Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pressure...dun a dun a, dun a dun a PRESHAHHHH!

I've been thinking a lot about the way that our bodies handle stress when we are physically challenged. I am obviously hanging on by a sort of thin thread here since I got out of the hospital in November. By the very nature of being active on the transplant list it means that you are in "end stage" disease. This still shocks me, when I read it on my chart (which I steal to read out of the door basket thingie of every room I am ever waiting in, in any hospital or doctor facility, ever). Ever time I read "end stage lung disease," or "respiratory failure" or any of the scarier phrases that have been attributed to my health in the last few months, I think, "Seriously?!" But anyway- so that is where I am in my body right now.

A body in that state is going to react to stress differently- and obviously I'm talking about my body. Ever since I got out of the ICU in the fall, I have been thinking about the way that we humans handle stress, and how we think of stress when we are in good physical shape. A year ago, if you had asked me about stress, I probably would have described it in mostly mental terms: the way I think about things that happen, the way I make decisions, the amount of sleep I had, the number of difficult mental things that come up in a day or week, how quickly or slowly my mind is cycling through thought. "Stress" has a negative connotation even if the stressors come from positive experiences, which is really unfair to us humans. For example, a bride on her wedding day, can be very happy and extremely stressed at the same time, due to what's going on in her mind. However, if she shows her stress, people will assume she is unhappy. Poor bride !

My point is - and I have more to write about this topic but want to just get the idea out there - that stress for me right now is not so much a mental "bad" state that I am participating in - it is just my body's natural reaction to any given stimulation around me. I find that my body (and to an extent, my mind), is not able to hand stressors like loud noises, striking visuals, or other every day things, in the way that it used to. It seems like my body is only able to meander through every day stressors and that other, more complicated stressors, are not really breaking through to my mind at all. I don't know. I'm not explaining this well - but my point is-

CFers, What are the major stressors in your life, and how has your reaction to them changed as your state of CF changes?


  1. oh my god, you ARE the blond me!! seriously, i can no longer watch TV (aside from good, non-conflict oriented shows like top chef) b/c the stress of the characters unsettles me! this from a woman who until recently worked at a wall st. law firm? and i've started really reacting to loud noises on the street, which is a shame b/c there are a lot of them in this city.

    every time i go to the doctor now she reminds me of my stress level and asks how i'm doing. she'll say things like "you're going through so much right now" and "it's totally normal to feel overwhelmed and frustrated." she's totally right, but what i've been tring to get across is it's really my BODY that's frustrated/overwhelmed/stressed/even sad right now...not so much my mind, believe it or not.

    my mind is bored, if anything, and my soul is finding this journey oddly satisfying on some level, but my body is PISSED OFF. and stressed. and REALLY digging your blog right now ;)

    thanks for the awesome words, as always.

  2. Saw your blog on CysticLife. A woman to tells it like it is and doesn't watch her language. I LOVE THAT!

    Stressors in my life are the norm: Money, Health, Family,....You name it, I can worry about it. For me , the mental and physical stress is intertwined - which surprisingly is not the case for a lot of people I know with CF - (either that or they are faking it REALLY WELL!)

    When I am going through major bouts of stress my body reacts negatively. I can handle pressure, but it depends on where it's coming from. Job stress was hard on me. Home and family stress are not nearly as difficult. I guess I am more comfortable in that setting. Regardless, my body reacts very poorly to any amount of stress (and yes I agree there is such a thing as good stress). PFTs go down, stomach twists and turns like a Tilt-a-Whirl ,...the whole nine yards. But I'm not to the point where small things might stress me like noises or any of the things you mentioned above.

    I reread my comment, and realized I was being kind of vague, but I hope you get my drift.

    Be peaceful and awesome. Hope we can chat sometime.


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  4. Tab- I read your comment but didn't post it, as instructed! -CG

  5. God, stress in my life. I feel like I am one big ball of stress. Everything stresses me out. From my CF to the earthquake. Bascially I stress out about anything that I can't control. Which is everything. I feel like there is always this little cloud that follows me around. When I start feeling like a normal person somthing happens that makes me realize that I am, unfortunatley, sick. Whether it be a cough or a $20,000 hospital stay. I just want to wake up one day and not 800 pills or have to do chest PT. That stresses me out! And then when I don't do it I feel guilty and that stresses me out. Are you seeing a pattern??
    Not to mention the fact that there are people like you who really are suffereing. And then I know that I am feeling sorry for myself and need to get a reality check. I am relativly healthy and could stay that way for an unknown amount of time. So, what am I stressing about? Now, I am stressing about stressing. Phew
    Also, it is interesting to see what other people's ides of stress is. Loud noises kill me and I have no tolerance for anything that startles me, too. I thought I was the only one...
    They say stress is relative, I think it's genetic. Bad joke...Kate

  6. Loud noises like bars, clubs, restaurants stress me out and they never used to. Moving is a huge stressor now too. I have moved A LOT (24 times in my 29 years) so it's not like I am new at it. But when I was younger I could do it all and handle moving, work, school, social life and be fine. Now I stress out about little things and usually I will get super tired, grouchy and my face breaks out like no one's business. Right now I look like a pepperoni pizza haha!!!!!

    Ironically, work stress never seemed to phase me like everything else does. Either that or I just didn't pay attention.

  7. Stress is like friction. Nothing works without it, but too much causes a fire. I know first hand about how some things that didn't bother me at all were nearly overwhelming immediately pre and post tx. Like pacing, I could not handle someone around me pacing. And noises, even noises like the beep of my IV, once just white noise, actually sent a jolt through me. It's really interesting.


Thanks for commenting! Your comment will be posted ! -CG