The interesting thing about Gastroparesis (or any chronic illness for that matter) is that you have a finite amount of energy for a given day and that amount can change drastically from day to day. The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino illustrates this concept really well. (http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/) The basic concept is that you begin the day with a certain number of spoons to represent your energy level with the starting number of spoons changing every day in an unpredictable manner. Each task in your day takes a certain number of spoons which also changes day to day in an unpredictable manner. Once you are out of spoons your body shuts down faster than a cell phone with a dead battery. You may or may not have a warning that the shut down is coming, but rest assured it WILL hit. Which brings me to the question of the day: to wash my hair or not?
At this point you might be thinking, what’s the big deal? You’re ONLY washing your hair, get over it and deal. Well here is the issue with your “get over it” rationale. For someone with Gastroparesis, it isn’t “only” washing your hair. It is about what follows in the rest of the day. If you expend the energy to wash your hair, you might use up all your spoons and not make it through the rest of the necessary tasks of your day. Which brings me to the specifics of this particular morning and my quantity of spoons.
As I shared in yesterday’s blog, I just came out of a 2.5 day brain fog and full-out GP flair (more on this in blogs to come). This means that my energy level is quite depleted and I am starting my day with very few spoons. In fact, I barely have enough spoons to get through my day. Resulting in my big decision of the morning regarding the washing of my hair.
Recently, I have ventured into the world of bangs and the thing about bangs is that they have a mind of their own (much like GP). I woke up and would have been pleased to have my hair look like this:
The situation was much worse. Think of the above photo mixed with the famous scene from the movie There’s Something About Mary on one side with a little dash of a bang version of a cow-lick on the other side. Needless to say…a hot mess. The only possible way to get these bangs under control is to wash my hair, but if I wash my hair I will be out of spoons, crash, and have to stay home from work for the day. (In all seriousness it is that extreme.) I can’t risk being out of spoons and missing work since I have an all day meeting with consultants and part of that meeting is with a Chief Executive of my employer. However, I have to wash my hair because I can’t go to the meeting with the situation going on with my bangs. So you can see the circular logic happening with this decision. The added issue for me is that it literally takes 60 minutes to dry my hair, there is no possible way that washing my hair is going to happen today, so the anxiety begins.
The circular logic described above happens for all sorts of things involving the use of energy and using up your spoons. Knowing that you need to do something that will use up your spoons and result in a crash is an EXTREMELY stressful and difficult situation. These types of situation arise at least monthly but weekly is more likely.
However, one thing you begin to learn with GP is how to find creative solutions to save on spoons. This led me to the only logical solution a GPer could have: dunk only your bangs in the sink, brush the crap out of them, add hair gel, apply blow dryer, add hairspray and be satisfied that you managed to at least tame the bangs to look almost as good as our dear friend Mo!