Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Flexibility & Giving In

I woke up this morning - after grocery shopping and dinner with friends yesterday - feeling exhausted and achy, with a bit of a sore throat. Still, I didn't want to give up on my plans for today. I had planned to go see a local photography exhibit with two friends and then have lunch. It's extremely rare that I do something like that, it fits with my new determination to have more fun, and I was just really looking forward to it. I tried an early morning nap, after I got Craig off to school, but I knew when I got up again that I really shouldn't go anywhere.

So, reluctantly, I let my friends know I'd have to cancel (I'm blessed with such understanding friends!), and I gave into the mild crash and camped out on the couch for the rest of the morning.

Flexibility is so important to managing CFS, but it took me such a long time to accept that. It's still so hard to get past thoughts of "but I HAVE to do that," and change my plans like I did today. Sometimes it's as trivial as a trip to the grocery store, but my husband always reminds me he can stop to pick up food. Sometimes, like today, it's something I want to do, plus I don't want to disappoint other people. But living with CFS means I (we) have to stay flexible. Last year at this time, we were ready to drive to Connecticut for my niece and nephew's birthdays, like we do every year. Jamie had been horribly sick all week, but we were still stuck in that mindset of "we HAVE to go." Finally, at 5 pm on Friday, with the car fully packed, Ken and I decided we needed to stay home. It was the right decision - Jamie continued to feel bad until Sunday - but it was so hard to make.

So, today I was rather proud of myself. I made the hard decision. Then, I did something else that's hard for me to do. I completely gave in to the need to rest and took the day off. I grabbed a warm quilt, a cup of tea, and my book and just allowed myself to relax. I ate comfort foods and watched an old movie with my lunch, then took my nap. Usually, even when I know I need to rest, I fight against it, still trying to do something productive from the couch or the recliner, still worrying about the to-do list.

So today I did the right thing, and I'm feeling a bit better this afternoon. I am hoping to go to my neighborhood book group tonight, after more rest time on the couch (I still have to finish the book anyway!) We'll see. As with so many aspects of CFS, these are lessons I seem to keep re-learning over and over, but today I'm glad I listened to that little voice inside telling me to rest.


  1. Please keep reminding me of this, and maybe eventually the message will find a way to seep into my unusually hard head! I'm sorry you had to miss out on the trip with friends, but I'm sure you'll appreciate your book group more because of it. Enjoy!

  2. I'm still learning!

  3. It's hard. I'm sorry you weren't feeling well today and missed your outing with friends. I hope you were able to make it to your book group and feeling better.

  4. Oh, Sue, what a great lesson for us all. I'm so glad you listened to your body and to yourself! I'm still learning, but I hope that your story helps me the next time I face that dilemma.

  5. Good for you, Sue. You did the right thing. Hope you're feeling better.