Recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has come -- for me at any rate -- in any number of stages.
In September of 2007, I made the mistake of thinking, I'm here! I've arrived!
Actually I had not arrived at total recovery. I had arrived at a small way-station, still on the far periphery of Recovery. I was feeling so much better, my mind was functioning so much more clearly than it had -- and though I still had neurological buzzing and swirling and tremors, these symptoms were so much less than they had been.
Now, instead of completely halting anything and everything, these symptoms just -- what, made things harder to do, but I could still do them. This was a huge improvement.
I had fog in my head, but I could still take in what was said to me. My face was numb, but I could still carry on a conversation for more than a moment -- even up to 20 minutes! -- without deterioration.
I felt unsteady and shaky on my feet, and walked slowly so's I wouldn't bump into things or fall over, but the important fact was, I could do it.
I went into a store in my little town and didn't have to just put the item on the counter, pay for it, and stumble out the door. I could -- and did! -- have a little chitchat with the clerk while I was at it.
Still was in danger of dropping my change, and any wrinkle in the usual routine -- say I'd paid the wrong amount of money and needed to re-count it -- that would put my brain, which had been skating carefully across the surface of normal thought, right over the edge. And by the time I'd fumble my way out the door I would be in a head-spinning, freefalling blur of vertigo.
Nevertheless, life in general had swung upward, and I was enjoying it.
I began thinking about the things I'd like to do. Because for the first time in some years, I could do that kind of thinking.
I wanted to write. I wanted to write about CFS.
I wanted to learn to dance. I wanted to join a Little Theatre again. I wanted to take a knitting class. I wanted to take a class at the college.
I wanted ... years' worth of living, which had just gotten trashed due to sickness, restored -- now.
Instead, I got a crash.
My husband had papered and painted our bedroom for me and in retrospect we think that the fumes played some part in my dissolution.
I'd rearranged the furnishings in there, I started doing more around the house. I did more of the grocery shopping, I went for longer walks. I didn't go to bed in the afternoon because I didn't think I needed to and, anyway, I didn't want to. I never HAD wanted to and now it seemed like I had a choice.
But I really didn't. Have a choice, I mean.
My energy envelope had stretched and become a bit bigger, and it had seemed momentous to me. But it wasn't quite as big an envelope as I'd thought. It wasn't nearly as big an envelope as I'd thought.
And I crashed it. Big time. Took two months to get over the nausea, seasickness, vertigo, mind fog, brain freeze, and the interminable buzzing and swirling in my arms, hands and head.
But I did climb back out. Slowly, more carefully.
I thought I now had a better idea of just HOW sick I'd been, because I had a better idea of just HOW many layers of healing were ahead of me. As it turns out, in retrospect, I really had no idea, though I thought I did at the time.
I know that just because I can be out of bed most of the day, and write articles, and tweak a website; just because I can cook meals, do dishes, and do laundry without feeling like I might fall down; though my mind is able to think more clearly and more abstractly and can ALMOST handle numbers again; this doesn't mean that I am almost better.
But I am a couple of levels closer and each level brings new relief, new ability and new pleasure.
I have come through a few of these Steppin' Up times, each time a bit higher and a bit higher, and still I have not come to the top. But I am getting closer to it. And I will reach it.