Many of you have heard the term ‘chronic fatigue’ I am sure. Far fewer of you probably know the technical, medical knowledge about the disease. While I could share with you page after page, hour after hour of information on chronic fatigue, I think it is more appropriate to share just how deeply chronic fatigue has affected my life.
I grew up just like many other kids. I loved to play outside until darkness came and I loved to push the limit with my parents every night about bedtime. As a child, there was nothing better than when my mom or dad took time away from their busy schedules to play with me and my siblings. I loved nothing more than when my dad’s car pulled into the driveway and he came around back to join us in whatever game we happened to be playing. I have year after year of great memories of afternoons and summer days spent playing with my dad. That was all before chronic fatigue happened of course.
I was in junior high when my dad first began showing symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as chronic fatigue. It was interesting because I remember that the sickness seemed to come upon him slowly and yet all at once. I remember that his energy levels slowly disappeared until he could barely get out of bed to make it to work somedays. He was tested for a wide variety of things, but it was a couple of years before the diagnosis of chronic fatigue was made.
Because I was too young to fully understand the problems that were plaguing my dad’s body, his chronic fatigue was a source of frustration and anger to me. I didn’t like it that my dad no longer was able to play catch with me in the back yard or that he rarely made it to my Saturday soccer games anymore. He tried to explain his chroic fatigue to me over and over, but often I would get made and storm out of the room. How could my dad, so healthy and active and young just a few years before, be unable to make it out of bed in the morning?
Once my dad was officially diagnosed with chronic fatigue, it was many months before an effective treatment plan could be figured out by his doctors. They tried curbing his chronic fatigue with many diet and exercise plans. They tried getting him to sleep longer at night and nap during the day. Our family stopped eating many of the foods we loved most each time mom began preparing a new diet for dad’s chronic fatigue. The cafeteria at school and an occasional meal with friends became my only retreat from the boring and tasteless foods my dad was now destined to eat because of chronic fatigue.
My point in saying these things is simply to share in brief the ways chronic fatigue has affected my life. While I am very thankful to all of the doctors that have worked on my dad and made his condition bearable, I still miss the dad I had before chronic fatigue came and stole his life and our time together away.