Sleep and Shingles

For the last few weeks, my pattern has been to (1) say that “next week I think I’ll be up to 50% work” and then the following week (2) I sleep through all of two or three work days, and barely get in a couple hours of actual work during the remaining days, and then (3) repeat. I feel for my Leave and Disability person, who has had to jump through administrative hoops every time my return-to-work schedule changes.

My ambition to work, and disappointment at falling short, probably comes about because when I’m not dead tired I look and feel normal—complete with energy and wit. When people see me for the first time since diagnosis, the universal reaction is to say, “you look great! I wouldn’t even have known you were ill just from looking at you.“ It feels as though I should be able to work normally, yet it just doesn’t happen.

To my immense gratitude, my colleagues at Target also have a universal response when they hear of my efforts: they urge me to relax, rest, take care of myself first and worry about work when my body is ready. That universality includes management—a clear sign of a healthy work environment. To all my Target peeps: thank you! I’m doing my best to just relax and not worry.

If you inferred something new from the above paragraph, you were right: last week I physically made it into the office at Target for the first time since my diagnosis in January. I also made it in once this week. After so long away it was weird and nice to be back, also it was great to see so many colleagues again in person. Since I was only there for an hour or so each time, I would not say I contributed much value to the team’s efforts; but since my current sub-team mobs most of the time I was at least able to participate. Yay, mobbing!

Symptom-wise, last week I also got an itchy and painful sore on my forehead. My doctor suspected it was shingles and gave me an antiviral prescription to treat it. Since then, those sores have retreated somewhat and become less irritated. At the same time, I have had some other, less-visible spots break out in a rash which is both itchy and painful (and not at all fun). Going after that with an anti-fungal creme. My skin seems to be extra-sensitive all over. Any time I sweat, I get what seems to be a heat rash (splotchy-red and itchy) in every place with both sweat and constant clothing contact. While I was in bed this morning, Schmutzig the cat licked the left side of my forehead in a gambit for my attention. Her tongue left a red rash behind. Apparently I have a case of “princess skin.”

I am very pleased to report that the numbness in my feet is almost entirely gone at this point. There’s just a touch of tingling there, and even that is intermittent.

Today’s great cause for celebration is that when my arsenic infusion wraps up in less than an hour, I will have a four-week break from arsenic trioxide, from any IV infusions, and in fact from any scheduled, cancer-related clinic appointments. Four weeks! This will set a new record since my diagnosis in January. Hopefully it will also provide a respite from this crazy fatigue, and allow me to spend a little more time among work colleagues. Fingers crossed.

And that’s my recent news. It’s growing less dramatic over time, and that is a very good thing.


Cross-posted to Facebook:

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