While I am a dreamer, my dreams are for goals and achievements that I can make happen. When it comes to my health, I have never held out hope for a healthy life. After all, when diagnosed with a chronic illness, the very term means forever illness. Don’t misunderstand, I have a wonderful life and work hard at finding ways to better manage my life as well as improving the quality of life for others living with chronic illness. It is sometimes challenging but life is a challenge for everyone. “It is what it is,” I often say. But I never dared hope that the CFS/ME and fibromyalgia that’s raged inside me for so long that I no longer know what good health means, may actually be tamed.
It all started when my mother-in-law called me a couple of weeks ago and read an article in the Abilene Reporter about a research study taking place at the University of Alabama on a possible link between the herpes simplex type 1 virus and fibromyalgia as well as a potentially successful treatment. I asked my husband’s mom to mail me the article and forgot all about it until I received it a week ago.
After reading the article, I went online and began researching the study, the names mentioned in the article, and decided to email one of the researchers. The next day, I made another contact and the physician responded to my email immediately. After several exchanges, he believed that my case warranted the treatment. Tomorrow, I travel to Tuscaloosa for a week.
As a pragmatist, I shy away from miracle cures and guarantees. This opportunity feels different for several reasons. First, U. of Alabama is not the only place where research of the link between herpes and fibromyalgia as well as CFS/ME are taking place. Second, the trial study is in its second phase towards gaining FDA approval. This is not a potion, rather existing medical treatments that the physician has found successful when treating his patients with fibromyalgia. Third, I am not part of the study so I don’t have to worry about getting a placebo. Finally, my insurance covers the treatment.
I don’t even know if hope is the way I feel yet. Accomplishing all the steps so I don’t miss my plane seems monumental. Doing laundry; going to the store so my husband and pets have enough to eat all week; printing directions and boarding passes; and packing is exhausting especially when the body already feel cruddy. But, “you gotta do what you gotta do,” another favorite saying. Perhaps I’ll know what hope feels like once I arrive, talk with the physician, and have a full understanding of what’s coming.
I dare not think that my life may change, that my intestines may normalize the phantom inside that brings sharp pains disappears or the other aches subside. I refuse to dream of sleeping throughout the night and waking up energized. Even if one or two symptoms subside, the trip will be worthwhile. If nothing else, my mom is joining me and we’ll spend quality time together andAlabama is one of the few states that I haven’t visited so I can mark it off my list.