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CASE STUDIES FROM M.E.
ME patients come from all kinds of socio-economic, ethnic and age backgrounds. I have known some of their stories and set them out below. These stories are fictional only to the extent that all names are fictional. I have “diagnosed” what each patient needed to do to turn their condition around but which most have failed to do. Needless to say, most are still ill and desperately marginalised. Two close ME friends have died, one from the complications of ME, or so we believe:
Moira developed ME after a long course of antibiotics and glandular fever. She had youth on her side and did various things to help herself, including a strict diet. Eventually, she seemed to get better enough to work full-time. Then, she met someone she wanted to marry. He was a highly paid executive. They married and were happy at first. She had a daughter Zoe. Life was good. She had everything she wanted. She was working hard, looking after a house and child. Then, one day, she got a virus and went to work with it. Within a week she had crashed, with ME - again. She gave up her job and could do nothing in the house. She lay in bed helpless. Her husband left her fior someone else, took custody of the child and bought her another flat. She has been left entirely alone and had no family left to help her. She is too ill to access advice and help.
Moira needs loving care to recuperate from the shock of her broken marriage. She needs a home help and an ME mentor to help her put into practice the recovery techniques on this site and handle the practicalities of her new life. She needs to block out the negative experiences in order for them not to destroy her fragile health. Her first priority is to get better.
Stewart was handsome and charming, the type of man you see on the covers of business magazines. He was a business studies student and athlete, someone whom everyone admired and envied. Yet he felt imprisoned by his mother's love for him. One day, after having jabs to go to Africa and going through a broken relationship, he developed a cold, which was not quite like a cold, then a kind of flu which would not go away. He played rugby with it and collapsed. He had ME. He struggled on with his degree but moved back home with his divorcing parents. He had no girlfriends as he did not have enough energy and withdrew into himself. Then, his mother died and he was alone. He felt his life was wasted and he withdrew further into his deep bitter anger and resentment at all that he had lost through ME.
Stewart needs to read this website, practice recovery methods and look at how he is reacting. ME is such a challenge to his macho values and aspirations. He needs to start a diet, to find a mentor to talk with and read widely about recovering emotionally and integrating himself through ME. He needs to put his sporting aspirations into a larger perspective. He needs to lay down his anger and reach out to others valuing them not for superficial or success reasons, in love. He needs to connect again with a world in which weakness does not destroy a man’s identity but is just a stepping stone to self-discovery and emotional integration.
Clara was a young, beautiful and privileged woman who had always had what she had wanted. Then, after glandular fever she developed ME. She refused to accept that she had it. She went to a healer and thought she was “healed”. She refused to accept that she might not be and went mountaineering. She relapsed. She was in a far worse state than the one she had been before. Luckily, her parents were very kind and she lived at home. She has never worked but she is reasonably comfortable, although gradually getting worse, because she is not doing anything to get herself better. She is too comfortable: one day her doting parents will die and she will be alone with ME:
Clare should recognise that if she is not getting better she is likely to get worse. She should try to do some interventions on this site. But first, she must come to terms with having ME and that in the long term, it is very serious. One day, she will be alone struggling with it. She needs someone to help her with getting back to some sort of part-time career. Her parents will not be able to look after her forever.
Lynn was a teacher, young, single and alone, struggling with ME. But she was wise and disciplined. ME cost her a career in teaching but managed to go on working as a secretary. She did not give into anger or self pity, even though she has no one to help her. She recognised from the start the seriousness (life and death aspects) of ME and that she must either put herself 100 percent into helping herself or give up her hopes of life completely . She knew she was “fighting for her life”. After ten years of this strict regime she was back to full-time work. Her cherished and romantic dreams came true and now she is happy and even glad she had ME as it enriched her emotionally and stopped her being "spoilt". Caring for others in ME made her feel fulfilled and now has made up for the many years she has lost.
Lynn needed and got a dietary and an employment intervention - in the form of recognition of her condition and workplace adjustments. She needed a little financial support (from her family) to top up her salary, good holidays to recuperate and a caring and loving relationship. With support and wise management of ME, she is living a highly productive and interated happy life, contributing to society within a new family.
Sheila, from a broken home, a loving member of a caring profession “spent" herself completely for others, drawing on emotional energies that had never been given to her and developed ME after glandular fever. She tested various treatments but continued them even after she did not feel they were helping her. She damaged herself by not listening to her body enough. She pushed her ME muscles (although she knows that she should not have done so) and damaged them. She is now in a wheelchair with few to help her.
Sheila chose the wrong way of treating and handling her ME. She did not listen to her body enough. She needs practical love and support, a helping hand. She needs someone to take her out in her chair, stay in touch and give her some quality of life.
Stephen’s father left the family when he was five and now his mother has remarried. He developed ME after university where he gained the top degree and now lives alone, managing just, but unable to follow a regime to tackle the ME on the little money he has. He is hopeless, angry, distracted and isolated and feels that no one would want someone who has been rejected by his family.
Stephen needs a friend, mentor and buddy. He needs some financial assistance. He needs help with rebuilding his self esteem, a mentor, more information about ME and to try to stick with some sensible treatments. He needs to start the immune boosting diet (see Meal Planner).
Olive was an elderly woman who developed ME after retirement. She was well cared for but felt she wanted to do more to help those around her. She overdid it one day, felt unwell and died. No one knows for sure but it looks as if she died of ME.
the elderly need support in caring for a loved one or spouse with ME. ME is destroying the dreams of retirement of many elderly couples.
Sarah with ME had a minor accident and her blood pressure suddenly dropped. She was sure that she was dying as she could not see with her eyes open. Her friend recited the Bible’s Psalm 23 over her and she survived.
in extremis, spiritual support can be a deciding factor in whether someone pulls through.
James was very energetic in this youth. He started a successful company and then developed ME. He could not carry one with the demands of the business and he could not slow down. He would not undergo dietary treatments. He was impatient to get better and so he treated himself with dangerous intestinal treatments and made mistakes. He started another venture but his health declined. He took his own life.
single men are very vulnerable in ME. In some, a desire for dramatic solutions, pressures on men, lack of patience and lack of determination to follow strict dietary regimes can have really tragic outcomes.
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