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My Story Part II - Europe

Posted Jun 12 2010 3:41pm
So, let's recap. I got mono. A month later, when I was far from recovery, I decided to take even more time off work and go on the 3-week backpacking trip through Europe that I had planned with my friend a while back. Also, did I mention how very not smart we were in that we didn't get travel insurance? That would have probably solved all of our problems since part of the reason I didn't want to cancel the trip is that I felt bad for making my friend lose all that money. To be perfectly honest, it was a smaller part. The larger part of me was being stubborn and still wanted to go despite how I was feeling. Was I ever stupid. But, no regrets, right?

Anyway. May 9th we take off for London. The first 2/3rds of the trip, I was fired up. I have absolutely no idea how I did it to this day, but the things you can accomplish when you are stubborn and set your mind to them (plus a healthy does of adrenaline from sheer willpower and determination) are amazing. After 2-3 days of walking around all day and everywhere (I was determined to see London by foot, as I believed everything should be seen so I could take it in the "right" way), my body started to mutiny. The prospect of moving anything was, well, nothing more than a prospect. I started spending large chunks of the day in bed in the hostel. And yet still, I forced myself to go walk around for at least 3-5 hours every day to site-see. And that is how things were for the rest of our trip in Paris, Lyon, Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid. Towards the end of Barcelona and the whole of Madrid though, I was broken (physically). Although I attempted to go out for a few hours a day (still! you'd think I'd have learned something after 3 weeks of torturing my poor body), I stayed in the hostels most of the time because I really just couldn't move.

And yes, I was indeed torturing my body. Three days into the trip, I wanted nothing more than to go home. And after, I cried myself to sleep every night in the hostel. Not from emotional overload, mind you, but from physical. I felt so drained of life and was in such agonizing pain that I had no choice but to cry. But our flight wasn't until later (and from Madrid, not the same location we started from). I didn't want to spend more money and didn't want to  make my friend spend more money to return earlier. And, again, I was stubborn as a mule. I felt challenged and was determined to finish the trip despite how I felt. I didn't think stressing my body like this (or, wringing the last bit of life out of it, as I like to fondly think about it) would cause any permanent damage. Again. Not too bright. You'd think I'd know better at 22.

So I returned home finally after 3 weeks of masochism. I was spent. And I had to return to work. Which I did. But that's another story. Anyway, now I look back at my trip with mixed feelings. I've forgotten how awful it felt for the most part. Now I just remember all the great places I saw. And I want nothing more than to return (but at 100% health this time)! But would I do it again? I struggle with that question. Half a year ago (at the 1.5 years point) I'd have been uncertain, but leaning towards yes. I am such a different person from my experiences in dealing with this condition. I like who I am now.  But, now that it's been 2 years and I'm constantly wondering if there's an end in sight, I would have to say that I'm leaning heavily towards NO. I probably wouldn't do it again knowing what I know now. Not that it matters of course. Whatever happened happened and there's no changing it. But it's interesting to ask that question because it reflects so much on how we feel about our current state of affairs. For those of us who know what events led up to our CFS, would we do it all again?

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