Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wings to Fly — 9

Memoir Index

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Years

My sweet marriage life had turned into inevitable waiting for that dreaded day—when Tom would quit his job to serve God, and we would have a hand-to-mouth existence which I did not even want to imagine. Also I had to be on guard. I could not allow myself to love him and be devastated again.

In 1988 Seth was born. Now we had three beautiful children. We were busy with “the church life.” That was our social life and spiritual life. I continued to work as a pharmacist part time.

I was very aware of all the verses that talked about building up your riches in heaven and not on earth, that God takes care of lilies and how much he will take care of you, to have Christ as my all in all …on and on. I desperately prayed those verses, wished from depth of my heart that I could live those verses.

In 1991 I came down with illness, known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which lasted until 1997. I was sick all the time. When my older children came home from school and sneezed, I was deathly afraid. Small cold for me meant being bed bound for a month. I no longer was able to walk up or down the stairs. We moved from our second floor bedroom to first floor so that I could be near the kitchen.

When Seth was three years old, I was not able to enroll him into pre-school, swimming, or any other activities. I no longer had energy. Even spending time to teach him alphabets became too exhausting. I found myself in bed most of the time. One day, Henna’s school called me saying I need to come and pick her up. She was sick. I could not get myself out of bed and driver to her school and bring her home. I pleaded with school secretary “please keep her at school. Have her lie down and put her on school bus later. I am sick and cannot come.” I felt that I was the worst of moms.

When I was sick for one full year without a day of relief, I realized that I could be sick for a long time to come. Tom tried to maintain the house, the children, the laundry, and whatever else came along our way … my heart went to him. I watched dust accumulate on our dresser yet helpless to do anything about it. I did not tell anyone of my health condition. I did not want any of their comments; couldn’t doctors do anything about it? Did you try to do this or that? My journey to get help medical world had still left me sick.

Yet in 1992 we made a grand plan to go to England with Nigel, Shirley and their three children and spend two and half weeks there. For five of us that would be quite an expense. That money could have remodeled our second floor bathroom. In my mind I may die soon. I wanted my family to remember me having fun with them…instead of someone who was sick all the time. I would rest in our rented home as much as I required.

Oh those were so memorable days. I watched from our kitchen window, our 6 children playing in bliss. We had rented a farm house in southern England. In front of this old English home was a beautiful flower garden. Beyond the garden, was a pond our kids loved and hills partitioned by hedges. Every morning one could see sheep grazing on green grass of beautiful English hills. The dogs often would romp about in nature’s ecstasy. Henna and Faith were ten years old. They were lost in their dream wonderland. I often would find them in the midst of flowers. Oh they made such a beautiful picture. Christian, Nathan and Seth were lost in their games of adventure. There were so many hills, rocks, and gardens to explore. Jesse Tomes was a baby. Each day we would have an outing to the beach, or towns with so much history. Somehow, in this atmosphere of peace and tranquility my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome seemed to subside. I loved it.

In 1993 our family went on another long vacation. This time it was to Guatemala. There was a stark contrast from the previous year. We were visiting a couple, Mario and Anna who we became very close to in Chicago. Because of Mario’s work injury, he was no longer able to support his household in Chicago so they moved back to Guatemala. They took off two and half weeks to travel with us. They were our guide. We saw the Mayan ruins, black sands from volcanic ashes, natives who still lived very primitively in their mud huts, a small boy who hung a lizard on a tree and was beating it…it was their family dinner. When we were on a small boat going to an island, there was a woman with boisterous chickens under her arms, a man with his motorcycle, half-dozen others who stared us as if we were from Mars. Tom was a white man and I was an Asian woman. There were no others like us. And we had our three children with us.

That was the last of our vacations until my CFS days were over. Looking back, those times did much for me in the healing of our marriage. The wall within me was coming down somewhat.

Back home, Tom was becoming restless. His spiritual life was waning. I began to wonder if it was I who was causing this. Slowly his fervor for our church life diminished. I could feel his unhappiness. My CFS continued. We have both fallen into the world of duty rather than the world of contentment. I realized that he needed me and I was still protecting myself from hurt. Our ability to be involved in our church activities diminished due to my health. Now I was up about four hours and spent twenty hours in bed.

Elizabeth was born in 1994. How was I to take care of my new born! I could not even take care of my three older children. I watched Tom, Henna, Christian, and Seth actively involved in helping me bring up a new born.

Tom became more and more listless, discouraged, and unhappy. I started to pray for him and I also started to pray for myself. My sensation was that I may die soon and I wanted to get to know Jesus before I died. All of my ‘building God’s house’ meant nothing to me when Jesus was not real to me. It saddened me greatly to see Tom so unhappy. One time he said to me, “…I need your support. The churches...the ministry...” He never told me what bothered him so much until many many years later.

In 1997, my health was restored to me through using nutraceuticals. This was nutritional supplements with pharmaceutical properties yet without any negative side affects that always accompanied pharmaceuticals. Now for the first time in seven years I experienced normal health. Oh the glory to be able to take my children to the beach whenever they wanted. Oh the glory of doing simple things like grocery shopping and cooking.

I was introduced to net work marketing or multi-level marketing for these nutraceuticals. A light bulb had popped in my thoughts. I can have a home business and be with my children. If I can create a successful business that would take care of our needs then Tom can quit his job to serve. It appeared to me that the only way Tom would be perfectly satisfied was to be in full time service to Jesus our savior.

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