I was feeling bittersweet on my 5th Illiversary, feeling a bit better overall with treatment, but recalling that researchers and doctors often cite 5 years as a turning point (that few people completely recover after being ill longer than 5 years).
By year 8, I was feeling less contemplative. By then, having ME/CFS was just a part of my new normal.
When I hit 10 years of illness, I barely noticed the anniversary date, even though it was a milestone year. I was focused on my sick kids by that point, and my own illness had become the norm for me by then.
Last year, my 14th Illiversary, was a triumph of sorts, as I returned to Baltimore with my husband, where on the first day of my illness, we spent a horrible day back in 2002 that was supposed to be a fun day. Last year, I was able to enjoy Baltimore, including plenty of walking (though I still needed my afternoon nap!).
I'm sure I would feel differently about my ME/CFS anniversary if I was still as sick as I was in those first few years, but over the past 15 years, I have found many effective treatments that have greatly improved my symptoms (and my life), allowing me to be much more active and making crashes rare. I still need my daily nap and have some limitations, but I am quite happy with my life these days. I took a walk with a good friend this morning (wearing my heart rate monitor!) and then spent most of the day writing, so that's a good day for me. Ten years ago, I couldn't have even been able to sit up to write - I had to lie down with my laptop (beta blockers are to thank for that improvement).
So, Happy Illiversary to me! 15 years seems like a lot, but it's mostly just normal life for me now.