Who Am I Now?

I love autumn. The air is crisp. The leaves are glorious colors. This autumn I’m pleased to be out exploring. It’s been about a month now since I started night-time oxygen, and some of my mind fog has gone away. I still have good days and bad days, but all of my days are a little better than they were before. And, I’m able to walk more. Before oxygen, on my bad days I found it difficult to walk my dog around the block. Today we took a 55 minute walk, and went up to the ridge above our house. I love the views from up there, but I haven’t walked up there since I can’t remember when. My muscles just didn’t have the oomph.

I was a very active person until about four years ago, when my brain fog got bad. At the time I thought chronic pain was giving me the brain fog. I think I had that backwards. Brain fog caused stress, which caused stress-related illnesses, which led to chronic pain. I retired from a career I found very fulfilling, because I had trouble swallowing and I had chest pain, and etc. Coincidentally I had started to forget what I was saying during presentations, and some days I couldn’t focus enough to do anything other than “planning” and “catching up on emails.” I also became less and less active, and I hated it.

I’m starting to regain my energy. I’m still deconditioned. That’s what my last doctor called it, deconditioning. She thought I should be able to gut it out (my words not hers, but I think the sentiment is right). Now I have no problem gutting it out, and I’m happy about that. Exercise gets blood pumping through my brain, and refreshes all of those cells (again, my words, I’m fairly certain that’s not a very scientific description).

I’ve quit my part-time job, so I’ll be writing more blog posts. My job was using up most of my mental energy. I can compensate for my bad short term memory, my problems with word choice, and my difficulty multitasking, but it’s tiring. I’m hoping to supplement my small pension with more flexible work. But, first I’m going to take some time to destress, and discover who I am now and what I’m good at now. Before my cognitive decline I was a good networker. I knew hundreds of people at my workplace, and I was good at bringing together diverse groups to create projects and events. Now, I have trouble remembering any of my former coworkers who aren’t Facebook friends.

It’s time to find out who this new Dawn is and play towards her strengths, instead of mourning what I’ve lost. ❤

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