Humans of ME/CFS
It was as if a switch flipped. Forty-two years ago, at age eleven, I went from a normal giggly girly girl to a sick exhausted child who couldn’t function. My family physician ran a battery of tests and decided I had an unusually bad case of mono. The first year, I missed over 100 days of school. Everyone told my parents to stop coddling me.
In those long years in between I was able to finish high school, but have never been able to finish college. Not working was not an option, so I had to concentrate on making a living. I’ve always been able to hold down a full-time job, but have been very grateful for the Family Medical Leave Act. Like so many of us, I have also developed fibromyalgia. I have periods of ME/CFS remission that can last up to three years before relapse. In my forties, I was blessed with a loving, amazing husband. I never had children and, while I deeply regret that, I also can’t imagine trying to care for myself AND a child.
This life has made me very empathetic with others. About 25 years ago, I fell into a job as a medical secretary at a teaching hospital. This blessed me in so many ways! I worked on a cancer unit and was reminded daily that I was in great shape compared to those I saw every day. I learned to ask more and better questions. I’ve had excellent medical care and health insurance.
Finally, I have to thank God that I was led to alternative medicine. I was referred to an acupuncturist. Routine treatments improved my stamina, my immune system, and my pain. Believe me, my body reminds me when I’m due for a tune-up!
At 53, I am in pretty good shape (comparably). Many others don’t share my opinion, but they haven’t lived in my body. I didn’t think I’d make it to 50. So, to me every day I can vacuum, walk my dogs, bake homemade bread, kiss my husband, or give a great day’s work, I am pretty happy. When my days are painful, I have to remind myself of how far I’ve come. Some days those conversations don’t go so well. Fortunately, those days are not as frequent.
God bless all of us. Let’s keep praying for treatments that work!