It’s been a while since I blogged ‘for fun’ and as it’s my birthday tomorrow I’m feeling a bit nostalgic and chatty! I’ve just given myself a birthday treat…..a bath! Pure indulgence that will make some symptoms flare but it was worth it. As I lay in the warm water I pondered how I feel about turning 44 tomorrow. I have a few mixed feelings and that’s what this blog is about.
When did that happen?!
I’m not ‘feeling old’ and I’m not bracing myself for a midlife crisis, but I am very aware that my life seems ‘pawsed’ at the moment and has been for a few years now. When I first created ME Foggy Dog, I was 37 and my M.E (at the time I called it CFS) was very ‘mild’. I was working full-time, regularly able to go to the gym and I could still enjoy a bit of a social life (with plenty of rest before, during, and after). Although I was raising awareness of M.E, I was not living the life of many M.E patients.
Over the past 4 years, that has changed dramatically. I no longer work full-time – I manage to work 20 hrs a week to my own timescales with plenty of rest. Prior to Covid, I was able to take Maggie for 20-minute walks every day but couldn’t dream of going to the gym, and my social life was restricted to maybe 5-6 ‘outings’ a year, usually at lunchtime and usually for no more than an hour or two.
Another thing that has changed is my love life. How can I put this delicately? I haven’t been ‘intimate’ with anyone for over 5 years. My 37-year-old self would be mortified but I’m feeling ‘meh’. I occasionally feel like I’m going to waste, by that I mean I feel that I am in the prime of life, and it’s selfish to not share, but most of the time I am happy that I only have to consider my own needs and don’t feel guilty that I am negatively impacting someone else’s plans. I know in the past that I have felt terribly guilty when I have been too ill to go out socially and had to cancel plans with then boyfriends.
Throughout my 30s I was told, by well-meaning friends and family that ‘there’s someone out there for you’. Those words of wisdom have now stopped, I think they have given up trying to motivate me! I have accepted that my life is currently very small. It’s just me, my Mum, my Dad, Maggie, and the goldfish. I’m happy with that….75% of the time. I do occasionally have delusions of being healthy and sign up to dating sites, but I’m fed up with playing Russian Roulette with ‘disclosure before the first date’ and ‘keep quiet’. Currently, I’m happy that the pandemic is enforcing celibacy, it’s certainly less stressful than attempting to run the ‘find the One’ minefield.
Since Foggy was ‘born’ in 2014, I have had around 5 new M.E symptoms add themselves to my own unique brand of M.E. Despite these new symptoms, I would still class myself as a ‘mild’ patient (Do you dislike that term as much as I do?!). What does ‘mild’ actually mean? Even with ‘mild’ symptoms, I have lost 50% of my pre-M.E functionality. That’s a life-stealer, right there. I do, and always have, considered myself to be very lucky, I am well aware that it could be much, much worse.
As I said earlier I don’t ‘feel old’. In my head, I am still 23, maybe that explains the wackiness that comes with being Foggy’s P.A! I don’t have those life milestones that mark the passing of time like buying houses or having children. I don’t feel my age by looking at my child’s height or achievements. I forget how old I am on a regular basis. I’m usually only reminded when I meet up with younger people who use alien language or have the audacity to call me a ‘Boomer’. Eh?! Get it right, I am a Gen X! I wore the clothes that are in the shops right now – the first time around! (OH GOD I SOUND LIKE MY MUM!!). I grew up with Kylie, Bros, Charlene and Scott, Dirty Dancing, Top of the Pops, Gordon the Gopher, Byker Grove, bodysuits, 20/20, and the first Wonderbras. I’m very happy to be a Gen X!
I am nostalgic for my pre-M.E life a little bit today, birthdays of years gone by (pre-M.E) would have included copious amounts of alcohol, clubbing, and dancing the night away (always followed by walking home barefoot with a garlic mayo kebab in hand….you know what I mean!). Those were the days when my friends were like family and I was loving life. Now, I feel sick after a third of a glass of wine (thanks to Long Covid in addition to M.E) and I don’t have the energy to walk up and down my stairs let alone dance the night away. People say that they have ‘grown out’ of clubbing. I never did, I was forced to stop by my M.E.
This year was always going to be an extraordinary one in the middle of a pandemic and I’ll be making the most of what will be a quiet day with family – both human and furry. It will be marked in its own special way with a take-away curry and bottle of fizzy non-alcoholic bubbly.
You know one way you can help me to make the extraordinary occasion extra special? You could donate to my birthday fundraiser! I decided to fundraise for my birthday because Foggy’s World Tour was cut short by 6 weeks earlier in the year. Foggy and I are once again fundraising for Cure ME. Donations will fund biomedical research into M.E. We need this research so badly. Please donate if you can. Thank you and Foggy snogs xxx
You can donate using the link –
and Foggy (OBVIOUSLY) xxxxx