So it happened again; my health taking a tumble.
And this time, I know for sure it’s all my doing. Knowing fully well that I have several background health conditions that could flare up anytime, I still pushed myself too hard. Still the overworker/overachiever I am, it seems.
Being admitted to hospital late last month for chest pains and breathlessness was the first scare. Followed by a really bad sinus infection (acquired from getting caught in the rain in Kuala Lumpur a couple of weekends ago) … which lasted until now without showing any signs of clearing.
I don’t know what it is in my personality that constantly makes me push myself beyond my limits when it comes to work. The continuous voluntary overtime, and constant urge to work, the constant need to want to get things done (and perfect). It’s like as if I want to achieve something. But when I try to think about exactly what I’m trying to achieve, I draw a blank. Well, apart from the success of the company and our product (which is a common goal).
I guess it’s just an inherent thing.
But it’s something I’d better suppress soon before I end up destroying myself.
I swear I’ll stop taking my health for granted. It took me years to claw myself out of that huge health rut in 2008/2009 (things went completely downhill during that period), and I don’t wish to undo those efforts.
Once I recover, I want to;
1. Lift weights
2. Explore the outdoors and breathe in more fresh air
3. Start cycling again
4. Do overtime only when necessary (and manage my time better)
Making lists is easy, keeping to it is hard. I’ll just try my best and see how I fare.
Until then – get well soon, me. (I’m sick and tired of sitting around at home and doing nothing. My brain needs to stay stimulated.)
One story that I’ve yet to share was that about a ridiculous burnout I’ve had a coupla’ months ago.
I love my work and was willing to sacrifice anything for it. I wanted our product to be a success, and was doing everything I could to ensure we always showed our best side. We had a major event coming up then, so I stayed in the office up to 10pm for several nights in a row, and even up into the wee hours of the morning doing product feature-building and enhancements.
I was having fun at first, but it soon took its toll. Code started visiting me in my dreams and I was having nightmares of code breaking – which I was debugging to the point of frustration … and that woke up from my sleep. (No joke!)
I couldn’t sleep well at all, and I was fatigued most of the day … occasionally conking out at my desk in the middle of the afternoon.
And then, it struck. My health background wasn’t good to begin with, so my immune system went haywire. The next thing I knew, I ended up in A&E … twice.
It was that moment when it finally struck that I’ve gone overboard. As in, whatthefug am I doing?!
It was the moment of epiphany.
A life reconstruction was definitely in order. Work-wise, I love what I’m doing and will continue doing it. But the workaholicism had to stop.
I installed some mood lighting in my room and made it more conducive for relaxing. I’ve started spending time with my friends and family again. I’m taking time off to read about things that interest me (instead of playing catch-up with my RSS feeds on my iPad every night). I’ve designated after 11pm onwards to be strictly off-limits for work.
If I was happy before, I’m definitely much happier now – sans the code-related nightmares.
It’s up to you to take good care of yourself. If you don’t, no one else will. And if I don’t take care of myself, I cannot do the magical things I do.
Work is still my happy pill, but like all things – it has to be in moderation. Any overdose, and you’re screwing yourself over.
It’s nearly 1.30am and I really should get to sleep.
Good night, world.
For the past one and a half weeks, I’ve been on Cyclosphorine to suppress my immune system. (I suffer from autoimmune urticaria since about 6 years ago, which turned aggressive only recently, basically causing my body’s immune system to attack my own skin and occasionally, joints.)
Cyclosporine belongs to the group of medicines known as immunosuppressive agents. It is used to reduce the body’s natural immunity in patients who receive organ (for example, kidney, liver, and heart) transplants.
When a patient receives an organ transplant, the body’s white blood cells will try to get rid of (reject) the transplanted organ. Cyclosporine works by preventing the white blood cells from doing this.
(Adapted from MayoClinic.)
It’s a pretty darn strong medication, commonly used to suppress the immune system of transplant patients to prevent organ rejection. I initially had my reservations about it, because of its multitude of side-effects, but eventually took the plunge because otherwise, the illness would just get worse. (And I’ve stopped responding to even the strongest H1 and H2-blockers out there.)
Well, it’s taking its toll – numb fingers and toes, the constant feeling of fatigue and weakness and the occasional nausea. And recently, low-grade fever. All part and parcel of being on Cyclosphorine but side-effects aside, it’s doing a pretty good job and preventing my flare-ups … so far.
I also need regular blood tests to ensure my white cells don’t fall too low, or that my kidneys don’t fail.
Above all, I’m also glad I’ve (finally) managed to find an awesome allergist/rheumatologist to take care of me. He’s one of the very few here in Singapore, so I’m mightily glad.
The doctor, a couple of friends and this forum (contributed to by a host of other people around the world with the same medical condition) has been a great source of support so far.
So, if you know me in real life and have been wondering why hadn’t I called you out in aeons for shopping/lunch/dinner/just bumming around, now you know why. I’ve been basically devoid of energy for quite a while. Please be patient with me, though – I’ll be back to my old self once I assimilate to Cyclosphorine!
Until then, please pardon me while I conk back off to sleep in bed. G’nitey.