Medical Community

You start going to doctors. One after another, they prod you, stick needles in you, draw blood, send you for lab tests. Then they tell you there's nothing wrong with you, that you're not sick. They offer you antidepressants, tell you to see a shrink. They take your money.

If you are lucky, after six months or more, you find a doctor who understands this illness, and you get a diagnosis: Chronic Immune Activation Syndrome. You go for another endless round of lab tests, see a lot more doctors.

None of them can help you.

You read everything about this illness that you can get your hands on, looking for a way out. You try everything.

You discover that there is no way out.


You learn that for ten years, senior people at the US Government's primary disease control center stonewalled medical research on this illness, denying its existence and ridiculing people who had it or who tried to treat people who had it.

You learn that when a researcher was assigned to study CFIDS, it was the kiss of death for her or his career. You learn that this government agency had cartoons posted all over the place, making fun of people with CFIDS.

You try to suppress your urge to strangle someone. You remind yourself that anger makes your symptoms worse. You try to return to a state of calm.

You fail.