Kathleen Houghton was a professional health care worker dedicating many years to pediatric nursing before CFIDS put her life on hold at the age of 36. She continues to be ill and is mostly housebound, however, she is very aggressive in CFIDS awareness and leads a local support group. Kathleen is also a research patient and participates in several CFIDS research projects around the country.
This is what Kathleen has to say about "The Thief of Many Lives":
Until reading "The Thief of Many Lives," you too may have questioned the validity of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a real illness. It is very real, especially for us, the sufferers. The credibility and validity of the disease has long been a most difficult message to convey to our government, physicians, health care professionals, and citizens of this country. What makes this even more challenging is that initially we look like the textbook picture of radiant health. Consequently, one of the worst things that someone can say to a person with CFIDS is how well they look, they must be feeling better! Better than what? Death on a good day. Lengths of time go by, months, seasons and years, when all of our reserve energy is used simply to eat and breathe. Nobody sees this, as we are left behind closed doors to suffer silently in the nightmare of this "non-existent," "it's all in your head" debilitating and destructive disease. Our immune system continues to battle itself, while an unnamed virus replicates in our brains, causing a host of systemic malfunctions, contributing to our far below minimal level of functioning. Inexplicably, our cries for awareness and validation continue to fall upon deaf ears. WAKE UP, AMERICA!!! This is a serious disease at an epidemic level, affecting an astounding 300 per 100,000 people in the United States. Until you decide to become educated about CFIDS, it will continue to destroy the lives of millions of people nationwide.
May is International CFIDS awareness month. Please make your voice be heard for those of us who are too weak or can't get out of bed. Contact your government officials as well as your local health care community, and make them aware of the tragic impact that this illness is having on our nation.
Be Aware, or Beware, as you could be writing this letter from your bed next May 12th.