“Never give up!”
By Kazue Hirano
I am in my 20s and I live in Tokyo, Japan, and work part-time as a physiotherapist. When I’m not working, I spend all my time resting my body because of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Before I became sick, I was a student who was busy studying and working, and I dreamed of being a physiotherapist.
The first sign of illness was that I wasn’t able to write an assigned paper and had to hand it in after the deadline. My professor scolded me for that. I had tried to come up with ideas but I couldn’t force my mind to do it. Time passed. I was preparing for a report by collecting data about patients I had seen during the practice hours of my last year of school. But I couldn’t get out of bed, even though I was awake. I was bedridden for a while after that. I worried about the future, but I thought if I rested for a while, I could go back to school, pass a national examination and get a job.
A friend who had been diagnosed with CFS introduced me to the hospital where I was also diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. The doctor advised me to take a leave of absence from school. I was in panic when I learned there was no cure for my illness. My friend and I have supported each other by sharing information.
Six years later, I was able to enroll in school again. The long absence created much trouble. Though it was hard to live a daily life, I tried to go to school and study. I had to take some rest periods from class and leave sometimes, but my teacher helped me to graduate. I graduated two years later than usual.
I studied hard for the national physiotherapist examination and passed it, thanks to my teachers and friends’ support for me not to collapse.
I looked for a place to complete my practice hours where I could work within my ability. Of course, it was quite difficult. I talked honestly during the job interview. If I got too sick to work, I would give my co-workers trouble. Though it took much longer than usual, I graduated. I got the certification and 10 months later started to work as a physiotherapist.
Since then I have worked as a part-time physiotherapist in geriatric rehabilitation facility. I now work 2 or 3 day a week, which I am able to decide based on my condition. Today we CFS patients can get together and chat with each other. And I can communicate by email or phone. It is supportive for us to get acquainted with patients who are suffering but have never given up living. I hope CFS will be recognized by the world and that patients don’t face difficulties such as isolation and anxiety.
Grateful thanks to Hidehito Doyama for his help in translating Kazue’s story to English. Kazue’s original story in Japanese can be viewed by clicking here. We will continue to bring you more stories from CFS patients living in other countries, to share their experiences and connect our community around the world. Hidehito found the CFIDS Association on Facebook. Join us there today!
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