Story by Katie Gu in the Stanford Times. (A view from the US).
Two years ago, Tom Camenzind, 16, was a sophomore at Stanford studying computer science. He had a 4.0 GPA and summer job offers from Facebook and Dropbox. According to him, his “medical history was a clean slate.”
Then, in January 2014, he contracted a respiratory infection from which he never fully recovered.
In February and March of the same year, Tom had enough energy to complete assignments and projects but often needed to rest in bed for a day or two to have enough energy for the next day. But after contracting a second cold in April 2014, his post-exertional malaise, characterized by extreme levels of fatigue following mental or physical exertion, began to worsen.
Since late August 2015, Tom has been unable to spend more than 30 minutes at a time out of bed. He spends most of the day in his bedroom, where the lights are always off and the blinds are drawn. When he’s ready for his three meals, he rings a pager button, whispers to his parents what he’d like to have and then eats in a chair beside his bed. His speech is limited to simple words that meet basic needs.
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