Tag Archives: birthday

A Change of Plan

5 Oct

I hate having to change plans. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as flexible and spontaneous as the next (chronically ill) person. But when I have to change plans because of my illness I hate it. It doesn’t feel like a fair choice. It feels like my hand is being forced.

And that’s where I am this weekend. I have had to change our plans for the weekend because my stupid stupid body is not playing ball.

It is Mr B’s birthday on Friday and his Mum and Grandad are making the trip from Shropshire to London tomorrow for a family Sunday lunch to celebrate his birthday. The plan already revolved around me and my stupid body even though it is not my occasion. Mr B’s brother and sister both live in London too, and we were all to meet at our place and then go for Sunday lunch at our local pub. We were doing it local to us so that I didn’t have to provoke my beastly body by travelling too far. Even when it was Mr B’s sister’s birthday earlier in the year we met at our place and went to our local pub to accommodate my limited energy needs. I hate that it always has to be about me because of my ME/CFS.

And now I have been forced to change the plan; to bow out from the Sunday lunch at the pub thanks to my body’s decision to inflict flaring fatigue, heavy pain, burning achiness, dizziness and headaches of higher proportions than is my bearable ‘usual’ level. So yes, I will not be going to lunch with Mr B and his family. Instead I will be staying at home resting on the sofa.

Mr B’s Mum is so understanding and suggested we just have take away at our place to save me the effort of going out. But Mr B and I fear even that will be too much for me right now. After an hour of chatting and socialising I wilt at the best of times never mind when I am mid flare. So we have compromised with my body and everyone is going to come here for coffee before heading out for lunch. This is hopefully enough to pacify my body and quell any retaliation from ME/CFS. I will not play hostess (have well and truly given up on that by this point, my friends are well used to making their own cups of tea when they visit). I will merely sit and chat for a little bit so I get to see Mr B’s family and then I will rest.

I’m telling myself that this is better for everyone all round. Eating out with my long list of food intolerances is a little (haha, understatement of the year, massively, gigantically) tricky and requires energy enough to decipher the menu and discuss my requirements persistently with the wait staff. Nothing like spoiling a meal out with a barrage of 20 questions about traces of ingredients, checking this, checking that, all for just one roast lunch.

But I hate having to change plans. I feel bad and guilty for having messed up the plan. I feel sad that I’m missing out. But more I am annoyed. Annoyed with myself. I feel like I’ve failed at managing this illness. After 3 years I thought I’d got the hang of it. But no, still there are curve balls that throw me out of whack.

I totally underestimated the impact of the mini break away in Sussex last week. Even though I didn’t push myself and do too much whilst there, or so I thought,; even though I stuck to my diet; even though I used my wheelchair when out and about; even though…..the list goes on. And now there is no point dwelling on it. That is a waste of energy. And as you know energy is in limited supply around here. Learn the lesson, rest lots and move on. The flu jab shenanigans at the start of this week have just compounded things. Two outings in two days was never going to end well. And on the back of last week’s trip away, I am now forced to admit, ‘what was I thinking’?!

I naively thought, despite my consultant’s firm warnings, the flu vaccination itself wouldn’t affect my poor body. I thought if I did have any side effects from it, they would be full blown flu or nothing at all. But of course that’s silly. There are fifty shades of grey after all. And thank God, touch wood three times, throw salt over my shoulder etc, I do not have full blown flu as a result of the jab. But I do have something. The achiness and sore throat is not ‘just’ ME/CFS. But lets hope that my shade of grey does not getting any darker. And by taking it easy and not going for lunch I quell the tide.

But no point stressing or dwelling about it. I am where I am. Learn the lesson; file it way ready for next time and move on. There were reasons for getting the flu jab this week, which I won’t bore you with right now. Suffice it to say it had to be done this week.

Sometimes that’s just the way it is. I haven’t mismanaged anything. I have just tried to make the best and do the best in a precarious situation.

No point stressing about it. Learn the lesson so you avoid future repetition and rest so that in the not too distant future you are well enough to move on; to pick up the pieces and start again.

I think I need this mantra on audio loop or plastered all over the white walls of our apartment, maybe then I’ll stop and believe it.

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Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to Me….

2 May
Image source unknown via Pinterest.

Image source Joanna M Bromley via Pinterest.

Happy Birthday dear Jeeeeessss, Happy Birthday to Me!!

I turn 29 today. I’m still in Philadelphia so I get to spend the day and celebrate with my sister Lou and Mr B. We are going to take it easy and have a relaxed day so I pace myself and don’t over do it. Mr B has treated me to two nights in a gorgeous spa suite at a downtown Philly hotel for my birthday so I’m in the perfect place to relax. Lou is going to come over at lunchtime and we are going to have a picnic lunch in the close by Rittenhouse Square (or in our suite if the weather turns). I will then rest for a few hours before we go to Alma de Cuba for an early dinner and maybe a cheeky cocktail or two!

And no birthday (of mine at least) is complete without cake!

Image source egreetings.com

Image source egreetings.com

Turning 29, a time for reflection and celebration for this girl with ME / CFS

29 Apr
Image source via Pinterest

Image source  unknown via Pinterest

It’s my birthday later this week and I will turn 29.

I am someone who ordinarily loves loves LOVES her birthday. My friends and family often comment that as soon as Christmas is over I start thinking about my birthday. When I was younger they definitely had a point!

This year it seems a bit different. It’s not so much that I have an issue with the age 29, though I can’t say that I’m particularly happy that I only have one year of my 20s left…but it is only a number.

Birthday hat cat, just made me smile. Image source unknown via Pinterest.

Birthday hat cat, just made me smile. Image source unknown via Pinterest.

My issue with my birthday this year is more to do with what it means to my ME / CFS. Let me try and explain.

I was 26 when I became really sick with ME / CFS. I’m lucky in some ways that it happened to me when it did, no earlier no later. I had completed university and law school. I had qualified as a solicitor and had a good job with good health insurance provision (which has been worth its weight in gold). I was in a long term loving relationship with Mr B and had amazing friends and family around me. I’m glad that ME / CFS didn’t drag me under until I was 26. I know of people who have had to drop out of university because of this illness and that must be so hard. I’m also glad that it didn’t happen say ten years down the line when (in my intended plan for my life at least) I would be married with kids. So in some ways I am glad that ME / CFS struck me down at 26 and that I am now ‘only’ about to turn 29.

That’s all the nice stuff with a positive glow. The flip side is this. I am about to turn 29. This means I am now into my third year of being so sick with ME / CFS that I am unable to work, do housework, exercise, look after myself on a continuous basis or have an active social life to name but a few restrictions. I know three years isn’t a particularly long time to have had this chronic illness and that I’m not as severely affected as many people. But, to be frank, it sucks. When I was first sick with ME / CFS, when I was 26, it never once crossed my mind that three years down the line I would still be in this situation. But hey, that is where I am. It is what it is. I am moving forward but there is still not a definite end in sight. That is scary.

Friends and loved ones around me are moving on with their lives. They are getting married, having babies and progressing in their careers. I desperately want to be able to do the same. 29 is not old, but it’s also not so young. The unknown of ME / CFS makes it very hard to feel calm about the passing of time. It feels like my life  has been on pause for the last three years and I have no idea when I’ll be able to press the play button again. That is scary.

Time to breathe and STOP I think.

So it’s not that I am scared about being 29 and so close to being 30. I’m not mourning my 20s. It’s not that. It’s just that I’m scared at how quick time is passing without me really making dramatic improvement. My birthday is a milestone, it marks time and is giving me pause for thought. It has made me step back and evaluate where I am. Thoughts and feelings that I successfully keep suppressed most of the time have bubbled to the surface.

But it is what it is. There is no point me letting myself dwell on all of the downsides too much. I have so much to be grateful for, so perhaps I should just shut up and get on with it! I do love birthdays and this year is unique in that I’m in Philadelphia with my sister and Mr B and we have some (paced) exciting plans for the week! So I need to leave aside the ME / CFS angst and just focus on being happy on the one day (or week!) of the year that is my birthday 🙂

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