Chronic Fatigue Syndrome aces all the definitions of an invisible illness. Symptoms not readily recognized by the casual observer? Check.
Causes and cures unknown? Check.
Sufferers isolated and often bed-ridden? Check.
And, as the cherry on the top, illness often doubted and mental health and/or moral character questioned by the world at large?
Oh, check. And double check.
One last aspect of our invisibility has been that we're almost never heard of in the media. CFS bloggers abound, and CFS support groups are multiplying. But we rarely make a dent in the news.
It's been a tough couple of decades for many living with this condition. But — and I say this with cautious optimism — maybe the media is beginning to bring spring to the frozen CFS terrain. I say cautious because this isn't the first time change seemed just around the bend. And then ... it wasn't.
Just seeing CFS reported in the media as a real illness is something to savor, however. Amy Dockser Marcus has been writing about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the Wall Street Journal for some time. On March 5, 2011, she did it again.
Marcus told of the descent of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome upon Lyndonville, N.Y., in 1985. She described the impact of CFS on its victims and its researchers over the last quarter of a century. For newcomers to this saga, Marcus presented a time capsule that facilitates an understanding of CFS and its victims.
Leonard A. Jason has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. On March 5, 2011, he wrote about it for the Wall Street Journal. Along with his own personal experience, Jason provided some history concerning 20th century illness outbreaks that seemed to bear the markers of CFS. He highlighted the challenges that face researchers facing off with this mysterious ailment.
Then on March 7, 2011, Katherine Hobson of the Wall Street Journal wrote an article that underscored the content of Marcus' earlier piece.
Thank you, Wall Street Journal, from the bottom of my heart.
On February 23, 2011, Michelle Miller of cbsnews.com told the story of Maria Brant, who has had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 16 years.