|Spotlight on Mrs. San Jose International 2003 and
person with CFIDS
Rahnell Linden isn’t your ordinary beauty queen. Better known as Mrs.
Jose International 2003, Rahnell is a happily married woman ready to start a
family. She is also a person with CFIDS.
In 1993, Rahnell was an active senior at
cheerleader and on the executive board of her sorority, when a bout with the flu
changed her life.
Her family became increasingly concerned when the symptoms
wouldn’t subside and when the fatigue became so severe that she was unable to
get of bed. “I couldn’t complete the last cheerleading season. I could barely
stand.” For the next five years, she visited doctor after doctor seeking
diagnosis and treatment. But they had no answers for her – one doctor told
Rahnell that her illness was psychological.
Despite her deteriorating health, Rahnell continued to work
thanks to a supportive employer who allowed her to make her own schedule.
She was finally diagnosed with CFIDS in 1998. Today, Rahnell
manages her illness with a proper diet and aqua therapy. “Some days are good,
other days are so bad that I cannot get out of bed,” says Rahnell. “I have
severe migraines and my muscle and joint pain is often unbearable.”
With the help of her husband, who she says is “her rock,”
Rahnell now stays at home and manages her illness one day at a time.
Being a CFIDS advocate has also helped her cope with her
illness. As an official delegate to the Mrs. California International 2003
pageant, held May 31, Rahnell chose CFIDS as her platform. “The pageant has
helped me to be more proactive with my illness without exceeding my personal
limitations,” says Rahnell. “It has been an extraordinary experience to be able
to speak on behalf of all people who suffer from
CFIDS. For me, this is success.”
For more information on Rahnell, visit
Photograph courtesy of Florentine