Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Mardi Gras - Celebrate!

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!  We used to live in New Orleans, so today is a favorite holiday of ours, though we like any excuse to celebrate!

I think that in any life - but especially when you are living with chronic illness - finding little reasons to celebrate can bring joy to otherwise monotonous days.  Sick or not, I was brought up with this attitude - that even small occasions are reasons to celebrate (thanks, Mom!), but it's become even more important since my sons and I got ME/CFS.  When you're spending every day lying on the couch, trapped in your house and too sick to do anything (as Jamie has been lately), a little celebration means a lot.

So, in that spirit, here are some ways you can join us in celebrating Mardi Gras today:
  • Have some yummy New Orleans-style food for dinner tonight!  If you live in the U.S., a simple way to do this is to get some take-out from Popeye's (a fried chicken franchise that started in New Orleans) - that's what we'll be doing tonight, along with several friends who used to live in NOLA when we did.  Believe it or not, their red beans and rice is pretty authentic, and you can't beat their spicy fried chicken!
  • If you or someone else in your household is up to a little cooking, you can try one of my New Orleans-inspired recipes.  They were just published in the February 2012 issue of Family Fun magazine - you can probably still find a copy wherever magazines are sold (the March issue will replace it any day now).  They didn't post the full article online, but the individual recipes are there.  Try: Red Beans & Rice (a very quick and easy but tasty version), Jambalaya (a favorite here but it takes a bit more work and makes a large amount), or Shrimp Etouffee.
  • Enjoy a King Cake!  This traditional cake is eaten every day during Mardi Gras season (from January 6 until today, the day before Ash Wednesday) in Louisiana.  No matter where you live, there are probably some local bakeries who make King Cakes this time of year.  We've found several here in Delaware. If you have the energy for baking, you could try making your own.  Here's a King Cake recipe from Family Fun (this one isn't mine because we always buy ours, but I still wrote the intro).
  • Dress in purple, green, and gold and throw on some plastic beads if you have them (we have a big carton of them from our time in New Orleans!).
  • Check out the festivities from the comfort of your bed or couch at NOLA.com, which is featuring plenty of Mardi Gras photos and videos today.  You can even check out their live webcam and, if you're lucky, catch a parade (there's one on right now!).
Find some small way to celebrate and make today a special day!  Happy Mardi Gras!


  1. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday for us....today is "fat Tuesday" and we have pancakes every Fat Tuesday for some reason or another, so tonight we will be having our gluten free pancakes with maple syrup, fresh strawberries and whipping cream made from coconut milk! Oh and some almond butter for protein in the pancakes. We love this special meal....it is not a New Orleans meal, but it is our way of celebrating.

    1. Oh, yes, Renee - I believe the pancake tradition comes from the Catholic custom of celebrating Shrove Tuesday which is also today. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:


      I just learned of it recently from a Jeopardy question! We play a daily calendar version of Jeopardy at dinner every night - looks like I am learning something from it! ha ha

      Enjoy your pancakes - they sound yummy!


  2. Anonymous6:27 AM

    Hi Sue,

    I've just come across your blog and knew straight away I needed to leave a comment. I also have CFS and your blog is the first I’ve come across which talks about coping with it on a day to day scale, with emotion and honesty. I live in the UK and I've been through a tough time getting people to recognise it, especially doctors. It seems here a lot of people do not view it as an 'illness' - I don't know whether that is different in the US? Anyway I will leave it there - as I like to ramble. There is so much to look at on your blog and when I have the time I shall read it all :) Thank you though, it really means a lot to see someone talking about it and to find someone who knows what you are going through! :) Amy x

    1. Hi, Amy and welcome!!

      I'm glad you found me. There's a wonderfully supportive community of ME/CFS patients online that I think you will really find valuable - we all understand what you are going through, and it's a relief to know there are others "out there" who truly understand because, yes, we also have plenty of people here in the US who don't get it, too. Though from what I've heard, you have it even worse in the UK, with less access to treatments.

      Anyway, welcome! I look forward to getting to know you better.


  3. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for replying so quickly! I have stumbled across a few other people with CFS/ME online day. It feels so great to finally be connecting with people in the same situation. And it has given me the confidence and reassurance than doing my own blog on cfs/me is a good idea.

    Unfortunately the doctors I have seen have not been able to help me at all. A lot of the doctors, sadly, do not believe CFS/ME is such a debilitating illness and the ones that do cannot offer any help or treatment. Mum and I had to figure everything out on our own.

    I have read a bit more of your blog and a couple of things came to mind. You mentioned that ME/CFS is different for everyone and people need to find their own way of dealing with it that suits them. I completely agree - it has taken me a long time to figure out what works for me and now I am coping ok physically. This leads me onto my second point - I noticed someone had commented saying they didn't Jamie should keep going to school. As someone who has fought hard to continue their education I know firsthand how important it was for me to get my GCSEs and finish school and also how it really helped my mental state. I am so glad he has the support and I really do hope he reaches his goal. I have gone on to pass a fiction writing course and I am now enrolled on a journalism course. Learning from home is the only option for me at the moment and I am slightly behind my peers, most are at university now but when I first got diagnosed I really didn’t think I could get this far. It shows you can really do anything if you just keep positive. :)


    1. Thanks for the support, Amy :) I am glad to hear you were able to finish your high school education and are taking online classes now - that is fabulous!

      For someone just beginning to research treatments, I would suggest starting with:
      1 - treat sleep dysfunction
      2 - treat orthostatic intolerance
      3 - look for and treat underlying infections and improve immune system

      You can find info on all of these on my blog - try using the search function, but please let me know if you need help and I will send you the links to the appropriate posts.