CFS/ME · fibromyalgia

Real-Life Plants vs Zombies


Today, while out walking Smarty and thinking about what herbs I might use to help me recover from the autoimmune meltdown I’m experiencing, I had this weird thought/epiphany-type thing: My life has become a game of Plants vs Zombies.

The zombies are the viruses and other things that trigger my immune system to activate and get all wonky. The garden-variety zombies are like the common cold; easily defeated if I get my defenses set up early enough. The football player zombies are like the flu and can quickly overcome my defenses if I’m not diligent enough. The zombies that dig underground are like the Epstein-Barr virus and whatever other latent viruses I might have lurking in my body – they are invisible until they are suddenly right outside my door, destroying my defenses.

The plants are, of course, the herbs I use. The stars that shoot in several directions at once are like fresh ginger, which is broadly antiviral. The pea shooters are elderberry, the first herb I turn to in an attack. The fume shrooms are like antiviral essential oils that I can diffuse. (My walk ended before I had a chance to assign plants to the other herbs I might reach for: astragalus, rhodiola, boneset, yarrow or licorice.)

I tend to stick with the same plants, both in PvZ and in real life. None of this osha, usnea, andographis stuff for me. I stick with what I know.

What real-life is lacking is the little view of the zombies I’ll be fighting before a level. Right now, I have no idea what I’m fighting. There are many things that can trigger my immune response symptoms: A weather change, exposure to my main allergen (corn), food additives, environmental allergies, stress, too much activity and not enough rest, a possible flare-up of a latent virus (I always suspect Epstein-Barr since my problems started with mono), or any virus that might be floating around.

It’s nearly impossible to tell from the symptoms. A weather change can cause a sore throat the same as a cold virus. A high viral load can cause miserable inflammation in my shoulders and hips the same way food additives do. It’s like I’m playing the fog level without the benefit of that sneak preview of the zombies. I can hear the munching in the dark but I can’t tell what zombie is munching.

Also like Plants vs Zombies; it’s fun until the zombies are winning. Today, I feel like I’m losing the great battle for my brain/body. I have a headache, foggy brain, a vague sense of depression, fatigue, sore throat, widespread inflammation and travelling stiffness and pain. One minute my toes hurt, the next it’s my ankles.

I would suspect the weather change but I detected symptoms of my brain being chomped on a couple of weeks ago, which maybe tells me I’m not fighting a cold or flu virus. Maybe. I don’t honestly know how long they can hang around fighting.

The good thing is that I can feel terrible and be 100% sure I’m coming down with something and wake up feeling much better the next day. I’m hoping that’s what will happen this time.

Some rest would probably help but my elderly cat has been on a peeing, pooping and puking spree so I’ve had to do a lot of cleaning up today.

That’s what PvZ is lacking: cats that hinder your progress! In my case, it would make it a lot more realistic. They always barf on my bed when I’m not feeling well.


22 thoughts on “Real-Life Plants vs Zombies

  1. Sorry to hear you are not so well at the moment, Trisha. I put a lot of my inflammation and pain down to diet (now that I can’t afford the ‘perfect’ diet & supporting supplements). It seems we can spend 24/7 trying to find a solution with this chronic pain/fatigue condition. It’s such a time and money waster and I just wish there was a magic cure. But the reality is that we are all different. Different in symptoms and the degree of severity, so we end up spending half our lives on finding a solution for the individual. And just when we think we’ve got the solution, the waxing and waning begin all over again.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    1. You’re so right. I always think I’ve got it figured out and then it starts all over again, or a new symptom appears. I know my diet contributes to my inflammation. I really should get allergy testing done so I know for sure what to avoid. I feel so much better once I figured out that I was allergic to corn but I have no idea how many other things could be causing more mild symptoms.

      1. I love corn but can’t eat it any more due to bowel pain.

        I wonder if it’s the food we’re intolerant to, OR the chemicals on the food crops. I can eat organic/biodynamic eggs but I seem to get tachycardia and other symptoms from supermarket eggs (for example). Same with chicken. I can eat it from the fresh food markets, but not so much from a supermarket. I can’t afford organic meats since retiring from the workforce. My Mother used to be very critical of my supposedly ‘fussy’ fads, but towards the end of her life, My Mother reacted to these same things.

    1. Having two cats, I’m sure you do know all about their evil ways! Today was like the worst cat day ever here. Three barfings, one pile of poop NEXT to the litter box and pee on the rug where I stand to dry my hair, which is about two feet away from the litter box. I think Frosty’s dementia might be getting worse again. Or, he knows exactly what he is doing and is trying to kill me!

      1. I don’t think I’d tolerate potty accidents like that… I’m very lucky there. But I’ve got plenty of hairy barf, claw marks (I’m not a fan of declawing), and when Spilly was still with us, he chewed up everything in sight like a dog! Yet, I still feed them, and pet them, and love on them…. I don’t know why!

        1. You’re lucky you don’t have a Frosty. He’s a really bad cat. He’s ruined 4 dog beds, 2 couches, 2 papa San chairs and countless rugs and pillows. But he’s a sneaky bastard. We had him for 15 years before we figured out he was the one doing it. And what can you do at that point? He’ll be 18 in October. We love him but we also hope he won’t be one of those cats that lives into their 20’s….

  2. I like echinacea tincture as an antiviral. It works a lot better than in pill form.
    Have you tried taking co-enzyme Q10 300mg a day?
    I am on month 4 of co-Q10 and I have finally lost that ‘coming down with the flu’ feeling. I still have my pain and fatigue but hey, one step at a time. But it made it much easier to know I had a lurgy last week. Sometimes i found it hard to tell if I was actually coming down with something or if it was just my fm intensifying.
    (((hugs))) I hope you feel better soon xx

  3. I do take CoQ10. I found it helps so much with fatigue. I’ll have to check how many mg I’m taking. Maybe I should double up on it. I’m glad it helped you get rid of that “coming down with the flu” feeling. That gets old so fast!

    I have Echinacea tincture in the cupboard but, for some reason, didn’t think of taking it. Usually my Elderberry Immune Elixir is so effective at ending these flare-ups that I don’t have to take anything else. Maybe I should add the Echinacea – good idea!

    In the first day or two of feeling worse than normal, I also find it hard to tell if I’m actually coming down with something or not. It makes it hard to know whether to cancel plans or not. This weekend, I decided to stay home from Daniel’s baseball tournament. It’s the last one of the season and I feel kind of bad missing it but, even if I’m not contagious, it would have been too much for me.

    1. I used to take CoQ10 for my heart condition, but due to it’s cost, I had to drop it when I moved to this more expensive rental apartment.

      May I suggest you don’t mix too many things together with the herbs….makes it hard to tell what is working and what is not.

      I think we never know how bad we really feel until we have a great pain/fatigue/symptoms free day and that fantastic feeling makes us realise how bad we’ve been feeling in the past.

      1. I know what you mean. As bad as I feel now, it’s actually closer to my normal than the way I’ve felt for the past couple of months.

        It is a shame that CoQ10 is so expensive. I still take it, but only half of what I should be taking.

  4. As sorry as I am to hear that you’ve not been feeling well, I sure did enjoy reading this. I’ve never played plants vs zombies, but I loved all of the analogies you used and was able to follow along, so your brain fog didn’t affect your ability to describe things well, and your sense of humor appears intact as well. Gosh though, I really hope you start feeling better soon, and that Frosty eases up on you with his pooping, peeing and vomiting. I can relate to how awful that can be, it gets really old after a while, and I’m not even immune deficient. Hang in there! ❤

    1. I’m glad my post didn’t sound so crazy that you couldn’t follow along. Sometimes my mind goes to some weird places! I think I’ve been playing too much PvZ. I probably should find something else to play or, better yet, do something more productive. 🙂

      Cats can be such a pain. They’re lucky they’re so sweet! Is Baby okay after the nail polish incident? (Or was that the dog?)

      1. Haha it made complete sense to me, but then again my mind goes to weird places too sometimes. 😉 I do enjoy little epiphanies though, in whatever form they come in. I wouldn’t feel too bad about playing too much PvZ – sometimes playing a video game is exactly what we need to distract us from reality for a while. I miss playing my World of Warcraft quite often. It was Sugar who got into the nail polish, and yeah, thankfully she’s doing fine. 🙂

        1. That is so adorable! If I wore jewelry, I would have to have it. The little sunflower is my favorite plant. It’s just so cute. I’m amazed with what she can do with wire! The tree of life is so beautiful. What a talented daughter you have!

          1. I thought it was cute too! I know, I’m really amazed at what she can do with wire too, and the various themes she comes up with. I know what you mean about wearing jewelry – I love my rings, but I rarely wear anything around my neck. She has made me several of her tree of life pendants with stones that I like (amethyst, citrine, moonstone etc) and I hardly ever wear them and I feel bad. But I do have them hanging around in my room looking all lovely. 🙂

  5. Two things…

    1. I am amazed that you know Plants vs. Zombies, I liked to play this game back then 🙂

    2. Although I suffer from something different than you, I can imagine how you feel. I had severe depression and anxiety disorder back then, I fought it back and I would say I am to 90% back to life… but in contrast to the opinion of most doctors I met, I do not think that I ever will lose it completely, I carry the chance with me that things get worse again once in a while. That’s why I mean I can understand you, there are several things that can trigger a depressive or anxiety phase again, including things you mentioned like weather changes. So, I’d say I am now ok most of the times, I just live with the fact that the symptoms come back from time to time, and as you, I can try to analyze it, but in most cases I never will find the answer what is triggering down phases, I just learned to live with it anyhow. Just wanted to show my sympathy. Hope you feel well soon!

    1. My kids played Plants vs. Zombies when it first came out but I didn’t start playing it until a few years ago when I got my first tablet. Every few months, I go through a phase of playing it for awhile. It’s a fun way to forget about the world for a little while. 🙂

      I’m sorry to hear you battle the monsters of depression and anxiety. I’ve had brief encounters with both of them in the past and it is not fun. It’s weird how weather can trigger either of them to flare up but it definitely does sometimes. I’ve always had a hard time with anxiety in the summer, although this year I’m feeling more irritable than anxious and I don’t really know how to treat that!

      1. As a PC gamer, I usually play other games, but PvZ is one of the few mini games that I really enjoyed. Fun concept, nice to play in-between to kill some time when bored 🙂

        By the way, my first encounter with PvZ was in World of Warcraft, no joke… the developers of both games had the fun idea to work together… the WoW developers wanted to include PvZ as a new mini game (a game in a game), and the PvZ developed helped them to integrate the same concept to WoW, it was pure marketing for tthe PvZ developers I think. So, one day I just went through a virtual forest in WoW with a friend together to do some quests, and then we noticed somekind of chessboard on the ground in the forest, we went over this thing and started to see zombie plants attacking, and could control our own plants… well, you know how PvZ works. I completed the PvZ game in WoW and got a singing sunflower (pretty cute) that would follow me everywhere in the game as a reward (laugh). Just a year later I noticed that PvZ is actually downloadable as an independent game, it seems the marketing worked 🙂

        I am pretty much ok today, it was severe 6 years ago,… but it was a battle. Now it appears more random, and it’s less likely that it appears, and if so just for maximum two or three days in a row. I found my own stragegies to work against it, photography of course, and other things. So, at the moment I can live with it, it’s not an issue anymore like back then…

        I am at times irritable too, also here the only thing that helps me is to get out to the nature, interests like photography and so, as you said, even gaming helps me at times, I need to keep me busy with hobbies anyhow and I will feel fine. As we both share the same interest photography and blogging, I hope it does somewhat work out for you too. 🙂

        1. I have several friends who play WoW but they didn’t tell me about the Plants vs. Zombies mini game. That is some brilliant marketing! I would love to have the cute little sunflower following me around!

          I think, like you, if I spent more time doing the things I love, it would probably help my irritability. I should probably plan some time to get out with my camera.

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