Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Facing Reality

I may as well admit it. I have a chronic illness. I have been struggling with this health problem for ten years yet I maintain this stubborn notion that it will finally go away. I persist in thinking that I will find the cure. True healing is right around the corner and I’ll get back to normal. But it doesn’t happen. I have given up on doctors as far as this condition goes. There are some things that help and I have found ways to cope. But will it ever completely go away? I don’t know and to be honest it doesn’t seem likely.

Over the years I have followed a pattern of desperately searching for answers, surging with hope when I come across a promising discovery and aching disappointment when the answer fails to be the ultimate solution.

Pride and shame keep me from admitting the obvious. It is painful to admit that I am flawed—that my body is broken. It is particularly painful to tolerate such little physical activity after previously perceiving myself as relatively athletic.

There is a certain comfort in acceptance. I can let go and quit fighting and pretending. Acceptance does not mean giving up but learning to adapt to life in a new way.

It has been a long journey but the following are things that have helped me so far:

• Practicing the relaxation response, meditation, and proper breathing technique
• Careful pacing of activity and rest
• Overcoming insomnia through the Conquering Insomnia program
• Eating low-carbohydrate and gluten-free
• Finding comfort from the myriad personal blogs on living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia/ME

I am staying with our daughter and family for a few weeks. My main job is helping out with care for 7 month old Julian while she waits for a more permanent child care situation. Sarah and Andrew are very busy with their jobs and parenting highly energized three year old Henry and baby Julian. I wish I could do more to help them but my energy levels get depleted so quickly. I keep hitting the wall of numbing fatigue, headache and sore throat and then I have to back off and rest until my energy reserves are replenished. This is very frustrating.