On June 4, 2007, I went to bed feeling a little rundown but otherwise fine. I'd gotten everything packed for our trip to Chicago, leaving the next day.
At some point in the wee hours, I woke up freezing cold and couldn't stop shivering. I stumbled to the bathroom, barely able to be upright, then went back to bed, huddled under as big a pile of blankets and quilt as I could manage. That lasted a few hours, and then, just as suddenly, I was drenched with sweat and my pajamas and sheets were soaked. By the time the alarm went off, I discovered I literally couldn't sit up in bed much less navigate an airport with a toddler. My head hurt so bad it felt like it was going to explode.
We canceled the trip. I wasn't able to get out of bed for at least 12 hours, and while I probably should have gone to the ER that morning, or later that afternoon, I told Scott I was too sick to go anywhere. I finally made it to the doctor three days later, on June 8, and was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia.
And that, essentially, was the start of my chronic illness. The pneumonia eventually cleared up, but I never got better. The extreme fatigue that kicked in in June 2007 has never improved. I've developed new symptoms along the way, but I still remain as much a medical mystery as I was when I started this blog in October 2007.
When I got sick, it was just supposed to be a temporary thing. I even managed to keep Ellie at home with me for the first month, although she spent the whole time watching TV while I lay on the couch, getting up only when she needed a diaper changed or food. I was completely dysfunctional. Then I got admitted to the hospital in July 2007, and we realized that I was in no condition to take care of Ellie, so we enrolled her in KinderCare for what we were sure was a six-week-maximum period to allow me to recover. Three years later, she's still in full-time daycare (albeit a much better program that's more preschool than daycare), something we never would have believed back when it all started.
People tell me all the time, "You look great! You must be feeling much better!" And I just smile and don't say anything because, really, the vast majority of people who say that mean well. They want me to be better. (Not as much as I want to be better, but still, they really do want it.)
Thanks to those of you who have been offering me support right from the beginning, and to those of you who share your own experiences with me, and to those who haven't found my blog yet but will at some point. I hope I can offer even half as much support to others as I've received through this blog.
9 months ago