Taking Time to Recharge

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by Karen Del Vecchio |

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Summer and fall have been a nonstop whirlwind. A few weeks after graduation (I work as a college counselor at a private high school), the owner of the farm where I live had major knee surgery. That put me on farm duty for several months. My brother got married. And then the new school year started.

August through mid-November are my busiest months of the year at work, so I’ve gone from one type of crazy to another. I’m tired.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a fabulous six months. It’s always awesome to see where “my kids” decide to go to college and how excited they are about the next phase of their education. My brother’s wedding was wonderful. We brought together family and friends from around the world, melding multiple languages and cultures into one beautiful celebration.

In October, I sneaked away for a long weekend to go to a show with my new horse Cherry. We had a fantastic time. She and I are learning so much together, and I’m always entertained by her personality. She has a lot of opinions, and she doesn’t hesitate to express them! And there’s Spotty, my mostly retired horse. He spends most of his days getting muddy and gross, and giving me fake grumpy faces as I groom him — before he turns around and gives me snuggles.

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Clockwise from top left: Tanner; Karen and Cherry; Marley; and Karen and Spotty. (Courtesy of Karen Del Vecchio)

Oops, I almost forgot about Marley. In September, I learned of a hospice dog at one of the local animal shelters. He had a large tumor on his side, and he needed a soft landing. The farm where I live often rescues older dogs, and one had recently passed away. There was room for one more.

Enter Marley, aka Fluffy, who is one of the cutest, loudest, most opinionated dogs I have ever met. A visit to the vet confirmed that his tumor doesn’t appear to be cancerous, and he’s in great health for almost 14. He’s still learning manners, though, so training begins when I get home from work and the barn. The cute little fluff ball thinks barking is the key to everything. It’s taken a lot of patience, but we’re making progress. My other dog, Tanner, is usually sitting beside me with a face that seems to say, “See, I’m a good boy. I sit quietly and stare at you adoringly.”

Besides the physical pain, one of the most difficult aspects of my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is chronic fatigue. It’s as if I can never get enough sleep. And running at a blind sprint for months on end doesn’t help.

I can tell that I’m worn out. As life has begun to slow down in the past week, I’ve tried to take better care of myself. I go to bed early, and I don’t feel guilty when I take time for myself. I’m trying to relax. It’s not easy for me, but I’ve learned that I’ll hit a wall if I don’t give my batteries time to recharge.

Managing EDS is a balancing act. But the longer I do it, the better I seem to handle it.


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.


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