Plinky Prompt: Summarize 2011 with one Sentence for each Month of the Year


2011: A Tiring Year.

Zonked

I don’t think I can really answer this quite the way I am supposed to. Reason – can’t remember that far back to provide accurate answers for each month.

What I can do is describe the year 2011 with one word – tiring. I found this year to be extremely tiring. I was never able to feel anything but tired all of the time and I don’t mean as in tired – sleep. I mean tired as in exhausted tired.

I don’t believe it was a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) tiredness either – which has seriously been a problem for me over many years in the past. There was probably an element of that in it, but I think (hope perhaps) I am largely over that now.

So 2011 – tiring. Or if you prefer, exhausting.

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My Fight with CFS … Part 1


I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or as I prefer to call it, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). It is an extremely misunderstood and debilitating illness. I have read that the average time for a person to be ill with CFS is 18 months. I have had it for 18 years more or less. It has cost me a lot to be suffering from this illness and it impacts on my life on a daily basis. Some days are not too bad, while others are extremely terrible.

My journey with CFS began in the aftermath of the Newcastle earthquake of the 28th December 1989. In early 1990, while working at Hawkins Masonic Village repairing roofs damaged by the earthquake (it was raining and many roofs were leaking), I began to feel persistently unwell. I decided to see my doctor who put it down as some sort of stomach bug, most likely Gastroenteritis. After two weeks of medication it was becoming clear that I did not have Gastroenteritis and something more sinister was the cause of my intensifying illness.

Within weeks I had begun to develop all of the debilitating symptoms of CFS and what was worse for me they were all intensifying their effects upon me. What was wrong with me was now something of a mystery, but it was clear I was very ill and getting worse.

When I was younger I had Hyperthyroidism and so the doctor assumed that this was what was wrong with me again, despite the fact that blood tests indicated I no longer had an issue with that disorder. I was placed on medication for Hyperthyroidism and monitored. The medication had no effect on my illness and my patience with ‘witch doctoring’ was running out. I pleaded with my doctor to send me to someone else – a specialist. But who would be useful to see?

A friend had recently been diagnosed with CFS by an Immunologist and eventually I prevailed with my doctor to send me to him. Eventually I was able to set up an appointment and so my time with Doctor Sutherland of the Royal Newcastle Hospital Immunology Department had begun.

By this time I was suffering a myriad array of symptoms, with varying degrees of intensity depending on what week I was asked. Among the most debilitating of these symptoms was a persistent headache that no amount of painkilling or other medication had any impact upon. The headache was like a migraine that wouldn’t go away. It would last for an 18 month stretch this first time, bringing with it an intolerance of bright light, noise, etc. These things caused me immense head pain.

I was also suffering numerous nose bleeds (which I often get when I am very ill), fevers and chills, brain fog (a situation where you seem to know what is going on yet you have an inability to act in a logical manner – some times the sense of knowing what is happening disappears altogether), painful eyes, chronic fatigue in the muscles and extreme soreness, tiredness to the point of sleeping at a drop of a hat (I was sleeping for over 18 hours a day with no relief to my tiredness, headaches, etc), loss of strength in my limbs, constant nausea, inability to think or concentrate, etc.

By this time I was already having time away from work, with being away for weeks at a time being the norm – thankfully they were quite understanding of the fact that I was very ill.

At my lowest point during these first two years I was reduced to being bed-ridden, using a cane for stability when walking and at times was unable to walk. I was sleeping above 18 hours a day with no benefit from it.

During this time of extreme illness I was subjected to innumerable blood tests and other tests, which all revealed little at all as to the cause of my illness. A process of careful elimination under the care of Dr. Sutherland brought the diagnosis of CFS, as well as a psychological evaluation.

There was no cure to be found, with the only helpful advice having come from Dr. Sutherland. He told me to try and rest, then to slowly build myself up again. Walk one block for a week, then two blocks the following week, etc. If I overdid it I would be back in a heap again in no time. I needed to be able to read my own situation to know when I should try to rebuild my life. This advice has helped me through the last 18 years.

I struggled with the illness for 18 months or so and I also struggled with the enigma associated with the illness. That I was sick was not believed by all and this has been a constant stereotype I have been confronted with throughout my illness. I often found myself questioning whether I was sick or whether it was some mental thing. It was a relief when a doctor finally gave me a name for the illness and confirmed I was indeed very ill.

There were times (as there has been since) when I thought that dying would be a better alternative than to be as sick as I was, with no life and the prospect of endless years of severe illness. Suicide was something that popped into my head from time to time, but thankfully it didn’t stay there for long.

At times I found myself not knowing what I was doing, where I had been, etc. At one point I waited behind a parked car, waiting for it to turn the corner only to realise ½ an hour or so later that the car was parked. I found myself having gone shopping with a load of groceries I didn’t need and never had used before. It was like having a form of early onset Dementia.

After about 18 months I began to get better – or so I thought. I was well enough to knock back participation in a trial medication experiment for CFS sufferers which would involve a lengthy stay in hospital and a 50% chance I would receive the placebo.  I declined the invitation being concerned I would loose my job as a result of being in hospital for so long.

My health began to improve and I thought I was finally over the illness. During this time I lost contact with Dr. Sutherland who left the hospital because of a dispute with NSW health at the time. Many doctors left the public system at the time.

NEXT: The illness returns

Resignation (Written – 5 August 2007)


Well, things have all changed for me in a very short period of time. I have resigned from my job, effective September 14. I don’t think I had a lot of choice in doing so, given the fact that my current job is contributing enormous stress to my life and as a result my health continues to deteriorate. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and I have tried for the past three years to cope with the increasing stress and workload levels ~ however, the levels only increase and never decline.

It has not been unusual for me to be working every day without a break (when not physically at work, I work at home, taking my work home with me) and then to be working all hours in a vain attempt to get ahead. Yet every stride I make only lands me further tasks and projects to accomplish, with there being no light at the end of the tunnel.

There was a brief moment when there appeared a distant light at the end of the tunnel in which I work, but that has now been well and truly snuffed out, as a multitude of new projects began to pop up on the near horizon. Despite my pleas for a break from such things there will be no let up. It is impossible for me to sustain the levels of commitment I am being asked to give, with the load being simply too much. My staff are barely getting by now, as am I. All I can see is a complete health meltdown if I continue at the job, with no personal or spiritual life whatsoever ~ no job is worth the cost that this one is exacting from me.

I have worked with this organisation for nearly twenty years and it will be sad to leave. There were tears in my eyes as I voiced my decision to resign on Friday and I guess that was inevitable. I had thought I might work here until my retirement, but that certainly is no longer a possibility. I can no longer give the role for which I am employed the commitment, enthusiasm or interest that is required, certainly to a level that I myself am personally satisfied with.

The final straw was a meeting held last Wednesday with my staff and senior management. Without going into details, the meeting destroyed my confidence and left me shattered. I felt that everything I had given to the role, with all that it had cost me and was continuing to cost me was far too much, and far too much to ask of anyone. My spirit was broken and I left the meeting not feeling that I was able to go on. I knew it was over right at that moment. The role had exacted its last toll ~ my very soul (or was about to). It was time to end the torture before it cost me my life.

I leave the job knowing that what I had achieved I had done well and that I have transformed the department into a well-oiled working team that has accomplished a great deal in the last few years. There have been massive improvements across the board, not just in physically completed projects, but in the way things are done, procedures, etc.

The Preventative Maintenance Program that I has established and which had returned us a 100% compliance record in our Accreditation round last year is now about to be pulled apart in order to cut costs. I was about to see the good work of the last three years begin to be dismantled and standards begin to dramatically decline – all that work which cost me so much was now to be undone. What a waste of those three years was all that resonated in my mind. Why had I given so much for it to be so thoughtlessly thrown away? How pointless to continue working so hard when this was to be the result of my bleeding for the organisation? It had to end and so I have ended it – for me anyhow.

Sadly, in my opinion, the organisation is barely functioning these days and now my own department, which had struggled against the tide of the downgrade movement, was being forced into the same black hole of mediocrity. Already we were struggling to get work done because of centralisation of decision making, etc. What had taken us mere days to accomplish in the past was now taking us months as we waited for approval to spend anything from a few hundred dollars to larger amounts. We have been bogged down for months in senseless rules and regulations imposed on us from Head Office. The efficiency with which our department had begun to function was being eroded away and was in danger of grinding to a halt, but there seemed no real concern about this outside of my own department. It had become an embarrassment to me and the appearance of this to outside eyes was reflecting badly on me. There seemed no clarion expressions of support and explanation, certainly not to those who were being impacted by what was going on ~ I was left to suffer the blows of dissatisfaction alone. There was nothing expressed from any other quarter to explain the delays in meeting the department’s responsibilities. At the coal face we suffered the blows of criticism alone and then were criticised by the ‘silent’ also, for not meeting our responsibilities, even though it was clear to the ‘silent’ why the delays were there.

Anyhow, I could go on for quite some time cataloguing the issues I see happening in the workplace at the current time, but that is no longer my concern. I have only to the 14th of September 2007 to endure what has become a burden I care no longer to carry. Already the relief is palpable, as I now have light pouring through an escape shaft I have smashed through the tunnel roof in which I have been working and the way out is clearly before me. I will write soon of what the pros are concerning my resignation and what are the cons of the decision.

Hot & Bothered – Cold & Shivering


I came home from work early today – just after 9.00 a.m. actually. Why? Because I’m not too well just at the minute. I’ve had a flu shot earlier in the year, so I’m hoping it is just a cold. Having said that though, my back is really sore ~ one minute I’m hot and bothered ~ the next I’m cold and shivering. I also have a really sore throat and runny snoz … Sounds like a flu-like thing doesn’t it? Frown

So I’m trying to keep rugged up and trying not to get too sick – if that is possible. The problem is, if I do get really sick it may cause me to relapse into the illness I’m forever suffering from – just as I’ve got over it. So that’s the real worry I guess. Still, no use going there in my mind when I’m not there in body – makes sense to me.

THE STRUGGLES OF A CONFUSED MIND


I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Sydrome (CFIDS) as it is probably more accurate to call it. Lately I have been suffering a lot from confusion, dis-orientation and memory loss issues. It comes and goes on a daily basis (often several times through the day). The level of frustration I have with myself at times is immense, as I struggle to get through things that most humans can probably do quite easily.

Anyhow, this has become a real struggle for me each day ~ not so much the illness itself, as the way I’m able to live as a result of it. I am not one to blame my illness for my behaviour – I detest that sort of thing, especially in myself. However, there are times when I’m really not myself and my increasing frustration begins to show in my interaction with others. Apparently some people have been complaining about what is perceived as rudeness in my interaction with some people. I really think this ‘rudeness,’ is probably me just trying to cope with whatever situation I find myself with and my struggles with a confused mind. There is certainly no intent to be rude, of that much I am sure. However, if people perceive it to be, then something is certainly there and somehow I need to be able to cope with that better.

This is a real situation that is adversely affecting my ability to work obviously. If you read this, then please, pray for me. I am concerned to live always in a manner that is right before the Lord and to give the world no reason to be able to cast poor comments on my profession, and of course, consequently, the one I profess to follow.

As I try to look at these past few weeks as objectively as I can, I do not believe that I am being rude in the situations in which I am being told I am ~ though that in itself is a problem because I have been given very little in the way of examples to go on. So that only increases my level of frustration. There is also the fact that everything I do is interpreted in some way as a result of my being ill and everything is being second-guessed. So there is more frustration as I try to handle that.

The only thing I can do is seek out those people who feel I have behaved rudely to them and explain the situation. Perhaps that will help, perhaps it will not. I think I need to be very careful as to just how much I reveal so that I am not the subject of a lot of needless gossip, etc (which is rife in the workplace).

Anyhow, that is my current thoughts on the matter.

STRUGGLING


There are times in life (at least for me) when it all seems a little too much. It’s like, ‘Why am I even bothering with it anymore?’ Now most certainly there are plenty of people out there who have it far worse than I do and I’m not trying to cast the sympathy seeking line ~ I’m simply putting down what I feel like today.

It has been almost two years since I posted anything in this ‘blog,’ and I cannot say for sure how long it will be until I do so again. What I can say is that a lot has happened in those two years. Of most importance is that I have lost my best friend and that for no reason that I can figure out. Believe me, I have searched my mind looking for answers, as well as seeking them at the source ~ but alas, to no avail. I’m now beginning to think I have lost yet another friend, the person who I currently regard as my best friend. Again, I do not know why. These two people were/are friends on the earthly plane so to speak. Of course my best friend will never leave me, but there is still a sense in which the loss of friends in this sphere is hard to take.

I find myself struggling with illness again and not really knowing just what is going on with me. I know there is a lot of mental stuff happening, which is a hangover from the last time I was ill ~ now however, I have my next cycle of illness with it and I’m not over the last yet. CFS/CFIDS is not an easy thing to cope with let me tell you.

I have tried to deal with the illness early this time round, but that has now left me in the ‘doghouse’ at work from all appearances. So it seems I can’t win here ~ if I leave it too late and get sicker for longer because I keep working, or I take time off early to head it off from getting worse for longer. This is the dilemma I daily face at the minute.

It’s times like this, when you are spoken to in a way which in my view is extremely poor, that you have to assess just how you speak to others to ensure your speech is not having a poor effect on others. This I will try and do, though I know I don’t always succeed, especially when I’m struggling with confusion, memory problems, etc… but I must keep myself from treating other people poorly, even while I’m ill (I don’t see it as an excuse for poor behaviour).

TOO TIRED


I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and it can sure make life difficult. I am nowhere near as ill as I once was (about 15 years ago), but still find life difficult at times. Yet it is not those times when I am really sick that I get frustrated the most – it’s the times when I’m actually not too bad, when I’m feeling fairly well overall and able to get about my normal life. Why? Well I’m just too tired!

In my healthier times I find myself just wanting to sleep all the time, struggling to stay awake. When I’m at work in a meeting or attending a seminar – I start falling asleep. When I want to study and work on the web site I just can’t stay awake – I’m nodding off and unable to stay focussed. When I’m praying – I do fall asleep. I’m just too tied – all the time!

PROGRESS IS BEING MADE


I’ve been pretty busy on the Outpost site in recent times. I am trying to catch up on work that has been outstanding for some time. I’m pleased to say that the August Wider Church Prayer letter is out now, so that’s a step in the right direction.

Adding to my woes of late have been my continuing illness (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and a bad back which has given me a lot of pain. Both these afflictions are beginning to pass, though the illness has re-emerged in the last couple of days. I’m taking a couple of days off work in an attempt to prevent it becoming really bad again.

I’ve been able to get hold of some older books which means some new content is on the way for the library section of the site. I have another book of Stalker’s to add to the site, but can’t quite remember the title at the moment. The big news is the one on the Letters of Samuel Rutherford.