“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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ulterior Motives

I think all the comments that I received from my last post reveal my ulterior motives. I posted my experience because I was hurt, and I just knew that you would all be my shoulder to cry on. You did not disappoint, and I wanted a special post to just say thank you so much. I am blessed to have such an amazing, wonderful group of friends to help me through this thing.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tipping Point

I had an experience last night that normally would be too painful and personal to share -- except that I know that many of you have been here before.

My husband and I met with our very well-intentioned ecclesiastical leader. He wanted to know what he could do to help our family, and he was also there to counsel us on what improvements we could do, as well. I must say, he approached the meeting with love and concern. This is a very good man, whom I love and respect as well. He is not, however, very well-spoken -- he's a man who has worked the land all his life, so he can be a pretty blunt.

He encouraged us to set stronger boundaries and responsibilities for our children. He told my husband that, although he works hard starting up our new business, he can't take it easy at home. He needs to be the enforcer and work alongside the kids to keep their feet to the fire. All very welcome advice, I must say!

Then, he told me he was going to likewise be blunt with me. He said, "I know you have a problem. Get over it."


I tried to explain that I have a medical condition, and that I have been trying to "get over it" for the last two and a half years. He kept repeating, "I know you have a 'problem'" but would not actually concede it was a real medical condition. He then went on to tell me stories about people who defied modern medicine and were healed -- a girl who was told she would never walk, who walked; and then she was told she would never run, and she ran. A boy who had asthma so bad that he was tented three times and his parents were told there was nothing more to do for him who eventually went on to play varsity basketball. A woman who had double vision but taught herself how to play the piano.

Would he have told me to "get over it" if I had MS? Or cancer? Or a stroke? If I were a paraplegic, would he tell me I could get up and walk -- if I only had enough faith?

My shock and disbelief overshadowed one bit of counsel that was actually appropriate: he suggested that I not allow my "problem" to consume my attention, my focus, and my life.

What if, instead of buying into the stigma that people with CFS are lazy, crazy, or depressed, he had been informed about CFS? Maybe he could have counseled me to set priorities and be aware of how I use my precious "good" hours during the day (well-needed advice, I must admit; I can waste time sometimes). Maybe I would have left with some ideas that would strengthen me as a wife and mother, that would bless our family. Maybe I wouldn't have come home and cried myself to sleep.

So, I have been nervous about starting my e-mail campaign for ME/CFS Awareness. I know that this is exactly what I am opening myself up to. But, this is the tipping point for me. Good people like this man need to be aware of what this disease is and what it does to people. I believe it is just like "Horton Hears a Who" -- if enough of us raise our voices, then maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to finally pierce the surface of ignorance and we will finally be heard.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sweet Things

Cute things my boys said the other day:

Gabriel, age 8, was pondering the other day and told me, "You know what's weird, Mom? Even though you have chronic fatigue and are really tired all the time, you're still really nice!"

Gavin, age 7, took in some bottles to recycle for Earth Day. As a reward, they gave him a coupon for a frosty at Wendy's. He told me he was going to bring in another bag of bottles to get a coupon for me -- "Because they have chocolate, and chocolate is good for your chronic fatigue!"

Oh, I love those boys!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Alright, I know that many of you are interested in helping out for ME/CFS Awareness Day coming up on May 12th. Here's a really simple thing that you can do to be an activist now! This is from Renee's blog:

"Please visit Kerry at Lemon-Aide to find out how you can advocate for more CFIDS/ME research by the CDC. They are holding a conference on CFIDS April 27th. It only takes a couple of minutes to go to the site she lists, fill out the form and send it off to the CDC. Thank you for making your voice heard. "

I did this, and it is set up so it only takes a few minutes. A few minutes to make such a difference! Please make it worth your time.

It's hard to see above, but the link is:

Monday, April 20, 2009


First of all, I am very happy with the progress I am making on my website! I wanted to do one page per week (resulting in at least 52 pages by the end of the year), and I'm already at 39 pages! More importantly, I just completed a section for ME/CFS Awareness. Please take a look and tell me HONESTLY what you think. I can always edit it if you find any flaws or have suggestions, which I would appreciate. You can find it here:

I will be using this information in an e-mail campaign I am trying to get my courage up for. I'm going to send an e-mail to all my friends, family, and acquaintances that explains my situation and asks them to do three things: 1. Read the "Understanding CFS" article on my website; 2. Donate $1 to; and 3. Forward the e-mail to everyone they can. I have given myself a deadline of May 1st to do this, so I can tweak the website a little more and compose the e-mail. Really, I'm just nervous, so I'm buying time. If I get my courage up, I'll do it earlier.

I'm about on track with my recipe blog, The Flagging Chef (see sidebar). I have 86 recipes, and I have a slew more that I'm ready to post. I've put together three weeks of recipes and shopping lists, and I'm working on one more today. That should give me a full month's worth of healthy eating without all the trouble of planning.

I've started a new series of stretches that is helping with my chronic pain. I'm also going to start a tiny bit of rebounding today before my rest period. I'll keep you up to date with how that is going.

So, I'm giving myself a pat on the back today! And who doesn't need that once in a while, hmm?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Exercise Experimentation

I know that the very thought of exercising causes fear to strike the hearts of many people with CFS. However, I think that it is important not only for overall health, but it may help in CFS recovery. So, I am on a quest to discover how to fit exercise into my daily routine in a way that will NOT make me crash and lead to a post-exertional malaise.

I already do morning yoga, and I tolerate it very well. I wake up sore and achy, so I love the stretches to get the kinks out. It's a wonderful way to start my day!

I am going to add a tiny bit of aerobic exercise -- I am going to rebound (mini-trampoline) for 5 minutes. (Actually, it is a one minute warm-up, then three minute bounce, then a one minute cool-down.) I have read that it is better to try to work out in the afternoon rather than in the morning, so I am going to schedule it around my afternoon rest.

So, here's the question -- do you think it would be better to exercise before my rest, or after? Should I be well-rested before I begin, or would it be better to rest to recuperate? Does anyone have any experience with this? Or do I need to try it both ways and report my results?

Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Because I Believe

Another loss today ... surely this must be the last, because there doesn't seem much more to lose.

I awoke this morning to the sounds of my little ones searching the house for their Easter baskets (the Easter Bunny always hides them). I used to get up with them and watch them frantically search; this time, I lay in bed and listened. I could picture them in the kitchen when cabinet door after cabinet door slammed shut. I heard the garage door open and close. I could hear them rustling through the living room. I recognized a note of impatience and frustration as they found their brother or sister's basket but not their own. It was delightful to hear! I love such family traditions.

After baskets were found and breakfast was eaten with a rare dessert of chocolate, they scurried about getting ready for church. My girls put on their new Easter dresses and came into my room to prance in front of my full-length mirror. My boys came in to ask for help with their clip-on ties. It wasn't until they were ready to leave that they noticed I was still in bed. "Mom isn't going?" they asked, then came over and gave me a kiss on the forehead.

It wasn't until I heard the front door close and quiet fell around the house that the tears started coming. This was the first Easter that I wouldn't be sitting with my family during Easter services.

Something else this disease has taken from me. Something else I have finally let go of and surrendered to the disease. But, you know what? I know what my family will hear. It's the same story I've heard ever since I was a child. It's a story that is written on my heart. I know it, and more importantly, I believe it. I believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected, and I believe someday I will be, too. So even though today I lie in bed with a broken down body, I know that it is only temporary. Some day I'll be healthy and vibrant and complete, never to know pain or sickness again.

I can wait.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lurking Symptoms

You know, when I first started experiencing CFS, I wasn't even sure I had enough symptoms to qualify. I had the fatigue, cognitive problems, and headaches. Were my lymph nodes sore? I didn't know -- I had never really paid attention to lymph nodes before. How about a sore throat? Everyone gets sore throats, right? Were the ones I experienced "frequent" or normal? Was I experiencing "post-exertional malaise"? Who knew? I felt like crap all the time; how can you quantify if it was actually worse after exercise or activity?

As I've settled into this disease, I am now able to recognize lurking symptoms. They may be overshadowed by the major symptoms I experience, but now I know they are there. Yes, I get frequent sore throats, but more importantly I recognize them as a warning signal -- I overdid it the day before, and now I need to take it easy. Maybe the joint and muscle pain I feel in the morning isn't just from getting old. Hey, my lymph nodes do bother me from time to time! Plus, I'm sensitive to cold and I get night sweats; I'm sensitive to light and sound; I have itchy eyes, eye spasms and tinnitus; I have a whole heck of a lot of cognitive problems; I have dizziness and neurally mediated hypotension; and I have TMJ.

So, yes. I guess I do have CFS after all.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Is it Cancer -- Or Wishful Thinking?

Can undiagnosed skin cancer cause chronic fatigue? I've noticed I have several suspicious-looking moles. It's not surprising -- I've had palish skin since I was a child. I grew up in Southern California before sunscreen was heard of. As a teen, SPF 8 meant you were a wimp! Sun tanning oil was the rage. Every summer, I would get my traditional sunburn, which would then peel off and allow me to tan. I am a prime candidate for skin cancer!

So -- is it possible that I really don't have CFS at all, but instead skin cancer? Then, all it would take is getting rid of a few moles, maybe a little chemo (which they say is about as bad as CFS, anyway), and then voila! I'm all better!

Do we all have these fantasies? Is it denial?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

ME/CFS Awareness

ME/CFS Awareness

ME/CFS International Awareness Day is coming up May 12, 2009. This is the first year that I've become aware of this, and I am definitely going to want to participate! There seem to be a lot of activities you can do to raise awareness with your elected officials and community. I'll post about the things I'm doing as I do them.

There, now it's out there, I'm committed! That should keep me from procrastinating, right?