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Limits and cycles...

Brenda LLoyd | 2020-07-16

So, back to it, I guess.

It's certainly been a while…

A few months back, I got myself into trouble with my AVM.  I had stroke-like symptoms again; left arm and leg and eye went wonky...same old, same old.  And the truth is that I'm still not 100% sure what happened.  It wasn't a bleed...thank Goodness. I still wonder if I didn't have one of those weird, neurological Covid-19 reactions that medical types are now saying are possible (I'll be interested to see whether or not I test positive for antibodies).

It's much more probable, however, that I experienced a 'high-adrenaline' event that raised my blood pressure and heart rate to such a point that I started shunting blood through the large vessels of my AVM. (After discussions with a few neuro-specialists, this AVM 'steal phenomenon' was determined to be the most likely cause of my recent episode).

To explain the high-adrenaline event:  I was walking my new puppy down the road one day, and a coyote popped up out in the field and started escorting us.  I went into fight mode (um...nothing was gonna get my wee Finnegan) and then flight mode, and by the time I got back to the house, my heart was thundering in my head and I almost fainted.

I managed to calm down, but it was about two days later that I ended up in an ambulance.  Four days in hospital...two subsequent visits to the ER...bizarre behaviour on my part...papilledema...steroids...mandatory rest.

So, what does all this have to do with limits?  Well...most people with AVMs and aneurysms are told to keep their vital signs - their heart rate/blood pressure/breathing - within certain parameters. 

What happened to me is an extremely obvious example of why...  

I'm not going to belabour the topic of PHYSICAL limits.  As an AVM survivor - inoperable - being careful is just one of the things I have to deal with every day, no matter how frustrating or boring it may be to do so.

While physical limitations can be frustrating, however, it is often the MENTAL and EMOTIONAL ones that cause me the biggest problems.

How many of you out there who deal with chronic issues or illness do this?

Get sick or have a medical attention...take the meds or do the recommended therapy...heal enough to begin to resume your life and work...panic because you realize how far behind you've fallen...speed everything up...stress...screw up...get frustrated...stress some more...get tired...screw up some more...feel like a failure...set unrealistic goals to compensate...panic...have another flare-up...

Well, you get the idea...

This is my cycle. 

When I wound up in hospital back in February...5 months ago!...I had, once again in this cycle, begun to expect too much of myself.  I had, by that point, managed to add so many things into my daily/weekly schedule that I was beginning to miss things, and stress. I don't know if that had anything to do with what happened...or if Wile E. Coyote was solely to blame. 

I do know, however, that every time my brain takes a hit, it gets harder to come back. I've been slower to come back this time...

And so I'm doing what I should have done a long time ago...I'm cutting myself some slack.  

No more weekly photo challenges and no more two-blog-posts-a-week minimum expectations and no more pressuring my brain to multi-task in ways it no longer can.

I'm going to take one thing at a time, do things as I can do them, when I feel able to do them, and try to live one positive action and thought at a time.

So, if my posts, and writings, and accomplishments, in future, are less than routine, that's okay...because that, in itself, reflects exactly what life with an AVM often is...completely unpredictable.

And letting go of deadlines; decreasing the self-imposed pressure and stress, is something I simply have to do right now.

Besides, of course, avoiding coyotes...