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  • Writer's pictureLiz Charpleix

31st December

The first thing I think of on the last day of each year is that today is my boycat’s birthday. This year he turns 16, still causing me grief with his outdoors shenanigans but refusing to be corralled in his cat-run:

Parvi in a pot.jpg

The run doesn’t go to waste; little Delfino, my current brushtail joey, will soon be graduating from his bathroom cocky cage to the outdoors ex-cat-run.

So, rambunctious animals, help me ponder the end of the year.

This year I went to Delft for six weeks. The chronic fatigue I have been suffering for 15+ years settled enough to allow me to work Monday to Friday, full days, and to play nearly every weekend in Delft and nearby towns. Bliss! The sense of achievement was phenomenally good for both my mental and physical health.

In that cheese-loving country, my (cheese-loving) self-discipline broke down and I reintroduced cheese to my daily diet. I even risked a few meals which included gluten. In spite of these dietary no-nos, I only took a couple of days in bed during the whole six weeks. I managed an 11am start most days, which gave me roughly 8-9 hours of solid work three days a week, and at least seven hours on the days I left early to go to my Iyengar yoga classes. Back in Hobart, I’m still eating cheese and I’m totally avoiding gluten, but my sleep needs have sky-rocketed. Why is it so?

I put my problems down to the complexities of life at home. In Delft, life was so simple: I slept (albeit poorly, due to constant noise and an over-heated room), walked 10 mins in to the Institute each day, ate, came home, ate, did yoga, played tourist, read, studied (oh, and dealt with some Australian-based business matters). Yet, apart from a gradual lessening of stamina as each week drew to a close, I could get about and do things almost as if I were CFS-free.

At home, I am a woman without family (which is both a positive and a negative at different times), striving to finish building my house, study a PhD, run an accounting practice and look after a range of animals – some of which have quite time-consuming needs, at least when they arrive into my care. My GP is trying out a new thyroid treatment to see if the Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis that I suffer from is actually the prime cause of my fatigue. Two weeks in and it has made no difference yet. Twenty years ago I could have done all this and still found the energy to do an aerobics class at the end of the day. Today, it takes me two hours to drag myself out of bed.

So while I rarely bother with New Year’s Resolutions, this year I have decided to take a new look at my treatment program. Following Sandra Cabot’s suggestions in Your Thyroid Problems Solved, which she co-wrote with Margaret Jasinska ND, I will concentrate on including good stuff (appropriate diet, meditation, such exercise as I am capable of, play!) and excluding bad stuff (inappropriate foods, bad stressors, toxic people and situations).

In search of a supremely simple life (such as I lived in Delft), I’ve stepped down from the board of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy. I had been feeling for some time (with some satisfaction at a job well-done) that my position as Treasurer had become redundant, given the strong capabilities of the staff and audit committee (which was set up to specifically avoid perception of conflicts of interest by including an external accounting expert rather than the board treasurer). So that’s one task (I can’t say chore, as it wasn’t) cleared off my list.

My to-do list currently includes 58 items (not including daily chores), some of which require both loads of time and money.

C’mon animals! Are you up to the challenge? Oh, they’re all asleep. Don’t tempt me...

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