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!):
- I’m NOT awake because of steroids. Or chemo. Or because of incessant nausea.
- I’m HOME.
- Playing tennis Lefty-Lucie is SO FUN!
- 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!
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.
Photo Credit: Kelly Reemsten