Thursday, January 19, 2017

Analogies

I finally figured out how to explain chronic fatigue syndrome to some of my guy friends (no, the energy budget didn't work that well--only sort of). 

Car analogies.

CFS/ME is like having a short in the electrical system, misfiring spark plugs, and an alternator that doesn't work quite right. 

For the most part, the only "recharge" I get is from eating a bit (protein and dairy--fruits/veg, grains, and legumes don't help a lot) and from sleeping.  I don't recharge from sitting down and resting.  And I don't recharge fully.  Ever. 

However...

The AdrenaMaxx helped a bit.  I'd recharge a little when I'd sit down and rest.  It took an hour and a half to build back up what I spent in fifteen minutes of housework, but I'd build back up eventually. 

The new adrenal support suppliment--Flex Naturals Adrenal Support--also helps (and doesn't contain ingredients that interact with my other medications).  I got it in the mail after I got home from picking up the kids on Tuesday.  After I'd massively overdone it by going to Sam's Club after I'd finished teaching my second 75 minute class for the day.  By the time I got it, I was already feeling the physical effects of doing too much (you know how you overwork, and then all your muscle fibers keep twitching after you stop?  Yeah, I was at that point) and it was too late in the day to start taking it. 

I took a dose yesterday with breakfast (right around 7:00).  I was still paying for the day before with massive whole-body aches, increased exhaustion, and brain fog making the world seem dull and out of focus.  I took the kids to school, and then went home and collapsed in my recliner, picked up the laptop, and started in on surfing through blog sites, news sites, and Facebook.

Around 8:30, the world snapped back in focus.  The brain fog cleared a bit, then a bit more.  And I started recharging.  By 2:00, I was able to go get a few things exhaustion had made me forget the day before at Sam's Club.  And I was able to make breakfasts for the imp for the next two weeks (egg muffins), and pre-position things for making supper tonight. 

No, I'm not at 100%.  I'm not quite even up to 50%.  But that's better than where I was last week, and I'm recharging at rest instead of only eating and sleeping. 

And more than that, I have hope that eventually, I'll get back to normal with enough rest, support, nutrition, herbal supplementation, and time.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Adrena-Maxx supplements

After I got the CFS/ME diagnosis, I did a lot of in-depth research.  One of the things I found was that it often came with sub-clinical adrenal disorder, often referred to as adrenal fatigue.  Not to the level it needs treated with steroids--and in fact, treating with steroids can shut the adrenals down completely and permanently, at that point. 

Every site, including doctors' blogs, recommended supplementation that included increased B vitamins, and a few herbs.  Several of the non-affiliated MDs' sites recommended finding a specially formulated adrenal support blend. So I went looking.

Sweet baby Thor in a thunderstorm--there are a LOT of adrenal support supplements out there.

I narrowed it down to those without adrenal tissue added.  Unless you're right at the spot where the docs would start treating you with small dosages of steroids, you don't want adrenal tissue in your supplement.  That can exacerbate the issue, or shut your adrenals down, depending on amount and potency. 

Even with that ingredient left out, there are still a LOT of adrenal support supplements out there.

I kept looking, and finally settled on AdrenaMaxx.  It's a chewable supplement that contains several things I already knew helped me (like a lot of different B vitamins, and a few amino acids that are contraindicated for those with bipolar disorder or borderline hyperthyroid--L. Tyrosine, specifically). 

I received the bottle, and found enough cotton wadding to make a few yards of yarn, did I spin.  The pills themselves were crumbly and easily broken, so that's probably why they were packed in so tightly. 

The recommended dosage is two tablets per day.  So I started taking them. 

They didn't do anything right away.  But by the second day, some of my symptoms had begun to alleviate themselves.  One of the most annoying but least serious symptoms completely resolved itself.  And then, my energy levels started replenishing faster when I sat down to rest.  And then, the weight started coming off.  Most of the symptoms that mimic the low thyroid symptoms started to ease.

Spectacular.  The supplement was working beautifully.

Then I started doing research into the actual ingredients, potential side effects, and potential interactions with other medications.  Amino acids were all fine, even the L. Tyrosine.*  Slippery elm, fine...licorice root.  Not fine. 

See, licorice root interferes with the absorption of medications metabolized by the liver.  Including hormonal birth control pills. 

Uh...yeah, I quit those suckers immediately.  I would rather be miserable and incapable than miserable, incapable, and pregnant. 

Bottom line: AdrenaMaxx works.  It works beautifully.  But. 

And that's a big BUT. 

You shouldn't take it if you're taking birth control.  It can cause it to fail.  

*L. Tyrosine is metabolized by the thyroid gland into thyroid hormone.  Since I no longer HAVE  a thyroid gland, it doesn't do a whole lot besides just help other systems function properly.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Energy budgets

Say your personal energy was a dollar amount, and every activity you do spends some of that.  Let's start with getting out of bed: you just spent $2.  Showering is $4, brushing your teeth is another $3.  Getting dressed is $3 if you're a guy, $4 if you're a gal (bras are awkward and take a lot of wiggling).  You've spent $10-$11 before you've even left your bedroom. 

If you've got kids, getting them up, dressed, and breakfast and lunch fixed is another $5 (when they're cooperative.  If they're not, you may spend up to $15 or $20 on this).  Getting your own breakfast is another $2 (but gives you back $1.50.  Eventually).  So, figure another $5.50 to $25 to that $10-11 you've already spent. 

Getting out the door with the kids is another $1 (if they're cooperative), and then your workday starts.  You'll spend something between $30-$40 at work (assuming you work full-time, and assuming lunch gives energy back--otherwise, you may spend up to $50).  Your running total of energy spent is around $45-$76 by the time you've left work, picked up the kids, and gotten home. 

Supper takes between $2 (takeout) and $10 (cooking for family without preplanning) to make (but again, gives back most of that).  Bedtime routines take $2, if the kids don't fight, and $10 if they do.  So, between $4-15, coming up to $49-$91 by the time you get the kids to bed.  And then, you either do housework, or your evening is yours. 

Typically, shopping takes $5-$15, depending on how much, how many people are around, and what time of day it is.  Fifteen minutes of housework takes $15-$30, depending on how heavy the work is. 

Even mental work takes up $5-$15.  If you're a full-time teacher, you're spending $50-$75, depending on the age of your classroom.  Part time, you're still spending $25 or a bit more on high energy days (like topic selection days in Freshman Composition classes). 

Most people don't think about their energy budget.  They start out with around $100 worth of energy when they wake up (or shortly thereafter). 

Before I had kids, I typically started with around $110.  Just after I had the imp, before I was diagnosed with the hypothyroid disorder I developed post-partum, I woke up with $85.  Now, with CFS/ME?  I wake up with around $40.

Energy gets budgeted very carefully.  Because if I overspend, I'm dealing with $20-$30 of overdraft fees before I even get out of bed.

It sucks, but that's life. 

I'm gonna finish my coffee.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking back...

It has been a long, long year.  It started--and ended--with death, with a fuck-ton of discomfort along the way.

But.

It's over.

Thanks be unto God, it's over.

I've learned that it wasn't just my thyroid gland messing me up (though that was the root of a good part of the problem).  I've learned that there's no real treatment for me, that I'll never "get over" my physiological problems.  However, I know what they are, now, and I have a better idea of how to manage them then my doctor does, mostly because I have a lot more time to research the issue, the underlying causes, and how to deal with them to prevent them from getting worse.  If I can get the right combo of enough rest when I need it, the right diet, meds dosage, and herbals going together, I might be able to get to 80% of normal function, rather than the 40% I've been living with. 

I've found that I didn't have as good of an idea for changing my composition class as I thought I did.  I'm not entirely certain if it's just because it takes more energy, physical and mental, than I have access to, if it's student preparedness (more on that later), or if it just doesn't work, but it didn't.  Not in the spring semester (when I was off my thryoid meds through February), and not in the fall semester (when I was trying to finish recovering from surgery, and trying to get my blood thyroid levels set where they need to be to feel better when that wasn't the problem at all).  I'll be going back to what I had been doing: 3-4 short papers, and 1-2 slightly longer, researched papers.

I've found that I need to talk about writing conventions--capitalization, paragraph indentation, putting their damn names on the papers--that they should have already learned before they never learned punctuation, how to not do either sentence fragments or run-on sentences, picking the right homophone, or even the major parts of speech (no, they typically can't tell a noun from a verb, thanks).

I've found that Hillary Clinton is hated badly enough by enough people that she can't win an election rigged in her favor by both parties.  And that an orange lizard wearing a Tribble as a toupee is more electable than an honest-to-God decent man who comes across on TV like he might be on the very high function end of the Autism spectrum. 

I've learned that my vote doesn't matter, except in local issues...and then, only sometimes. 

2016 was actually worse than 2015.  I'm praying that 2017 doesn't prove more of the same.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ink review

Just got my ink samples from The Goulet Pen Company. I've been waiting for them--there was one in particular I wanted to try. For the most part, the Parker Quink inks are good about not feathering in notebook paper, but I ordered a bottle of Parker Quink blue-black from Amazon, and got two very small bottles of blue, both of which smelled like paint, not ink. Shipped from India. Cannot return. I'll be emptying the bottles and refilling with other inks eventually.

However. That rather soured me on Parker bottled inks, and a little on the filled cartridges.

Once my current bottles are gone, that's going to be the last Parker ink I order through Amazon.* But I still need a good, non-feathering ink that doesn't bleed through on cheap paper (which is what I mostly use). 

I ordered a sample of Noodler's X-Feather black through Goulet Pens. As I said, it (and Noodler's Q-E'ternity, and scented inks sandalwood, frankincense, and myrrh from De Atramentis) arrived today. I've loaded one of my wetter-writing medium nib pens (a Hero 901) with the X-Feather, and tested it out.

Little feathering on Walmart brand notecards, but none on legal pads, comp books, loose notebook paper, printer paper, or recycled paper legal pads. It doesn't seem to bleed through on any of it, and only sort of shows through on the recycled paper.  

It's also a much darker black than my Parker Quink black.  I like that.  I like it a lot.  I just need to see if it does what Bulletproof Black does, and leaves solid residue clogging up the works before I use it in anything other than a cheap Jinhao knockoff of a Lamy Safari, or my just-as-inexpensive Hero 901.** 

Needless to say, I've got a new favorite black ink.  And one that's just over $12.50 for a 3 oz bottle (as opposed to $10 for 2 oz, like the Quink).  

*I may order any more Quink from The Goulet Pen Company, when I've run out of the plain blue.  It's my other half's preferred ink for color and behavior.  
 
**I bought my Hero 901 three or four years ago, for just under $3.  
 

Monday, December 19, 2016

AAR for the semester

I've come to a few conclusions:

1. Until I can get my brain with a working de-fogger, I need to go back to the routine I can teach in my sleep.  This past semester was no better than the one before.  I mean, yeah, there is call for teaching more than MLA style, but I'm not sure I can do it.  Not right now, at least.

2. Three classes per semester is too hard on me right now.  I've got too many balls in the air as it is.  Yes, the extra income was nice, but I just can't handle the extra workload right now.  Maybe in a few years if I can get this mess to clear up. 

3. It seems like this semester's classes were far less prepared for hard deadlines than any of the other classes I've had the past few years.  I've had a lot of people simply not turning in stuff, or not participating in workshop.  Zeros are not good.  I had a lot of people simply not paying attention to directions, and a lot more that just...didn't do the work.  I've had more of the bottom half of the grades continuum this semester per class than I've had even in dumb classes.  And these weren't dumb classes.

4. I've also had a lot more NAGGING this semester.  "But...can't I do this to improve my grades?" "No."  "How about that?"  "How about we wouldn't be having this discussion if you'd been paying attention to the deadlines, and/or your grades, and/or instructions on how to turn shit in all fucking semester, shitbird?"  "Can I...?" "No." 

Just...no. 

Just thinking about this is exhausting.  Think I'm going to go make a pot of coffee.