Sunday, July 12, 2009
Happiness and CFS
The grand essentials of happiness are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
– Allan Chalmers
This is why many CFS patients are unhappy: they're too sick to do anything, the people they love have either abandoned them or don't believe they're sick, and Modern Medical Science has given them nothing to hope for.
One reason I never got depressed over having CFS is that I was diagnosed by an Ivy-League-trained virologist, who assured me that he personally was doing research into it. With a genius like him working on it, I had confidence the problem would be solved quickly. Although his research didn't provide the cure I needed, I learned about other privately-funded research that might, which kept my hopes up.
Compare that to the many patients who are diagnosed by a doctor who tells them "there's nothing we can do for you". The doctor doesn't know what research is being done, so can't tell them what's coming in the near future. They have nothing to hope for.
Well, that's why this blog is here – to reassure you that despite your doctor's ignorance, despite CDC's foot-dragging, there is something to hope for. I attended the IACFS conference this spring and they know a lot more now than they did when I got sick in 1987. There are hints of a big breakthrough coming soon. Dr. Klimas is opening her own CFS-centered clinic in Florida later this year and a Center for Excellence will open in Reno in 2010.
Moreover, there are things that can be done to help you now. There's no "magic pill" that will cure you overnight, but there's promising evidence for increasing blood volume with saline IVs, for use of anti-viral medication, for use of pacing to reduce symptoms.
Anti-depressants are useless, and may even make you worse; several specialists recommend starting with a sleeping pill, which allows the body to start healing itself. Since my quality/quantity of sleep has improved, the number of symptoms bad enough to ask for pharmaceutical help has been reduced substantially. That alone made a big difference in my quality of life.
This blog has plenty of information on testing that will help you prove you're disabled, research that may help you get treatment that makes life a little better, and helpful hints on getting through the day. Just use the search bar at the top of the page and see what you can find!