Monday, 3 September 2007

Getting a little serious

A word of warning; this blog entry is a little more serious than my previous efforts. By nature I'm a fairly cheerful type of being and although today I'm not feeling any less optimistic than usual, I've chosen to use this time to reflect on emotions and situations experienced in the past that could quite easily rear their ugly heads again in the future.

I'm sure that all of us at one time or another have wished we could be living someone else's life. It's perfectly normal. Other people seem to have it so easy whilst we struggle onwards through our problems be they physical, emotional, familial or financial. The grass is always greener. But these thoughts gain rather more significance when one is starting to wish for another life, but one that most people would consider undesirable at the least and horrendous at most.

During my darkest times of relapse these are the type of thoughts that I have found myself dwelling on. M.E. is a stinker of an illness. Not only does it restrict you physically and mentally but its symptoms mean that simply using a wheelchair or walking stick will not resolve mobility issues. What I would give just to have a problem with mobility. This is where it can get controversial. Many times I have wished that my disability was that of having no legs or something along those lines. Yes, everyday activities would be harder. I've seen enough documentaries to know that for someone with such a disability getting up in the morning can take hours and be frustrating beyond belief. But my point is that once that's done they have far more freedom than a sufferer of severe or even moderate M.E. Mobility is the only issue for them. Life is tough and may be painful but with effort arrangements can be made for the wheelchair user to get on an aeroplane to go on holiday, to drive a car, to live independently, to work full-time, to go out clubbing or pubbing. In contrast I can manage very little even with my wheelchair. The wheels don't solve the problem of fatigue; so I can't cope with the stress of an airport; I can drive for only short periods of time when my pain is under control and my concentration at it's best; I can't look after myself - preparing meals is exhausting, let alone housework, shopping, washing etc.; working even part-time is out of the question; and clubs and pubs? Forget it. Please don't think that I'm moaning. I am blessed in countless ways and grateful for all that I am able to do. But I think it's important for people to take M.E. as seriously as other disabilities.

I'm not going to dwell on this for much longer. Suffice to say that at times I have even wished that terminal cancer was my ailment. As a 23 year old in severe pain and with the prospect that it could continue for another 50 years or more, such thoughts are not incomprehensible. I'm not comparing my pain to that of a cancer patient. I have no idea how painful that illness must be. My point is that in that instance there is an end in sight and personally, being a Christian, that end would hold little fear for me. My greatest dread is that I'll end up 30 years down the line in a care home at age 50-something. My parents will have died and a husband doesn't seem to be on the cards! It's not beyond the realms of possibility.

But these are the thoughts of the dark times. Most of the time it's fairly light in Giraffe-a-licious's world. As anyone with a restrictive illness or disability will know, it's all about making the most of the good times. Cheesy but true.

On a happier note, here's something else that's cheesy but true: Greece is the world's largest cheese consumer (per capita). In 2003 an average Greek consumed 27.3kg of cheese.

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