BROOKE EKELUND

DESIGN + PHOTOGRAPHY

Why is that girl sick all the time?

Brooke EkelundComment


CAN YOU JUST UNDERSTAND
that I can't help it?

Everything really bad started in 2008. I won't list everything (that's just a little too personal), but here's an idea of what my life has been like (skewing towards the abnomral things).

INFANCY:

  • Clogged Tear Duct
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Night Terrors

TODDLER:

  • Had Multiple Ear Tubes
  • Multiple Ear Infections
  • Lazy Eye – corrected with glasses

CHILDHOOD:

  • Strep Throat Multiple Times per year
  • Had Tonils Out

2008-2009

  • Note - Eating Disorder, Extensive Out-Patient Treatment Successful
  • Heart palpitations (2008 – present)
  • Endometriosis - Laprascopic surgery to confirm. Treated initially with 6 months of Lupron shots. (Temporary Menopause)
  • Staph Infection in Fractured Toe (2009)

2010-2014

  • Shingles (2012)
  • Ear Infections (2012, Recurrent)
  • Sinus Infections (2012, Recurrent)
  • Viral Meningitis – Hospitalized for 5-6 days (2013)
  • Mono – Overlapped with Meningitis (2013)
  • Pancreatitis – Had Gall Bladder Removed (2013)
  • Gall Stones – Associated with the Pancreatitis (2013)
  • Viral Pneumonia (2012, Recurrent)
  • Bronchitis (2012, Recurrent)
  • Difficulty Concentrating, Moodswings (2012, Recurrent)
  • Bloody noses – Daily (2014-Present)
  • Night Sweats – (2014 – present) nightly before endometriosis surgery. After endometriosis surgery, weekly
  • Racing heart/skipped beat (painful, 2014 – present)
  • Ear Pain – feels like an inner ear infection – ENT finds nothing (2014 – present) happens monthly and lasts 2 days to 3 weeks. Affecting hearing.
  • Vertigo – after the ear pain started (2014 – present)
  • Sleep issues/insomnia – wake up 3-6 times a night.

2015-2016 (SO FAR)

  • Endometriosis Surgically Removed (2015)
  • Unexplained Stomach Pains (Multiple ER visits, 2016)
  • Severe Headaches
  • Fatigue/Tired/Drowsy
  • Loss of Some Short Term Memory
  • Loss of Some Long Term Memory
  • Developed Allergy to Dairy Foods
  • Ear Pain & Vertigo has lasted up 50 Days
  • Skin Infection Resulting in Loss of Pigmentation
  • Eye Cyst (2016)
  • Developed Seasonal Allergies
  • Plus Recurrent issues from 2010-2014


WHY DON'T YOU JUST PRACTICE
better self-care?

I get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, I drink water (yes I need to drink more), I eat (usually healthy) 3 meals a day, I workout daily, I follow a routine to practice stress-management... and at one point I was seeing a therapist to help with concentration, memory, orgainization and stress!

What else do you want me to do?

I'm in this vicious cycle of working to earn PTO, using my earned PTO to be out sick (most of the time going negative), working to earn back my PTO and then being out sick again.

I've constantly wondered what people at work think about why I'm out all the time. I wonder if they think I'm lazy, or if I'm faking it. I worry that I'll get taken off of projects, or not put on fun ones because they just think that I'll get sick. Even the people that have constantly supported me... I'm sure they have wondered too.

Whomever has taken the time to read this, I want you to know that I'm sick because something is wrong with me... Something that I am in the process of finding out. My doctor thinks the biggest issue may be Stage 4 Adrenal Fatigue (among a list of other things).



MY TYPICAL
80% day.

I'm usually my most productive self from the hours of 5:30am until about noon. Especially when I am at home. And that only applies when I am feeling 70-80%. I'll still go to work when I'm feeling 50% or above, but it's really hard to get through the day.

5:15 AM -
Wake up. Make bed. Feed Cats. Start Coffee.
*morning drowsiness phase

5:30 AM -
Drink Morning Tea.
Head down to the workout room for a 45min workout.
*feeling somewhat energized

6:15 AM -
Yoga Sequence.
*feeling alive, awake and well

6:30 AM -
Daily chores.
Drink Coffee. Make Protein Shake.
Open computer to tackle any e-mails or freelance projects.
*feeling alive, awake and well

7:30 AM -
Shower. More Coffee.
*Morning adrenaline starts to wear off

8:05 AM -
Head to work.
*Driving makes me tired

8:30 AM UNTIL NOON -
Work.
*Pretty consistent energy levels, but I slowly get more tired throughout the day

NOON UNTIL 5PM -
Work.
*Lunch makes me tired. And often I don't like eating lunch because I don't know how my body will react to what I'm eating. By the time lunch is over, I usually feel like all levels of productivity are slim to none and I don't like drinking coffee in the afternoon

5PM UNTIL 6:30PM -
Home.
*I tend to skip most after-work events and any chores or errands that I may have to run because I don't have the energy to talk or to complete tasks that require me to be out and about.

6:30PM -
Dinner. Random Freelance Work.
*If I have enough energy to do these things, I will.

8:30PM -
Get Ready for Bed.
Get Everything Ready to Start the Next Day.
Take Sleeping Meds.
*I usually count down the minutes until I can get in bed, because I just want to go to sleep

9:30PM -
Sleep.
*It can take me up to an hour or two to fall asleep, even with meds

11PM + Midnight -
Wake Up.
*I wake up at least twice between the time I go to bed and midnight. But most of the time I can fall right back asleep

2AM, 3AM, 4AM -
Kind-of Sleep.
*I'll wake up a few more times throughout the night. Usually by 4AM I can't fall back asleep, so I'll just lay there until my alarm goes off

This article does a perfect job of summing up how I feel a lot of the time. Just to clarify, I don't have Hashimoto's Disease, but the way she describes how she feels in the beginning couldn't be more spot-on.



NOW PICTURE THAT
on a 30% day.

When I'm actually sick with a cold, bronchitis, a sinus infection or the flu (my typical sicknesses), I can't even complete half of that schedule. And that schedule is pretty pathetic to begin with.

These 30% days happen so often for me because with Adrenal Fatigue also comes a weakened immune system. My body can't fight these off like a normal person would/should be able to.



BELIEVE ME,
I want a normal life.

I love advertising. I love working late, working on pitches. I love going out with friends, partying, dancing the night away. I love staying up late at my cabin around a bonfire. I love traveling and being spontaneous.

I just can't do it right now... So please, have some understanding, and be patient with me.

To be continued...