I just wanted to first say how overwhelmed I was by how many people have read my last post, I was moved to tears! With a week left to go before term starts again at university, the familiar nervousness and worries creep in - what if people think I'm being rude in not joining in things? what if people think I am faking it? what if my symptoms get worse? what if I end up very isolated because I can't go out and talk to people?
And so, of course, I prayed about these things, and although I still worry about them, God has used the response I had to my last post to show me just how much He loves me, and just how much support I have. So thank you to everyone who has been reading, you are an answer to prayer!
I have spent the last 4 months trying to improve my health by following the only thing that has been consistently shown to improve symptoms in people with CFS/ME - doing nothing! I never thought that I would end up with a condition that made it impossible to exercise. Actually when I say nothing, it's a controlled sort of nothing, as in I can do a limited amount, but only because if I literally did nothing except what is necessary for survival, life would become pretty dull.
So my summer has been basically filled with days' worth of television (thank you Netflix), mounds of ironing (somehow the easiest chore, and one that never gets done at home) and endless form-filling and research. If I look at the summer as a whole, I would probably say that it has been successful in improving my health. Maybe not quite (OK, not nearly) as much as I would have liked, but the fact that I am sitting upright typing this as well as having had a very short trip into town this morning by car is a major breakthrough.
I feel very proud with my achievements but 4 months is a long time and I struggle to remember exactly what I was like at the start. One thing I do remember is that I was feeling very low and definitely ready to throw in the metaphorical towel concerning my degree. However, 4 months of recovery and numerous, extremely welcome and kind messages and discussions have helped me to now make a list of the good things in life as it is:
- Disabled Students Allowance has promised to be very generous and so I am expecting to (at the very least) be given a mentor, a very comfortable office chair and computer equipment. Yes, given!
- After years of trying to get to a weight that I like, the lack of activity I am now forced to has allowed me to be able to put on the necessary pounds, and I feel fabulous!
- Somehow my hair stays grease-free for days at a time so a highly energy-consuming activity like hair washing doesn't have to be done every day.
- I have convinced myself that I do *need* a smartphone as I can't be always walking to top up my credit on payg, and I have not looked back.
- Trips out become special as they are a rare treat.
- My bed and me are firm friends.
- Any shopping trip expenditure can be justified as either 'I *need* this now' or 'I haven't been shopping in AGES so I can spend the money I saved by not shopping before' so they become guilt-free.
- God is very good, and He promises that any suffering will be greatly recompensed, in fact the scales will tip towards the good rather than the bad.
So here goes!
And in terms of the official support the list goes:
- Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) have said yes to funding me and I just have to turn up to a meeting with someone who is willing to splash some cash!
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP; totally wrongly named by the way) have taken my form that I spent so much time on and have not been heard of since.
- Social Services have said we'll see what we can do but the man on the phone was very nice :)