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work/life balance


Experts are now calling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome "Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease", and having had CFS for many years now I can truthfully say that the new moniker is much more accurate and satisfying.  SEID is described as "a sustained depletion of energy after minimal activity resulting in post exertional malaise".  Yup.  That about sums it up.  It's all about getting drained after doing any little thing not just the obvious spin class or late night partying.  Even seemingly non-active things like talking or worrying can do me in.  And did you know there are different ways of expending energy?  There is swinging, thrusting, hurry-up, hanging out, stillness, shaping/creating.  Some types take more effort than others.  When I am doing thrusting (forcing) or swinging (like a monkey) and not enough stillness (couch time) I burn out a lot quicker,  And sleep, even lots of it, is not restful or restoring.   All the depleted energy is accumulative so one day of activity might be fine but a whole week's worth could wreck me.  I am still learning to pace myself because when I'm feeling well I get busy and want to do it all and then I crash.

For a long time not much was known about CFS/SEID and doctors thought it was caused by a virus.  That still might remain a possibility but the latest theory is that it is caused by inflammation and as of yet there is no cure.  Most professionals think it is in my head.  Certainly people I meet think so - they just don't get it.  As if it's not a real disability.  But at least, like the whole transgender thing, it is becoming more widely talked about and accepted.  There is less shame and pretty much everyone knows of someone who has it.  The reason I am bringing all this up though is because I want to talk about my dogs (you will see in a moment how it ties in).

My goal for 2019 is to listen to, honor, and obey my body.  This is crucial.  Last fall I was super busy, completely over extended with my dog-walking/pet-sitting business.  I was beyond exhausted but felt out of control and seemed powerless to cut back.  I had (still have) a hard time saying no so I would book every request that came my way until I realized that I had worked two months without a day off.  Yet I could not stop myself.  Then one day while walking a dog my knee dislocated.  This is an old injury that very rarely flares up but I believe this was my body's way of saying "stop already!".  I couldn't slow myself down so my knee forced my hand, so to speak.  Then I was completely out of work and even had a minor arthroscopic surgery, and still my knee isn't all that well.  I started to get busy again and predictably my knee acted up.  I need to listen; to learn the lesson.  I was completely wiped out and still am - I need to rest some more.  But the sad thing is I miss all my sweet little doggy clients.  My heart longs for them,  so would you mind if a waxed lyrical about my babies for a bit?

A few of my favorites are....

CHOPSTIX flew here from Hong Kong.  His family is from California but was in Hong Kong on business for a few years.  While there, they adopted him and changed his name from Louie to Chopstix.  He is also known as Chops, or Choppy, and sometimes I even call him Choppers.  He is a white, medium-sized poodle with fluffy grown-out fur who LOVES to go on car rides especially to drive throughs, I think because he smells the food.  Whenever I take him out for a walk he stops and sits by my car looking up at the door; a not so subtle hint.  He has the most endearing personality; is affectionate and quick to bond, and will let you do anything to him.

LUNA is the Lucille Ball of Labradoodles.  She is the sweetest thing, very nervous but in a comedic way.  She is goofy in her skittishness.  She has beautiful caramel curls and long bangs that hang down in front of her toffee colored eyes.  On our walks she likes to stop every few yards to have a good cuddle.  I was trying to encourage her to go potty on our walks and so was rewarding her with a treat every time she peed.  Well that girl caught on fast and started to fake pee so she could get a treat.  At every single lawn she would squat and look meaningfully at my fanny pack where I kept the treats.  She never fails to crack me up!

REILLY is on six different medications for anxiety-related issues, poor guy.  In fact I am only allowed to play with him in the back yard because his mommy worries too much about him being aggressive on the leash when being walked by someone other than herself.  He is a total cupcake though in his own home.  He is a soft-coated wheaten terrier with the most soulful black rimmed eyes.  He loves to play games and have his butt rubbed.  And when his stomach is upset he eats not only grass (like most normal dogs) but bushes and larger leaves as well. Then he throws it all up in a big green pile.  He is a sensitive soul.

HAPOO is Iranian, thus the unusual name.  He was shipped to the states to be adopted because in Iran it raises suspicions to be seen out walking a dog and his owners got too nervous doing it.  Hapoo is a talker!  He gives short little barks and suggestive body language to convey his needs and I feel like I almost have telepathic communication with this little guy (he is a beige and white mutt).  He's a total cuddler and it's impossible not to love him for it.  I have a strong bond with Hapoo and sometimes even have fantasies of his owners needing to give him up so I can adopt him.

I really want to find my work/life, perfect-energy-expending balance so I can get back to these pups, and make money, and not incidentally have a social life.  Will I ever learn to not over do it?  Can I accept myself as a human being rather than a human doing?  And will there ever be a cure for CFS/SEID?  Here's hoping 2019 brings about some much-needed positive change.

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