Three days ago, on the 3rd May 2016, I celebrated the fourth anniversary since reaching rock bottom with CFS/ME. That was the morning in 2012 when I could not get out of bed. The end of the beginning, so to speak.
This year, to celebrate I played eighteen holes of golf at La Cala Golf Resort in the south of Spain. I had five birdie putts in the round but made none. There is still a golfer in there trying to get out.
I am in Spain for a few weeks and enjoying some good weather although that is about to change. The weather in Ireland is forecast to be better than Spain for the next week or two.
I have been here for just over a week and so far I have been in the gym twice and played golf four times. Lost of walking in between and lots of meditation and rest.
As I mentioned in my last update (22 Jan 2016), I am on a new programme which concentrates on my aerobic fitness. The plan is to do at least 4 x 30 minute sessions on a “cross-trainer’ (cross between a bike and a walker) each week and a further 30 minutes on resistance training (weights). Cant always make the four visits as the golf gets in the way but I do my best. I still feel tired frequently but I always feel so much better after a session in the gym.
Sleep has improved and I now generally wake once a night after four hours and often with a headache. I sometimes take a panadol and can usually get back to sleep for another couple of hours. More would be better but it suffices.
Yoga classes once a week (not while I’m in Spain but I do my stretches when I can). I recommend Yoga for everyone with or without my condition. I’ve seen more than enough evidence to prove the positive effect it has on all who practice it. My class in Dublin is living proof.
I am still writing (although my class are finished for now). I have two pieces in for national competitions and am very proud of what I achieved so far. I’ve also managed to read a couple of books since Christmas.
Social engagement continues to be a challenge and larger groups of six plus can be difficult. Enjoyable at the time (up to a point) but I pay the price the next day.
I travelled with a group of members (54) from own Golf Club to Cadiz in April and had a great week there. Three days golf and two visits to the gym. Daily meditation breaks and early nights helped me through an enjoyable week.
Flying continues to be very difficult. It exhausts me and causes tension in my neck muscles and resultant headaches. It takes me a full, quiet, day to recover but I’m told this is not unusual.
I was fortunate that I was able to retire in 2012. Over the last four years I have realised more and more the importance of using my time and energy well. CFS/ME was the key that unlocked this piece of wisdom for me. I try to use every moment of each day in a productive way. Yes, I do prioritise looking after my health, in particular. That allows me to do other things that will add value in my life, my family life and with friends. It is a very fulfilling path to follow and highly recommended.
If your point on the journey with CFS/ME is different to where I am right now, I hope you can take some comfort from my story to date. Four years ago I could not get out of bed. Six months later there was little change. I am a lot better today. You will be too.