Scientists have recently discovered a link between a retrovirus (XMRV) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. They don\’t know whether the virus causes CFS, or is merely associated with it. But it is present in a large majority of CFS patients, of whom there are some one million in the U.S.
I am one of that million, and have been for most of my adult years. Although I don\’t often write about my experience of the disease, it remains the central fact of my daily life. I don\’t write or talk about it much because the essence of a chronic condition is its utter boringness. It bores me to death, so I can imagine what it must do to those around me. My endlessly patient husband is the only one I regale with the ins and outs of my skirmishes with CFS.
I\’ve been lucky that—despite there being no physical marker for CFS, nothing that shows up on any tests–my doctors have always taken me seriously, believed my symptoms, treated me with respect and compassion. But they have never been able to help.
Now, there is talk of hope, of possible medications. MXRV belongs to the HIV family of viruses, and possibly some drugs used to treat HIV could work for MXRV. Or other drugs could be invented. Or something.
If hope is the thing with feathers that perches on the soul, as Emily D. said, my hope\’s feathers are all fluffed up. You know, as when birds are asleep–not dead, but definitely asleep. I wouldn\’t want this little feathery thing to be shot down or hurt in any way. So for now I\’ll keep it safely snoozing, and maybe some day it will fly again.