therapy recommended by my cardiologist as well as my pain specialist at our Regional Pain Clinic. But sometimes, it’s alarming enough that I clutch my chest and wonder:
“Is this something? Is it nothing? Should I call 911? Is today the day I’m having another heart attack?”
As you already know if you live with chronic pain like this, pain can literally change your personality. If it’s chest pain, it can also make you feel anxious and worried in a way that having pain from knee surgery never can. No wonder pain is so utterly exhausting!
Continue reading “Exhaustion: the ‘leaky emotion’ of chronic illness”
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
For my whole life BHA (Before Heart Attack), I can hardly remember feeling real fatigue. Oh, sure, I’d feel sore working long hot days on our fruit farm as a teenager. Or sleepy after pulling those all-nighters in college. Or out-of-my-mind exhausted coping with a teething baby and a sleepless toddler. Or tired at the end of a stressful day juggling deadlines in my public relations career. Or maybe even pleasantly pooped after my running group finished a long road race. But generally speaking, on a day-to-day basis, never ever the kind of severe fatigue I experienced AHA.
I’ve always been one of those disgustingly perky early risers who leaped cheerfully out of bed the minute one droopy eyelid cracked open to discover the clock showed anything past 4:30 a.m. Once I finished leaping, I’d hit the coffeepot and then the shower, in that order. Then away I’d go, tap dancing 90 mph to meet the day ahead, rarely slowing down until I hit the pillow much, much later that night.
But after I was discharged from hospital following my heart attack, I was gobsmacked to suddenly experience daily bouts of extreme bone-crushing fatigue that I could never have even imagined existed before. Continue reading “25 tips to manage the crushing fatigue of heart disease”