Stephanie Burgis
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good news, spoons, and the other stuff
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I had a good-news email yesterday afternoon: I've sold a reprint of my Elizabethan-era fantasy story, "Ivy & Thorn", to Quantum Kiss! I'm really happy to be getting an online reprint for this one, especially since the original magazine issue (Grendelsong Issue 1) has sold out.

It came at the right time, too. I was so excited about going into town yesterday afternoon - right up until the point when I was about to leave, when I was struck with major, horrible waves of wooziness, nausea, and fatigure. No trip for me after all. :( So it was a good time to get good news in the email.

And today I found a wonderful essay on the whole way of life I've been learning over the past 5 months: But You Don't Look Sick? The Spoon Theory (via Pat Cadigan, who recommended it for anyone who either has a chronic illness or knows someone with one). It's an absolutely perfect description of the kind of energy choices you have to make when you have a chronic, "invisible" illness like CFS. After I read that essay, I clicked to the home page of the magazine it comes from, But You Don't Look Magazine. I'm so glad to have found it - especially the Personal Essays section. I spend so much of my time coping, acting as if everything's okay and I don't mind having CFS - because really, what else can I do? If I didn't, I'd end up curled up in a ball of depression, and that would be even worse. But reading other people who share the same experiences, the same feelings and reactions, feels like drinking pure manna from heaven. I started crying as I read, out of pure relief - It's not just me. It's a wonderful feeling.

And today I'm measuring my "spoons" more effectively. I wrote 1200 words of Kat this morning, straight after breakfast, and then lay down on the couch. I'm going into town in about 10 minutes from now, still early in the day when I have more energy. And I've rested up for it in preparation, instead of doing lots of house chores before trying to leave, the way I did yesterday. I'll still feel crappy afterwards, but not until after I get home. And then I'll rest again, until I have enough "spoons" to cope with something else.

It's so hard to have to tell people - especially people who are skeptical about "invisible" illnesses - how sick I really feel even when they can't see it in my appearance (well, apart from the pounds I've gained over the past 5 months as I've been stuck on the couch - but that just sounds like laziness to a lot of people). But it really, really helps to read about other people who've experienced it.

And now I'm going to use my spoons to go to town, drink a hot chocolate, and read good books for a couple hours. It's so well worth it.

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