I’ve been doing too much.
My first month back at work I was barreling along pretty well. But as I entered the second month of full time work, I started fading. There were days that I just couldn’t sit in front of the computer and get anything done. I was listless and tired.
My employer provides one big pot of time off (referred to as Paid Time Off or PTO) to be used for vacationing or as “sick days.” It bothered me that I used much more of that time being “sick” last year: taking hours and days off to go to doctors, recover from repeated bouts of diverticulitis, treat my eye condition, and then deal with my renegade ovarian cyst. I really, really wanted to not repeat the pattern this year and to actually fit in more days off for fun stuff, but the pattern so far has been to continue using PTO for wellness-related stuff. OK, so be it.
Why hadn’t it occurred to me that I need more than the six weeks I was given for short term disability to recover? I had several organs and many, many adhesions removed, plus a few other major organs shifted around inside me. Not only that, but I’ve had hormones that affect the functioning of my brain, heart, and other major bodily systems permanently altered in an abrupt fashion.
I was doing some volunteer work last Saturday and was talking with another volunteer during our four-hour commitment when I had the realization that I’ve been pushing myself much too hard. I don’t recall how it came up in conversation, but I mentioned that I’d had surgery three months ago. She commented how that was not very long ago and she was surprised that I was so active. Hmmm.
The previous day, I had been unloading some groceries from the car when the neighbors next door asked how I was doing. The husband commented that it usually takes a full year to recover from surgery. Hmmm.
On Monday of this week I told the volunteer coordinator that I had to back off doing so much. I feel bad about not being more helpful to this group, but I need more rest and recovery time. I also contacted my local gynecologist about making yet another adjustment to my estrogen dosage.
After the surgery, I was started on a very low dose estrogen replacement in the form of a patch. Trying to figure out what works for my particular body chemistry takes time, and these past three months I’ve been trying different brands and dosages of estrogen patches. Over that time, I’ve had problems getting a good night’s rest due to hot flashes and disrupted sleep. I’ve also had just bone-deep tiredness and issues with fuzzy thinking.
I think (I hope!) that I’ve found the sweet spot with the patch dosage I just started last Monday. Previously, I would have reduced fatigue for the first two days after applying the patch, but on the following two days I would feel my energy flagging and my sleep disruptions would get worse. I would just have to limp along until my next patch change. On this new dosage I’m feeling more mentally alert and energetic, and my sleep disruptions have been minimal. I’m due to change my patch again today, yet I still feel pretty good. *Fingers crossed* this continues to work out for me.