Monday, May 04, 2015

Back From My Trip - Victorious!

Northshire Bookstore - Manchester, VT
I am back from my 4-day trip to Vermont, victorious! I had a wonderful weekend and managed my ME/CFS successfully - I feel like I have returned from battle!

I was worried about the weekend but spent a lot of time preparing for the trip (see my pre-trip post) and I had high expectations for this event that I have been dreaming about attending for years.

My expectations were exceeded! It was an amazing weekend. There were 80 book loving attendees, 8 authors who hung out with us all weekend, the two hosts, and an incredible bookstore, all in a picturesque New England town (Manchester, VT). For an avid reader/book lover like me, this was total nirvana! Booktopia was an apt name.

My mom and I
As for managing with ME/CFS, it did indeed feel like a marathon to me, but a really fun marathon. I stuck to my routine, making sure to get regular meals and taking my afternoon nap, even when it meant missing out on things I wanted to do. All that preparation definitely helped. My mother was a wonderful traveling companion - she was considerate of my needs, supportive, and a lot of fun, too. In fact, I think this weekend trip was really great for us, healing some rifts from recent conflicts and bringing us closer together by sharing something that we both enjoyed.

Some of our new friends!
One of the best parts of the weekend was meeting so many wonderful people who love books as much as I do. For someone who normally lives a very restricted life with a lot of time spent at home, it was hugely energizing to be out among people and socializing. I am a very social person by nature and sometimes the solitude and isolation of life with a chronic illness feels a bit constrictive (even as I yearn for and cherish that quiet solitude because I need it so much). In particular, we really hit it off with two other women - best friends - who'd come to the event together and found we had a lot in common. What a thrill to make new friends after living so cautiously for so many years!

Although I was exhausted by the end of each day, the hardest part was the driving. Each segment of the trip (from my house to my mom's and then to VT and then the return) was 3 1/2 hours long, which is pretty much the outer limit of my stamina for driving on my own (my mom helped with the CT/VT legs). Sunday was especially hard, since I did it all in one day, with a nap in between the two parts at my mom's house. I was so glad to arrive home last night and lie down on "my" couch!!

Interestingly, the whole thing was very over-stimulating for me. I am still totally wired - couldn't even nap properly this afternoon. My husband suggested I take a half an Ambien at bedtime last night because we were reading in bed (or trying to) and I just kept chattering to him! He knows that just going to my neighborhood book group for 2 hours can over-stimulate me, and this was 4 days' worth of social activity! My head is still just spinning from all the great conversations, interactions with authors, and activity.

So, all in all, it was a big success. I was exhausted at times, but I never developed more serious symptoms (like sore throat or flu-like aches) or crashed completely. It will probably take me a few days to fully recover and come down from my high, but it was so much fun!

I never could have managed something like this five years ago (you can see some of the treatments that have helped me improve in my 2011 and 2014 summaries).

Have you ever managed to get through a special event since becoming ill?

Me and author Cristina Henriquez


Joanne said...

I'm so glad to hear you had such a great time! You deserve it! Last year I stayed near the beach and I felt so much better than I usually do. The summer is always much better for me. I am still hoping to go to NYC to see the specialist. I've had so many things get in the way. Some good, some bad. I would love to be able to go to NYC and enjoy even just a little sight seeing. And of course get help for my illness. That is the main priority.

Unknown said...

So glad you had a successful trip, Sue. I can see how you are still "wired." I would be, too, with such a concentrated event experience - and to make new friends, to boot! I hope you will come down easily from the experience and will always have great memories about it. :-)