Friday, 5 July 2013


The exam season is thankfully well over but my body is still reeling from the effort of a first year at university.

My aim, once term ended, was to spend the entire 4 month summer holiday doing my utmost to increase my health as much as possible. Doctors appointments are few and far between, and appear to be following a philosophy that my illness is all in my head, despite the rheumatologist I went to see saying she thought it was a biological illness. And so, my health is in my hands! What a challenge!

I've never been a very disciplined person and I like what is bad for me way too much so this has been a very difficult turnaround. I have been aiming to reduce my symptoms through a process called pacing. It's got quite a vague name and description and probably means different things to different people. Based on trial and error, and common sense, I have described it in my life to mean doing as much as I can without producing symptoms.

Sounds simple? No. Not only is there the frustration of 'as much as I can' meaning sitting up in a chair for a couple of hours and maybe ironing a couple of things, but there is the daily fluctuations that characterise this condition. Some days I am capable of doing more and others, less. And it is so tempting to do much more on a day that you feel you can do much more but this only leads to the next few days not being able to even sit upright. This is called a 'boom and bust cycle' and it requires a lot of self restraint to not succumb to it.

I guess the main idea is that without pacing and control, the good days and bad days become much more distinct (like the idea that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer) and the overall trend is a downward inclination. But by reducing the difference between good days and bad days (or as I prefer to call them up days and down days) meaning that life is a little more predictable and the down days are not so bad. I think this also encourages the overall trend to go up too but it's too soon to tell.

So hopefully 4 months will be enough for the pacing to make enough of a difference that going back to university in the Autumn will be possible.

The next step is to get a proper, official diagnosis from someone who is willing to pass it on to student finance and those in charge of handing out benefits but that's another battle!

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