A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.Jonathan Lockwood Huie
So, here I am, back at my desk. (For those of you not sure what this is about read this.)
Not back at work. Not yet. Just back at my desk for a short visit, to write an update for you, and to check in with my team.
I know that most of you are used to me working through illness, working from my hospital bed, or from my desk in my pyjamas. I’ve spent my entire adult life living with chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders, genetic stuff and Lyme. If I’ve wanted to get any of it done, there hasn’t been any choice but to soldier on. That’s been my normal.
This time though, I have a new doctor. He’s old school. And he has no time for the excuses, validations and reasonings I gave him for needing to continue to work from bed in the Critical Care unit, and then when I went home under instructions to have complete rest.
Rest means rest, Nicole, he said. Not blogging, not emails, not planning and spending time making lists or working in your business. Not managing everyone else’s problems. Complete rest means physical rest, emotional rest, spiritual rest, rest from any kind of stress or toil. You need to look after your heart.
So, I have done what he’s asked.
It was easy at first, because I had so much chest pain, and the whole situation was scary. But now the pain is just an occasional niggle. So, I should be feeling better, right? Shouldn’t I be back on deck by now? I still have so much fatigue. On top of that there’s brain fog. Arthritis. Arrhythmias. Some of the scary symptoms and feelings I last experienced at the lowest points of my health journey. It’s not constant. Some days I am better. Some days I am worse. I’ll be honest, on the bad days part of me worries I might not ever get back on top of this.
(Let’s also be clear about one thing: I had heart issues before my Pfizer vaccinations. Many things in the past have stirred up my heart, my autoimmune issues and my chronic fatigue. I don’t blame the vaccination for all of this. It’s collateral damage based on the fact that my body was already weak, stressed and not well-functioning due to past viral and bacterial infections, which kicked off a whole range of miseries for me. As I read about people with long COVID, my heart goes out to them, because what they are discovering now, the limitations they are living with, and the lack of support and help they are experiencing has been my reality for 35 years. Nothing much has changed, except that I have learned to manage myself better, accept and live within my limits. But that’s a whole other blogpost. Would I get the vaccination again? Every. Single. Time. Why? If I get COVID I’ll die. Even double vaccinated it’s still dicey. On top of that, I need to protect loved ones who are also immune compromised. I want to look after my community. And I want to do my part to lessen the burdens placed on our health care workers.)
I went back to my cardiologist on Monday, and he advised that my heart was still inflamed and he wanted me to have two more weeks of rest, then we’d reassess, followed by a very slow return to ‘light duties’. He expected about 12 weeks of this level of incapacity. In fact, he even suggested that I consider moving to part-time work permanently.
I won’t lie. That totally bummed me out.
Another of my doctors called me today, as my latest test results landed in his inbox. He asked me what I was doing, and I told him I was sitting at my desk, trying to think about what to write for an update blog.
How about ‘Managing My Unrealistic Expectations‘? he said.
He then gave me the lecture about how important my health is, and how central my heart is to my continued wellbeing, and that this scary fatigue is a normal part of heart issues and my own autoimmune and inflammatory responses. He reminded me that we have managed me out of this situation many times. He also reminded me that I am getting older, and am likely to bounce back slower each time. He reminded me that if I damage my heart further there is no way to fix it.
I’m actively working to make different choices. Ones that put my current needs central to the rest of my life.
My biggest battles right now are mental ones. If I give in to what is, and surrender, then I can see so many beautiful possibilities, and so much to be grateful for. If I keep thinking about all my stuffed up plans and timelines? Well, that’s when I feel like falling apart. Luckily I have a great sister and a great team who are right by my side in business and in friendship, and my wonderful husband Ben and two loyal pups who keep reminding me what matters.
Sometimes the nights are still too long. I’ve had to sit with some very traumatic memories and dig deep to process some big personal learnings. But isn’t that what makes life so meaningful? Isn’t that what makes you grow? What brings you wisdom?
Meanwhile, as I lie here doing nothing, I have shipments landing on the docks here in Australia filled with wonderful surprises that I’ll soon be able to share with you.
Meanwhile our 2022 Planners are somewhere in the middle of the ocean, nearing their final destinations.
It will all be fine. As long as I can wrangle my unrealistic expectations back under control.
Love, hugs, and the best of bedroom views, Nicole xx