I have always loved the shift of seasons. Autumn used to be my favorite; however, since becoming ill, I find I much prefer spring. After all, it is the season of hope, renewal and rebirth. As new buds grow on what were once barren trees, I am reminded that change is inevitable, and that winters -- no matter how long -- do not last forever.
This spring has brought with it a few changes for me. They are nothing of major significance, but so rarely does anything happen in my world that even the slightest activity or modification seems noteworthy.
Earlier this year, my parents bought a new reclining lounge chair to put by the window in the spare bedroom. So far, I've been able to sit in it with some regularity, and it's been wonderful. It feels so good to be in an actual chair rather than a bed, even if I'm still lying down. There's also something more freeing about being right by a window rather than looking through it at a distance. I can see more of the bright, blue sky and feel the warm sun as it shines on my face.
The spare room is adjacent to my own bedroom, so the view is similar. Still, I get to see my mesquite tree (and all the wildlife that visit) at a slightly different angle, with a better view of the Rincon mountains behind it. One of these days, I'd love to sit there in the early morning, just before sunrise, so that I can look up at the night sky (something I rarely get to see) and watch the sun come up over the mountains.
I received a new camera over the holidays, which means I've been taking even more photos of the birds and wildlife outside my bedroom window. The camera has better zoom, allowing for clearer pictures. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the last few months (click to enlarge):
|Hawk (possibly a juvenile Cooper's Hawk)|
|Male House Finch Feeding His Girlfriend|
|More Finch Feedings|
|Two Female House Finches|
|Round-Tailed Ground Squirrel Munching on a Snack|
(If interested, more photos can be found on my new Flickr account).
One day in early spring, I was lying in bed with my eyes closed, soaking in some music. When I opened my eyes, I was surprised by the sight outside my window. At first, all I saw was a splash of white and black striped fur, and it took me a moment to realize it was a bobcat. He was actually lying down with his belly up and his legs in the air while he scratched his back in repeated motions on the surface of the ground. I was stunned! He was like a big house cat playing in the dirt. I quickly went to grab my camera, but by the time I could snap a photo, he was already standing back up and was on his way out. Still, it was quite the sight to see!
|Bobcat after a Back Scratch|
In April, my brother and his family came out for their annual visit. It's always such a joy to see the sweet, smiling faces of my niece and nephew each morning. My limitations in interaction and speech allow me little more than a hug and a few whispers of "I love you" every day, which always breaks my heart. But I'm grateful even for those short, precious moments with them. They had grown so much since I last saw them. Here's a photo that my father took of them enjoying the view on top of Mt. Lemmon.
|On Top of the World|
It had been a very long wait, but this past May, for the first time in almost a year, I was twice able to lie outside in the patio lounge chair on our deck. It was pure bliss. Each time, the sky was a deep cerulean blue with little brushstrokes of wispy, white clouds. At one point, I saw a group of Harris' hawks flying overhead, gracefully encircling each other as they worked together in search of food. On desert grounds, the cacti were just starting to burst open with colorful blooms, and I saw a white-winged dove feed on a saguaro cactus blossom nearby. Further below, I could see lizards, gophers, squirrels, butterflies and bunnies all scurrying about, looking for nourishment. I savored every minute of it.
|White Winged Dove on Saguaro Cactus|
|White Winged Dove Feeding on Blooms|
|Dove on Cactus Blooms|
|Prickly Pear Cactus Bloom|
|Turkey Vulture Flying Over Mountains|
I've mentioned in previous posts that, as a result of cognitive issues stemming from ME, I have not been able to watch TV or movies in over a decade. I actually have a drape over my television set so that I can listen to news and a few other shows without being tempted to peek at the screen. I am generally okay with short clips (such as on YouTube) if there is relative stillness and not much rapid movement. However, viewing repetitive screen changes for even a couple seconds often causes an instant, debilitating crash/setback.
I used to be a big film lover, so it's been hard to have missed out on so many great movies over the years. Recently, I tried listening to a couple films to see if I could follow along without actually watching, and I was surprised by how well it worked. As long as the movie is heavy in dialogue, I'm able to visualize it and follow along with relative ease. I've enjoyed listening to several movies and some documentaries as well. It's opened the door to a new activity beyond just listening to audiobooks all day long, so I'm grateful for that.
On another note, I decided awhile ago to take a huge step back from advocacy and awareness efforts. Actually, it wasn't a decision as much as a necessity. The energy expended just isn't worth the potential toll on my health, especially with so few positive results. However, I continue to sign petitions, donate to causes/research, use Twitter and post to my blog's Facebook page when able. Of course, I also strongly support and greatly appreciate the ongoing work of other advocates who are still pushing forward to create change, and I do what I can to assist in those efforts. It is so important that our voices continue to be heard. For the time being, I just personally need to move away from large scale efforts (such as videos and testimonies) and focus more fully on my health.
And that is one thing that regretfully has not changed. My health remains the same. I continue to experiment with various treatment options but, so far, without much success. I have been taking MAF probiotic 878 for almost two years now, and for awhile, it did seem to help to some degree -- most specifically with cognition. The improvement was mild, but it was enough for me to take notice and appreciate. It was the first time in 17 years that anything really seemed to help me, even if only slightly. It's not clear that the supplement is still providing any benefit, but I continue to take it even if mostly out of hope.
In the meantime, other than my new lounge chair, I generally remain confined to my bed, unable to stand or walk. I still can't speak more than a few words above a whisper. I continue to suffer setbacks, sometimes severe, from even the mildest of exertion. But, for now, I try to take things moment to moment and make the best of what is while continuing to look for solutions. And, of course, most importantly, I remain determined to persevere. I still have hope that, someday, my own personal spring will finally come. I am so ready for it.