Focus, tired and a vacation mindset.



It has been a few weeks since I have given an update on my Hep C treatment. If this is your first time reading along with us, feel free to check out some of the previous posts. It will catch you up to where we are today. These posts are a candid look into my life, my profession, a piece of illness and how I am making them work together.

I am roughly two thirds through my treatment for a disease that I have hosted since about 1988. I can say that the first third of the treatment was the worst. The mood swings, panic attacks, terrible brain fog and extreme fatigue. I am not sure how much the second third improved, it is possible that I just got used to it. After all, life does not stop just because we get ill or we are tired. Life keeps going and so do we! I am glad that I did not take time off from work but just relied on God’s grace to get me through. I might not be operating at 100% but I are at least getting the job done. Mostly due to some amazing team members stepping up to the plate and grabbing extra tasks. As of this week it has been a good amount of time since I have blanked in public, so the embarrassing stuff is over.

I am getting to the point where I am regaining focus at work. I am able to grasp the big picture concepts and excitement that comes with it. I have a thousand things I want to study, research, plan and prep… so I cannot wait until my energy levels return and I am accomplishing all that is in front of me.

One of my current concentration points has been curbing treatment behaviour so that it does not become the new normal. When we are at our weakest or more vulnerable than most times, it is easy to slip into these behaviours and call them “who I am”. But that is not true. We are not made to be depressed, we are not made to be tired, we are not made to be un productive. Relaxing is one thing, being dead to life while still alive is another.

I like to think back to this October. We went on family vacation to Palm Desert and then to Disney. Everyday I would eat great and healthy food, spend a couple of hours in the gym, go for walks, spend time writing and thinking. I never had more time with my family than that trip. Because I was relaxed I easily made the mental leap to taking care of myself. Pampering myself easily translated to self care. From day one, I was relaxed. I did not take the ordinary week to unwind, I went ready to unwind. I might have started vacation in my brain the minute I drove to the airport.

Why does this matter today?

I cannot live a vacation lifestyle everyday. But I can live a vacation mindset everyday!

I can choose to take care of myself in my diet and exercise. I can choose to spend time with my family. I can choose to spend time thinking and writing. I can also choose which projects I am willing to take on. As the guardian of my own sanity and mental state I can choose to be productive. Fatigue wants to win, but we can still beat it in a foot race. You don’t have to expel a ton of energy to be productive. Instead of a netflix night, grab a book, or have a personal brain storming session. It is becoming more common for people I encounter to say that they are not readers. However, they can tell me all about the shows they are binge watching. I propose that it comes down to making time for what is important. I still enjoy my favourite shows… but I don’t let those shows dictate my schedule. Another great tip is instead of working at half a tank during the afternoon slump, have a 20 minute nap.

So this is where I sit at 2/3 through my treatment. I might have to forego high energy activities or extra meetings and conversations for a while, but that does not mean that I am giving up on productivity. I will accomplish much in this season, it might be background work for the future but it still fuels the dreams in my heart!

Join me in doing the same. When your tank is empty and you just want to possum and hide, make a task list of things that excite you and see what you can accomplish from your sofa with a cup of tea.



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