Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My big secret

So, something I should talk about also is the fact that I've been very sick for the last three years (at least) and haven't told more than a handful of people.

I went to doctors and they said nothing was wrong. I started getting tired all the fucking time. And then sick. I would get every cold I came in contact with. I just chalked it up to stress since I was returning to finish my undergraduate degree at the ripe age of 26. Doctors saw that I have a history of depression and wrote me off as a lazy depressive hypochondriac. It was really fucked up. I knew there was something wrong with me and it wasn't depression because as of 2008 I was happier than I had ever been. Everything sort of fell into place and I was genuinely happy for the first time in a long time. But I was still sick. Finishing the remainder of my BA was a struggle and I couldn't have gotten by without some key professors who showed compassion (most of them did actually).

I graduated in 2009 (summer). It was a great feeling. Seven years after most people my age, I now had my very own useless degree. I was employed by CoffeBusiness, but I wanted more. I applied to EntirFood. I was told by a friend to smile a bunch in the interview. I did. I was hired.

I went to work in the prepared foods department. And it was pretty physically demanding work. I kept up for the first few weeks, but the physical labor caught up to me eventually. I would get home from work in pain from head to toe (not hyperbole) and began sleeping every hour I wasn't working. I struggled to wake up at 2pm for my shifts.

In October 2009, my grandmother died. She was the last of my grandparents and it came as a major setback for my already worsening health. The stress was manifesting physically.

Around this time, I began reading articles around the Internet that mentioned something called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Sufferers reported exercise intolerance, fatigue unchanged by sleep and post-exertional malaise. The more I read, the more sounded familiar.

In December 2009, I had a complete breakdown. The accumulated physical pain, stress and fatigue got so bad that I had to quit my job. It was so bad that I barely could get out of bed. It was really fucked up. I was confused, frightened, frustrated.

I spent the next month being mostly bedridden. And it was at this point that I sought out a doctor who specializes in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

It is embarrassing to talk about this stuff. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome isn't taken seriously and why would it be? Constantly Tired Syndrome? Who doesn't suffer from that? There are no objective markers (thus far) to indicate the presence of CFS and for this reason it is almost entirely written off by mainstream medical practitioners.

It is a strange illness, and one that is easy to conceal from people you aren't that close with. When people have seen me out and about, what they weren't seeing was the days spent in bed, resting up so that I could have some semblance of a normal life.

I could go on and on about all of this, but I'm starting to feel self-conscious. If you are interested in knowing more, don't hesitate to ask. I am nervous talking about this in "public", because I can count on my fingers the number of people who take my illness seriously.

But I need to talk about it, so that everyone can understand fully my current struggle with this cancer bullshit. Because as I am finding out, the two are very likely related.


  1. Here's a great site with a lot of info about my condition.

  2. ryan, your story most definitely interests more people than you know that it does and i hope you crush this fucker with a viking hammer.