“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Support at Last!

A couple of weeks ago, as I contemplated the New Year, I was talking with my husband. I had finally gotten my head around the fact that CFS just might last for awhile -- and I told him, "I need to learn how to live with this." He answered, "No -- WE need to learn how to live with this." What a loving thing to say!

True to his word, we had a family council a short time later. We explained CFS to the kids more completely than before, and we let them ask questions. I told them what to expect and how to read the signs that I'm not doing well. We let them know that this is probably going to last a long time, and it was time to stop waiting for it to "just go away." We pointed out the way they have been taking advantage of my CFS symptoms -- like not finishing jobs because I'm too tired to hound them about it, or twisting my words because I can't remember anything. We let them know what kind of expectations we would have from here out.

Has it helped? Well, I'm not going to say everything got better over night!!! But, now my little boys aren't throwing fits to get my attention when I'm zoned out -- they are recognizing it as CFS, not indifference. The jobs have been getting done a little better. My oldest is offering to run a few more errands for me, willingly. There's a gentler attitude towards Mom these days.

The most amazing thing of all, I think, is a gift from my middle child. My two oldest have to get up very early -- 5:30 am. Waking them up every morning is torture for me, because it interrupts my precious sleep and I never know if I'll be able to get back to sleep after it. I definitely attribute it to exacerbating symptoms when I'm not doing well. Well, my 13 year old asked if it would help me if she set her alarm and started waking them for me. What an amazing offer from a teenager!!! I accepted, and that first week was heavenly! I figured she would try it for a week and then discover it was too hard and not worth it. So, when I approached her about it, she said, "No problem, Mom -- it's really easy for me to do. I don't mind it at all!" So, she's still doing it! Cheerfully! Amazing. Just amazing.

Maybe that's why this January has been so refreshing for me. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and it is because I am no longer carrying this burden alone. I feel like I can work on getting healthy without my family unwittingly sabotaging my efforts.

Dang. I feel good!


Linda said...

I feel your pain and your elation at finding support within your family. I have been living with a chronic illness that also leave me 'pooped' after the slightest task, zoned out by mid-morning and short tempered more often than I'd care to admit. My husband is very supportive as well. My 8 yr old understands much better than my 17 yr old. She is in that, 'oh other people exist?' time of life.
I commend you on the amount of children you have, as I know how hard it is with 2. I just pray for strength and the help of Heavenly Father, each day. And somehow I survive. Bless you...
By the way I saw your post on Mormon Moms Who Blog.

Renee said...

How wonderful for you! I have been enjoying your glad you are feeling more rested.


Sue Jackson said...

Shelli -

That's wonderful news! I'm so glad to hear your family is being more understanding and supportive. Also, I think you have just passed an important milestone in putting your life back together, post-CFS. It's a very hard lesson to learn, but once you accept that - for now - you have to live with CFS instead of waiting to get well, you can get on with your life. It may not be the same as your "old" life, but you can find a new normal for you and your family that's happy and enriching. And CFS just gets worse and worse when you fight against it. That's why I titled my blog Living with CFS...I meant really living, not just waiting to get well. It doesn't mean I've given up on the belief that I might someday be well again, just that I won't put my life on hold in the meantime.

I'm sorry you have to live with CFS for now, but I'm glad you've got the support you need to start building a new normal. What a great start to a new year!


Ms.F. said...

I'm so happy you found support within your family. My husband was my boyfriend when I first started showing the symptoms of CFS. He was there when I tried to fight it and ended up bedridden for days, he was there to take me to the bathroom at the middle of the night when I couldn't walk, and to feed me when I couldn't lift the spoon to my mouth.

When we decided to get married, I asked him whether he would be able to life with the CFS since it would affect his life as much as it would affect mine. He just looked at me and said if the choice was living with me and CFS, or living without me then there was no choice a all.

I don't know what I've done to deserve such love, but I sure am grateful for it.