Mother, Public Relations Professional, Dairy Farmer's Wife, 4-H Leader, Gardener

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These are just a few of the hats I wore prior to becoming ill with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. I have been unable to wear any of those hats for two and one-half years. (Now I count my blessings when I am able to wear the "Mother's hat" for two days in a row!)

My husband works 70-100 hours per week operating a 200 acre, 100 cow dairy farm. He could no longer depend on me to run the household, take care of our young son, run farm errands and bring home a paycheck. Unfortunately, I couldn't accomplish even one of those tasks. We have relied heavily upon our family and friends to run our household, to bring me to doctor appointments, to help with farm chores and to take care of our young son for more than two years. My illness has affected the lives of everyone we know.

Chronic illnesses like CFIDS create incredible stress on the family unit. Thankfully our families have been very generous with their patience, love and physical endurance. (Although keeping up with a 4 year old farm boy will give any grandparent a run for their money!) My parents, in a struggle to find a cure for my illness, brought me to every major hospital between Madison and Chicago. Thankfully, I was diagnosed with CFIDS in Madison after only 6 months. (I hear others wait for years.)

Even though I can no longer wear the many hats I once proudly wore; I finally feel that I am beginning to gain back some of my strength. The last two and one-half years have been the most difficult in my life of 28 years. With the Lord's help, I hope I will continue on the incredibly slow (yet very exciting) journey to recovery.

Judy, Kenosha