It’s been a long time between blogs. I guess I have been pretty ‘busy’ most of the time lately — including the ‘busyness’ of resting and just trying to manage an illness and to get by, which really takes up the most time and energy of all.
I got promoted at work, which has meant more busyness but is also (obviously) a really positive thing. It felt so nice to have something good happen after years of things seeming to more often go wrong than right. A boost to my confidence, a bit more money, the chance to move forward a bit in my career while still staying somewhere ‘safe’ with people I know in a place that has been flexible and supportive and where I still get to do interesting things (though management thus far though has revealed itself primarily to be an abundance of emails and phone calls and nagging/begging people to do things!).
Besides that, I haven’t really done much, but I did have a good run for a few months after I got over a horrific fatigue crash after our conference earlier this year, which had also left me pretty down. So it was actually just nice to feel OK, to feel like I could do something for my birthday (yes, another milestone passed) and to feel like I could say yes to dinner and drinks when a former housemate came to town, or yes to a special movie screening on a weeknight, even though such ‘yesses’ are never ramification-free.
Unfortunately the frigid Canberra winter is now really putting the good run to an end and I feel pretty awful (like I have every winter with this illness) and have had to take a few days off.
But I recently went to Sydney for a few days to go to a conference for work, catch up with a couple of people, eat some things and to escape for a few days to a city that in winter is always mysteriously 10 degrees warmer than the Can.
The trip started off a bit bumpy in that I discovered I had just $30 to survive off for five days until payday after a bill came out of my bank account, so I had to ask the ‘bank of dad’ for some money to be able to go, which was somewhat mortifying.
Because I needed to stay an extra night than a well-person would for such a trip, I took the bus to save costs for work and that was also pretty bad. I feel so huge now, even though my weight has plateaued at ‘huge’ and is no longer changing. The bus was totally packed, so I spent the three hours up consciously trying to make myself occupy as little space as possible — hardly relaxing.
(The trip back on the bus was better as it was less full so I could spread out – but it STANK like toilet, and then the bus driver had sprayed some disgustingly noxious air freshener in extreme amounts throughout the whole vehicle, which made me feel nauseous the whole way home. So the bus trips were really not a highlight!)
But once I got to Sydney it was WARM and nice, my airbnb was really nice, and I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen recently enough…. and I walked around a bit. Way too much. I had gone up a bit before the conference to hang out, because it was a long weekend. Because of the aforementioned brokeness, I didn’t use uber as much as I probably should have, and I also just wanted to walk around — I hate feeling unfit, and I hate feeling trapped. I wanted to wander around little terrace-housed streets and crunch leftover autumn leaves with my feet in the city where I lived for five years when I was young and carefree. I miss feeling like a tourist or a traveller, so of course I try to reclaim that as much as I can whenever there is a chance.
When I woke up on the day of the conference, everything hurt! I only had to walk 300m to the conference, but I was carrying publications and stupid Google maps told me the best way to go was up and down a hill (I found a faster, flatter way on the way home!) so when I arrived I already felt self-conscious about looking clammy and a bit of a mess. But the conference itself was nice — of course I know a lot of people in the sector and it is always good to catch up (it’s also just so nice to go to an event or conference that I have no responsibility for running!).
By when I got home on the first day, I was dealing with extreme exhaustion and my back and hips in particular were in heaps of pain. It was so bad that by the time I got back to my airbnb I had to crawl up the stairs (it was a studio flat above the garage). Not good.
After several attempts to get up to procure some food, I had to literally roll on to the floor as I couldn’t stand up, and try to stretch and maneuverer until I could. Finally I had stretched out enough to stand and to go get some dinner… which involved more walking. But I was back in bed and out by 8.30pm.
The next day at the conference I was still in a lot of pain but it wasn’t as extreme as the night before thanks to lots of lying down, but I was still having trouble with stairs. Which is awkward when you are in conversation with someone as you move to the next panel or plenary, which is on a different level, and you either have to maintain the facade of being OK and not in agony as you tackle the stairs, or weirdly end the conversation so you can go use the lift. So I felt self-conscious about that too — especially since it was at the same time as the whole Mamamia/Roxane Gay debacle which was just a reminder in the back of my mind of how people silently judge.
Overall going to the conference went well, but I did really blow it on walking so much so I ended up dealing with so much physical exhaustion and pain. It was again a sobering reminder of my physical limits at present, and also in how I’m not really comfortable in my body right now — just a clothes size or two smaller would be significantly more comfortable, but my body is not being cooperative on the weight loss front (clearly the walking example shows the frustrating limits to my ability to exercise) — the cold weather means I am also hungry a lot, and if I am hungry and try to ignore it, I feel more tired. It’s just really hard. Apparently there is a $300 a month weight loss injection I can try that isn’t on the PBS yet but has good results… but did I mention I’m broke?