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  • I feel like I have been hit by a ton of bricks. A tonne of bricks. I don’t know if it’s metric or not, but whatever it is, it weighs heavily on my body and mind. I am frustrated with myself and my sheer inability to get out of my pajamas this first day of a three-day weekend.

    The bricks actually fell sometime on Thursday, crushing my soul, crushing my will to live, but as is my way, I kept moving forward. I went into the office. I went for walks. I cooked. I cleaned. I wrote (just not here). I lived. A couple of coworkers (including someone in another group who found my name somewhere and called in a panic seeking understanding on a few financial terms) told me that I made their weeks, and we all entered the long weekend pleased with our progress.

    Somehow, I managed to win a “workweek hustle” step challenge with some 132,000 steps in five days, more than 9,000 beyond the friend of a friend who came in second. 58 miles in five working days. It doesn’t sound like much, though, given how much I have been walking lately, and I blame the bricks.

    I wasn’t trying to win. I actually despise competition if not motivation. I just wanted to keep moving in the face of utter exhaustion. Walking made me feel better even as it exhausted me. Everything exhausted me. Walking. Working. Breathing. Life.

    This week, I think that maybe I’ve slipped toward anemia again. I did ask at my last appointment. My doctor said I was fine, if at the low end of the scale with the red blood count, but that was after I started taking a supplement. As a vegetarian who doesn’t eat much, I do run the risk, and apparently, giving up alcohol made it harder to absorb the plant-based iron that was already so hard to digest.

    I am weak. I am tired. I am pale, craving strange foods, and lightheaded. My tongue hurts. So does my head, and I am short of breath. In terms of too much information (feel free to skip to the next paragraph), my MS has led to constipation and hemorrhoids, which may mean internal bleeding, and the typical monthly bleeding of womanhood tips everything over the scale. It brings on the bricks.

    I am embarrassed to write of such things. I am embarrassed to feel such things and live such things. I am embarrassed to be so utterly obsessed with the functions of my own body. Why can’t everything just… work? I have bigger things on my mind.

    Yesterday, over lunch, I caught up with a doctor friend who has enough on her mind with a strange work situation, new roommate, and a fresh, raw wound in the death of her father (on top of the lingering, raw wound of his diminishing health via Alzheimer’s, a bitterly cruel and unstoppable villain).

    “How are you?” she asked, staring intently.

    That wasn’t how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to ask her about her. I wanted to know about her. That’s why I suggested getting together, but she persisted.

    “I’m all right,” I said. “Just a little worn out.”

    I had trouble forming the words. My tongue was thick in my mouth, stubborn and obstinate. It took several attempts to confirm our meeting time on the phone.

    “It’ll be all right,” I said. “I’m fine.”

    She continued to stare. She asked what I meant when I said that I’d started to flare fairly regularly and I sighed with the effort of trying to remember everything that happened or didn’t happen when I did. Nothing happened. Nothing worked. She asked if I’d talked to my doctor about assistive devices for walking and talking.

    “I haven’t,” I said and she lifted a brow. “I mean, it doesn’t happen all the time. Maybe once every few weeks? I haven’t seen my neurologist since February, and at that point, I had so many other symptoms. We focused on other things.”

    The weight loss. Dizziness. Nausea. I had gotten so small and tired.

    I shrugged. It was fine. It was just my life like the bricks and exhaustion.

    “I cannot imagine,” she said. “A day in your life. How it feels to be you.”

    I might have cried then, but there was hummus on the table. The sun shone. I was sitting across from my lovely friend, and I was happy.

    I am happy.

    I am just really tired.

    Sometime soon (meaning today), I will rally. I will change out of pajamas and into my big girl pants or a dress because I keep buying dresses in the smaller sizes that fit.

    I will get on with my life.

    This morning, I skipped volunteering, but there’s more I can do from home (if I feel like it) today, tomorrow, or Monday. Friends have invited me over for a day in the sun with a rooftop pool, and I have tickets to a ballgame followed by dinner with another friend whom I adore. If my body cooperates, I will do it all. If it doesn’t , I won’t.

    It’s summertime and the living is easy. One of these mornings you're gonna rise up singing and you'll spread your wings and you'll take to the sky. But 'til that morning, there ain't nothin' can harm you with Daddy and Mammy standin' by.
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