M.E. and Me

Come and hear, all you who fear God, 
and I will tell what he has done for my soul. 
I cried to him with my mouth, 
and high praise was on my tongue. 
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, 
the Lord would not have listened. 
But truly God has listened; 
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
(Psalm 66:16-19)

Ever get what you asked for but it looked so different from what you imagined that it took you some time to realize it? This is one of my answered prayers, albeit an answer I’ve tried to deny…

I’m starting to accumulate quite a number of letters beside my name. Heather Davis; IBS, ME/CFS… It’s too bad they are all diagnoses instead of degrees. C’est la vie!

The last one, ME/CFS, has actually been on my chart for several years now. It stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It’s also known as Systemic Exercise Intolerance Disease or Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome, but most people just call it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. CFS for short.

It’s a diagnosis I refused to submit to for years, mainly because it always seemed like a description rather than a diagnosis. I suppose that’s why some doctors are switching to the other, more medical-sounding names. But of course, once a thing has been around in the public consciousness for a time, it’s difficult to change it.

For me, it is a humbling diagnosis. However, now that my migraines have been under control for several months, it’s become extremely clear there’s another issue behind the insane bouts of fatigue that have plagued me for much of my adulthood.

A primary reason I’ve been refusing to accept this diagnosis is… well, if I’m honest, it’s pride. CFS hurts my pride.

You see, a hallmark of CFS is what the docs call Post-Exertional Malaise, which basically means if I work out too hard or even overextend what little grey matter migraine has left to me, I crash.

And for this one-time fitness nut, that’s a bit hard to swallow.

Before I had children, I was a gym rat. When children came, I found other ways to work out at home with freeweights, video workouts, you name it. In my thirties, I hit a personal fitness best after going through the P90-X program.

Ever since migraines came in and stole the body I worked so hard to attain, I’ve planned on regaining it; especially after a friend celebrated her 50th by sporting a STUNNING physique! I wanted to rise to the challenge she offered.

A few years ago, I set my mind to accomplish this. I’m in my forties, so I stared slow. After walking for a bit, maybe a few days of light weights, I decided the time had come to ramp things up. In the past, increased intensity brought increased energy.

Not anymore. Instead, I couldn’t wake up the next day. I crashed, not for a day but more like a week.

Thinking it was a fluke, I tried again. And again. And a sad number of “agains” until I had to realize something wasn’t right.

It just isn’t normal to feel like you have a case of the flu that comes and goes, getting worse every time you exercise vigorously! But it is normal for CFS. Hurrah.

So, friends, there’s a bit of an update. It keeps me from ever catching up, but I’m trying to learn to live within new limits. Unfortunately for me, I’m a slow learner AND a terrible patient (according to my husband – pray for him!).

And I can’t complain. Honestly. After all, this is an answer to my own prayer.

Admittedly, God’s answer isn’t playing out as I imagined, but years ago I did ask Him to strip away every single thing that distracted me from Him.

Apparently being uber-fit was one of those things.

So today, I give thanks to God who truly does answer all our prayers and give us everything we need. Which is Himself, by the way. He is all I really need. And anything I need to endure to get closer to Him is worth it.

Even pain. Even CFS.

Whom have I in heaven but you? 
And there is nothing on earth that I desire 
besides you. 
My flesh and my heart may fail, 
but God is the strength of my heart 
and my portion forever.
(Psalms 73:25-26)

8 thoughts on “M.E. and Me

  1. I completely understand your situation. My prayers are with you. My diagnosis list was becoming too long and it’s taken me a few years to allude above the initials that wiped out my college “initials”. You have my support 💚

    Liked by 1 person

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