Losing a beloved pet is heart-breaking for anyone, but even more so for someone who has already lost so much to years of being sick. Even when you have a neurological illness that few people understand, animals can provide unconditional love and support.
Helen still has her other bichon frisé dog Snuffe, but the recent loss of "her little shadow" Lillen (pictured) dealt a devastating blow, especially since any stress tends to make chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) even worse.
Helen studied Swedish and English, became a librarian and had three children in just over three years. For several years she was effecti
Where there is will, there is pain
Timo is 22. He used to do gymnastics in the Finnish national team. He wouldn't let something little come in the way. It's not that he is a perfectionist, he just wanted everything. Or at least a Masters of Science and to be a top athlete.
Then Timo got an ear infection, not exactly a major illness, but that's when things started to go wrong. After a few weeks of tinnitus and antibiotics he got well again. Almost. He was more tired than usual and started struggling with brainfog.
Six months later the doctor of the Olympic committee diagnosed Timo with mycoplasma, a bacterial infection which is usually only
Waking up is simply a transformation into another dream. Even in the dark I can make out fuzzy outlines of familiar things in the room: the poster with cats, the wooden chair, the nightstand and the clock on it, all shaking back and forth with the jitter in my eyes.
Through the hazy lines pain seeps into my consciousness. My shins are bursting with a dull throbbing feeling, which turns into a searing ache as it approaches the knee. The knees, like every joint in my body, are being rubbed with caustics. As you go higher, the legs, especially the right one, have a deep gnawing inside of them, occasionally like squirming maggots but recently mo
At first it was known as atypical polio or epidemic neuromyasthenia (myasthenia means muscle weakness). Epidemics were first reported in the 1930s and from the beginning it was clear this was an infectious neurological illness. In the 1950s most doctors started using the name myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME, for a painful inflammation of the brain and the spinal cord.
In the 1980s multiple epidemics took place in the United States. There had just been a major scare about AIDS and the authorities didn't want to frighten people with another mysterious illness. ME was reborn under the laughable name of chronic fatigue syndrome. Soon it became k
The air in the waiting room is heavy and rigid. I think they can sense that something is wrong.
"It's so hard to put them down, isn't it?" says the woman next to me. She looks like she hasn't slept.
"Incredibly hard," I admit. "I wish bios weren't so frail."
"But for the duration of their short lives they give you unconditional love," she points out.
I look at Jimmy and wonder if I'm doing the right thing.
"It's alright," she reassures me. "If you really love your humans, you won't let them suffer needlessly."
And she's right, of course.
It's year 2002. Katja has just given birth to her second child and has moved to the first house that she and her partner actually own. She suffers from persistent dizziness, headache, insomnia, brainfog and back pain. But that's how it is with two young children, isn't it?
At just three months the baby is constantly ill. There are ear infections, allergies and difficulty breathing. Katja's firstborn had 17 ear infections before the age of two and she has had recurrent ear infections herself, too. Her adenoids were removed twice: first when she was a baby and again in her teens, after they had grown back as scar tissue. She also had her tonsi