Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Wonderfully Relaxing Vacation

We're back!  I am pleased to report that I managed the trip very well, felt good most days, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm almost embarrassed that I was so anxious about the trip...except that I've been on other family vacations where those anxieties came true!

This trip started out just as bad as I'd feared.  That first day, traveling all day, was even worse than I'd expected.  I was still badly crashed, as I'd been for weeks.  I can normally handle getting through airports OK, but last Saturday, just the walk to our gate left me in tears (I don't normally need a cart and we were running too late to wait for one).  I had no physical stamina at all.  When we arrived in Jamaica, we had to walk a long way and wait in line to get through immigration and customs.  When we got through, my mom ran up to me and hugged me, saying, "I've been so worried about you!  Did you manage the trip OK?"  Wanting to be a good sport, I tried to say, "I'm fine, Mom," but I started crying again!  I just felt so overwhelmed and exhausted.

Fortunately, everything improved from there on out.  I ended up feeling quite good the entire time we were there.  The weather was perfect - low 80's with a nice breeze, 70's at night - and the scenery was gorgeous.  Of course, it helped that I had no responsibilities at all for 6 days!  No cooking, shopping, laundry, dishes, or schedules to keep.  I walked a lot more than I was used to, just getting from the room to meals or to the beach and back, but with no stress at all and no energy needed for the usual daily tasks of life, I managed fine.  My family was very understanding, too.

I settled into my own little routine, spending mornings on the beach on a lounge chair, going out on the snorkeling boat with my family at 11:30 am (just for the ride at first), a long nap in the afternoon, and meals with my family either at the buffet or one of the restaurants.  It probably helped that the four of us were in bed by 9 pm every single night!  In fact, I think that helped a lot.  I often woke at 7 am or earlier (that's what CFS does to Jamie, Craig, and I), but I usually stayed in bed until 8 am because I didn't want to wake the boys.  So, almost 11 hours of sleep a night, plus naps!  No wonder I felt good.

After a few days, I was feeling well enough to even be a bit more active.  My mother's wonderful husband, who was a competitive swimmer in college and is SCUBA certified, offered to basically pull me along with him while he snorkeled, so I wouldn't get tired swimming.  So, I held his hand and got to enjoy the amazing underwater sights along with my kids!  He was a really good sport about pulling along my dead weight, and on the next day, I even tried a little kicking and paddling to help out (that's me in the orange mask in the water).

Staying out of the sun (because of my Lyme meds) was a challenge, but I managed that OK, too.  Each morning, I covered myself in SPF 100 sunscreen, I wore my big sunhat everywhere plus a long-sleeved sun shirt while walking and a rash guard shirt while in the water, and I tried to stay in the shade whenever possible.  I also cut my dose in half while I was there, so I'm sure that helped, too.

I absolutely love the ocean, and it was so warm in Jamaica!  I loved sitting on the beach under the palm trees looking at the gorgeous views or floating in the warm water with my kids.  As a bonus, being in the water is great for OI (as long as it's not hot water!), so my stamina was better than normal - I was able to play Frisbee with my sons in the ocean, enjoy snorkeling, and float down the "lazy river" with my niece and nephew.  All in all, it was a wonderful week, relaxing and enjoyable.

Now, it's back to reality.  Yesterday was a flurry of grocery shopping, unpacking, laundry, cooking.  I stayed up too late last night and woke too early this morning, so I'm pretty exhausted today - almost nap time!  I've been thinking, though, of how to extend that relaxed vacation-feeling into my daily life.  I am definitely going to try going to bed earlier and also making time for something relaxing and enjoyable each day.  Wish me luck!

I hope everyone (in the US) had a nice Thanksgiving holiday!  


Anonymous said...

Thank goodness it all was OK! You guys look so happy on the beach and in the water. Welcome back! I've been going to bed by nine every night too and it really does help. (if you don't have insomnia)


Shelli said...

Exquisite! I'm so glad you were able to enjoy such a fantastic vacation. The pictures are wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us!

Renee said...

Sue....YAHOO!! I am so happy it went so well. The pictures show some relaxed and happy people...I read your post outloud to Joel and when I got to the part with your mom's husband pulling you around in the water so you could save your energy and yet experience being the snorkling..we lost it with tears running down our faces in happiness for you.
You are so right, we need to somehow keep that relaxed vacation peace with us in our daily lives. Getting so much sleep is a real plus!
Sending hugs and a victory dance of joy your way....

Toni said...

Splendid news, Sue, and the family portrait at the end of the post is magnificent. I hope you make a big print from it and hang it in your house. I'm so happy that your family had this joyous time together.

Baffled said...

I'm so happy for you!! How wonderful.

Anonymous Nell said...

So glad to hear you had a good holiday! That last pic of you and your family on the beach at sunset is gorgeous. Hopefully you will be able to maintain your relaxed attitude in your everyday life and your future holidays will be just as pleasant.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Just sooo AWESOME, Sue! You must feel amazing! And this means that the rest of us folks with moderate CFIDS can travel! I have been afraid of traveling for all the obvious reasons; even a long flight seems like not-an-option. But now... the sky's the limit? ! TRULY happy for you! Now all I need is the dough to pay for such a trip! LOL.. THAT is what is truly impossible!!


Amanda said...

What an amazing vacation you had! It's wonderful that you were able to enjoy time with your family. As jealous as I am that you went to Jamaica, I think I'm more jealous about the 11 hours of sleep! I've had CFS for 3 years and I can never get enough sleep. I am in bed by 9:30 but it always takes me a while to fall asleep and I frequently wake up too early. Today I woke up at 3:30! (That was with Ambien too!) What have you done to help you achieve good sleep? I'd appreciate any tips! (

Peggy said...

So glad to hear you made the vacation and were able to rest and enjoy it!!! Just think of the happy memories you made while there that you can reflect back on to lift your spirits when having a CFS day.
No snow this morning ....just cold and bright sunshine here in Missouri!!