Contemplating Wellness

“Four treatments should about do it,” the doctor advised while discussing approaches to tackling ME/CFS, which has kept me homebound for the past two years. “Once your body is stronger, we can tackle the Lyme disease.”

Wednesday marked the final of four IV Ozone/Ultra-violet light/Glutathione treatments.  At the beginning of each visit, the patient is asked to complete a self-assessment questionnaire rating different symptoms – frequency and intensity.  When I first sought help from this doctor, I scored in the 130’s.  On this last visit my score was 77.  I predict it will be lower when we meet again in two weeks.

“You’ve had stomach problems for as long as I’ve known you,” my husband confessed recently when I commented on how much that has changed.  “That is definitely an improvement.”

I am feeling stronger also, and notice that I have extended accessible energy.  I even went to the Farmer’s Market this week and bought groceries – something that I haven’t been able to do in years.  I still rode the store’s motorized cart, but in the past, if I could get there, I would just target certain aisles and be done.  This time I was able to browse the whole store.  I felt like a normal human being for once.

Yesterday, I climbed the stairs twice to fetch food from the downstairs freezer.  It may not sound like much, but that is a huge feat.  Climbing any stairs has been an issue for some time.  Last night, when my muscles protested – tightening and aching – I couldn’t help but wonder if this was more in response to me having worked the muscles than the normal anaerobic reaction of ME.

“I’m not all the way there yet,” I told my husband as we retired for the night. “But I’m feeling hopeful.”

“I hope you didn’t expect total recovery this fast,” he cautioned.

“No…” I’m not sure what I expected.  I hoped for a return to health, naturally, but I suppose that may be too optimistic.  “I may never be back to where I was, I guess, but it would be nice to be able to do more, even if I still have to monitor my activity.”

Lying awake contemplating the restrictions that illness has imposed upon my life and reflecting back to a time when health was not an issue, I realized that compromise is not a bad goal to set.  For as long as I can remember, I have pushed myself, tried to be all things for all people, worked long hours and negated personal needs – none of it an ideal worth striving for.

Should I be blessed with wellness again, I told myself; I will live a more measured existence, avoiding the complications of overcommitment and honouring my needs:  body, mind and spirit.

Balance, I decided, will be my mantra.

(Quotation from Rumi)

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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