We had our first snowfall of the season yesterday. To me, that's the official beginning of the winter... and the beginning of my yearly flare up.
For the longest time, I noticed that I had a problem regulating my temperatures. As a child, I would frequently have to stop practicing piano because my fingers just got too painfully cold to continue. When home computers came around, I noticed a similar issue with my mousing hand. My mom used to tell me "cold hands, warm heart" whenever she found my hands so cold for no good reason.
These days, I notice I can't seem to escape cold temperatures, even in the summer. There's always plenty of folks turning the A/C down because they are sweating in the office or wherever I seem to go - even at home. I frequently bring an extra sweater or layer of clothing if I am going anywhere there is bound to be air conditioning. Just this last summer, I remember having to have a building worker close the damper that was blowing cool air directly onto my hands at work - twice. Most people didn't know what I was bitching about, because they prefer cooler temperatures. For me, I had to fight to keep my hands warm while still getting my work done. The stiffness would sneak up on me while concentrating on my job, and then the distracting pain would trigger a host of other unpleasant symptoms. I seriously don't know how I'm able to keep a job with what I brave every day.
I don't think anyone can truly grasp just how difficult my personal challenges are. I keep doing my best and I don't know how to feel about this, but people forget I have any kind of illness at all. You'd think everyone would be able to understand at least pain. Everyone has had pain of some kind at one time or another. Some of my coworkers have painful conditions, too. Yet they ask me to do things I can't do without making difficult decisions between my own health and my source of income. Time and time again, I choose income over my health and deal with the consequences later. I suppose this is part of my problem. But, anyway, I have digressed.
As I write to you, I'm noticing how very cold my feet are. It's not unusual for them to be cold. If they are ever warm by bedtime, my husband jokingly asks me what I did with the real Benia. Thankfully, he welcomes my icy feet and shares his heat with me, but I still can't seem to escape the pain. Last night, long after the time I should have been asleep, I was just feeling this chill crawling over my skin. Just over and over, these washes of shivering cold just kept me far from comfortable, and unable to rest. I was balled up under 3 layers of bedding that seemed like flimsy doily as far as I'm concerned. I would love to add 2 more thick quilts on top of me for bed. I shivered and shivered last night, getting little sleep and dealing with new, stabbing pains in my back and head. Eventually, I got up and braved the short walk to take some pain medication. By morning, I was in no shape to get up and go to work.
I am about to take a warm shower to try and warm up for a bit, and I will use my heating pad to help keep me warm afterwards. In the meantime, I want to share this short article that talks about why cold can be so painful. It also lists several great tips for keeping warm. I do some, but I will be trying others as well. It's going to be a long winter for me. Stay warm!