It was a tough few months, the CFS crash between April and August of this year, the days stuck at home plastered to the sofa. But I survived – just – and I was ready to enjoy my reward: normal life. I got over excited about being reunited with my trainers and enthusiastically jumped around the lounge, happy to hear Jillian Michaels shout at me; I started filling my diary with lunches, meals out, trips to the theatre, and weekends away; I reunited with my writing plans, determinedly working out my route from Blogger to Grazia.
It hasn’t worked out like that, though. Yes, I have left the CFS behind, which is of course what I want, where I want it to stay, but in the last couple of months, I have not been skipping around enjoying life, making up for lost days.
It started with a sickness bug, which made me really poorly (and came dangerously close to impacting a weekend in Barcelona. How rude). I then hurt my foot and I couldn’t walk for a few days; then I had one of those ridiculous, fake looking limps for several days after – it was so bad I even wore my sports trainers into town, as they were the only shoes I could walk in. (Yes, Fashion, I hang my head in shame.)
Next up was an extreme reaction to a new supplement, which left me stuck on the sofa for a week or so (this has been the worst out of the run of bad luck, as the symptoms mirrored CFS and put the fear of the CFS God into me). I then did something to my eye, which left it bloodshot for several weeks; at the same time I developed a skin irritation on my hands, legs and elbows. A trip to the doctor reassured me that neither were serious, but they are inconvenient, nevertheless, and involve hourly applications of creams and drops. I then had a random bout of tooth ache, which did its best to make eating difficult (but I can be very determined). And, for my finale, I have spent the last few days experiencing another reaction – equally as extreme as the last – to a different supplement (yes, I am done with supplements, those small, innocent looking capsules will not seduce me with their promises again. Ever.)
Add into this mix a few cycles of endometriosis which, despite specialist intervention, is still causing me pain for about a week every three weeks, and it has very much felt like one thing after another. (Enough now, please, whoever is in control of such things.)
This is not what CFS free life should be: it should be about being healthy and living my life; it is not me going from one health challenge to another (non CFS health challenges are no more fun!).
I have tried to take everything in my stride, to hold dearly the good news that CFS is no more. But that good news seems to have got lost at times, as issue after issue has produced new daily headlines. I know none of them are big issues and, perhaps in isolation, would have felt manageable, but added together I have felt overwhelmed. I fought so hard to come through the CFS crash, this is not what I was expecting on the other side. I know there are people in far worse situations than me, people undeserving of those hands of fate, but day-to-day I have struggled to keep perspective and I feel worn down.
Somewhere in between all of this, there have been normal days: days filled with life, with laughter, with writing, with friends, with Husband – but just not enough. I feel my life is being dangled in front of me, just out of reach, teasing me: this is what your life could be, if…
The starting and stopping has sometimes felt too much to bear, I just want to start and keep going. I want to take my love of life and use it to live. I want to take that writing plan and do some proper work on it, not just give it a little poke here and there.
And I am annoyed with myself for finding it all so hard; I feel like I’m making a fuss. Strong people take whatever is thrown at them and keep smiling. Or so I tell myself. If I stop for a moment and give the situation some rational thought, I know this is not true – and I know most people would have struggled with my bad luck dance of the last couple of months.
You think I would be better equipped to deal with life not going according to plan, after everything, but I’m not; it never gets any easier to watch days slowly slip away.
But I am excellent at bouncing back; I am the Tigger of bouncing back. I trust that all of this will pass (experience tells me the supplement reaction will run its course in a few more days); I trust that there will soon be days filled with life and laughter. And hey, I shouldn’t complain, I’ve been to Sainsbury’s today (my first trip out of the apartment for four days): do not underestimate the importance of having a supply of Green and Black’s, and wine at these times (but obviously only to be consumed in moderation, being an overweight alcoholic would clearly interfere with bouncing).