Phoenix Rising - Cort Johnson's Column
...Presenting complex chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) research in a way we can all understand.
"Listen To M.E." : An ME/CFS Patient Recovers
by Mike Dessin
The next thing I expected to hear about Mike Dessin was that he was dead. His case of ME/CFS had progressed far, far beyond what most people face, and quite frankly, I shuddered to think of what he was going through. I'd offered my feeble idea's- which he gently brushed aside - and then he disappeared. That was over a year ago. About early May I got an e-mail from him. This is what he told me... - Cort Johnson
Yea, I had asthma, a good amount of anxiety and chest infections twice a year but I was never too sick to stop from running cross country, playing basketball, hanging out with friends and doing all the things any normal kid would do.
"(I was) never too sick to stop.. from running cross country, playing basketball, hanging out with friends and doing all the things any normal kid would do."
Our family's best friend was a doctor, so we always got excellent treatment when someone in my family would get sick. I grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood and had a fairly normal family. I would say I had an above average life as a child and through adolescence.
In the late summer of 94', just before my second year at the University of Cincinnati was to begin, I got that flu. The only real symptom I had was a 104 fever. I remember it so vividly, because my girlfriend had to soak me in ice for hours each day.
Luckily the fever went away and I was glad to be normal again until I decided to go for a jog a few days later. I had a sharp pain in my heart and felt disoriented afterwards. Then several weeks after that I developed some fatigue and had some mild panic attacks. I went to the University doctor to let him know something just didn't feel right. After his evaluation he said I had allergies. I told him I'd had allergies my entire life and never felt this way before. He told me not to worry. It seemed like I was getting under his skin. So on my way I went.
None of that stopped me from having my college fun. I was in a fraternity, had a bunch of friends and was extremely popular. Even with those additional odd symptoms I made it thru college in five years. Then it was off to California to live the dream life.
Boy, did I live the dream for the next seven years. I was renting a beautiful house seven houses away from the sand in beautiful Newport Beach. I worked out as much as my body would allow and looked fit, went boating often, had plenty of girl friends, went to parties from Orange County to the Hollywood Hills and eventually partnered in a car business that became very successful. I was the guy everyone wanted to be around.
Life was nearly perfect except for my 20 or so weird symptoms which I kept a secret from family and friends. I was 85% functional and I never let those nagging symptoms get the best of me.
I had gone to the doctor on a few occasions and they always said stop being a hypochondriac, it's allergies, you're normal, here's an anti-depressant. All the chronically activated virus they found on my blood work throughout the years was just no big deal. "Oh, it's just chronic Epstein Barr" or "You might have CFS which is no big deal" they'd say. I just felt like something might be really wrong all along...But the docs just wouldn't LISTEN TO M.E.
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