Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

by Amberlin Wu

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I am forcing myself to stay in bed so I will have enough energy to get in the wheelchair and make it to my blood draw later today. I’ve just returned from the hospital a few days ago, which will make for something like 17 weeks of hospitalization in 18 months. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Please don’t be fooled by the ridiculous name. Dr. Nancy Klimas, one of the country’s top immunologists states, “I split my clinical time between the two illnesses (H.I.V. and CFS), and I can tell you if I had to choose between the two illnesses I would rather have H.I.V. (New York Times, 9/29/2010).”

What is it like to have CFS? It’s like living in a cement cage that is smaller than you. It’s like having the flu, mono, jetlag, IBS, arthritis, a migraine, PMS and a concussion all at the same time, only infinitely worse. What’s the worst part of having CFS? Maybe it’s the blame put on the patient by our undereducated medical community.  Perhaps, it’s the ignorance of people like the guy on Facebook who commented that CFS is just an excuse for obese, lazy Americans to waste away.  For me, it’s the utter despair and fear that has found a permanent place in my mother’s eyes.

Whatever it is, if you or someone you love has CFS, please know that you don’t have to go through this alone. The Mountain View CFS Support Group’s heartbeat is solid and loud. For more information, please call 408.656.6826. To read more of my own experiences please visit my blog:

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