This seemed like an usual title for a forum from the Centre for Theology and Public Issues.  I went anyway.  I’m glad I did because there was information to learn and share.  It was presented by a panel made up of Warren Tate from the School of Medicine, Heather Wilson from the Otago Branch of the Associated NZ Myalgic Encephalopathy Society, and Richie Barnett, former League player and 80% recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Advocates of this disease come from sufferers and connected supporters.  There is little curiosity to the disease.  It is not a specialised disease.   The whole body is affected globally.  Affective treatments may come out of the unorthodox parts of medicine, like Reiki and Cranio-Sacral therapy.  Medicine needs to be flexible in attending a patient, and identifying the syndrome.

It is mostly initiated by a virus.  Sometimes this can affect a cluster of people in a locality.  Hence the New Zealand name for it, the Tapanui Flu.  We don’t know enough about what genes are being affected, or what molecular pathways they trigger.  There is a need for more study.  The common symptom is overwhelming fatigue or sickness rendering everyday tasks difficult, like taking a shower.  It causes a brain fog affecting cognitive processes, like adding numbers.  It affects bright, intelligent people with goals to achieve and takes them down.  There is no guide to dealing with this problem.  It is life-shattering.

Because it is a general syndrome it can be misdiagnosed and develop into a different disease.  Sufferers need to check regularly if they are diagnosed with it.  Because food allergies are connected with it sufferers are advised to eat lightly and regularly, finding out what affects them specifically.

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