all have to live hrough at mes, but know it be over in days. If one told hat point: have to his for the r life”, I am would agree n’t feel o cope with the body in that insufferable state every day, year after year. The level of unbearableness in severe ME/CFS is the same. If we knew there were relief on the horizon, it would be possible to endure severe ME/CFS and all the additional medical problems, even for a long time, I think. The point is that there has to be a limit, the suffering must not feel endless. One vital aspect here is of course that patients need to feel that the ME/CFS field is being taken forward. Sadly, we haven’t been granted this feeling – see my previous blogs relating to this here and here. Another imperative issue is the drug intolerance that I and many others with ME/CFS suffer from. I have tried every possible treatment, but most of them have just given me side-effects, many of which have been irreversible. My stomach has become increasingly dysfunctional, so for the past few years any new drugs have caused immediate diarrhoea. One supplement triggered massive inflammation in my entire urinary tract, which has since persisted. The list of such occurrences of major deterioration caused by different drugs/treatments is long, and with time my reactions have become increasingly violent. I now have to conclude that my sensitivity to medication is so severe that realistically it is very hard for me to tolerate drugs or supplements. This has two crucial meanings for many of us severely ill ME/CFS patients: There is no way of relieving our symptoms. And even if treatments appear in the future, with our sensitivity of medication any drug will carry a great risk of irreversible side-effects producing even more suffering. This means that even in the case of a real effort finally being made to bring biomedical research into ME/CFS up to levels on par with that of other diseases, and possible treatments being made accessible, for some of us it is unlikely that we would be able to benefit. Considering our extreme sensitivity to medication, one could say it’s hard to have realistic hope of recovery or relief for us. In the past couple of years I, being desperate, have challenged the massive side-effect risk and tried one of the treatments being researched in regards to ME/CFS. But I received it late in the disease process, and it was a gamble. I needed it to have an almost miraculous effect: a quick positive response which eliminated many symptoms – most of all I needed it to stop my skin from burning and reacting, so I could tolerate the clothes and bed linen produced today. I have been quickly running out of clothes and sheets, so I was gambling with high odds for a quick and extensive response. Sadly, I wasn’t a responder. I have also tried medication for Mast Cell Activation Disorder and a low-histamine diet, but my burning skin hasn’t abated. Since I am now running out of clothes and sheets, all that was before me was constant burning hell. 3. The lack of a safety net, meaning potential colossal increase in suffering when the next setback or medical incident occurs The third factor is the insight that the risk for further deterioration and increased suffering is high. Many of us severely ill ME/CFS patients are already in a situation which is unbearable. On top of this, it is very likely that in the future things will get even worse. If we look at some of our symptoms in isolation, examples in my case could be my back and neck pain, we would need to strengthen muscles to prevent them from getting worse. But for all ME/CFS patients, the characteristic symptom of Post-Exertional Malaise (PEM) with flare-ups of our disease when we attempt even small activities, is hugely problematic. Whenever we try to ignore the PEM issue and push through, we immediately crash and become much sicker. We might go from being able to at least get up and eat, to being completely bedbound, until the PEM has subsided. Sometimes, it doesn’t subside, and we find ourselves irreversibly deteriorated, at a new, even lower baseline level, with no way of improving. PEM is not something that you can work around. For me, new medical complications also continue to arise, and I have no way of amending them. I already need surgery for one existing problem, and it is likely that it will be needed for other issues in the future, but surgery or hospital care is not feasible for several reasons: One is that my body seems to lack repairing mechanisms. Previous biopsies have not healed properly, so my doctor is doubtful about my ability to recover after surgery. Another, more general and hugely critical, is that with severe ME/CFS it is impossible to tolerate normal hospital care. For ME/CFS patients the sensory overload Page 32 of 56 www.investinme.org Invest in ME research (Charity Nr. 1153730)

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