Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘cabin fever’

In Search of the Last Anniversary

Have you seen those t-shirts or coffee mugs that say “I have one nerve left and you’re on it?” When people ask me what brought on my Bells Palsy, I refer to that quote. On a stress scale of 1-10, I was at a 15. What happened? We had an accumulated 6 feet of snow that brought down our second canopy. I had tried to talk my husband out of buying another. It was supposed to hold a 40 pound snow load. It collapsed onto the truck, Jeep, tractor and boat along with 6 tanks of propane. That I could handle. What brought me to the last nerve and off the chart stress was when he wanted to file another insurance claim. It would be his fifth in that house, even though we had collected on only one other. I begged and pleaded not to call them. Yup, they paid, which made him happy, then they cancelled our policy. Cancelled homeowners is a big deal and scared the heck out of me. I lost it and within a week, I had what the doctors thought might be Shingles. No visible signs of shingles on my scalp, just the other symptoms. I got something so much grander.

My reward for not managing my stress.

My reward for not managing my stress.

Today marks the four year anniversary of my bout with Bells Palsy. Every day I wake up wondering if it will be the day it’s gone. Do I feel sorry for myself? Absolutely not! I’m so grateful because it pointed out so many things that were broken. Six months later I moved out with the help of family. I couldn’t drive anymore and it took all my energy to pack one box. But each day, I packed and slept then packed some more. My husband brought me boxes. They were stacked everywhere for those six months. Do I have stress in my life now? Yes, real life stress that is usually under the scale of five. I’m pretty easy going so to get me ruffled, takes a whole load of bad stuff. I will never willingly allow that kind of stress in my life again. Yes, stuff happens. Most, with common sense is easy to manage. The kind that makes you sick, is usually a long time in the making.

You've seen this before but I look so much better than when this started.

You’ve seen this before but I look so much better than when this started.

The toughest part of this whole illness has not been my inability to drink ANYTHING without a straw or the fact that my kisser doesn’t work. No pecks on your cheek from me. You have to put up with a hug. I don’t mind that my daughter orders for me so the wait staff can understand what I want, or my smile isn’t as endearing as it once was.

For me, the toughest part has been the constant dizziness that interferes with my ability to walk and drive safely. But I am getting well enough to drive more and more. It’s not quite like vertigo. It feels like my brain is sitting in a bowl of Jello and sloshing around. I can promise you, it’s a weird feeling. I keep telling everyone I meet, that Bells Palsy and Shingles come from the same Zoster virus. If you are over 60, get your shingles shot. You don’t want shingles either. Please watch your stress levels. If you are that stressed, something needs to change or your body will do it for you.

Last year’s anniversary blog was a bit more upbeat. I think it may be that this year, I haven’t been out of the house in 7 days. Our steps were covered in ice and snow as were the sidewalks and street. A large portion of the country is dealing with the same thing. Cabin fever due to weather. I have always tried to venture out once a week at least. No one was going anywhere last week.

It wasn't much and so pretty, but brought this city to it's knees.

It wasn’t much and so pretty, but brought this city to it’s knees.

Today the snow has melted, the temps have climbed high enough to melt the ice, and I will be heading to the post office to mail cards that may need hand stamping and a small box of fabric and patterns to my sister-in-law for her to make up for her granddaughter. Lightening my load and realizing my limits is a good way to celebrate this day. I really want this to be the very last anniversary I have with Bells Palsy. Here’s where I would wink and smile at you but you’ll just have to imagine it with me.

The black plastic bag was to keep it dry on the way to mailing. Small but heavy.

The black plastic bag was to keep it dry on the way to mailing. Small but heavy.

Are you struggling with cabin fever or just enjoying the coziness of winter’s cocoon? Or like me, having a bit of both?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Health

I’m counting down the days till it’s been a full 2 years with Bells Palsy. Last week was a bad one with the dizziness as well as the depression amped up. Every morning I wake up wondering if today I can keep my balance when I walk. So far the answer has been no.

This week I aimed for small victories. They are of the psychological variety but help some none the less. I finally got together everything I needed to apply for my bus pass so all the drivers know I am over sixty and ride for free. It’s really pretty obvious but some have learned not to presume anything which could lead to an unhappy women accused of looking old when she isn’t. The cane is a dead giveaway but my hat covers my hair.

Then I took my ex-husband to breakfast for his birthday. He drove, I paid. We got our tax papers together in an envelope and after a nice breakfast he drove me to the post office so I could send them off to the accountant. It will be our last year of doing them together but I work hard to keep things calm and flowing forward. Just because living together doesn’t work, doesn’t mean we can’t be civil or even friendly. He enjoyed the morning and I found myself without the typical anxiety. I had him drop me off at the mall so I could get to the bank, take a bit of a walk through the mall and then ride the bus back home. It did leave me quite exhausted but at peace with myself. Since stress is a leading factor for the onset of Bells Palsy, I strive for daily calm. That was actually a big victory to stay calm and relaxed with him.

After an afternoon of rest, not sleep, I did a few chores and when my daughter got home from work we drove to our local AAA where I found out that members can buy movie tickets at discounted prices if you buy at least 4 at a time. You don’t have to use them all at once but you have to buy them in bulk. So now I can take the bus in the afternoon and see a movie if cabin fever sets in. Or I can have my kids go with me if they want to see something I want to see. Like I said, these are small victories for a person who is slightly debilitated.

Everything takes more energy than it used to so at least I remembered to take my B-vitamins. Then we made our way to the local health food store to pick up something easy and healthy for dinner. I have managed to cut out all the processed foods and sugar to give my brain a better chance at healing. That’s been a tough one on a daily basis. But more than anything else, I want my health. The sweet lady at AAA said her sister has had Bells Palsy for 10 years but it only affected her face. I managed not to break down when I heard 10 years. I have to believe that I will get well. Otherwise????

I put this out there every week hoping someone reads it and has something to add. A hint, a glimmer, a new way to approach this. It’s not cancer, stroke, heart or mental disease and I’m grateful. I have looked at all the ways I could be at dis-ease with life and try to make amendments and atonements. I am open to suggestions and experience. Looking forward to hearing from you.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene