Geeking by in January

January Update

My life very rarely goes according to plan (this January especially), and the past year has been a lesson in accepting that. In doing so I realised that I’d completely shied away from posting personal blog posts, hiding what was happening in my life and especially anything related to my health. I’d comment about it, usually to apologise for a late post, and that would be it. That doesn’t jive with the whole point of this blog, nor with my way of living and I realised that I’ve fallen into a pattern of shame and anxiety about what other people think. In trying to cultivate an image of myself as professional and reliable, I’ve forgotten an important fact; I can be those things and be disabled. My disabilities are a part of me and will always impact my life. I’ve grown too comfortable with the idea of hiding my disabilities in fear of what future employers will say, and the thing about ME/CFS is that I cannot hide it. All my other conditions I can work around (don’t stand for too long, sit down, medication, supports etc.) but this one? It can’t be hidden, it refuses to be hidden and it has taken complete control of my life even to the point I’m censoring my own blog. No more.

 

Every month I’m going to be doing one of these ‘Geeking by in….’ posts to sum up the month before. Sometimes it will be very health oriented, a place where I can be frank and honest about my healing journey. Other times it might be more geeky, detailing what I’ve been watching, reading and playing. There’s no expectations, no limit, just me talking once a month. ((Image credit: Public Domain Pictures. Brushes by morfachas.))

 

A snowy & icky January

I am not a fan of snow. I hate it. It’s beautiful and serene to look at, especially up here in Scotland, but going out in it? It’s hell. Going out in it when you’re really really ill? It’s a definite FML moment. I avoided most of the weather because I was too sick to even leave the house at one point. I spent a week and a half curled up in bed, and sadly not even my own bed. My fiance was sick as well and suffers from insomnia at the best of times, and so me coughing up a lung or two and waking up every 2 hours was not conductive to his sleep at all. Neither of us liked being a part, and it was a mutual decision. As much as I’d joke about him kicking me out of bed, it was a logistical choice for both of us. We have never really slept apart since we started living together 10 years ago, with the exception of December 2016 when he was in hospital for a few days (which was literal HELL for me). It didn’t help that I ended up with Milo, one of our cats, as a room-mate. Well, technically I did move into his room so I should be glad he tolerated me at all! He seemed to understand just how sick I was and quickly slipped into nurse mode. If I was too sick for him to sleep with me he’d sleep in his radiator bed at the end of my bed and keep an eye on me.

I guess I should say what was actually wrong. Our family seemed to get this monster virus which has since been dubbed ‘the plague’. It seriously knocked us all on our asses, even the healthy ones were down for a few days. Chris’ cousin got it first, then his mum and then us and it seemed to have a horrible habit of coming along with an infection. So you weren’t just sick with the virus, you had something else on top. Both me and my mother-in-law had infections and Chris seemed to get full on flu with an almost dangerously high fever. For me the virus hit my throat and voice box, while the infection developed in my chest. I was in so much pain I couldn’t swallow my meds at one point. I’d already had an emergency doctors appointment on the Friday and was told ‘it’s a virus’ and told to gargle stuff, and by the Monday I was in excruciating pain and couldn’t speak. It was terrifying. I’ve had sore throats a million times as a child, lost my voice a few times but this really messed with my head. I was in so much pain, I was literally living for the next dose of pain meds. Due to the chest infection my body was determined to purge my body of what was filling my lungs… and of course my throat couldn’t comply at all.

It took two courses of antibiotics and I’m not even sure it’s fully gone now. The virus has thankfully buggered off to whatever evil place it appeared from. There’s been a few twinges from my throat, but no golf ball sized glands or trouble swallowing/speaking. I’m not bring any mucus up, no blood (it was tiny amounts but still scary), but my chest feels tight and like a sponge that’s getting heavier. I’m needing to take my blue asthma inhaler more than usual, and right now I’m just keeping an eye on it. My doctor said to call if there was no change and she’d arrange an x-ray, however, there has been change just not what I’d call a full recovery. I’m going to see how I am over the weekend and maybe put a call in next week.

 

TV Bingfest

When I’m sick I do two things; I read and if I’m too sick to do that I binge watch tv and films. I was way beyond the level of consciousness needed to read so tv it was! I started with Private Eyes, a Canadian detective drama and then headed onto Marvels Inhumans. Then I ended up watching an episode of Lucifer with Chris and it totally re-sparked my desire to watch it – to be honest, I don’t know why I hadn’t finished catching up with it, just for some reason I kept forgetting. Which is odd because I loved what I’d watched previous! So I binged watched the rest of season 1, then 2 and everything I could of season 3 until I got to the midseason cliffhanger. I then turned my attention to one of the shows I wanted to watch badly last year and didn’t quite get to; Lethal Weapon. I was a little unsure about it which is probably why it took me so long to try it. I’m a big fan of the movies and was very relieved to find that the tv show is spot on!

 

Gaming Habits

Over the holidays Chris and I had a talk about MMOs we wanted to play and catch up on, and made a pact; we’d (well, me, I have a tendency to get bored and wander off to a new one…) stick it out and play through each game in turn. So while down in London we started to play Neverwinter, the Dungeon & Dragons MMO. We’d played it a bit before but never really seriously. Chris was eager to give it ago since he has gotten into D&D with his friends and me, well, I’m up for anything that has a story. A few days ago we hit 70, the max level, and we’re now working our way through the campaigns. The plan is to try to finish them all before we move onto the next game, but some of them are sooo long so we shall see. We’re going to see how far we’ve got at the end of February and re-evaluate that plan.

Otherwise I’ve been playing Starbound and World of Warcraft on my own. I finally got into Starbound and spent many hours over the holidays smashing my head against the wall in frustration. Being ill curtailed my playing a bit, and I’ve headed back into WoW more as a default. For Christmas I got a portable hard-drive so I could transfer a mass of files off my pc and make room for more games. The problem was I could only have so many installed and so I couldn’t just go ‘ooo I fancy a bit of Fable, let’s pop in and play around’. WoW is my go to game, especially when I’m feeling really ill and can’t focus so I naturally turned back to it when I was well enough to crawl out of bed again. I’ve been finishing leveling my alts and all are now 110 (small exception of my second paladin, but she’s an extra) so I’ve just got the Shaman, Warrior and Rogue order hall campaigns to finish off now.

Allied races have just been released and while I’m excited, I’m not quite ready to go on a full levelling slog with them yet. Chris is currently not playing WoW so right now we’ve chosen to focus on Neverwinter and leave the allied races be. We’ve got until September or so before the expansion comes out so there’s no rush, and to be honest, if we rush it we’ll just be left twiddling our thumbs before the expansion. I have plenty to keep me busy in WoW and it’s better I play catch up than start even more characters.

 

Bujo & Planning!

I’ll be talking more about my word of the year in a later post, but planning and structuring my life is a big part of it and also the best way for me to get a handle on my fatigue. I like to keep my personal bullet journal clean so for the past year I was using an additional notebook in which I created a rough weekly spread. Then while browsing amazon I came across these handy things called weekly planners (like this one) which are already drawn out and even have a little bit extra for notes. I was beginning to get a bit lazy with my weekly spreads because it took me time to draw them out – even as rough as they are it still took energy that I wanted to spend else where – so I asked for one for Christmas. I got a lovely one from Busy B (this is the one I got) and it has been great!

 

I’d hoped to start my personal bullet journal again in January and of course, that went completely tits up thanks to the plague. I’m about a month behind where I wanted to be so for now it’s not a top priority, so hopefully by the end of the month I’ll be back to that. I picked up a second gaming journal because my first one is almost half full and it’s all WoW stuff so far! I clearly need a second one and I’m looking forward to starting that soon.

 

How was your January?

 

 

Where I’ve been & Where I’m going (Hiatus)

Blog Hiatus

It’s been months since my last blog post, and it’s taken me until now to find the strength and energy to actually say ‘hey, I’m on hiatus!’ officially. I’m doing ok, the blog is here to stay, but the more I learn about my life now with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME), I am realising that everything is different. Everything has to be done differently. That means I need to take some time to get back on my feet, and what was supposed to be a month’s break has now become three months thanks to an ongoing viral infection that seems to love me just a bit too much. I could hang back and wait for the new year, but there’s a Christmas project that has me really excited and I’m determined to put it into action this year. So I’m taking November to recharge, change some things up and get posts ready to go for December.

 

Changes

I don’t think any of my other health conditions has had such a massive effect on my life, at least not in a way that has upset my daily routine and hobbies, as much as CFS. I am now officially diagnosed after two or so years (it’s been that long that I don’t even remember exactly) of tests and stress. Having the diagnosis is both a positive thing and a negative thing. It’s here to stay, my life is irreversibly changed and I can’t help but wonder sometimes ‘what if I’d done things differently’. The sad thing is though that I didn’t cause this. It was an unfortunate series of events that eventually took a long term toll on my body. And as a result my life has to change.

The biggest changes are to my other websites. Sites I used to be proud of, that I wanted to work on and new projects that I had planned. None of them seem to matter any more simply because I don’t have the energy to care. I’ve had to face the fact that I can’t give them the attention they need, and that trying to put energy into them is just more of a strain on me. Then I worry about them, worry about myself and what it means. Then one day it hit me; it doesn’t matter. That part of my life has ended, that door has closed. I could take the time to find someone to adopt them, to keep them going but that is just more work, another set of tasks that I have to complete. So instead I’m just saying goodbye, removing the issue and moving on.

In regards to this blog the biggest change is that I’m cutting down on deadlines and weekly/monthly topics. I’ll be keeping the ideas, such as the Birthstone series, but I won’t be putting unnecessary time limits on them. There’s really no reason why it has to be that day of the week, or that particular time of the month. Obviously, there will be some events that will end up calendar based – Christmas topics, for example – but currently the only posts that will have any timing whatsoever will be Transmog Tuesday and the Birthstone series. Sharing Saturday is being retired, and while I will be continuing to do interviews I’m not going to worry about them being monthly.

 

So I will see you all again in December! ((Photo courtesy of Public Domain Pictures.))

My Goals for September

My Monthly Goals for September

September? Where did that come from? This year has just blown by and soon I’ll need to start thinking about things I want to achieve before the year ends, as well as planning blog posts for Christmas and reviewing the end of the year!

As I said in my August goals, I didn’t want to overdo it because I was just getting back into the swing of things and only had a few weeks left of the month to go. This time it’s the start of the month and I’m gradually piecing my life back together, enough to actually plan things again.

 

 

Personal

  • Scheduling – I’ve been slowly getting things back on track, however, I seem to have become a magnet for every cold and bug that I come across. I’ve been feeling pretty rotten and sorry for myself, and quite peeved about missing physio for two weeks. This week we have no class, so I’m glad for a week off to rest without any guilt. Generally my scheduling has improved, so this month is just about continuing that and getting more things in order.

 

  • Diet – I had aimed for September to be the start of getting back on my diet, and sadly, it’s going to take a bit longer. I need to feel better, and get more energy before I can start cooking and preparing meals properly again. It takes a lot of energy out of me and right now that doesn’t exist. So instead I just want to try to cut down on things in preparation for changing my diet again.

 

  • Reading – I cannot believe that I need to actually add this to my to do list. I’m still unsure about what exactly is going on with my reading habits right now. Comics? Yep, fine, devouring them. Actual books? For some reason I just cannot seem to find the motivation to pick up one. It’s not that I have nothing to read; I have plenty and even books I’m desperate to read! I think it may be related to CFS and my energy levels, and my brain is warning me away from doing too much. The problem with CFS is that it isn’t just about physical energy, it’s mental energy as well and my brain works at a pretty fast pace. Always thinking, planning, taking in knowledge and so I’m a pretty big and fast reader – until recently. It could be that it’s just some weird mental block, or I need to heed my body’s warning system and not worry about it for now. I want to try and see if I can figure out which it is this month, so maybe try reading for 5-10 minutes a day? Maybe that will kick start it, maybe it’s just the starting point that is the problem.

 

Dissertation

Yep, still ongoing, still need to get back to it. Not much else has changed on this front!

 

Projects

  • Blogging – I managed to get some stuff prepared in advance, however, more needs to be done to get everything working smoothly. That’s the plan this month because last month ended up being a bit of a rush thanks to me cramming two birthstone series into one month. I also have some product reviews to get up and really need to put up the Spoonie interview questions at last. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of ongoing behind the scenes adminy stuff.

 

  • WordPress Tags plugin – I really need to find a decent wordpress plugin to handle my tags. I had a look before and couldn’t decide what to try out, so this month I need to bite the bullet and see if any of them will do what I need.

 

  • Gallery Updates – I didn’t get much of this done at all so the same as last month; add new screenshots and get some admin stuff sorted out. I’ve already started pre-sorting the screenshots into folders so this shouldn’t be a big job.

 

  • Bullet Journal – This is the month that I get off my ass and get it sorted. Really, I mean it! My poor Bujo has been ignored for so long and I miss it, I hate that it’s being pushed to the back burner so often.

 

World of Warcraft

I got most of my list done last month; Death Knight campaign and mount completed, and obtained all the Trial of Style sets from the event.

  • Keep up with new Argus content.
  • Level Warlock & complete order hall campaign.
  • Try for Mage Hidden Artifact skin
  • Collect Inscription Recipes from Raids & Dungeons
  • Finish Tailoring quests.
  • Catch up on skinning quests on Death Knight.

 

Over to you…

So how is your September looking? Is it a busy time for you or a quieter one? Anything fun planned? Let me know! If you have your own monthly goals post please leave me a link to it 🙂

My Goals for August

Monthly Goals - August

Last time I got one of these done was June and then about a week later I had the flu. I’m now back on the blogging bandwagon and ready to get organised! Yeah, it’s half way through August already but I needed to do this, needed to put things into perspective and work out where I want to go this month. I’ve just started a new physio course called ‘Moving into Balance’ which essentially is an hour of theory/planning and then 30 mins of exercise. The aim is to help me find a baseline and start working to avoid boom and bust days, i.e. a good day followed by a bad day, and to stabilise my energy levels. One thing we’ve been asked to do is mindfully plan where we want our days to go, so I’m going to use this monthly post as a larger way to keep myself on track.

 

Personal

At the moment I’m taking it easy with some things, such as my diet, because flu majorly screwed a lot of stuff up. Last week was also hard due to appointments and other things going on, so I’ve had to recover a bit from that too. This week there’s just my physio so it’s get back on track time with planning, projects, and schedules. Hopefully by the start of September I’ll be back on track!

 

Dissertation

I am currently sitting at half way through my 20k word limit for my first rough draft. I think I have something like 6 months or something before the next exam board (as long as my continuation of studies is accepted), aka my new deadline, but I want it done before that. My physio’s throwing me through a loop at the moment, so taking my time and building my strength up to get back into writing again.

 

Projects

  • Blogging – Top of my list is to get back to blogging and schedule posts a month or more in advance! I already started by prepping my monthly goals posts and making up transmog sets for several weeks.

 

  • Directory Updates – Thanks to Photobucket’s ridiculous changes all my buttons for my directories have been messed up and it coincided of course with the flu. So I’m still playing catch up and several are a mess. Not to mention way overdue to a link check.

 

  • Gallery Updates – I officially finished the gallery move, now I just need to add my latest screenshots and do some admin stuff.

 

  • Bullet Journal – I want to use my bullet journal to track my energy levels, so I need to implement that and catch up with some other bits.

 

World of Warcraft

I don’t want to overdo things since there is only a few weeks left of August so just a few things;

  • Finish Death Knight Artifact Quest
  • Finish Death Knight Campaign
  • Complete Death Knight Mount Questline
  • Try for Mage Hidden Artifact skin
  • Obtain Trial of Style Sets
  • Collect Inscription Recipes from Raids & Dungeons

 

The Mystery of the Missing Blog Posts

Mystery of the Missing Blog Posts

I hate going on hiatus so soon after coming back from the last one, however, this one is for an important reason – my dissertation/thesis. This should have been done and dusted a year ago, but my ongoing health issues and eventual (still pending /sigh) diagnosis of ME/CFS meant that I had to continue to struggle along with it at snail’s pace. I’ve now come to the end of the line, time has run out and I need to get this done for my Masters and for my own sanity. The worst part is that I LOVED my Masters, I LOVE my dissertation topic and I am just so beyond frustrated with how slow my progress has been. As a student with two degrees and most of a Masters behind me, I’m no stranger to having written some assignments in the last few days and I know I can belt out 1-2k words in a day without any problems. Thanks to the flu, the following post-viral fatigue and CFS I feel like I am slogging through quicksand even writing this blog post. If you’ve never written a dissertation/thesis, let me tell you, it is NOT easy. It is not just a bigger/longer essay with more words. And I am doing it with such a massive handicap that it feels near impossible.

I refuse to give in though. I have come this far, and while I have to now live my life differently, I am not going to let my health conditions rule my life. I’ve spoken about mindfulness a few times now, and part of it is the idea of living with our bodies, with our pain. I keep seeing things online about people with chronic pain and CFS, and how much control over their lives they have had to surrender. While I love blogging, and want to develop this blog more, I want a career. I want to be a librarian. I don’t want to have to carry around anti-bacterial gel and use it every time I touch anything, worried about every single germ I could catch. I want to be able to go out, visit places, stop for coffee with a friend. And one step in that road is proving to myself that I can do this, that I don’t need further extensions (if I can even get one) on my dissertation. I also need this chapter of my life done, put away and not hanging over me while I continue to recover and adjust to this new life of mine.

It’s taken me several days to even complete this post, and honestly, things aren’t looking bright. I am gradually doubling the amount of work I get done each day and it’s just not fast enough. Hopefully I can still make the final deadline, however, I know this first draft is going to take me a few extra days. So please cross your fingers for me, send energy my way (if you have any to spare!) and hope that I can push through this fatigue to get this done! ((Banner image from Public Domain Pictures.))