THE SYMPTOMS had been plaguing me for many years—muscle weakness and pain, dizziness, chronic tiredness. I also experienced difficulties in eating and sleeping, as well as concentrating and reading for any length of time. Finally a medical evaluation showed that I was suffering from a condition called myalgic encephalomyelitis—also commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
As a wife and the mother of three young children and with a household to run, my condition made life very difficult for everyone at times. Several years earlier I had left my job, as I was unable to cope with the demands.
In early December 1987, I was admitted into hospital. The doctor prescribed various drugs to treat the condition, as well as additional medication to relieve the side effects. I also had a surgical procedure that seemed to increase the general debility. Six weeks later, after spending Christmas and New Year's in hospital, I was allowed to return home, but was even weaker than when admitted.