I wrote a poem entitled "The Battle Of Chronic Fatigue" last month. The following article that I wrote for the Chronic Fatigue Chronicle included that poem. When reading the article over again, I realized that even though this article was written with one illness in mind, that the same words could be used for Diabetes, Asthma, Cancer, etc. A struggle always ends in one of two ways: success or failure. In my own personal quest for victory, I have found a high level of success... mostly by having a positive attitude and the love of my husband and many friends who were pulling for me! If you are in a battle for wellness, keep going and never give up! Even a broken heart needs healing to move ahead! I wish all of you many blessings.
My Plan for Victory
In 1993, three days after enjoying a breakfast buffet with my eighty three year old mother, we both came down with the flu. My mother recovered in ten days and I haven’t recovered yet. After three years of fatigue and frustration, and endless trips to many doctors, a caring physician diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome.
I soon realized that life as I knew it would never be the same. The unnatural fatigue, frequent inability to focus, shortness of breath, memory lapses, “brain fog”, body aches and pains had become all too familiar. I was angry at the world, myself and my failing body. I ranted and railed against the body that had let me down and the illness that refused to be healed; but I quickly found out this attitude defeated my purpose, and the stress involved made me more tired than ever.
Draining, too, was the anger and resentment coming toward me from friends and family.
“Why have you changed?” was the question I heard most. No matter what I said or did, I couldn’t make anyone understand that I was really sick. After all, I looked well and sick people are supposed to look sick, aren’t they? If I maintained a front of wellness for their benefit; no one believed I was ill, yet honesty didn’t seem to work either. I was blessed to have several friends who stood by me, no matter what and are still dear friends that I am fortunate to have by my side. But many other friends dropped me from their “A list” judging me no longer dependable. It wounded me to learn these were “fair weather” friends and I grieved their loss. Between the changes to my body and the loss of so much social and emotional support, I found myself on foreign ground with few resources to marshal to my defense.
Creating a Battle Plan
One of my husband’s favorite sayings is: “problems are to solve.” When it was apparent that this illness was not going away, I was forced to sit down and find solutions to my problems. I drew on my spiritual faith, knowing I could not resolve them by myself. I made a list of my problems and on another list, I started working on the solutions.
I spent two days, cloistered away from everybody, working on a plan that would help me come to terms with my illness. Stress reduction and rest emerged in a tie as my number one priority, so I worked everything else around that.
The first thing I did was to write a letter to family and friends, stating the facts of my illness. I asked for understanding and told everyone that I needed help. I made a list of the help I needed and when people called to help, I was no longer hesitant about receiving. Every one I contacted reacted favorably and was glad to have some understanding of what a PWC needs. My pastor thanked me for helping him understand the complexities of CFS.
Many activities I had enjoyed before CFS were no longer possible for me. As my next tactical maneuver, I concentrated on identifying the activities, new or old, that could still be satisfying within my limitations. I found my highest “energy hours”, (between 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM), and strategically scheduled activities to take advantage of them. Most evening events were not possible for me, unless I rested for two days ahead. I started meeting with friends for lunch instead of dinner, matinee movies instead of evening movies. This way I could keep in touch and not feel as if I were the odd man out. When evening invitations arrived, I referred to my energy plan and made a decision on each event, always adding “please ask me again” if I decided that I couldn’t attend. That kept an important door open for special occasions.
Beyond the Daily Battle
Once daily coping improved, I came to the point where I asked myself what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I needed a purpose; I needed to feel that I could still contribute to society. For me, that meant returning to my first love, which is writing. Although my work output was slower, I found great satisfaction in the fact that I could write whenever I felt well enough to do so. If possible, find your own personal passion and devote a small part of your energy to it.
Also important is laughter, which can improve health and may even help CFIDS sufferers reduce their pain. When we manage to laugh through the pain, it can be counted to our credit. Over time, I managed to restore my sense of humor; to focus on the good things left in my life. With the discouragement we all face daily, it’s important to have a good sense of humor; with ourselves and with others. It’s beneficial for everyone’s frame of mind to know they can laugh along with us.
The war on CFIDS isn’t over yet; as we continue marching toward the victory, I believe that PWC’s are the “Walking Warriors” of this world full of hurting people. We are courageous and tenacious; we will be here, cheering, when the victory is won.
Joy L. Hale
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|Reviewed by Bonnie May
|Joy, I wish I would have read this 5 years ago. But I still believe in everything you are saying even for my illnesses. A positive attitude along with a sense of humor is great no matter what situation in your in. Put this in FB Joy as a request from me but only when you feel great. Something to strive for and for me to work on too. Bless you for this...God bless the people that have a real Joy coming. Love you, Bonnie|
|Reviewed by Amor Sabor
|Forgive me for not leaving a comment on this when I first read it because I identified with it so much as I experienced the same if not similar symptoms...nothing has changed but I do know that it helps when you pray to our Creator that he gives you strength when you ask for it sincerely. We are imperfect beings and will suffer the maladies such as this and others as well. I pray for you and know well, what you go through but also share your entuhusiasm for life and the healing power of humor.
|Reviewed by MaryGrace Patterson
|This article offers some excellent information and incite on the illness and how to cope in various ways. You have made some very good points ! I am glad that you are still striving to overcome it and are moving forward ....M|
|Reviewed by JMS Bell
|THANKS FOR THIS VERY INFORMATIVE ARTICLE, JOY...AND MAY THE GOOD LORD CONTINUE TO KEEP YOU AND ENCOURAGE YOU AS YOU 'PRESS ON'! THANKS FOR SHARING. LOVE, BLESSING AND FAITH...
JOYCE * HIS INSPIRATIONS
|Reviewed by Connie Faust
|Joy, you have my admiration and much respect for your response to your unwanted illness. (Is there any other kind?) Your common-sense approach to meet and conquer has made the difference. There are many people who live defeated lives, giving in to depression because of their limitations. With God's help, we can find purpose in life in spite of handicaps.
This article can lead the way because you are living what you write about.
|Reviewed by James Johnston
|Dear Joy, for many years Marge and I have closely followed your brave battle with all these debilitating scourges wracking your body and mind. We have, as promised, solicited Devine Intervention on your behalf and will continue to do so. You have described these maladies in layman's language, which doctors seem unable to do (mostly because they don't fully comprehend the symptoms). You have written a great tutorial for people experiences these symptoms, with a definite plan of action for coping. An excellent treatise deserving of many accolades. ~~~ We are anticipating a visit from you and Ed, at a time when your juices are freely flowing! Much Love, Jim and Marge.|
|Reviewed by George Carroll
|More than a few doctors diagnosed my son with CFS but he wouldn't by it as he studied the symptoms and spoke to more than a few who had it on the internet. After seeing the best doctor in Manhattan NY he found a group who were set up in Tennessee in the Vanderbilt University Hospital studying this disease and others. He made an appointment and spent a week there and they agreed that he did not have CFS but P.O.T.S.
Don't know much about it but after years of struggling his bouts now are few and far between but it cost him two careers. Hope you will one day have the same good fortune. Many doctors in the past did not understand the symptoms and maybe some still don't but I doubt it.
|Reviewed by Joy Hale
|For those of you who left me such loving and caring words, I thank you. I treasure each review and I will carry in my heart how each of you expressed your concern about my unfortunate health situation. This offering has received very few reviews, perhaps because CF is still not a widely recognized illness, making the reviews that were left all the more precious to me. Thank you for your contribution.
Love & Blessings, Joy
|Reviewed by Linda McGrath
|Excellent revelation for those who don't understand. I have been dealing with a similar situation. I can relate.
keep writing !!
|Reviewed by Vivian Dawson
|Sooooooo Very Much Admiration for You, Lady Joy
for your Heart and Soul poured into this writing!!
Sooooooo Very Much Inspiration you have been
able to verbalize for all who are..well or not!!!
You are a true testiment to Faith of Understanding
filled with Love for all mankind!!!!
|Reviewed by Mark Lichterman
|Joy, you have, I'm rather sure, given a name to a problem that afflicts, possibly, millions of people, but it is passed off by us as just being tired and by others as just being lazy. I'd always been a nearly hyper-active person but for the past year I find myself being more and more tired and, truly, at times struggling to just get up and go do something. Of course I can pass it off to my age which is very rapidly approaching seventy-seven.
Thank you so much for this very enlightening and interesting article.
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|Great article, Joy; thanks for pointing my way towards this! Very well penned; brava!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. :D
|Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader)
|This is so upbeat even with the fact that you are facing a life you did not want to have to face. What a horrible thing to have to happen t you. I'm battling a chronic case of shingles as you know and it is going on two months I've had it. I'm on medication that sorta zombie's me out and the doctor say I may never get rid if it. That's a problem I have to learn to deal with if it comes to that.
You article impressed me and I'm an old geezer who doesn't impress easily.