I was 20 years old when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had never heard of it, but every symptom of it described my condition perfectly. I was exhausted. It was a deep exhaustion that I couldn’t get rid of by having a good night’s sleep. My brain felt foggy and I struggled to remember what I had done 5 minutes ago, let alone the day before. I had difficulty getting any decent rest, even though if you watched from the outside, all I did was sleep.
It was 2 weeks before I got married that my husband and I first heard of CFS. Prior to that, I had been told I had depression or a borderline personality disorder, or both. Those things in themselves made me feel like a train wreck. So the prognosis of having CFS was welcomed with great relief, as well as questioning “Where to from here?”
The biggest trouble with CFS was that there is no ‘specific’ cure. There is no way to exactly stop it, only ways that can alleviate the symptoms to a degree. People can learn to manage it, and overtime, may be able to manage it so well that they don’t experience the symptoms ever again, or some people have relapse after relapse as they fail to adhere to the doctor’s advice.
After my husband and I married, we experienced probably the worst months of the condition itself. My body couldn’t seem to cooperate with my motivation to be able to go out and meet friends, go to the movies with my husband, or even sit on the couch and watch TV with him. Each day I would wake up and make his lunch at seven in the morning. By eight I would have had a shower, made our dinner for that night and spent a short time chatting with God and reading my Bible. By 9am, I was usually back in bed, sleeping until mid-afternoon. The small tasks of the morning had completely exhausted me. In the evening when my husband came home from work, I would eat dinner with him and fall asleep on the couch. Some days, he would need to carry me to bed, or carry me to the bathroom as I was unable to get my body to cooperate to move five or ten metres down the hallway.
Occasionally I would have a day where I felt determined to get outside and take the short five minute walk into town. On those days, I would often need to ring someone to come and pick me up to take me home, as I physically couldn’t do it.
The symptoms stabilised themselves after a few months as I began to tell myself that it was ok to just do what I could do for that day, or that hour. I had such high expectations of myself, and the higher they got, the harder I made it for myself to get better.
I got to a point after six months of knowing my diagnosis, that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had never demanded answers from God, I barely had the energy to talk to him, let alone get angry, but I spent one morning just weeping and crying out to Him, wondering why? Why haven’t you healed me? Why haven’t you been here for me? Why did you let me suffer in this way? God, please can you heal me!
I went to sleep that night emotionally spent. That night I had a strange dream where I was in a vortex, and I was travelling so fast, I had so much energy. The dream seemed to be over so fast, that when I woke up, I felt like I was still in it. Suddenly I felt God speak to me, telling me that today was a new day, today I would be able to do more than I had been able to do before. Today, he was being faithful.
I didn’t really understand, but I felt different. I felt like something had shifted in the spiritual and in the physical. I went to send a quick message to a friend about my dream but realised that she had already sent me an email. She told me that that night her church had spent the whole night praying that I would get healing from CFS. It was at that point that I realised that the dream I had just woken from, was becoming a reality. God had given me my energy back and he had healed me from something that I had spent the last six months believe was unbeatable.
It took me a little while to get used to the idea what I had been healed. I was determined to use what energy God had given me to glorify what he had done in me. It was shortly after being healed that I picked up running, then entered a few short distance triathlons. Two years later, I completed my first half marathon.
Each time I cross over the line, I realise that God has been with me every step of the way. I am eternally grateful for the gift of my health.
It reminds me constantly how important it is to spend time with God, but also to listen to what God is saying to us. The small prompts we have to think about others, could be a call to pray. We don’t always know what it’s for, but God always has a plan. He prompted my friend to call her church to pray for me, and the obedience of that has completely changed my life.