“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

Monday, July 12, 2010


As many of you may have noticed, I don't post very often when my health isn't doing very well.  And, well, I've been pretty spotty for some time now.  I know my CFS well enough now to recognize the culprits:  two big, important, stressful events.

The first was way back in May.  The reason I didn't get to post for ME/CFS Awareness Week was because I was wiped out from a speaking engagement.  That's right -- I was invited to speak to my congregation at church, and I accepted.  The topic I was given was vague.  It was to talk about the blessings of the gospel.  When I was invited, they suggested that I use my perspective from the trials I have.

I knew that many of my church family did not understand why I suddenly was not coming out anymore.  I felt like they deserved a solid explanation, for everyone's sake.  So, I went into detail about what my life is like with CFS.  Then I shared with them how much the Lord has blessed me and helped me shoulder this burden.  I described the hidden blessings I have found through CFS, many of which I mention frequently here on my blog.  I told them that I know God is mindful of me, and He loves me and takes care of me through the miracle of my loved ones.

I was raw and vulnerable after sharing this with oh, about 200 people, some whom I know didn't "believe" in CFS.  But I had a very positive response afterward, and more importantly, people finally understood.  CFS is no longer the elephant in the room.  They can ask questions and treat me like a normal person again.  It was worth the very severe crash that followed.

The second event was just two weeks ago.  My in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  I was unable to help with the majority of the party planning and preparation, but I did volunteer -- yes, that's right, volunteer -- to put together a 400-picture slide show.  That meant going through several hundred photos, selecting the right ones, scanning, saving, cropping, touching up, and putting them all in the program I was using.  It was exhausting, especially since the Howells are procrastinators and I got a lot of photos last minute, but the end result was fantastic.  I felt like I had pulled my weight, even though I did no cooking, setting up, or taking down.

The night of the party entailed an hour and a half drive out to the desert, the stress of family relations (I know you know what I'm talking about!), standing in the heat for numerous family photos, and another hour and a half drive home.  I only stayed about two hours, by which time I was shaking and crying and leaning on my husband for dear life as he walked me to the car.  My son drove me home.

Of course, I crashed.  Just when I was finally starting to recover from my May crash.  Frustrating!  But worth it.  See?

The good news is that I have no more events.  I've taken a hard stance for my health.  I have skipped my beloved water polo games, and I have broken my boys' hearts by saying no to soccer this season.  I'm giving myself time to heal.  And I will keep you posted on my progress.


Sue Jackson said...

My heart goes out to you, Shelli. I know exactly what you mean about family events and exactly how you are feeling now, afterward. I;m so sorry to had to pay a price for these two very worthy events.

Funny thing is that I ALWAYS do the photo slideshows for my family! It's pretty easy with a Mac, though as you noted, the prep work, especially scanning old photos is exhausting. I made one as a memorial when my godmother died and ever since, I've been the official family DVD creator!

The pictures of your family are wonderful - what a beautiful family!

You're right to focus on yourself now - rest, rest, rest, take care of yourself, and hopefully you'll rebound soon.

You are in my thoughts and prayers -


Dusty Bogwrangler said...

But what amazing courage you've demonstrated in doing these things! Ok, you've tested the boundaries a bit and are feeling the payback but standing up in front of all those people, amazing!

I got to the crying, shaking point on Sunday after a drive out. I couldn't climb the stairs to rest, so just lay down on the floor with a blanket and a cushion and went to sleep. People don't see that part much.

Sending you healing thoughts across the sea . . .

Renee said...

First of all it was wonderful to see your family photo...BEAUTIFUL!
I remember going to events like these and crashing for weeks or months after....sometimes it did feel necessary to go.
I too have been very weak and having old symptoms lately which have me bonding with my sofa and discouraged. Your post is one of 3 things that God has sent my way to help me understand, accept, and cope with what is going on...... You are in my thoughts and prayers for recovery from your crash. I love the way you take care of yourself so well and set strong boundaries...a good example for us all.
Gentle hugs

Unknown said...

What a great photo! I know what you mean; sometimes it's worth it even if the crash is severe. My take is that otherwise life will just pass up by & then what's the point? God has a plan, even if we don't understand, and sometimes it requires me to be a little (or a lot!) uncomfortable. Anyway, I hope you recover quickly.
miss you!

Maya said...

Four HUNDRED photo slide show!? Oh, you are so good. I would have plead pathetic, citing pressures of brain fog and an allergy to digitized images. *And* you volunteered!

You rock Shelli. You also did a wonderful thing in speaking at your church. Many people will not come in contact with accurate info about CFS. It's important to put a face to the illness. You are someone they know (or know of) and care about, explaining, the horrible limitations this illness has put on your life. But you're also someone still able to see God working in their lives. In spite of, and even by means of the illness. You gave them a tremendous gift

Brava Shelli!

Shelli said...

Thank you all for your kindness and support! Funny, but I found myself waffling between feeling proud of my accomplishments and feeling resentful about how much it took from my recovery. What's done is done, so I think I'll pat myself on the back and move on, eh? Here's to time to recover!

Amy Yannello said...

Hi Shelli --

Haven't stopped by before, but I just found your blog thru Dominique's.

I have a surprise for you on my blog, "Scribe, Ink." Come see what it is!

Amy Yannello

Lori P said...

Ah, Shelli, what a beautiful family you have! I'm SO impressed that you stood in front of all those people to give your testimony - something I could never do, and I'm healthy! I'm sure it took so much out of you, but it's good that they understand now.

I agree that you have to say no to lots of things so that you can begin to feel better. Your family understands, too. You know that they do.

Take care. You are always in my prayers,