Saturday, 28 April 2018



It will soon be M.E. awareness month and May 12th is International Awareness Day and this year it marks the 26th anniversary since the late patient and staunch advocate, Thomas (Tom) Hennessey Jr, designated May 12th as the international awareness day.   

Tom designated May 12 as the special day to commemorate the birth date of Florence Nightingale and her struggle with chronic illness. 

Each year May 12 is a growing global day of protests and demonstrations by people with M.E., their carers, family and friends. 

I know it's very hard, if not impossible, for those of us who are ill to be able to contribute but every little helps. 

This excellent blog gives plenty of ideas on how we can all help. 

During May I will be sharing and reposting some of my blogs and my poems. 

In the week leading up to May 12 I will be donating ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALES OF MY BOOKS TO INVEST IN ME RESEARCH.  

My books are in paperback and kindle versions and are available on Amazon in most countries. 

Here are the links for Amazon UK 

My A-Z of M.E. 

So many symptoms 

Life, love, loss and whole lot more 

Life, love, loss and a little more

I hope you will find some way of taking part in raising awareness and understanding during May. 

We need the suffering to end. 

We need more funding. 

We need more research and studies. 

We need better care. 

We need better understanding

We need to end the neglect and isolation. 

We need to be believed. 

We need more people to fight for us. 

We need to increase awareness. 

We all need to come together until a cure is found.   


A bientot from 
The French Femme 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018



Coping with change is not very easy for me and I think that's the case with anyone with M.E. or other chronic illness. 

I cope as long as my days and my life stays much the same. 

However change is part of life and can not be always avoided. Some change may be a decision we make. Some change is for the better and may be pleasant. Some changes can be for the worse and may bring on a relapse. 

One change I chose to make recently was to adopt a cat. She's called Florence and is absolutely delightful but does require a bit more effort on my part to look after her and watch all that she gets up to every day! 

There are some benefits of having pets when you live with a chronic illness - unconditional love, having a structure in your life, having to look after something else, helps reduce your blood pressure and helps with loneliness. However there is a responsibility and it may be expensive and you will most likely need help in looking after your pet. I certainly feel that Florence is making a change that's helping me through. 

I'd love to hear about your pets and what difference they've made to your life.   

One change that can bring on a relapse is a sudden climatic change. I have difficulty in adjusting to temperature changes and the seasons, especially if sudden and dramatic. You can read more about the problems I have experienced and the loss of thermostatic stability in my previous blog HOT AND COLD . 

Where I live in France a sudden increase in temperatures is expected this week. It feels like we are going straight from Winter into Summer. I'm already having difficulty in adjusting.  

I have written a poem about such a change 

Out of season

Daffodils have hardly faded away,
When a hot summer sun invades the day.
The tulips stand bold and bright in full bloom
When high temperature arrives too soon.
Blossom buds are only just unfurling
When the sun’s powerful rays start burning.
Spring flowers wilt and die with the heat
Their life short, curtailed, the loss of all sweet.
Fruit and vegetables grow in advance
The seasons seem to be out of balance.
Lambs are barely able to stand or walk
When it’s summer and not spring we now talk.
Yet a cuckoo has just started to sing
A sure sign that we have arrived in spring!
The deck chairs are still stacked in garden store
So we quickly retrieve to use once more.
Winter jumpers now far too hot to wear
We discard for tee shirts and the arm bare.
Last year’s sandals are worn out and faded
No time to buy some new or upgraded.
The Easter eggs have yet to be savoured
Now cold drinks or ice creams are favoured.
Spring has passed by and barely shown its face
Instead usurped by summer in the place!

So excuse me while I go and check on Florence and find a t-shirt and flip flops!! 

A bientot 
The French Femme xxx

Friday, 6 April 2018



I think we all know the famous line from Hamlet "to be, or not to be, that is the question" and " an undiscovered country whose bourne no travelers return - puzzles the will".  It seems that hamlet is contemplating death and death is the undiscovered country. What lies after death is mysterious, unknown and yet to be discovered. We do not know what lies after death and that is why death is an 'undiscovered country'. People who die don't usually come back to tell us about it - do they?  

'The Undiscovered Country' is also the title of the sixth feature film based on Star Trek. In this case the collapse of the Klingon Empire is imminent and the United Federation of Planets decides that this is an opportunity to finally negotiate a true, lasting peace with the Klingons. The Klingons are invited to dinner aboard the Starship Enterprise. This is a first and everyone is very tense and concerned about the unknown. Change and the unknown can be frightening. Gorkon gives a toast "to the undiscovered country" - the future - and of course Spock refers to the scene in Hamlet.  

You might be wondering what all this has to do with becoming ill with a chronic illness like M.E. 

So let me explain. We do not know what lies on the other side of good health. When we become ill we enter the unknown. We do not know what lies ahead. We travel into a country of chronic illness where nothing is the same. The unknown is frightening. We don't know how to deal with it. We don't know how to cope. We have to adjust and make changes. We have to learn about our illness. We become self experts. We have no choice as most doctors know little or nothing about this illness.    

We enter the undiscovered country of pain, extreme fatigue, confusion, brain fog, isolation and uncertainty. We feel that our life has ended, slipping away and feel dead but still alive. It's no longer life as we knew it. We just survive. 

Before I became ill in 2002/3 I knew nothing about M.E. 

I had been a well, healthy and active person. Overnight it all changed and I entered that undiscovered country. I was scared. I thought my life was over. I felt so ill I thought that I was going to die. But I didn't. I had to adjust and change everything in my life. I had to learn as much as I could about what was wrong with me - not easy then without a computer and the internet.   

Since then I've found out that my chances of recovery are almost zero and sometimes I feel as if death would indeed be preferable. Sadly it's a fact that there is a high suicide rate in M.E. 

Since then I've discovered that there is little help, treatment or support. I've found much ignorance, lack of understanding and respect, much neglect, cruelty and prejudice. 

I never asked to enter the undiscovered country but I'm here and there's no going back. So I have to continue to learn how to live in this country. 

How do you?       

The Undiscovered Country

I’ve travelled to the
Undiscovered country
Where nothing is the same
So my life has to change
A country that’s unknown
And where I feel alone
A country of no return
Where I have so much to learn
A country of chronic illness
Where I suffer pain and distress
A country of so much neglect,
Cruelty and lack of respect
A country of poor recovery
Little hope and much uncertainty   
A country beset with confusion
And many left in isolation
A country where I feel dead but alive
No longer living yet somehow survive

A bientot 
From the French Femme xxx