by Llewellyn King in Inside Sources.
All diseases are cruel, but some have a refined brutality all their own. One such is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It is a monster, often hidden in plain sight; the suffering it inflicts is limitless.
Tom Camenzind is a handsome young man who should be in the joyous throes of youth. A popular and gifted student at Stanford University, Tom was clearing the hurdles of academia with ease and grace. In January of his sophomore year, he caught a cold on campus. ME walked through some door, and stole his promising life.
Today Tom lies conscious but prone in his parents’ home in San Ramon, Calif. He is totally paralyzed and can only communicate with his parents, Mark and Dorothy, by pressure from his fingers on sensors. He cannot tolerate everyday sounds, light or touch.
When the sensor-activated bell sounds, Tom’s parents come rushing to his side. Mark is an engineer and Dorothy is a physician, and the strain of their son’s affliction on them is palpable. Tom cannot do anything, anything whatsoever, for himself. At 23 years old, he is on the threshold of life, but he cannot cross it. He breathes and thinks, but he cannot live his life.
Recently, I filmed the Camenzinds for a special edition of “White House Chronicle,” a weekly program that I produce and host for PBS and other broadcast outlets. It was made in conjunction with the Solve ME/CFS Initiative, a Los Angeles-based charity.
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