Sunday, 2 June 2013

Stupidity, stubbornness or good, old-fashioned optimism?

When I am feeling realistic and strong enough to face the cold, hard facts of life with ME, I admit to myself that it will be almost impossible for me to ever run and cycle again. Yet, in spite of these rare and brutal moments of honesty, which are genuine, I don't think I have ever said it and truly meant it. There is still a part of me - some days a big part, other days a very small, humble part - that believes that I will eventually feel healthy enough to run again. This, in spite of the indisputable fact that in the middle of March of this year, I went out for a run (my first in more than three years) of a mere four hundred yards.... and spent four days of the following week on the couch, absent from work, crippled with fatigue and blunted by pain.

I can't let go. I won't let go. Rightly or wrongly, I still hope for a better future. I still believe that I can have my old life back. Is it this hope that is ironically holding me back from further recovery? Or is it this hope that helps me to get out of bed each day and say to this cruel illness: "Go fuck yourself. I've had the worst of you and I'm still here, still standing. I will not be beaten. No matter how long it takes".


  1. I think you are incredibly tough to be working despite this illness. It's so hard to let go of all those things we love (and they still feel a part of who we are). I was a wilderness guide for 10 yrs prior to getting sick. I still imagine myself rock climbing or hiking or mushing or running again someday. I have been able to both canoe and camp a rare few times in the last 10 years of illness so you are right, don't give up hope.

  2. Don't let go Chris! I was incapacitated by CFS for five years. I am now virtually back to my old self, moved to Amsterdam (from Australia) and ride a bike everywhere. Hold onto your hope - it is entirely possible to get your old life back and when you have it back it's so much sweeter because you appreciate every minute.

  3. It's hope, Chris!! And optimism and there is nothing wrong with either. You can be hopeful about a better future while still being realistic about your current limitations so you don't make yourself worse. I'm with you all the way. Personally, I am very excited about all the great research being done on the underlying mechanisms behind ME (less so in the UK but wherever the research occurs, the UK docs will have to listen eventually).

    Early on in my illness, in the depths of despair, I read a book that literally changed my life and helped me to both accept my illness and better understand the true meaning of hope.

    Here a review I wrote:

    And a CFS view of the book:

    Hope that inspires you as it did me - hang onto that optimism!!


  4. I had CFS for 2.5 years. I'm running again. And climbing, riding my horse, hiking, and living.

  5. I actually cried when I read this. I can relate to it so much. Running and cycling are two of the things that I miss the most from my pre-ME life. I've been ill for 8 years and still find it difficult to balance the constant hope that I will get better with the need to accept things as they are for now and just keep going.

  6. I think you've got to have hope that you'll be able to do these things again, otherwise what are you left with?

    I've had CFS for a couple of years now and I'd only recently go back into cycling beforehand. Now, I look at my £300 bike sat in the shed and mentally say to it "I bloody well will get back on you again some day!". And I hope I do.

    But for now, just working 4 days a week and the odd day out is my life for now.