Saturday, May 13, 2006

The list of loss

Yesterday was CFIDS Awareness Day. So I thought that I would list the things that CFIDS has taken from me. You know. For awareness sake.


Singing -- I used to sing all the time. In the shower. In the kitchen. Around the house. I even use to cantor at my parish. Just a couple of weeks ago, a woman from my parish mentioned in an e-mail to me that they miss my sweet singing voice. I miss it too. I still sing a little bit every now and then, but since it's so energy intensive, I don't sing nearly as much.

Dancing -- Sometimes when I'm feeling good I boogie a bit to Shakira or Amr Diab. But boy does it wear me out after a minute or two.


Being reliable

Going to church

Motherhood -- I always used to think that the term "biological clock" was a myth. At 33 years old, I'm appreciating that it's very real. And I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that I may very well never be able to bear children. First of all, there's my history of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. And then hemorrhaging on the anti-coagulants. And then having to be hospitalized a second time for the pulmonary embolism. Even if I was healthy these would be serious barriers to safely giving birth to a baby. But add chronic illness to that, as well as the fact that each passing year I'm sick decreases my fertility, it looks very unlikely that I will be a mother.

Playing with my nieces and nephews

Reading and processing complex information (See "career" above.)

Riding a bike -- I have recurring dreams where I'm riding a bike. Symbol of being healthy I presume.

Friends -- It's not like any of my friends have stopped being my friend because of my illness. Indeed, for months after the surgery that ended in the DVT and PE, I had at least one visitor a day -- sometimes two -- for several months. It's just that, they all went on with their lives and I couldn't.

Gardening -- Hopefully at some point I'll get a nice little container garden going on my balcony.

Independence -- I depend on the government for my income. Meals on Wheels to cook for me. My caregiver to clean my apartment. My mom to drive me to the grocery story and anywhere else when I have the strength.

Privacy -- As a recipient of SSI, I had to provide all my bank statements to my case worker when I first signed on (after waiting 20-months to be approved for benefits). I'm required to keep all of my bank statements to provide to my case worker when my case is reviewed sometime this year. So, you know, don't wanna make any kinky purchases with my debit card.

Ability to earn a living

Ability to spend time with my boyfriend -- As a UK citizen, he's only allowed to be here for roughly six months (well, technically there are no specific rules but according to the State Department, you're not supposed to "abuse the rules"). If I were healthy enough to get on a plane, I could go and spend up to six months in the UK (and that is a definitive rule). Though because I'm on SSI, there are also limitations on how long I can be out of the country (no longer than 30 days or one calendar month -- I haven't gotten a definitive answer from Social Security).

Interacting with people I can see -- Yes, I chat with people online and if I had a web cam I suppose I could see them too. But it's not quite the same.

Getting out of the house on a regular basis

There are probably things I'm forgetting (what's new, right?). But it's a pretty sobering list nonetheless.