Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday Confession Part IV

If anyone would have told me about a syndrome like Chronic Fatigue, I would have thought they were pulling my leg. After all, what kind of demonic state would encompass over 100 discreet symptoms that occurred in groups, randomly; changed groupings repeatedly; but never went away except in rare cases? Where at least 50% of the sufferers could no longer work at gainful employment, and a majority of the other 50% had to reduce their hours or productivity? Where most of the stricken were females, often in their most productive years, but every gender, race and age was represented? Which had been described as worse than MS, AIDS or chemotherapy and left its victim for all outside appearances looking completely normal? Which stigmatized the patient as having "yuppie flu" or worse? No, I wouldn't have believed such a condition actually existed, not for a minute. After all, dying sounded better than that.

Many have agreed and taken their own lives when hopelessness spread before them. Unsurprising to me, two of Dr. Kervorkian's victims were Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. Keith Jarrett, a celeb jazz musician, was quoted by the The CFIDS Association of America as saying about his experience with the syndrome:
"It was like aliens were invading my body. I felt completely drained of energy. It felt like a forced cessation. No one knows how debilitating this sickness is unless they have it. I've met people who have had it for 10 years, 25 years. Some are bedridden, some can't walk across the street. If you want to give the average person an idea of what this illness feels like to many sufferers, it's like the last four months of an AIDS patients life--but it lasts forever."
But it lasts forever. That's the part I would have found particularly hard to believe. Certainly, with the proper exercise, a person could walk farther over time and someday regain her vitality; or with acupuncture or fill-in-the blank alternative therapy she could be cured; or with more sleep or better vitamins or the latest sham. Yada, yada, yada. Nope, they've all been tried and don't cure the unlying cause which remains elusive after more than 25 years of research.

I have to confess, I once had an friend with a similar affliction and was quite unsympathetic. I simply could not understand why her moods were so unstable, how her pain got in the way of normal living, or why she was not reliable at showing up as promised. Our friendship ended over it, and she has not spoken to me since. Now that I am in the same boat so to speak, I figure this is payback time. There is one thing about karma; it works with undeviating precision.

If my friend were to read this, she might forgive me and that would definitely enhance both our lives. Forgiveness is the premiere universal antidote to anger, hate and other dark mischief that pricks us like sharpened needles. When coupled with love, this action packed combo can and does change the world on a daily basis. This lesson with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been a hard one for me but has provided opportunities to experience and radiate loving understanding. I would not recommend it, though--might I suggest a different, more direct route to find love in action? The universe is providing them every day for the taking.

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