How many spoons will I use up by lunchtime today?

Being in hospital seems like a lifetime away now and each day I am finding that I can do more and more and I am even missing being back at work…..which I am sure I won’t say when I am back!!

I am trying to make the most of my time signed off without overdoing things and doing too much. Since my last blog a lot has happened in terms of what I can now do and I have started getting back to doing ‘normal’ things. I have my own wheelchair (name still undecided by the way so if anyone has any ideas I am open to suggestions….), I have been to watch my team play and win hockey, I have sat back on a horse and I played Pooh Sticks in Shere, an awfully cute little village, wondering why I had never properly been before.

So yes it does partly feel like a whirlwind but I cannot explain how much I am enjoying getting my life back on track. I do want to do a blog which tells you all a bit about what I have been up to but I thought I would start by explaining the Spoon Theory for those of you who haven’t heard of it.

When I first accepted that I had a chronic illness, I was introduced to an article called “The Spoon Theory”, written by Christine Miserandino. It explained the concept of one’s personal energy supply in terms of a tangible item. Once I understood the idea, I appreciated that I myself could relate to this concept, and now I want to share it with others in the hope that friends and family can finally understand why I might have issues at times with seemingly simple tasks. The answer is simple: I am out of spoons.

Today began like every other day.

Savoring my first cup of coffee for the day, I look over my to-do list. I love the saying, “First things first,” and for those of us with any type of chronic illness, that often means: Do I just tie my hair up or do I wash my hair? Do I walk or drive? Do I have a cooked lunch or make do with what I can find left over, wear makeup or not… exactly how many spoons do I have today?

For those of you who are not familiar with the “Spoon Theory” let me briefly explain. Christine Miserandino, a woman with a chronic illness, was attempting to explain to her friend about the consistent fatigue that goes hand in hand with many chronic illnesses (it certainly does in my case). She handed her friend 12 spoons and said this represents all your available energy stores for the day. Oh and by the way, getting out of bed uses one spoon, so now I am on 11 for the day. This then goes on throughout the day with different tasks using up spoons and it is very hard to get back the spoons that you have already used…..make sense?

If you’re healthy, think about your day — do you ever have to think ahead about what you can or cannot do? For example, do you ever have to decide on little things like: Do I shower? Are my hands too sore to manipulate buttons? Can I get to the pharmacy to pick up my medications? If you then take pain medication you can’t always drive….Can I get a friend to take me for coffee? What if I get there and start feeling bad?

Okay, it does start to get easier the more you understand about yourself and the more that you learn you capabilities and don’t overdo it. For those of you who know me will know that my biggest problem is doing too much and then making myself ill. It is so hard when you are the type of person who hates sitting still and wants to get out there and do fun things and make memories. However, it is something I need to learn if I want to make a career out of my job and still have some sort of social life. So when I get moody at you or annoyed when you tell me to stop doing something or ask if I should be resting I don’t really mean it. I just want to be like you and not have to consider if I have enough spoons left to do the things I want to.

It will get easier the more I learn to accept and understand my limitations. Hopefully I will be starting a new form of treatment in the next couple of months up in London which (fingers and toes crossed) will make a huge difference to my health at present. I will keep you all informed.

For today I currently would say I still have 11 spoons left – So today should be a good day!!




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