Chronic Fatigue and Summer Heat Are a Tough Combo

Chronic Fatigue and Summer Heat Are a Tough Combo
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Some people like summer. Love it even. I’m not one of them. In fact, if I listed the four seasons for their weather attributes, summer would come in a very distant last.

I live in the South, where it gets hot, humid, and sticky most of the time from June through September. I’m talking about the kind of heat in which you open the door, step outside, and instantly start sweating. Ugh.

As a college counselor at a local private school, I get time off in the summers, which is fabulous. It also means that as a farm girl, most of that time is spent outside in the heat. Chores need to be done, horses need to be ridden and exercised, and regardless, I’m an active person. I can’t stay inside for long before going stir-crazy.

I’ve written about it before, but if I had to pick the single worst thing about having EDS, it would be chronic fatigue. It is, for lack of a better word, exhausting to be exhausted all the time. I do better when I get regular bodywork, as pain plays a huge role in my tiredness. But between all the life disruptions of COVID-19 and the fact that the same week my bodyworker was cleared to reopen, she injured her neck and has been unable to work, I’m pretty sore.

And when I’m sore, I’m even more tired than usual. Also, when it’s hot, the weather tends to sap my energy more quickly, and it’s pretty common where I live for temps to be in the 90s, with the heat index easily at 100 F or above. So right now, I’m sore and the weather is hot, and that’s not a good combo for trying to beat exhaustion.

When I’m super tired, I can sleep seven hours or 12, and honestly, I wake up feeling about the same. I think the only way I might be able to tell the difference is by the time of day I start to really get tired, like the “either get another cup of coffee” or “don’t sit down” kind of tired. As long as I keep moving, I manage.

Once I get home and land on the couch, however, it’s all over. Anything that needs to be done to prepare for the next day has to happen before I relax, or it won’t happen because I’ll fall asleep. Sometimes I need to remember the day is more of a marathon than a sprint, but life with animals means that my daily schedule is often taken out of my hands by a broken fence, tending to a horse’s cut, scrape, or skin issue, running to the feed store, or umpteen other things that end up being tossed into my day.

Some days I just have to remember what Dori says in Disney’s “Finding Nemo”: “Just keep swimming!”

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Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.

An avid equestrian and educator, Karen has been a columnist at BioNews — the publisher of this site — since 2019. She was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome in 2009 after years of searching for a diagnosis that explained her symptoms. Karen enjoys working with her students, riding and caring for her two horses (Cherry and Spotty), and connecting with others in the rare disease community through her writing.
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An avid equestrian and educator, Karen has been a columnist at BioNews — the publisher of this site — since 2019. She was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome in 2009 after years of searching for a diagnosis that explained her symptoms. Karen enjoys working with her students, riding and caring for her two horses (Cherry and Spotty), and connecting with others in the rare disease community through her writing.
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