More Middle of the Night Musings

Despite the fact that my bedroom environment was perfectly conducive to sleeping (the temperature was a cool meat locker-esque 67 degrees and neither Buzz nor the HOTY was snoring), I still could not sleep.  After a valiant attempt at meditating (& then counting 1000’s of sheep), I decided that instead of laying in bed tossing and turning, flipping and flopping that I would just get up and try to reboot.

What’s a girl to do when she can’t sleep?  Well, for me, it’s watching tennis in the middle of the night.

 

Speaking of tennis, yes, I’m still playing Lefty-Lucie.  Today (or yesterday) in fact, I had a parting of the seas kind of day in which I felt some magic in my left handed forehand.  Ahhhhhh, the tennis angels were singing to me.

I was reminded again about how much joy the littlest things bring me these days. Like learning to play tennis. Left-handed.

So, as I’m up again in the middle of the night, it’s time to turn on the tennis channel with high hopes of finding tennis.  I know.  There is an assumption that turning on the tennis channel would indeed mean watching tennis.  But actually it often means watching wretched infomercials which makes me feel even more cuckoo than I already do.

One of the very frustrating aspects about FBC (F-bomb breast cancer) has been insomnia.

As you may recall, it first started when I had to take pre-chemo steroids.  Oh, those were awful days of feeling jittery, anxious, grumpy AND sleepless.  The only thing that enabled sleep were horse tranquilizers.  Not literally.  But sort of.  I had to take crazy strong sleeping pills to get any kind of sleep.  The thing about sleeping pills is that though I slept, I never felt fully rested.

 

 

Prior to beginning them, I talked with my doctors about the issue of drug dependence that I knew would develop.

Please allow me to take the opportunity to differentiate between drug dependence and drug addiction.  They are often mistakenly used interchangeably.

Drug addiction refers to the psychological condition that compels a person to satisfy their need for a particular stimulus and to keep satisfying it, no matter what. Inherent in this definition is the overwhelmingly powerful motivation to obtain and self-administer the drug. Drug addiction is a compulsive behavior that demands more and more drugs, regardless of the consequences that lead to dysfunction. A person who is addicted to a drug has a disease that undermines optimal function and drives one to compulsively use a drug, despite the negative consequences.

Drug dependence, in contrast, refers to a state where the individual is dependent upon the drug for normal physiological functioning, e.g., sleep. Dependence is a physical state that occurs when the lack of a drug causes the body to have a reaction. Physical dependence is solely a physical state indicating that the body has grown so adapted to having the drug present that sudden removal of it will lead to negative consequences such as a withdrawal reaction. A good example of dependence is a coffee drinker’s use of caffeine. If a person is used to drinking several cups of coffee each day, one soon learns about physical dependence when a day or two is missed (e.g., massive headache!). The absence of the drug means that  your body is surprised not to see what it has come to expect.

So, over the course of several months, I developed a dependence on sleeping pills. When I came home from San Francisco, I decided to take myself off of them. It’s been a long arse haul (obviously…it’s now 3:24 am).  But I know it’s the right haul because at some point, I will be able to get some much needed rest!

Fortunately the chemo days have passed (Silver Lining). But the insomnia hasn’t. So, here I am, in the middle of the night dreaming of tennis.

The Silver Linings are multifaceted (& I continue to count them ALL!):

  1. I’m NOT awake because of steroids. Or chemo. Or because of incessant nausea.
  2. I’m HOME.
  3. Playing tennis Lefty-Lucie is SO FUN!
  4. There is actually tennis on the tennis channel tonight, which means that I have not made any regrettable infomercial influenced purchases.

On another note, my most recent article is up on the Huffington Post.  I would greatly appreciate your forwarding it on to anyone who might be interested!

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hollye-harrington-jacobs/chemo-hair-loss_b_910589.html

If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying.  It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.

~Dale Carnegie

Photo Credit:  Kelly Reemsten

 

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Comments

  1. Meg says

    I also want to tell you how much I love reading about your experiences. I try to surround myself with real yet positive articles. I just turned 50, mother of two beautiful teeange boys and my marriage of 20 years just fell apart. I have been in such shock and never saw it coming so everyday is a challenge to get up get going and stay positive for my boys. I am learning that what I thought would be secure and safe can change at any moment. I am learning to take the sad and not fun days as a lesson that hopefully someday I will understand. Thank you for your inspiration and maybe just maybe I will feel normal again and can give a genuine laugh like I used to.

    • says

      Thanks so much, Meg. I'm sad to hear about your marriage. What I have learned for sure: pain is pain. Whether it's the end of a marriage or cancer. It's all pain. But what I have also learned is that Silver Linings can be found and that a new normal can be found. I hope that this is the case with you! All my best wishes!

  2. Melinda says

    I'm also in the middle of my chemo treatment and had almost 7 weeks of very limited and interupted sleep, pacing back and forth at night. Finally I used my medical cannabis chocolate and was amazed at how I relaxed and my legs calmed down so that I could sleep all night long. I too am concerned about dependence tried not to take it one night, but couldn't sleep, so I have lessened the square by half and am able to sleep. Every day is a new day and I'll keep trying, but sleep is important to me right now.

  3. says

    Yep, i'm there right now. Just finished chemo and start rads next week. Glad to be done with steroids, but i know it will take some time to get back to normal. Ha, if ever i was. I've cut my tranquilizer use, but sometimes i just need to sleep. Naps are good too. I crochet a lot… That really relaxes me.

    Love your silver linings. So important to see them every day. Haven't read your huff post article yet.. I get sucked into reading depressing news over there. But if I follow the direct link…. Ok, much better idea.

    All the best, i love your stuff.

  4. Kim says

    Loved the article in Huffington Post! Your attitude is infectious!!
    Best of luck with the drug dependence. I had to detox from sleeping pills too, but I was sure glad to have them when I did – (steroids, anxiety etc). Hang in there, as it seems you are(SL's)!!