By Jennie Spotila, in the Inquirer.
I recently went to a new doctor. He looked over my chart: “Chronic fatigue syndrome,” he read, and then he glanced up at me. “You don’t look tired,” he quipped. “There, I made it go away.”
I’ve been sick for 24 years, and I get comments like this a lot.
I’ve grown accustomed to comments like this because my disease — myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) — is a debilitating neuroimmune disease that is poorly understood by most of the medical community.
I was 26-years-old when I first got sick with what seemed to be a flu-like virus. Six months later, I was diagnosed with CFS, as it was known in the 1990s. Every day, I deal with widespread pain, brain fog, low blood pressure, and a slew of other symptoms. Worst of all, even mild physical or cognitive exertion makes me feel sicker. This disease robbed me of my career as an attorney, my plans for a family, and even simple activities such as driving or taking a walk. I never imagined I would still be sick a quarter-century after getting ill.
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