Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Dreams May Come

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I fell ill with mononucleosis on New Year's Eve 1996. It was this infection that so suddenly initiated what ultimately grew into a diagnosis of ME/CFS. I can still vividly recall counting down the last few seconds of that year with as much hope and optimism as always, excited for what great things 1997 would bring me. I was young and successful; my whole life awaited me. I never anticipated I would wake up the next morning, my health rather abruptly stolen from me, with a continuous decline ahead that would last what has now been 14 long years.

This being the anniversary of my illness onset, the new year understandably brings with it a mix of emotions. While I remain stubbornly hopeful, that hope is now admittedly a bit more cautious in its enthusiasm. I have grown somewhat wiser over the years, and more keenly aware of life's uncertainties. While I continue every day to hope and strive for the possibility that this year finally brings some measure of recovery and/or a cure, I must also be prepared for the possibility that it will not. In this way, my day-to-day happiness is not as reliant on expectations. That is, whatever each day of the new year may bring, I am better able (at least theoretically) to be patient with what is, and at the same time, remain determined and hopeful for the future.

But while my daily hopes have become more cautious, my dreams have not. My dreams run bright, limitless and free. Whether it is this year or next, I am steadfast in my belief that one year, one day, at least in some form, they will indeed come true.

Among many other things, today I find myself dreaming of...

Having the freedom to run barefoot in the grass

Or play in the rain

Going on a picnic

Or spending a day at the beach

...doing cartwheels

Getting my master's degree

And going back to work
Being able to take long, hot bubble baths

....and dance the night away with my fiance
Traveling to far away places

Hiking up mountains

Taking long bike rides
And long, leisurely road trips

Finally celebrating our wedding day...
and our honeymoon...

and having the chance to start a family

Most of all, today I'm dreaming of perfect health;
of breaking free
and shouting to the world with joy:

"Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go."
~ Louise Driscoll

"Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them."
~ John Updike

All photos from: weheartit.com


  1. Bless you Laurel, I so hope some of your dreams come true soon.

    And for everyone with ME/CFS and of course those with Lyme too.

    My dream is to see the blinders come off sooner rather than later.

  2. Beautiful and uplifting post,Laurel. I hope all your dreams come true far beyond what you can imagine or hope for...
    Sending hugs and prayers your way today.

  3. I think dreaming is important and I love that you included visuals! Thanks for sharing some of your dreams. You seem to have a way of presenting the best side of an unpleasant situation - one that involves much suffering. I understand what you mean by a certain acceptance or catiousness about today. I'm having trouble accepting the limits of the box I live in lately...

  4. Laurel, as I listened to your dreams, such simple, doable dreams for most, I felt moved to tears. Yet, your spirit of "I'm still going to dream and know they'll come true", had me seeing you doing each one with joyful abandon. Oh to run, to dance, to be with your love...I wish it all for you.

    I can relate much to "cautious hope", a great way to express where living with ME/CFS has brought you after so many years. I too still hold hope, yet it is hope grounded firmly in the reality I've come to know after twenty years.

    On this anniversary of the onset of your illness, I send a heartfelt gentle hug. Thank you for sharing your writing, filled with your beautiful spirit that always inspires me. Love, Kerry

  5. Once upon a time I began to assume that people who had this disease wouldn't ever recover. The new retroviral discoveries bring hope, but also impatience!

  6. Such beautiful dreams and ones that I hope so much that you will have the chance to fulfill one day.

    Hoping that 2011 is your year, Laurel xx

  7. Thanks for such sweet comments, everyone. I'm always so touched by your responses, especially when so many come in the midst of your own struggles. I hope the new year, or some year VERY soon, brings the fulfillment of dreams for all of us. What an AMAZING time that will be!

    And thank you, Book Whisperer -- it was such a delight to see you here!!

  8. I'm very inspired. The pictures are perfectly done. I need to allow myself to dream more. Living the nightmare we do, hope takes a beating. I'm so tired of seeing the photos of the fun family outings that don't include me. The kids grow so fast. Thanks for the hope.

  9. Beautiful post laurel, love love love all the pictures, they speak a thousand words. I like what you say about being much better at being patient with "what is" yet still remaining hopeful, I too feel that, and that is a huge change in dealing with this illness for me personally. Your dreams are beautiful like u laurel. I can't wait to see the day you & jim dance. Love u lots xxxx

  10. Laurel:
    You are continually in our hearts and prayers. You will realize your dreams as I honestly know help is on the way. But you are Correct..."WE ARE FREE". What type of flowers were on the CFSAC testimony video? Sunflowers? Daisies? I would like to grow these in a field on our ranch every year and call it "Laurels Field".....you are amazing, bright, articulate and your voice HAS BEEN HEARD. Blessings from Blake and Julia

  11. Thank you, Otis, Vikki and Julia! Your kind words mean so much.

    Julia -- wow about growing flowers in your field in my name. I don't even know what to say -- I'm beyond touched and honored. The flower in the video is a sunflower. They are my favorite. :) I love all flowers though, and am so touched that you even considered the idea. Thank you.

    You are all too sweet, and I feel blessed to have so many wonderful people reading my little posts and taking the time to say such beautiful things.

  12. Laurel,
    You are such a lovely woman. Thank you for sharing this post. I understand this all too well myself. I am so moved by Julia's comment. What a beautiful thing to do. Oh I hope she'll do it and take photos. How lovely. Julia, you are a sweetie!

    You know, Laurel, I still dream and I do it with a little help from my headset and listening to music. I pop on the headset with music I find moving and best fitting to, oh, let's say a walk in the field, or climbing trees, or running, and I listen to it and dream of myself doing it. SOmetimes, if I'm capable, I will sit in my rocking chair and rock back and forth with my eyes closed listening to the music and envisioning these things and play out wonderful scenarios of being able to do these things again. Without limitations, without pain, without fatigue... It gives me moments of joy and sometimes happy sad tears, too. But it's my way of still doing what I haven't been able to do in years without degrees of pain and fatigue... if even able to do them at all.

    Hugs to you and may your dreams come true.


  13. Running barefoot on wet grass: My number one dream!

    Another beautiful post, Laurel. It makes me wish with all my being that all of these things will come true for you.

    I am also touched by the love in the comments! There couldn't be a more deserving human being than our sweet Laurel.

    To run through Laurel's fields of sunflowers on a fresh summer's morning, what a wonderful picture that is. I will be taking that journey in my mind today.


  14. Hey Laurel,

    What a touching post. You seem to have gained a lot of wisdom after all these years. I enjoyed the photos, especially the one with the babies feet-lovely.

    It is hard to find that balance between hope and reality. How lucky we are to be able to dream. I hope all your dreams come through Laurel..

    Keep dreaming and hopefully they won't just be dreams : )

  15. Thank you Susan, Nina & Treya. It's so nice to hear from you all. I truly have the best readers and friends, and feel very blessed by that. Nina -- I know someday you will get to run barefoot in the grass again. I can't wait for that day for us all!

  16. Beautiful post. May all your dreams come true, one at a time, or all at once. Sooner rather than later.

  17. Those are beautiful dreams, sick or well!

  18. Lovely post.
    Many healing blessings to you dear Laurel.
    Each day I will see you getting better and better. :o)
    Fondly, Lori

  19. I hope that someday your dreams will all come true. That you will run barefoot in the grass, dance with your fiance, take a long bubble bath, have a family, walk the beach and watch the sunset.
    Thank you for sharing your dreams. They are beacons of hope.

  20. thankyou so much for this - i needed it today. i simply couldn't have survived the nightmare of the last (don't want to think how many) years without dreaming. i hope you find strength and joy in dreaming your dreams too, and my deepest wish for all of us is that one day soon we will be living our dreams.