“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 8, 2010

My Life Is Different Now

I suppose that's an understatement.

My CFS was a slow onset case. I don't have a CFS anniversary per se. I have a vague idea that something changed around summer of 2006. And then the changes snowballed. I suppose we all take a look back from time to time and see where we were and where we are. My life is different now.

It has taken me a long time to figure out that different doesn't always mean better or worse. I didn't choose this path. I didn't choose this life. And yet, that doesn't mean that this new way of living doesn't have value.

I think about the fast pace I was living before I became sick. I think about the direction I was heading. As my children were growing older and less dependent, I was moving away from my family and more towards me. I was growing an interior decorating business that showed some promise. I was reaching out more to my friends, becoming more social. I spent a lot of time volunteering at church. I supported my kids in their activities by driving them and being there for sports, scouts, clubs, and school.

When CFS hit, it stripped me of all those activities that comprised my life. There was a void. There was a panic. I had to find a new way to live.

It's interesting to see the pieces I've chosen to include in my new life. I am now anchored here, in my home, in my family. Instead of interior decorating, I am writing. My husband and I snuggle on the couch watching our favorite TV shows instead of spending the evening with friends. My moments with my kids are one on one, face to face, instead of driving in a car or with me as a spectator. I work a lot harder on personal spirituality. I connect with friends here.

Not better. Not worse. Just different.

Once I recover from CFS, my life will change again. I hope I balance the best of both.


Maya said...

I love this post. That we can find value in this new existence is something many healthy people find hard to stomach.
They want us to all rage against the dying of the light. And that's know...if you're actually dying. But if you aren't. Well, at some point, all of that raging has to give way to living.

I actually wrote a post in line with what you wrote just a few days ago inspired by Richard's Worry, Illness, Guilt. I hope you'll read it...I've just recently moved an old blog to Blogger and started blogging again. And am writing openly about my disease, pretty much for the first time.

I would to hear some thoughts on my thoughts; from my new community. Here's the link:

Shelli said...

deBergerac -- welcome! I'm glad you found me and our CFS community. Your blog is wonderful, and I look forward to reading more.

hiddenlives said...

Well said. I'll just add that though recovery will bring other changes, the strength, the knowledge, the character forged in this time will be forever part of you - a depth the busy life might otherwise have hidden from you. ;-)

Alison said...

Well said, Shelli. Mine was a slow onset too. Have you written about it? I've started to, but it's a long story. So different from the sudden flu-like onsets you normally hear about.

Dusty Bogwrangler said...

Yep, me too. Slow onset and a couple of 'last straw' events. I love your acceptance. On my better days I can embrace my new life but I'm still hanging onto a corner of the old one. Today I shall try to accept where I am.

Unknown said...

I was a slow onset, too. I can't pinpoint a moment when I think I didn't have it, but my life sure is different; as you have articulated so well. Thanks Shelli for sharing. I hope, too, that when we're better we can find the balance between the old & the new b/c it's not better or worse ... just different. :)

Lori P said...

Very well said, Shelli. And a nice attitude and outlook.

Sue Jackson said...

I love your positive outlook, Shelli - always inspiring!

Yes, CFS does force us to consider what's important and pare our lives down to the bare minimum, but they can still be fulfilling lives.

We've always been a close family and enjoyed spending time together, but facing CFS together has strengthened those bonds. I also think that dealing with both my illness and their own has made my sons more empathetic toward others' struggles.


Kerry said...

What a beautiful post Shelli. The losses are enormous and so are the findings. Describing your new life with CFS exudes such peace...perspective of the simplest and most important parts of life.

I too miss what was...a very busy, full and much enjoyed life. If I were to be cured, I would want to bring all the "simple joy" findings through illness with me.

Enjoyed getting to know you better through this post and your sharing of both pre-and present CFS life. No doubt, cure, or whatever life holds, you will balance it well. Kerry