About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Tidbits: Changing Gears

An old High School game where we definitely needed to change our  strategy: something not easily done these days!
Do you have problems shifting gears?  It's one of the things that upsets me most when when it comes to my "psyche" and it's one of those pieces of information about the wretched CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibromyalgia nightmare that has helped me the most.  (Information is power!)  Once I realized it wasn't "just me," but the illness(es) that made changing from one thing to another so difficult, I could breathe more easily.  That's not to say that I'm finding it a whole lot easier to live with the DD.  It's just that I don't beat myself up as much as I used to, knowing that this is a problem that's a "classic" symptom of this whole mess.

And so having survived what the jaded part of me thinks of as the "dress rehearsal" to Christmas, that is, Thanksgiving Day, I realized today just how much I'm still learning to adjust to living with the DD.  Honestly, I DO love Thanksgiving.  I just wish Christmas came a little later so that we'd have a bit more time to recover from one holiday to the next.  But here are a few things I discovered or rediscovered, all having to do with the "changing gears" problem, in one way or another.

  • Do the bath, hair, makeup and dressing BEFORE the day begins.  In other words, don't backtrack if it can be avoided.  Every year I tell myself I don't want to be sweaty for dinner and yet by the time dinner's almost ready and it's time for me to make myself "presentable," I don't have the energy to climb back up the stairs and go back into "clean myself up" mode.  And might I add, that I've not cooked a turkey feast in at least ten years - this from someone who thought that making five desserts was slacking off and I actually did need to hose myself down!  Honestly, what do I possibly have to get sweaty from these days - other than the huge effort of commanding hubby and kids in what needs to be done?  (That last part was sort of a joke!) Yesterday I finally remembered (!) that exhaustion, forced myself to come down "prepared" - and it was great!
  • Don't let family (or friends) talk you into going for a bit of a rest before dinner!  Evidently, I was looking a bit peaked and against my better judgement, I was talked into going for a rest, with number #1 daughter doing the push-mom-up-the-stairs maneuver.  (There IS only one daughter.)  By the time I settled into bed, number #1 daughter reappeared to tell me it was time to eat.  Ah!  No more, dear daughter....  Huge mistake on my part, a rookie one at that.  Shame on me!
  • If eating at the table is a hardship, try to plan out your strategy ahead of time as much as possible - and try to stick to it.  It's the "surprises" and sudden change of plans when I'm especially exhausted that contribute to the gear-shift problem.  If sitting at the table and eating makes food taste like cardboard - thus becoming a waste of calories - just take tiny portions and "fake" the eating.  Try to remember that you're really there just for the socializing.  I have no idea what got into me yesterday (other than the obvious huge quantity of food) and for the first time in ages, I ate too much at the table.  Well, when I crawled into bed, my stomach was full, but my taste buds were not at all satisfied and I had my "in bed" Thanksgiving dinner as well.  I'm sticking to the old plan from now on!
  • "Let's go into the other room for dessert."  This may very well read as a contradiction but this whole mess we're in is a huge contraction.  So, having said that....  Yesterday a new tradition was begun, though somehow I SUSPECT that this won't work QUITE as well if you have a large number of people getting together.  We only had family and so "the other room" this year was my bedroom.  Usually we have dessert at the table, with me about to pass out, literally.  But because the filter between my brain and mouth wasn't working well yesterday, I found myself saying, "why don't we eat dessert upstairs?" It worked out beautifully, especially as hubs was extremely tired from cooking since 7AM with no break.  Yes, TV was awful, but we all had a great time lounging on the sofa and bed and having great, though exhausted, laughs - the perfect way to start burning up those awful calories!

So, having problems with shifting gears?  We still have Christmas and New Year's to get through.  Hopefully, the information here may give you another weapon for your arsenal!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  I certainly had much to be grateful for this year besides my family's health. I also had another great gift this year: that of the spoonies and the many friends I've made via Facebook, blogging and twitter, old and new, near and far, some very, very far!  I've had great support from so many in a year when I truly needed it, so thank you all - I think (hope!) y'all know who you are!

I hope everyone's doing as well as can be, only better. Ciao and paka.


  1. Hi Irene - I'm glad you had a good, if exhausting, day! Thanksgiving in Marion, Alabama, was the usual tense ordeal (the joys of a narcissistic mother and depressed sister) . . . Pete and I are happy to be home in Charleston. Now if we can just make it through Christmas!
    Take care,

    1. Yikes! Sounds very stressful, Martha. Glad you and Pete are able to get home. Hope we all make it through the holidays! xx