Sleepless In the Bay
It's funny how when I’m home I can fall asleep, wake up, go to the bathroom, and drift off again. The uncanny ability to do that only at home is what amazes me.
My difficulty is when I’m not home and my sleep is disturbed or even interrupted. It's as if my body is saying, You're not at home, stay awake, and be on guard.
So I was going to the Bay area, and I could feel the shift the night before I boarded the plane. No matter what I did, I couldn't fall asleep. Well, I actually did fall asleep one hour before it was time for me to be awake. It's so disturbing to me that I can never sleep immediately before a travel day.
Impact of chemotherapy on sleep
I never really noticed this pattern until after I began taking chemotherapy. So, my question is, is it anxiety, excitement, or fear of the unknown? Whatever the case may be, I am finding out that sleeping doesn't always come easy nowadays.
Lack of sleep
I’m also noticing that with less sleep my body aches a little more, my nerves are on edge, and everything that is wrong with my body can now be felt a thousand times more.
With all of the medications that I have to take, sleep aids are out of the question. So I ask myself, what could be a happy medium? How do I resolve to have to ration a great night's sleep and being present and pleasant in a nice little box called 24 hours?
I am finding that when I’m away from home and not getting the rest that I need - along with the increased intensity of feeling like crap - my happy-go-lucky demeanor suffers.
I so desperately want to find that balance where I can function on minimum sleep while feeling crappy all the time while being pleasant while trying to be present. It’s like I will be awake until 1:00 in the morning and still wake up at 5:00. I end up pushing it through the day, needing a nap, but if I do take a nap it only lasts for about an hour.
Impact for terminal patients
I often wonder for terminally ill patients, how much our bodies would be restored if we were able to get our proper rest? Would we be able to handle our diagnoses if we were well-rested? Would our treatments go smoother if we had eight to ten hours of great uninterrupted sleep? Also, if we had at least eight or nine hours of perfect sleep, would we still wake up tired?
When I’m in the Bay Area, it feels as if my sleep patterns are equivalent to jump-starting a car. It starts out smooth and then dies quickly; it starts again, and as quickly as it starts, it dies again. That’s how my sleep is.
How to cope with insomnia
I can be so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open. I fall asleep and just like an unwanted alarm clock, chronic pain wakes me up, and I’m unable to fall asleep again. If I do, it’s always short-lived. When I’m at home, I’m always able to fall back asleep quickly, and I’m able to have several hours of uninterrupted sleep.
So my question is, how does one handle insomnia without using sleep aids? And is there a tip book for those desiring to have uninterrupted sleep while traveling? I long for the days where I can wake up refreshed, no matter what city or state I’m in.
Help, sleepless in the Bay.
Do you have an MBC mentor/mentee?