Eleven years ago today, I woke up with an incredibly sore throat, feeling achy all over, and thought I had caught a virus. You all know how that story ends.
It is still amazing to me that my life changed so dramatically that day, and I had no idea what a momentous occasion it was. In fact, I didn't even stay in bed. We had planned on taking a day trip to Baltimore for a little winter getaway and taking the kids to the National Aquarium. We went ahead with our plans because we were all looking forward to it. My memories of that day are both foggy and remarkably clear. I spent the whole day feeling so very sick: the pain in my throat more severe than anything I had experienced before, so lacking in energy that I had to lean against the handrails as we walked past the aquarium exhibits, and my mind feeling like someone had stuffed it with cotton.
Looking back, though, I recognize that how I felt that day is exactly how I still feel now, 11 years later, during a severe crash. ME/CFS arrived that day, all of a sudden and yet completely without fanfare. How could something that changed my life so completely start in such an ordinary, insignificant way? It would be months and months before I realized my "virus" wasn't going away and years before I really accepted that.
March 2 - my Illiversary - used to be such a significant day for me, a reminder of all I had lost. Now it just feels like any other day. Yes, my life is dramatically different than it was pre-March 2, 2002, but I have adjusted and adapted to my "new normal." I'm no longer lying on the couch waiting to get better; I have long since resumed living my life. It is just a different life than it was before. I still have many restrictions and limits that define each day, but I have tirelessly researched treatments and have found several that have helped me get up off that couch and resume some version of my life (primarily treating sleep dysfunction , Imunovir , low-dose naltrexone , and beta blockers ).