Researchers still are not sure why people suffer pain, exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia and other symptoms, sometimes for years. They have suspected viruses, but have not proven which one.
Actually, Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., has shown that a variety of physical and emotional triggers can lead to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia Syndrome (CFS/FMS). I’m using a term he coined, because he has also demonstrated that Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia are in fact the same underlying condition. Continue reading →
I could feel the panic rising inside me. It was 2007 and I had finally found out what was wrong with me after two years. But this had the effect of burning up my savings faster as I pursued treatment. It was like running at top speed towards the edge of a cliff. You need momentum in order to have a chance of taking off into the air. But you might fall over the edge. To make matters worse, my improvement appeared to be stalling.
There was nothing else to do except call Tracy Beckerley. “Why did I get Chronic Fatigue?” I had met Tracy at my birthday celebration during healthier times. The party favor was a fifteen minute Tarot card reading and I loved the way Tracy combined her psychology degree with intuitive skills. Continue reading →
I happened to reconnect with my father’s sister shortly after I first fell sick six years ago. I hadn’t seen her since I was about seven years old. When I was having difficulty recovering from surgery about a year later, she mentioned that she’d gone through something similar. She too had undergone a myomectomy as a young woman and found herself unable to function afterwards. “How will I ever return to my law practice if I can’t even read the newspaper?” she’d asked herself. It took about six months but she eventually got better.
I now recognize her symptoms as meeting the minimum definition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which suggests that I have (1)a genetic predisposition to this disease. Not only did reconnecting with her give me access to this information, I managed to summon the courage to tell her about the inexplicable, special connection I have always felt with her. ❑She told me she’d always felt the same way… Continue reading →
“When I was in school in England, did you ever wonder about me? Whether I liked my school, which subjects I liked, whether I was sick or well, if sick did I know what to do, when my school holidays were, whether I had a place to stay?”
“It never occurred to me,” my mother replied. She was visiting me for the first (and last) time in California.
You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? Continue reading →
Sefi Atta won the inaugural Wole Soyinka Literature in Africa Prize and is a high school friend. Her latest book is Everything Good Will Come. When we reconnected recently, I learned a few surprising things about her memories of me! In this Forgiveness series, I’ve written about sources of overwhelming stress in my childhood, which I now understand contributed to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. What Sefi wrote about her impressions is reprinted below with her permission. It helped me to understand the stark difference between my inner life and outward appearances, and the value of reconciling the two in order to heal.
The Three Times My Bladder Failed
by Sefi Atta
When I was ten years old I had a piano teacher who hated me – Okay, perhaps she didn’t, but I couldn’t sight read music and this clearly irritated her. She would glare at me as I tried my best to wing it. Continue reading →
I don’t remember why I was walking through the library of my new boarding school in England, with a guitar in my hands. I’ve never known how to play one. It was close to bedtime and there were a few girls from my year sitting in the carrels. Somebody asked me if I played the guitar and I said yes. Then I encouraged everyone to come out and sit around me.
I was the new, 15-year-old girl from Africa. During those first two weeks, I had been mostly quiet while I took in my new surroundings. I can’t say what I was thinking that night. Maybe it was simply time to break my silence. Once everybody was sitting politely in a semicircle around me, I dramatically put one foot up on a chair, took the guitar out of its case, perched it on my knee, and strummed away. Continue reading →
The rumor was that the woman my father married used to be a prostitute. “Look her up,” someone apparently said, giving father a note as he prepared to leave my mother at home and fly to New York. “She’ll show you a good time.” Wink, wink.
I couldn’t care less about race, class, or social status. And anyway, I wonder now about the word “prostitute.” If the person speaking English also speaks Yoruba, perhaps they are referring to another meaning. The Yoruba translation for prostitute is ashewo which also means woman with loose morals. Maybe my father’s set just didn’t like her.
My prejudices generally lie around things like pronouncing nuclear NUKE-U-LAR. I also never got over the guy who put his fork and his knife in his mouth at dinner. I probably didn’t look too good myself as my mouth fell open with food in it! Continue reading →
Or, What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia?
I was finally having a tantrum. In dealing with about three years of being mysteriously disabled, getting diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and facing unhelpful doctors, my attitude had always been to stay focused and solve the problem. Just the solutions ma’am!