Humans of ME/CFS
I spent the first 20 years of my life riding horses on my family’s farm, playing field hockey, spending time with family, studying poetry, cartwheeling and singing everywhere I went. Life was effervescent and kind. However, for the past 11 years, I have spent every second pushing mentally, spiritually and physically through CFS, an illness that chocked me to the sidelines.
From this new vantage point, I have learned the value of spiritual evolution, and my mind has become muscular in its determination. My body, however, has not learned how to reclaim its former vigor. I struggle to show my loved ones that I care and worry that they think I don’t. I suffer through immense pain and fatigue each day. In order to teach a night class at a community college three days a week, I must sacrifice my entire day to the bed, the bathtub and the yoga mat.
My husband prepares my meals and massages my body so that I can rest and walk without a limp. At 5 p.m., I walk the one block to Community College of Philadelphia to hold office hours and teach a night class. Upon return, my body is aching for sleep and my head pounding with a migraine. Yet, I do this because the alternative means a figurative death.
If I don’t have the opportunity to contribute to the world, to teach, to encourage, then my illness would vanquish me. I push and struggle, and it exhausts me. But I must continue forward, sacrificing my long list of ambitions for the tiny moments of joy and gratitude, casting extra burdens upon my husband and family and friends. This path is mentally treacherous, but I’m the kind of woman who will keep hiking to the top, as long as hope dangles like a rope from the precipice.