At this time of the year we often try to think of gifts for Christmas. Often I see posts on Facebook about “invisible illnesses” where people look perfectly fine but are suffering inside. These kinds of illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Epstein Barr, Lupus, and other autoimmune illnesses can play havoc on ones lives and the lives of their families. They often go undiagnosed for a long time because the person is uncertain why they feel so wretched yet look totally normal and don’t think they have something really wrong with them. Many doctors often overlook them as well.
For many years I suffered from CFS. It was shortly after my son was born that I developed a high fever that lasted about three days. After the fever went down, it stayed at 99 degrees for about 2 years and was accompanied by an incredible feeling of fatigue and a mild sore throat and swollen glands. In addition, I had spells when my memory was so bad I couldn’t remember how to get to work. Through it all I still went to work and cared for my young son with enormous help from my husband. It is not an experience I would like to go through again.
I was lucky in that I found a doctor who was sympathetic with my condition and tried various things to determine what I had and how he could help me. I ultimately went to a doctor who prescribed massive doses of certain vitamins which took me into a remission. I also think that my symptoms were not as severe as others who may have the disease otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to continue working through it.
One needs to be understanding if a family member is going through such a time in their lives. Outwardly they don’t appear sick, but inwardly they are fighting everyday to maintain some semblance of a life. It a time like this that they would certainly appreciate a small amount of help in doing daily chores that we often take for granted. If there is someone in your life who is experiencing anyone of these conditions, doing a small job for them could be the greatest Christmas gift of all.