Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Takes a Bite Out of the Holidays

By Jody Smith HERWriter

Before the advent of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, my holiday busyness would begin in mid-November. There were holiday meals and treats to prepare. Parties to attend. Gifts to buy. Decorations to drag out, dust off and display. I'd take my children carolling with my church, and we'd put on a play.

All this on top of a hectic and normal life.

Busy? Oh yeah. And I miss it. I remember those days with the usual nostalgic pangs ... and with something more. For us, things didn't run their natural course. They got chopped off. One year, we were celebrating to the hilt. The next year ... we weren't.

Life has changed alot at holiday time, because of CFS. Gone are the rehearsals, the parties, the shopping trips. My children and my husband are my Personal Shoppers. They take my lists and run with them for me.

Where I used to make shortbread, I substitute gifts someone else bought for me to give. I don't visit my parents, they stop by briefly so as not to tire me. The dozens of cards I used to send shrank to two or three.

Most of my kids will celebrate with us. They know I'll disappear to rest. Probably a couple of times, for a half hour, if I've been fairly healthy. If I haven't been, I'll spend an hour or more in bed while they entertain each other.

Meals are simpler, though my husband and children again take up my slack. One year, they prepared dinner while I slept. That was wonderful. And yet, I missed sharing in the chaos, taking part in the whirl of activity.

Instead I'd rest in my room, then take my place in my chair and ... watch. I love that too but you know, it just isn't the same.

I know I'm very lucky compared to many with CFS. Many are bedridden. Some have no home, unable to live inside due to multiple chemical sensitivies.

Many can't spend time with their families due to distance, or because their symptoms are too severe. The families of some have simply fallen away because of their chronic illness.

So yes, I am lucky and I know it. I can be with my understanding family, restricted as that may be.

To all of you feeling the bite of CFS at this season, I send you my heartfelt regards and hope for better health next year.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Add a Comment8 Comments

Jody Smith HERWriter

Cinda,

I'm sure those decorations look wonderful on your tree. I'm enjoying them from here. :-)

Thanks for the encouragement. I will do my best to keep doing the things that support my recovery.

Merry Christmas Cinda. :-)

Jody

December 22, 2009 - 10:04am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I've found those ornaments, but put them in the tree instead of making another trip to the PO. Now that's a royal pain! Ha! It's so great that you are on the mend. Don't stop doing what helps to support "you." Merry Christmas, Cinda Crawford, host of the Health Matters Show

December 22, 2009 - 9:42am
Jody Smith HERWriter

Thanks Mera.

I wish the same for you. :-)

December 10, 2009 - 3:45pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

*>-- Cheers to U! Here's to another year you'll be celebrating to the hilt.
Love,
Mera

December 10, 2009 - 3:18pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I just let my hubby read your post, he looked at me and said "are you saying I've got to do the brandied lamb?"
Just had to let him know I'll do what I can, but to be prepared to step in and help! Bless him, he looked so worried!!!
I'm just at that dubious vulnerable 'climb out of a crash' time so I'm going to be more careful than usual over the xmas period.

As always, you inspire a new level of coping in me,
Thanks!
Z

December 8, 2009 - 3:03pm
Jody Smith HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

LOL
Z,
I'm sure our husbands can empathize with each other. :-)
Take special care as you're climbing out of a crash. I know you know that, but it helps to be reminded, doesn't it. Do less ... so you can stay present. :-)
If something I've said helps you cope ... I'm glad. Look for better times ahead, Z.

December 8, 2009 - 8:36pm
cindacrawford

You're not losing the battle with CFS, dear. In my mind, you're gaining ground because you've found a way to succeed even during the dreaded holidays. Sending you much cheer and some of my Christmas ornaments... if I can find them :-))

December 8, 2009 - 2:06pm
Jody Smith HERWriter (reply to cindacrawford)

Cinda,
Thanks for the encouragement.
And I'll TAKE those Christmas ornaments ... if you can find them. :-)

December 8, 2009 - 8:33pm
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