The last two months have been interesting. Work has been picking up, and, of course, I got a pile of it dumped on me just as I was heading into my “blackout period” — the week or so during which I “can’t brain.” First there are usually a few days that I can’t work because of fatigue as the Remicade wears off, and then, when I get Remicade, I also get solucortef and its associated steroid mania and withdrawal. During this period, I lose my ability to concentrate: whatever work I do is going to be messed up badly enough that it will need to be fixed later. I realized long ago that it is more efficient to avoid intellectual work during this time and instead focus on other things that need to get done, such as grocery shopping, cleaning, yard work, and exercise.
Withdrawal takes a few days. I have always scheduled it for Thursday afternoon so that I miss Friday and can be back at work on Monday. Over time, though, I’ve noticed that most Mondays immediately post-Remicade, I would go to work and then fall asleep on the floor, so I’ve slowly come to accept that steroid withdrawal’s impact on my ability to work does not wear off until the following Tuesday.
On top of this regular treatment-associated blackout period, this time, I also caught a cold when I was at my most immune-suppressed, so there went three more days I expected to be able to work. I’m only climbing out of the backlog now.
Having to deal with this blackout period every treatment cycle — currently every 6 weeks — is emotionally taxing. It’s tough to have to suddenly stop working on projects mid-way through and then pick them up again after a week as if my groove hadn’t been so rudely interrupted. My backlog of things to do also gets even bigger during my time “away,” making it even more intimidating to try to get back up to speed again.
The only good thing about having this enforced mini-sabbatical is that the medication-related aspects of it are predictable. I do my best to schedule my life around it, even though client requests don’t always come in at the most convenient times.
And, with that, it’s time for me to get back to work. . .