Julia writes entertaining fiction. She is searching for an agent for her completed cozy mystery, Thrift Store Daze, while in collaboration on her next novel, Knitting Nana Faces the Vampire Clan (working title).
I was an ambitious child. I saw myself as writer, artist, organizer, scholar and future Senator! Since nobody looking at me guessed this about me, no one bothered to tell me I couldn’t be anything I wanted to be.
But, life happened and I was by turns depressed, distracted, off-track and when I got myself together I was no less ambitious, but in different ways. I really liked having children, being married, cooking, baking, managing a household. I was sewing and quilting and doing crafts and painting the house and refinishing furniture and organizing a political campaign and selling articles to magazines and pitching a YA novel, etc. (I left stuff out, but you get the picture.) It was a great life!
Then, one day, as I sat on a stool at the kitchen counter drawing up a Thanksgiving menu, there was an earthquake that turned me upside down and head over heels. Except, it only happened to me. That attack of vertigo sent me to the emergency room. I was given antibiotics for an inner-ear infection.
Waves of vertigo, but nothing like that first attack, continued to plague me. In February, I got a case of “the flu”. It never went away. I thought I was getting better, and then I was back on my bed, flat on my back, with the room whirling around me. The shrill ring of the phone was so painful it was like ripping out my spine. If my husband flipped the switch for the overhead light I would cry out and cringe. Aphasia – inability to comprehend print for more than two lines at a time – weight gain -weakness – pain all over – nausea – ear aches – toothaches — fevers –etc.
And I had four children to look after. Not a fun time.
Then some smart ass labeled this illness “yuppie flu” or, more politely, “chronic fatigue syndrome.” Fortunately for me, my doctor knew I wasn’t crazy. After every test he could think of (and thousands of dollars), this good man put his hand on my shoulder and told me: “We don’t know what it is, but it’s not killing you. Just go home and hope it goes away as mysteriously as it’s come.”
That hope kept me going for a few years. I would be almost okay. Then I would be useless again.
Over the years, I seem much better. I don’t know if I really am or if I’ve just learned to manage the illness better. My children are grown, there are no serious financial worries (thank God, my skin color, and unions!), I have learned to strictly limit outside commitments or entertainments, etc.
In the last few years strange new pains in unusual places have given me the additional diagnoses of fibromyalgia. I am still adjusting to these symptoms. Changes to my diet have practically eliminated the migraines and light/noise sensitivity. I am grateful for that.
One comfort –maybe? — I no longer have yuppie flu or even CFIDS! The new name is Systemic Exertional Intolerance Disorder. Now it’s not that I just need to take a nap — now I’m diagnosed as being allergic to work!
There is someone reading this who is WAY worse off than I am because of this disease. To you, I say — Congratulations on reading this far. I hope it was worth the effort it cost you.
I still have a great life. My husband stuck it out and we live in a palace (wood floors! a sound roof! running water!) and I have everything I want. My current goal is to enjoy my blessings and get my books published.
A modest goal, huh?