I can't believe we're almost half-way through April already! This is possibly one of my favourite times of the year being the season of new beginnings. The days are becoming sunnier and longer, flowers are blooming and there is great excitement in my heart. Let me tell you why...
When I was first diagnosed with ME/CFS, I felt lost. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was a condition I had never heard of before and my doctor didn't seem to know much about it either. What got me through was the support of other patients I found online. And they continue to be my support as the years go by!
For this reason I have created some groups on social media where bloggers, vloggers and other content creators with ME/cfs (and their carers) can share their posts to help support the ME/cfs community better.
My hope is that newly diagnosed patients, or anybody struggling to manage life with ME, would not struggle as much as some of us have to find the support and resources available to them.
This month has been quite productive! I can't believe it's almost gone already. I'm once again taking part in this thought-provoking monthly link-up with Sheryl from A Chronic Voice. I love the prompts she comes up with each month - they really force me to consider things I might not otherwise think about and perhaps, in a way, that helps to keep me focused and accountable too. This month's prompts are:
When I first got ME/CFS, I was so utterly exhausted, I slept many hours a day and I slept at night too.
Later I was introduced to one of ME's most horrible symptoms: insomnia. It's quite ironic that people think we sleep all day when really we're just utterly exhausted, mentally and physically drained, but unable to sleep, especially at night.
I found myself nodding off in the day, trying hard to stay awake, and then at night when it's finally okay to go to sleep, my body and mind are wide awake and in no mood for rest, buzzing and restless, despite still feeling utterly wrecked.
It might surprise you how often people with chronic illness are asked what they do with all the free time they have at home. I think many healthy people have no idea how difficult it is to deal with unrelenting symptoms on a daily basis. I hope to shed some light on this by sharing with you what a day in the life of severe ME is like.
Every Wednesday the ME community comes together on Twitter to raise awareness of this debilitating chronic illness. We share recent media coverage, research news, our personal experiences and more. Making new connections and supporting each other.
I will post the graphics I shared during the last ME Awareness Hour below. I hope this will help you understand what life is like with ME/CFS. If you have learned something new or find this post might be helpful in any way, please share it or download the images to share on social media and help raise awareness.
I'm so happy to finally be taking part in A Chronic Voice's monthly link-up! I have been silently following along from the shadows for months, then last month I finally wrote the post, but of course I waited till the very last day and actually missed the deadline by 4 hours because Sheryl works on Singapore time.
This time I'm doing a bit better, I am writing this post with 6 days to spare. Wow, I must say I am impressed with myself. I am trying hard to get into a good and productive as can be routine, but before I delve into all that, here are this month's prompts:
A year ago today I got my wheelchair! I was almost completely bedridden at the time. Walking just a few steps every hour or two just to keep circulation and muscles alive was a chore.
As a family we were house-sitting in the Lake District at the time. It was a long term arrangement, so was kind of our home away from home, but I had been confined to an upstairs bedroom and was unable to get out to see the countryside around me.
I would enjoy, for a few minutes, watching the birds at the feeders outside my window and the gorgeous orchids that adorned every windowsill. Although it was a freezing cold winter, I longed to go out and explore.
Sandwiched between 2 hot water bottles, under layers of clothes and blankets, medicated - multiple times, in the dark with sunglasses on, my phone's screen dimmed and the blue light filter on so that I can bear looking at it for a few minutes at a time.
This was me yesterday after I had a nap on the sofa where I toppled over after lunch, in a bundle of pain and tears as the previous night's insomnia caught up with me and my body was flooded with pain in every muscle and every bone.
As anybody with a chronic illness can tell you, holidays are a stressful time that we often dread. With many more people around, an increase in noise, activity and an abundant selection of unhealthy food choices, it is inevitable that we will experience an increase in unpleasant symptoms and will at some point need to isolate ourselves in order to rest and recover.
I am fortunate to have a very considerate and understanding family who keep noise levels low, TV off most of the time and serve me like royalty so that I don’t have to exert the little energy I have. It is frustrating when you want to join in and help others, but are bound by your condition to sit still and rest for much of your day.
Since May last year, I have experienced some great improvements in my health and am no longer bedridden, but in August, after a day out with the family, I had a massive flare up which lasted months. I don’t think it was just the outing that caused the flare up though, I was also going through a horrible histamine reaction which was exhausting my body. I ended up staying indoors for 5 months before venturing out, just after Christmas.
Prioritising rest and sticking to my low histamine keto diet and supplements seems to be paying off, I had minimal payback from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities, so a couple of days later was able to enjoy a whole afternoon out with my parents! Continue reading