For about the last 12 months I have noticed that fatigue has been a big symptom of mine, it’s something that I passed off as being busy or stressed and didn’t really think that it was anything other than being a modern woman. Since my diagnosis I’ve seen major improvements in my pain, nausea and my appetite but the fatigue is one that’s lingering and stopping me getting back to my normal life.
Its more than just being tired, the best way I can describe it is like being hit in the face with a wave of heaviness, my brain gets foggy, my mood changes and I become quiet and withdrawn and my body aches like I’ve done a heavy workout. I have decided in true Abi style to put some actions in place mentally and physically to try and improve my fatigue as its something Dr’s can’t do much to support with when you have Crohn’s disease and endometriosis.
- Listen to my body – Feeling better is great, I am eager to do everything I did before and more. I want to make up for the months I’ve lost being either in work or in bed. But healing takes time and I know if I go out today or work the full day even from home then tomorrow more than likely I will need to take it easy. I understand that the fatigue is from being busy the day or 2 days before and know that I need to use my energy today to let my body heal.
- Reduce stress – Being diagnosed, getting a specialist and knowing that someone is monitoring my treatment and helping me get better is a massive weight off my shoulders and mentally my stress levels have reduced dramatically. I’m making a conscious effort to stop any small stresses and worries in their tracks by just reminding myself of the chemical changes that happen when I do get stressed and how much those changes can impact my healing. If I find myself getting carried away with negative emotions and thoughts I pick up my laptop and write a blog, do some colouring, cook some food or just talk it out with my wife or a friend.
- Food & drink – I’m currently on a low residue diet which excludes a lot of slow release carbohydrates including fruit and vegetables, when I first got out of the hospital I was reaching for all of the tasty but not great for you foods like chocolate, cake and crisps but I’m getting better at eating well within my diet, focusing on 3 meals a day plus nutrition drinks provided by my dietician. Its keeping me fuller and energised for longer and removing the highs and lows of consuming a lot of sugar. I also am a bit of a Diet Coke addict, everyone deserves a little vice or 2 so I’ve reduced that from everyday to once a week, I drink a lot of water 3 litres a day and let myself have about 25% of this with some no added sugar squash like Ribena as a treat.
- Being productive – Going hand in hand rather than against point 1 being productive has been a massive help with my fatigue. I am very lucky in that I have a really supportive boss who is happy for me to work from home when needed so I can get better. Being able to work and do the job that I love so much from the sofa or even from bed lets my body rest but keeps my mind active and at the end of the day I feel like I really achieved something even if I didn’t even get dressed or brush my hair. Being productive doesn’t only mean work though, I have organised my wardrobe, wrapped Christmas presents, done research on my condition and made some great new friends on Crohn’s online forums.
- Medications – My last and final point is medication, I am currently on oramorph for the pain as I can’t take anything else. I’ve introduced CBD oil in capsules and oil under the tongue and am slowly reducing the oramorph and increasing the CBD. I’m also having regular epsom salt baths, have invested in a tens machine and am doing light yoga all of which is creating a pain management plan that means I can get off opioid medication. Opioids do make you drowsy and over time are addictive so getting them out of my system will restore my brains chemical balance and really improve how I feel each day.
What do you do to help with fatigue?