Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quote It Saturday 12/12

We hit a sad milestone today. We went to the tree farm to get our Christmas tree with only three of us along. Jamie was still too badly crashed to get up off the couch. Despite our many cumulative years of dealing with CFS, this was the first time one of us missed this favorite annual tradition. Since we're running out of time, Jamie said it was OK to go without him, but our hearts were all breaking to leave him behind. We took a picture of the tree and sent it to his phone for his approval and brought him some of the yummy kettle corn we buy every year at the tree farm, and he was in good spirits when we returned home, but it was a tough day for all of us.

Quote It Saturday is a feature borrowed from my book blog where I quote from a book that somehow reminds me of life with chronic illness. In honor of Jamie's condition and sacrifice, today's quote is a very direct one about living with CFS from the wonderful memoir, Encounters with the Invisible by Dorothy Wall. If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it. Here, Wall considers how much more difficult it is to give in rather than to fight:

Yield. This is my lesson, too. Stop relying on strength. It feels strange to me, foreign, to bend to an opposing force rather than pushing against it. This is a different kind of determination, one that lets the opposing force pass through and, by leaving you intact rather than shattered, able to gather strength rather than dissipate it. This kind of determination can feel invisible and insubstantial, not as trustworthy or evident as that push-ahead, active, muscled determination. Our culture hasn't taught us about this second kind, has treated it as even less than a poor step-cousin, as something that doesn't exist. Our positive-thinking gurus allow no room for that tentative voice "but maybe Ineed to accept..." In chronic illness, the "myth of a cure," writes psychiatrist Arthur Kleinman, must be replaced by a "pragmatic notion of illness maintenance and disability reduction." Rather than being a sign of defeatism, he says, this shift in attitude can increase feelings of mastery and contribute to an increased sense of well-being that in turn helps healing.
- Encounter with the Invisible by Dorothy Wall

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend.


  1. Yes! This is an excellent book isn't it. I like this quote too...
    So sorry Jamie could not go with the family. It is great how you brought him into the family outing...
    At least he will be able to help decorate the tree!

  2. Your post reminded me of so many difficult "firsts" for me after I got sick, almost all of them involving missing out on something. I love how you sent Jamie a picture of the tree for him to see. Many people say that these new technologies make our lives more impersonal, but these people don't realize how wonderful they can be for the chronically ill. One example: I often do Instant Messaging with my daughter when I'm too sick to talk on the phone.

    I hope you have a great time decorating your tree!

  3. You're so right, Toni! Although there are days (like this past week) when I'm too sick for even my laptop, most of the time, the internet provides a wonderful way for me to communicate with others even while trapped in the house - sometimes that's my only interaction with the outside world! It helps so much to be able to "chat" with my cousins and friends on Facebook and also to interact with all of you in the CFS blogging world.


  4. A terrific quote Sue. Well spotted. I even asked AJ to read it. All our lives we are told to push ourselves to do more, and the received wisdom is the more we do, the more we can do. I think surrender is my favourite word.

    Enjoy your tree. We haven't got ours yet. Next weekend.