ME/CFS, Personal


This is the first ever TED talk about Myalgic Encephalomyalitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I cried when I watched it. What Jennifer Brea has to say about her experience is so important. We need people to pay attention to us, and to believe us. Doctors don’t treat or study what they dismiss. If you have ME/CFS, please send a link to this video to anyone you know who is interested in understanding you and your illness.

Here are the things I want:

  1. For doctors and scientists to recognize this disease. To acknowledge that it is real and provide palliative care even if they can’t do anything else.
  2. For governments and research organizations to allocate funding for research, which we so desperately need.
  3. For ordinary people to hear “ME/CFS” and understand that someone who has it is very sick. I don’t need them to know what it stands for, or what the symptoms are. All I want them to know is that it is real and it is serious. That seems like a very low bar to me.
ME/CFS, Personal

#MillionsMissing: ME/CFS Protest!

Today is the day: an international protest/awareness event for ME/CFS! Because I cannot attend in person, I am doing what I can with the platform available to me: the Internet.

The empty shoes symbolize the people missing from society because of ME/CFS. Many people in my family suffer from this disease, and I asked them to contribute their photos to help us raise awareness.

If you would like to help spread awareness, there are suggestions in that link. Also, feel free to like or reblog this post, or put it on facebook. You can sign this petition for increased funding for research. I think we need to reach some sort of critical mass in public consciousness before we will get the funding we so desperately need.

My shoes
My sister Isabella’s rainboots
My sister Jane’s sandals
My sister Lizzy’s shoes
My mother’s photo and her message: “ME/CFS affects everybody in the family.”
ME/CFS, Personal

ME/CFS Awareness Day

Today is, as you may have guessed, ME/CFS Awareness day. This disease has been known by many names over the years, but is currently known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS for short).

This is a devastating disease that affects many millions of people throughout the world, many of whom live alone and in poverty, because they are often too sick to support themselves and are not infrequently abandoned by friends and family.

Yet recognition has been slow and funding scarce, in defiance of good sense and of compassion (billions of dollars are lost to the US economy each year because of ME/CFS; researching a cure would be a sound investment!).

*I will update this post with more information on ME/CFS and what you can do to raise awareness when I can get to a computer. My phone is difficult to write on.



Sometimes I feel really helpless. Of course, most people are helpless to some degree–no one has complete control over his or her own life. But being completely unable to rely on the reactions of one’s own body is a helplessness like no other.

Boo. Hiss.


Feeling awful is terrible (imagine that!) but not knowing why can make it even worse. Some people get understanding doctors and supportive family, and some don’t. To everyone with a chronic illness who doesn’t have a diagnosis: I’m sorry. I hope medical science advances rapidly and provides you with answers. And maybe also makes us all into cyborgs.

Even with a diagnosis, a sudden change from normalcy to constant sickness must be devastating. I’ve had CFS so long that I don’t remember what not having it is like, emotionally or physically, but it still devastates me sometimes. But who can you rail against? This thief of life can’t be reported.

But now that the internet is a thing, we can find each other. Someone understands. Someone cares. And that someone is me.


What do you do . . .

when you have the flu?

I think I may be coming down with something. It can be hard to tell, though. Are these the usual aches and pains, or a special, more different kind? Exciting questions for a full and adventurous life.

I have to decided to (try to) ignore the part of my brain that insists if I don’t do something useful RIGHT NOW I am a useless lump of . . . myself? Not really sure where that metaphor was going. Clay, possibly.

But I need to save up my energy and not push it, because it is Thanksgiving next week, and I want to be able to make pie. Three kinds! Currently, my plans are to make pumpkin (not my favourite, but a classic), chocolate pudding (yum!), and apple (another great fall pie). I may cut back if I find I don’t have the energy.

So, I will be resting. I am reading The Luminaries (about the 1860s gold rush in New Zealand–I didn’t even know they had a gold rush! *embarrassed*). I want to listen to Christmas music, but I am forcing myself, as always, to wait until after Thanksgiving. (I am curious though, about when the rest of the world ‘starts’ Christmas–in some stores, of course, it seems to be August).

Other things I like to do when sick, depending on how bad it is:

hand work (embroidery, cross-stitch)

watching favourite TV shows

listening to audiobooks

sleeping! of course

So, two questions: what is your favourite kind of pie, if any, and what do you do when you’re under the weather?

A picture of one of my Christmas cactus blooms. It obviously doesn’t realize it’s getting ahead of itself, but I don’t mind.
ME/CFS, Personal

What goes around comes around

As winter approaches, here in the northern hemisphere, I find myself once again confronted with the problem of Very Cold Hands. Circulation: not just for newspapers.

This year, I was determined not to suffer through another season of cold and aching hands, my fingers stiff and my skin painfully dry.

But the thing about hands is, you need them for just about everything. You can’t just swaddle them in socks and slippers, like your feet. They’re going to have to come out at some point.

So, gloves were not quite what I was looking for. But maybe fingerless gloves . . . to the internet! To research. And I found a great solution: fingerless gloves that turn into mittens!

So far, I am very pleased with them. I can type in them, and use my phone. They are good for outside wear, but I can also wear them in bed (if I’m too cold, I can’t fall asleep. I tell my body this is nothing short of self-sabotage, but it doesn’t listen). Unfortunately, they aren’t available on Amazon–I got mine from Target.

humour, ME/CFS

Lie down and die


So, many of you have probably felt this way, or even done exactly this. Is it not a childhood rite of passage to collapse upon the floor and express disgruntlement with everything and everyone?

But sometimes, when you have a chronic illness, it’s less funny and more . . . descriptive of daily reality. But if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, right? So all I can do is pray my sense of humour never deserts me.