“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gratitude Project Day 6

Good things that happened yesterday:

1. We put a Christmas tree up at the store because my son was willing to help me do the hard part.

2. My living room got cleaned because the kids wanted to decorate.

3. We decorated for Christmas because everyone was happy to help.

4. I finished my book because I recognized I was wiped out and needed to chill.

5. I lasted a little longer in spite of the extra effort today because I'm starting to feel better again!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gratitude Project Day 5

Good things that happened to me yesterday:

1. I got some great deals on Christmas presents because I know which stores still have good stuff after 10:00 am on Black Friday.

2. I bought some fluffy new spa towels for myself because they were a great deal and I deserve them!

3. I cleaned my living room because I am eager to start decorating for Christmas, and I amazingly still had a little energy left after shopping!

4. I didn't have to cook because we still had abundant Thanksgiving leftovers.

5. I had a good conversation with my teenagers because my husband and I weren't afraid to confront issues head on.

6. I enjoyed my husband last night because we allowed ourselves to be spontaneous.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude Project Day 4

Good things that happened today:

1. I had a good yoga workout because I knew I needed a head start staving off the feast calories.

2. I finished cooking right on time because I planned it properly.

3. We had dinner at my mom's house, because she is generous and loves tradition.

4. I enjoyed watching the kids play together because cousins love each other so much.

5. I had a small piece of both cheesecake and pumpkin pie because I didn't overeat during dinner.

6. We listened to great music from my favorite radio station that we can only get when we're in San Diego because we were lucky!

7. I had great conversation with my husband during the trip there and back because he's so easy to talk to.

8. I had a good conversation with my sister because I initiated the phone call.


Today I am taking a break from CFS and just enjoying the beauty of my life! I invite you to do the same -- let go of your worries (because I know you have them, and I know they are significant), and let yourself find joy in the moment.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude Project Day 3

Good things that happened today:

1. I noticed how beautiful the air smelled so fresh after the rain this morning because I was up early today.

2. I made two killer sales at the store today because I was happy and upbeat.

3. I enjoyed my son's birthday dinner with our whole family because they are such good kids, even in a sit down restaurant.

4. I got to snuggle with my husband this evening because I was being nice to him!

5. I get to go to bed and read a couple of extra minutes because I can sleep in tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gratitude Project Day 2

Good things that happened today:

1. I had a good yoga day because I was willing to push myself just a little.

2. I started the day with happy tears because I remembered my daily devotional.

3. I got back on track and had a good massage because I was willing to make time for me.

4. I finished two more loads of laundry because towels are easy to fold.

5. I bought myself some flowers because I like to have beauty in my home.

6. I'm going to bed right now because I'm listening to my body tell me I'm done!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gratitude Project Day 1

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect on the things that make you happy. With CFS, it is so easy to see the cup as half empty, or even almost completely empty, when in reality "my cup runneth over."

So, for this week, I am going to focus on the positive. I'm not just listing things I'm thankful for, but I'm going to mention the good things that happen and why they happened. Maybe this is a good time to start a gratitude journal, too, to keep my perspective moving in a more joyful direction.

1. I was able to sleep in this morning because my husband made sure no one bothered me.

2. I finished two loads of laundry because I tackled the task before I became side tracked by "fun things."

3. I read an inspiring article about learning from your trials because I took the time for my daily devotional this morning.

4. I splurged on See's chocolates today because I allowed myself to believe I deserve it!

5. I made a delicious chicken dinner tonight because it was super easy to do and I already had the ingredients on hand.

And right now,

6. I'm going to watch "Willie Wonka" with my boys, because they asked me and I'm actually going to move away from the computer and spend time with them!

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Oh, I feel like I've been doing so well lately! My myofacial massage sessions have been really good, I've been digging out a lot of toxic emotions, and my energy has finally been inching up. I know externally you couldn't see a lot of progress, but internally, I knew I was feeling better.

Then, boom -- week-end whammy! I was hit with a nasty migraine that never abated no matter how much medication I took. I had a couple of obligations that I had to attend to, regardless of how I felt. I overdid it, of course, on Saturday. Sunday, the migraine was still there. I had a lesson to teach at church, so I couldn't stay in bed and sleep it off. I was wiped out after church, and I ended up having an argument with my husband that evening as well.

So, today is a designated recuperative day. I'm taking it a little easy. It helps that my kids are out of school this week, so I didn't have a lot of driving around to do. I slept in later than usual, and my husband made sure no one disturbed me at all this morning. I said "no" when my children asked if "(fill in the blank with friend's name)" could come over to play and spend the night. I bought some See's chocolates, and I've been reading a little today. My kids, eager to enjoy their vacation, got to work on their chores early today, so by the time I woke up, the house was pretty clean. Hm, relatively little arguing and fighting today from the kids, as well.

Nice! So, maybe I'll be able to make up those backward steps in no time at all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Delusionary Me

For the last couple of days, I've been wondering -- how do you fight an illness that nobody believes is real? Sometimes, it feels like I'm just being humored. They'll play along with my delusion for awhile, but then they seem to lose patience. Like, when my disease gets in the way of what they would like me to do. I can feel their eyes rolling. But if I ask about it, I get, "No, no, we believe you!"

I would like to pace myself. I would like to determine what I will and will not do. I would like to have rest periods that are respected. I would like to decide what is important to me. I would like to follow the path that I believe will lead to healing. I would like to do it on my own time schedule.

It would be a lot easier if there were people in my life who lifted the burden and filled in the blanks instead of waiting for me to get around to it. It takes a lot of energy to defy people you care about, even at my ripe old age. Sometimes, it's enough to make me doubt myself again. Am I crazy?

Do they have to believe, or is it enough that they love me?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Deceptive, Hide In the Bushes, Gotcha Good Hurt!

Um, yeah -- well, after the doctor, I felt so good I went shopping, not just to Henry's for groceries, but to Target for household supplies. Then, I stopped by our store to see my husband. Then, I got a car wash. And filled up. So, by the time all the kids got home from school, I crashed!

Silly me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Good Hurt!

I went to my chiropractor/holistic practitioner/sports medicine practitioner again today. Another slight adjustment (still creeps me out!) and a fantastic myofacial massage! I just feel so good after that! It hurts like crazy, though -- especially when she does what she calls her "elbow work" (yes, it's just what it sounds like. She digs her elbow into my back along my spine. OUCH!). She is able to go deeper now, and I am tolerating it a lot better. Then, my reward -- I get endorphins! Lots and lots of fabulous endorphins! I leave with this aura of peace and serenity. It feels so good! I went to the store right afterwards, and a nice young man smiled at me. Not only did I notice, but I smiled back! The sun is shining, the sky is bright blue, it is a beautiful day, and I bought chocolate! I am going to relax and enjoy this for awhile.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Grieving, Coping, or Somewhere In Between

The rules: Give yourself permission to feel your emotions, whatever they are, without judging, explaining, or suppressing. Then, let them go.

I feel afraid that my family will fall apart and resent me for not being a good wife and mother.
I feel afraid that I will remain in this 60 year old body.
I feel sad that I am missing out on special memories like my kids' birthday parties and going to the pumpkin patch and late nights with my husband.
I feel frustrated that there are a pile of things that need to get done, and I can't do it.
I feel angry that my family keeps waiting, waiting, waiting for me to get better instead of filling in the blanks.
I feel hurt that they won't do more to help me get better.
I feel lonely in trying to battle this disease.
I feel disappointed I'm not getting help.
I feel confused at how to ask and sad that I should have to.
I feel sad that I am a burden to those I love, that I am placing burdens upon their shoulders that were never supposed to be theirs.
I feel powerless, because no matter what I do, it might not be enough to heal.
It hurts me that God would do this to me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What If ...?

So, I started therapy with a chiropractor/holistic healer/sports therapist. She gave me an adjustment and a deep muscle massage. She said, "Our bodies reflect our truth." Whatever burdens we are carrying, it is all there, reflected in our bodies. I had a particular hard time with my left side, which, she tells me, is the emotional side of the body. Apparently, that means I have some unresolved emotional issues that she sent me home to confront.

Which brings me to the question I have been unable/unwilling to ask these last couple years since I suspected I had CFS.

I know it is chronic fatigue syndrome. I know that there is no cure. I know that many people suffer from it for many, many years. But I've never actually asked the question, "What if?"

What if I never get better?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Excitement -- And A Gift for You!

Yes, the most exciting thing happened at our house -- I finally made Shandee's Famous Overnight Bubble Bread for breakfast! There were excited giggles as I came downstairs and put it in the oven. Several times, the kids turned on the oven light to peek at the progress. The worst torture was after the bread was finished, but it still had to cool. Finally, the moment arrived! Everyone was able to have not one, but two pieces each! Happy satisfaction abounded as a hushed quiet fell over six eating children. The verdict? Six thumbs up, I believe! It was so easy to do, I may just have to make this our Christmas morning tradition.

Now, my gift to all of you readers -- I've included the recipe on my recipe blog, The Flagging Chef (see sidebar)! Enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Surprising Blessings

Sometimes, it's so easy to see everything you are missing when you have CFS. So, in a rare moment of quiet contemplation, I came up with a few blessings I have now specifically because of CFS.

1. A clean slate. It is exactly the fact that I can't keep up with my old activities that I get to start over. Before CFS, was I doing things because I loved doing them? Because I "had" to? Because it was expected of me? Because it was habit? Because it was an escape? Now, my functional time is precious, and I have much more stringent requirements before an activity even makes the list! I am choosing to remake me.

2. Permission to say "no." There is no pressure to agree to do something that I'm asked to do. I have to be honest with myself. If it is not physically plausible, or if it crowds out something of greater value, I get to say "no!"

3. Less doing, more becoming. I like the word "becoming." It has no beginning, no end -- it's a process. With so many activities stripped away, I'm left so often alone with myself. Am I happy with what I see? What do I embrace? What do I want to change?

4. Discovering hidden strengths. Faith, strength, patience, courage. Some I knew I had; others have been a surprise. This is an amazing opportunity not only to recognize but to use those strengths.

5. Relying on others. To someone who is proud and independent, this does not immediately seem a blessing! But to be on the receiving end of love and service is something that stays in your heart and is treasured forever.

6. Relying on the Lord. My strengths pale in face of this enormous challenge. I am all too aware of my weaknesses and failures. I can see the hand of the Lord comforting me, strengthening me, and making it up to the people I love when I can't be everything for them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Help! Recipes Needed!

I'm ready to start my all-inclusive wellness plan. That means that I need to put together a menu of healthy, really easy to prepare meals. Here's where I'm stuck! I've been throwing together frozen and prepared meals for so long, I don't have any good dinner recipes! Does anyone have any family favorites that are easy to prepare and good for you? I'm looking for chicken and fish and beans and lots of vegetables. I love to experiment, so unusual dishes are welcome.

Either post them here as a comment, or submit them on my website "Chronic Fatigue Community." Then, I'll post them all on my recipe blog, "The Flagging Chef." Thanks for helping!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Discovering My Strengths

I went to Via Survey and took a quiz to determine my signature character strengths. It was pretty interesting, and in some ways surprising! All the character strengths listed seemed to be uniquely geared towards helping me in my struggle with chronic fatigue.

Not surprisingly, my top strength was Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith. Hands down, my faith is what I lean on most during this trial. It gives me patience and comfort and insight. It helps me to see this as a journey of learning and discovery, not as an unfair punishment to be borne. It allows me to find reasons for gratitude in unusual places.

My second strength surprised me and brought tears to my eyes. It was Bravery and valor. "You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain." Wow. All right, bring it on, and I will find a way to overcome. It's amazing how someone who didn't know they were brave can suddenly feel brave when someone points out how brave they really are. Does that make sense?

My third strength is Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness. "You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way." It's true. I put it out there. This is what it is, these are my limitations. I'm sure that has to help in some way.

My fourth strength is Capacity to love and be loved. I can't imagine living with and healing from this disease without the love and support of my family and friends.

My fifth strength is Forgiveness and mercy. Hmm. As you can tell from previous posts, I'm a little harsh on myself. Maybe I can take that character trait and turn it inward as well as outward. I can forgive myself of these imposed shortcomings.

Which brings me back to strength number one -- because it takes faith to forgive, and then to find peace.

Isn't it amazing that when God gives you trials, He also gives you everything you need to overcome?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hope Raises Her Timid Head

Rom bumped into a chiropractor at the store the other day. She had had (yes, past tense!) chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. She said that she overcame it using a supplement called Immunocal from Immunotec.

Now, I am extremely skeptical. It looks like it's just a protein supplement, and it's very expensive. But she swears, swears, swears that it made her better. She also said that the improvement was nearly immediate -- within a couple of weeks. So, on her recommendation, I'm going to order ONCE -- give it a try -- and see what happens. If it works, I'll be dancing in the streets! If it doesn't -- well, I won't have to keep using it for months to see if it finally kicks in.

In the meantime, I'm going to be adding all the positive lifestyle changes that will support healing -- pacing, good diet, graded exercise, good sleep, stress reductions. Even if it isn't the miracle for me it was for her, I'll still be in a healthier, happier place.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Crappiest Halloween Ever?

Maybe, or maybe not! This is not a pity party. I just want to tell the story and have it here to compare next year.

This year, I did not put up one single Halloween decoration! No Frankenstein, bats, cats, or haunted houses. This year, we did not go to a pumpkin patch and spend an evening drinking apple cider and choosing the perfect pumpkin. This year, we did not even buy pumpkins at the local supermarket! We did not ... carve pumpkins.

Am I the worst mom ever? I have to tell you, I am steeped in tradition. I love those childhood memories of pumpkin patches and carving parties. I admit to a twinge of guilt that I did not give my children that this year.

However -- what did we do? We went to the trunk-or-treat and chili cook-off at church on Tuesday. We went to the school's Family Fall Festival on Thursday. Rom took the kids out trick-or-treating last night, including a trip to the park where they had a mini-carnival going on. Meanwhile, I dressed up as an angel and sat in a chair on my porch handing out candy and really enjoying the kids and the costumes.

And now, I don't have any Halloween hangover to clean up!

Maybe next year, I'll be better. Maybe next year, I'll have a lot more "good" days. Maybe next year, we'll get to the decorations and pumpkins. But this year, in spite of my limitations, was a pretty good year!