I’ve never really had many issues with fatigue until now. Of course, I’ve always been a fairly heavy coffee drinker. Also, up until a month ago I was prescribed pharmaceutical stimulants for ADHD. I had to stop taking Ritalin recently due to recurring hypertension. For a long time the meds kept it in check but one day while on Ritalin I checked my pressure and was absolutely terrified by how high it was even with b/p meds. At that point I decided to just give it up and deal with the fog to the best of my ability.
I didn’t really notice much of a difference at first. My endurance was still pretty good and I kept pretty active. My job is pretty physically intense and has generally helped keep me relatively fit. I still find it difficult sometimes but can usually power through alright. I still drink coffee but have cut down to two or three cups a day.
Lately though I’m noticing fatigue creeping in. Not dramatic but definitely there. For instance, I get winded more easily and get lightheaded when I reach the top of a flight of stairs. I hadn’t really thought a whole lot about it until the last week or so.
As a matter of self interest I try to get lots of sleep because it helps keep me sane. Lately though I sleep but wake up feeling more exhausted than when I went to bed. I’m usually getting seven or eight hours so I don’t think that I’m oversleeping.
A few days ago I had to be at work at eleven AM. I woke up stiff as hell and basically dead to the world. I had my usual two cups of coffee and could still barely open my eyes. I felt like a freaking zombie for lack of a better word. I had an energy drink on the way to work and was still on the verge of nodding off for the first two hours I was at work.
Most of the time the first cup of coffee is all it takes. That day was the most tired I can recall feeling in my adult life. Even ten milligrams of prednisone didn’t perk me up any, which it almost always does. That was the first day it really sunk in that I have an autoimmune disease. The swelling joints hurt but this is the first time it’s really slowed me down or messed up my game.
Two things are looming on the horizon in the next month :
1. The steroid is helping the swelling and the pain as well as helping me push through the fatigue but I’m going to have to stop taking it soon.
2. I’m going to start on some kind of DMARD (Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drug) soon. These generally are some sort of immune suppressant type of drug. This has the possibility of making me more susceptible to illness and infection.
I don’t know how my body is going to react to these changes and things have the potential to get really rough soon. Of course I’ll keep being a good little soldier, but I have no idea what this is going to mean for my working life.
All I can do is hope for the best. I already have bone erosion in my hands so I’m not going to be an idiot and not treat it. I just hope it works and doesn’t ruin my quality of life.
Here’s hoping and praying.