Thor’s Dag

So. It’s Thursday. Just a typical day – the day after Anzac Day, in fact. I’m sitting in the uni computer lab chatting to an advisor about how I can withdraw from the course without penalty, since it’s after the census date, after all. I’m in the final year of my degree, and I’m withdrawing yet again because what I *think* I’m capable of doesn’t match up to the reality.

I know I’m mentally and physically capable of doing this, and honestly it sounds like a pathetic cop-out even to me, but somehow since my surgery last year, everything has further gone to the crabs. Finally, I broke down to BB and admitted that I just couldn’t do it anymore – not in our current situation, anyway. If everything else was perfect (heck, I’d even settle for average), I’d have no problem with completing uni, plus working, plus cooking/cleaning/exercising/socialising/whatever else it is that people (or what I used to) do every day. But it’s not, and so I ultimately had to admit that what I thought I could do wasn’t what I actually can do. It sucks, because I always have my family’s voice in my head telling me that I just have to, and that I’m not trying hard enough. I generally believe in mind over matter, but this is a matter of being physically incapable. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is unfit.

It’s a catch-22, as I’m realising it probably is for all sick people: you don’t feel good/can’t do the things that you usually can, or that everyone else seems to do without as much difficulty, so you try to fix it – you go to the doctor, physio, specialist, surgeon, get some tests, get some prescriptions, try them out, react badly, get surgeries, can’t recover in the same time, can’t keep up, and miss out on school/work and you don’t feel good, so you start the whole process over again. Over and over until you finally strike a balance, until the next time. Most people never find that balance, or can’t afford to keep trying. If you’re lucky, you’ll manage it most of the time, but it will always be there in the background.

I think I’ve mentioned it in a previous post, but after my surgery I threw up everything I ate for several weeks, followed by some things being ok, and then really being not ok, and throwing up again, until it finally settled down. However, something else started instead; something I’d actually experienced a few times before, but never to this extent, or as often. Every time I ate something, my stomach would hurt and feel super uncomfortable, I’d get shooting pains behind my ribs, and my whole abdomen would blow up like a balloon. Really uncomfortable, gross and embarrassing. Except now it’s almost every time I eat anything that’s not rice mixed with miso soup, water and filmjölk (like a Swedish drinking yoghurt). It keeps me up most of the night, even if I’m utterly exhausted, I just cannot sleep (what most people in the chronically ill community refer to as ‘painsomnia’). The other issue is that it will happen for a few days/weeks and then I’ll be fine again to eat most things for a month or so, so it’s difficult to predict. But every time it happens, it’s for longer, more often, and much more painful. Not only that, but I can’t tell whether I’m hungry or nauseous most of the time, which is a really weird feeling, and if I don’t eat every few hours, it gets quite painful and uncomfortable and I feel like throwing up.

Why don’t I just stick to those foods to be safe? Well, think about your favourite food, and then imagine that you could only eat the blandest baby food for the rest of your life, no matter how hungry or how much you’re craving it. I love to cook, and love to try new foods and go out for dinner and drinks (although alcohol has been an issue itself for a few years now -_-), and now instead of: ‘hey honey, what should we eat tonight?’ it’s: ‘ok, more sloppy rice?’ ‘yeah..I guess…’.

Something I think a lot of people don’t realise or give too much thought to (and I’ve been one of them) is that you see sick people – and I mean chronically ill, terminal people – stuck with IVs and ports and pumps, and getting tests and blood tests and scans and ultrasounds, and you just accept on face value that that’s what they’re used to, that their life is like that. But sick people can hate needles too, or faint when they get blood drawn, or hate swallowing giant tablets all day and feel over it and sick, and gross, and not want to. But they just have to, and don’t have a choice. It’s something that you never really get used to. I can’t count the amount of blood tests I’ve had in my life that keep giving me different readings every time, or the amount of doctors I’ve seen, or the amount of tablets I’ve taken. You just want it to stop, and be able to do normal stuff like everyone else – not even everyone else – like you used to. You want to stop being exhausted and unable to concentrate, and to just snap out of it, but it never ends.

Anyway, I’ve got repeats of repeats of blood tests to do for thyroid and coeliac testing and other things I don’t even remember, and stomach ultrasounds and whatever else, on top of the three physios I’m going to for neck, jaw and knee rehab, as well as a specialist dentist for my jaw. Last week I had to test for stomach ulcers, which came back negative – great, right? But in this world, it just leads to more questions, and more tests.

So, my disability support (oh yeah, I have a disability support case worker now, although I’m not on disability), and my doctor have recommended I take a break from study, as I simply can’t keep up with the course load, having a couple of hours to focus on a good day, and am never able to predict when I’ll have a flare of something with regard to due dates and deadlines/tests. My muscles aren’t firing or engaging properly to be able to recover from the surgery, and it only takes a couple of days for muscles, with EDS, to atrophy, so I have to do physio every day to try to make any kind of progress. Of course, on top of being able to focus or have any kind of energy with everything else, is where that aforementioned catch-22 happens.

I used to be so athletic. In my teens, I’d do 100 situps and pushups every morning, walk to school, do 2 hours of touch football, walk home and go to the gym and do 50 laps in the pool. That was an average day for me (a bit too much, but my family are PE teachers and coaches and have an obsession with exercise, to the detriment of actual schoolwork). I used to be muscular and slim, although I thought I was fat (ha! If 15 year old me could see me now, fml). I used to do a full face of makeup every day, no matter how I was feeling, and dye my hair all the time. I had piercings and plans for more tattoos, and go out drinking all night. I’d had medical issues since birth, but I always did more than other people and pushed myself further than the average person, which was when I started to experience the real symptoms of EDS. Now, I can’t even get out of bed some days. I have to sit on a chair in the shower, and having BB even touch my skin sometimes feels like a punch. He even has to lift me off the couch sometimes. It feels utterly pathetic when I still see myself the way I’ve described above. That’s why it’s taken me so long to admit what I can and can’t do.

Wow, that sounds overwhelmingly negative, but actually, although I have so many frustrating and exhausting things to deal with, I have never been this happy, overall, in my life. I said I would be honest, authentic, and fearless when it came to representing myself here. I’ve been exhausted every day lately for no reason, and trying to balance everything to actually make some recovery progress. Actually, the last post I made took me and BB months to create, and I only finished it the other day before posting. But I still love doing the things I used to, although sometimes I literally can’t handle it, I still like to be asked. I’ve even found new hobbies that I actually can do – if you’ve been following my insta or facebook, you’ll know I’ve discovered a passion for video games, and art I can do on an iPad from bed.  Hopefully now I’ll be able to be more active on here, since I feel much more creative without the stress of being able to keep up with uni at the moment.

Sorry for the long rant post! Just some thoughts in between promised posts, ie Skincare :|. With so much brain fog, it’s all I can manage, and if I tried to make proper posts, it wouldn’t be anywhere near the quality I want. So for now, I’ll be playing God of War and Tomb Raider, and experimenting on Procreate, while I try to keep up with rehab and figure things out.

Love,

Lo xx

10 Games for People Who Suck at Gaming

Growing up, my brother and I constantly fought over the shared gameboy we had (spoiler: he somehow always got 90% to my 10% share) with the 100-loaded fake game cartridges where about three of the games would actually work. I never really got into games until the past few years, because I was convinced I suck at them.
Turns out, I just suck at first-person shooter!

Oh, I still smash my fair share of buttons and am far from some cool *gamer gurl*…mostly because I get so mad BB will periodically tell me that maybe I need to take a break and calm down so that I don’t go on a murderous rampage while I’m cursing and ranting and throwing controllers…but I recently realised I had hit a milestone: I was at level 30 on Horizon: Zero Dawn (albeit on easy mode). Somehow, my hunched over, white-knuckle style of playing has paid off and I can hit moving robot dinosaurs with a bow and arrow that requires several fingers to work different buttons at the same time – and interspersed between expletive-laden explosions, I’m exclaiming how much I love it. So here we go!

1. MarioKart 8 (or any, really) (Nintendo Switch)

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You can’t really go wrong here; apart from the friendship-destroying possibilities, it’s all a bit of fun, and it’s made better by being pushed off course by shells and cliff falls. Pretty sure everyone knows this one, but on Nintendo Switch, there’s a whole new way of playing and you can play with people online.

2. Child of Light (PS4)

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This beautiful fairytale game is one of my favourites, for its compelling, bittersweet story as well as its art and soundtrack. I actually still listen to it while I’m studying. It’s turn based, so you rely on strategy; picking members of your team and levelling them up with potions, points and gems, and matching them to your enemy’s weakness. It does get a bit repetitive towards the end, but it’s a good introduction, and you can do two-player with someone who doesn’t care if they’re not the main character.

3. Never Alone (PS4)

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I found this one similar to Child of Light in some respects, a cute, melancholy tale based on Inuit folklore, with clips to explain the stories. You’re a child who has to navigate the arctic wilderness with a spirit fox who you can switch to or play with another person. You’ll have to run from predators and figure out how to get out of some situations – I don’t mind saying I had to look up several walkthroughs to get to the next stage sometimes – but not difficult in terms of dexterity or gameplay. A bit creepy sometimes, but overall lovely, I just wish it wasn’t so short.

4. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Nintendo Switch)

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I’m currently playing this, and it’s much better than I expected: another turn-based one with the familiar Mario characters and quests as well as battles. You can do two-player, but only in the battle arena, unfortunately, which is limited to how far you’ve progressed in the game. Of course, this means there’s potential to re-play these areas after you’ve completed the main quest, so it’s good value. Also, it gets pretty difficult in terms of strategy and enemies, so it’s not so repetitive.

5. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (PS4/PC)

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I played this with BB, and although it did get repetitive and we felt over-powered too soon, with a bit of an anti-climactic end, it was still worth it to get used to playing in general, particularly as a newbie. It’s very simple: just move around killing stuff and collecting loot.

6. Knack (PS4)

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This one may be a little childish, but it’s great for two players and can be quite challenging! It’s an interesting concept, somewhat like Transformers. It’s a little hard to describe but it’s like playing as an elemental golem…that sounds pretty weird but I definitely recommend it! Another one that I wish was longer, because I wanted to keep exploring the world and see what else I could do. There’s a sequel out now that I can’t wait to try. Hopefully it lives up to the potential you feel in this one!

7. Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch)

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I loved this game. I’d always wanted to play Zelda as a child and this was the first for me. Beautiful scenery, challenging but rewarding gameplay, a story that you have to put together and use your judgment on how best to complete challenges or even the order you explore places. The game starts out as a tutorial, although not a frustratingly simple one. I’ve recommended it to everyone, and I’m going to play it again, actually. Also, it reminded me a bit of…

8. Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4)

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This was the first proper Playstation game I ever played, and it’s so good. Especially for someone who thinks they can’t play video games. You’re given endless choices in how to react, respond and take action with your player, you can customise the character (spent a good hour or so on this lol) and you can play it again and again through other ‘races’ of characters. The only thing that wears a little on me is that there is so. much. talking. Like, I just want to smash stuff sometimes! I probably agonised a bit too much over the choices to make, but in the end it doesn’t matter because you can always choose differently next time. Cool storyline that sets up for a sequel, and cool enemies that are challenging and satisfying to beat, it can be turn-based in some parts but you can also play with the settings if you just want to focus on slashing and the rest of your team can follow suit or heal or whatnot.

9. Guild Wars 2 (PC)

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This was one of the first games I tried playing on my old laptop, before a three year old I was nannying somersaulted into his water and it spilled all over it. It took a bit of getting used to, but it was compelling story details that kept me trying, and I miss playing this, although my keyboard got smashed quite a bit (prior to the water incident). Similar to Dragon Age, but you play online with others in real time.

10. Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)

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I started playing this while house-sitting and never got to finish it. It’s fantastic! Awesome storyline, amazing graphics, you’re a wild warrior girl in a dystopian world filled with robot animals and dinosaurs where you seek the truth. I don’t want to give too much away, because half the fun is discovering bits and pieces along the way. It’s intense, but you’ll want to sit there for eight hours straight until your eyes start crying and your fingers get stiff. It’s tense, exciting, compelling, and impressive, and basically trains you to become a better gamer. I want to buy a PS4 now just so I can play this again – even if I have to start from scratch.

Games I’m Waiting For:

The Witcher: Wild Hunt – ok, so obviously this is already out, but it’s another one I never got to finish

Skyrim – see above

Zelda: Hyrule Warriors – as above…

Crash Bandicoot – I only have Nintendo Switch right now, ok!?

Yooka-Laylee 

Super Mario Odyssey