TABLE OF CONTENTS
Living With CFIDS
To Tame a Serpent
By Lee Rademaker
fatigue and immune dysfunction
syndrome (CFIDS) reminds me of the mythological creature Medusa, who had a head full of serpents. No sooner
do we learn to dance with one of the serpents, than another one rears its ugly head. Three of the ugliest
serpents are mood swings, anger and irrational thinking, the bane of many persons with CFIDS (PWCs).
face it, we have a lot to be angry about. We have lost our health, the lives we once enjoyed have become
a faded photograph and uneducated doctors make us question our own sanity.
Anger is an indication
that there is a problem that needs to be addressed and solved, and for a PWC, anger can delay healing
and symptom relief. It drains you of the little energy you have and is upsetting and damaging to yourself,
your family and your friends.
My own serpents, anger and mood swings, nearly cost me my marriage,
but I chose not to have my marriage mounted on the CFIDS trophy room wall like the trigger-happy hunter
in ďThe Hunterís Song.Ē I was going to learn to make the CFIDS serpents dance to my own tune.
I discussed my problems with my immunologist, who started me on B12 injections and 5-HTP, a nutritional
supplement and precursor to the hormone serotonin. After playing with the dosages, he determined that
the 5-HTP needed a regulator (similar to a regulator in scuba gear). For this I was given Buspar. He then
started me on Neurontin for my neurological problems.
At the same time, with the help of my family
and church congregation, I literally began to make my mind over by changing the way I thought. I had to
learn how to fill my mind and heart with good things and think of ways to encourage and uplift others.
Constructive emotional expression does not involve placing blame, labeling others, raising your voice
or criticizing others.
You, too, can learn to tame your own serpents, but you must first recognize
that there is a problem.
Hurt feelings or other unexpressed emotions are usually at the root of
anger. So you need to first figure out what is causing you to feel angry or behave irrationally. If you
are having a difficult time figuring out exactly what is at the root of your anger, try writing your emotions
out in a nonaccusatory manner. Anger must be channeled in nondestructive ways.
Once you have identified
what is causing your anger and irrational thinking, youíll be able to take steps to correct it. You do
have a choice in how you tame your own particularly vile serpents. Get plenty of rest, take your medications,
develop a good support system (family, friends, religion) and find a physician who is willing to help
you find the right combination of drugs to regulate uncontrolled mood swings and irrational thinking.
feelings are not facts. If your thoughts make no sense, they just might be absurd! Donít let the CFIDS
serpents take the respect and love of your family and friends or the peace and security of your home.
I have gone more than two years without a mood swing and my cognitive problems are improving.
is the diseaseónot you. But remember, it is your responsibility not to invite the CFIDS serpents to dinner.
Lee Rademaker was diagnosed with
CFIDS in 1988. He lives in Hayfork,
Calif. with his wife, his 8-year-old daughter and his 12-year-old beagle, who will not let Lee out of
her sight on one of his bad days.
me how I do it,
And I say thereís nothing to it.
I just stand there looking cute,
And when something
moves, I shoot.
There are 10 stuffed heads
In my trophy room right nowó
Two game wardens, seven
And a pure bred Jersey cow.