Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Teen With CFS - Through Her Eyes

The following was written by Jessica (age 16) for her Creative Writing class, posted with her permission.

A Time to Heal

In January of 2008, I came down with Epstein Barr Mono. Even though, several months later, the tests for the virus came back negative, I still felt terrible. I went to doctor after doctor and they all told me the same things: “There is nothing wrong with you,” “It’s all in your head,” and “You are just depressed.” Each time I walked away from these instances more and more frustrated. Finally in June of that same year, I went to see a Fatigue specialist in Dallas, Texas who diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, or CFS for short. CFS is a group of many problems that are going on within me, causing extreme fatigue and a series of other symptoms.

Some days I would not wake up until eleven o’clock which was very strange for me since I was normally a morning person. Once awake, imagine lying lifelessly there in bed, and not being able to move because you have no energy what-so-ever. Not only does your body feel like a pile of noodles, but your throat is on fire, and it feels like someone has taken a frying pan and cracked you on the head with it. This is how it was for me for many months even after visiting the specialist.

The doctor put me on tons of medication, trying to balance my out-of-whack system. If you were to look at my “pill case” you would have thought that it belonged to an old person on the brink of death. But no, that’s me taking thirty-five pills a day!

In addition to all of the medication, I was restricted from doing many of the things that a normal teenager would be doing: movies, sports, or even school. Anything that required much energy was an automatic no-go.

One day I was sitting in the love seat in our traditional living room watching TV when I had an urge to go out riding. I had been feeling pretty good that day so I took a chance, “Momma, can we go to the stables so that I can ride just for a little bit?” Immediately she responded from the kitchen, “No, you don’t need to get worn out.” At that moment, I could not hold it in anymore; I began screaming and crying, letting out all of my frustration and emotions that had been building up. “You won’t let me do anything!” I yelled at my mom. I became angry with my parents, the doctors, God, or anyone else I could blame for my sickness. After my crying spree was over, I thought about all the patients in the hospital with life threatening conditions, and here I am bawling because I am restricted from doing just a few things. “How selfish am I?” I think to myself. Right away I prayed and asked God to forgive me for my childish display.

A couple of weeks later, two lifegroup leaders from my church came to visit me and they gave me some words of encouragement. Ever since I had become sick, I had quit going to church altogether and (even though I hadn’t noticed it) my relationship with God was not as strong as it had once been. After their visit, I slowly but surely began attending our youth ministry more often.

As my bond with Christ began to strengthen, so did my physical health. Before I knew it, I was going to school for half a day, and back atop my horse. When I placed all my hope in Christ, He healed me. Since CFS is a chronic illness, when I say “healed” I do not mean completely. I still am not back 100%, but I am heading there. I still cannot do everything that I want to do, but I am doing more. I still have not completely adjusted to this restricted lifestyle, but I am getting used to it. This nagging condition will never go away; and I am ok with that, knowing that the Lord will use my experience to make an impact on someone else.


Lori said...

Well...I'm currently wiping the tears. That was a wonderful story. Our daughter's stories are so similar that I think it hit EXTRA hard. It's great to see that Jessica is doing so much better. God is good, isn't he?

How has school been? You've been in my thoughts and I'm so glad you posted today. I was thinking about emailing you directly this morning. What a coincidence.

Remember, teens do actually become healed - not all the time, but they do have a much better chance than an adult. Except the changes, but don't forget.

Sue Jackson said...

What a wonderful essay - it's so powerful to hear the words from a teen's perspective. It reminds me of an essay Jamie wrote in 7th grade - the assignment was to write about a major change in his life.

It sounds like Jessica has a great attitude and has really come to terms with her CFS.


Shelli said...

What an amazing young lady! You must be very proud. I hope for her continuing recovery.

Us said...


School has been pretty good so far. She's had homework frequently in Trig and Creative Writing, but it hasn't seemed too bad this semester. How's Jessie? Have you got the online classes set up?

I liked what you said about accepting the changes but don't forget.


Us said...

Thanks Sue & Shelli. I am proud - She does have a good attitude through it all.


Renee said...

This is very good, Jessica.....beautiful, honest, and from the heart....thank you for sharing it.