Ms. Motoko Habara
Is This My Destiny?
By Motoko Habara
When I was a young girl, I was stoic and loved both physical and mental training. I was able to camp for many days in the snowy mountains. I was good at marathons and woke up early in the morning to run. Although I was a perfectionist and sometimes nervous, I was also optimistic. I placed a high value on my productivity. In high school, I had a part-time job. I worked so hard that I almost collapsed at the end of each workday. I was told by others, “You can do everything” or “I admire your hard work.” I used to arrive at my place of work earlier than others. I unlocked and prepared before business hours by myself. Thinking back on all I could do then still makes me sad.
One winter day while I was working and attending university night school, I felt feverish and thought I might have caught a cold. I was 19 years old. Since then my fever has never gone down. Now I am 32. Even so, I continued to work, not worrying about the fever. Before long I had terrible malaise. Eventually I could not work and I resigned. I took part-time courses at the university. After school I went to bed about 1 a.m. and slept until 4 p.m. But I could not get up, even after all that time in bed.
My boyfriend, who liked my stoic and hardworking disposition, left me because I had changed and appeared to him to be lazy. I got a terrible clinical depression because I was shocked about being considered lazy. I was not conscious of being ill in those days, so I never thought of going to hospital and my family and friends did not let me see a doctor. I became emotional, impulsive and had a persecution complex.
I entered dental college, but was only able to attend for two weeks in the first year. After being absent from school for a year, I recovered somewhat and decided, with some anxiety, to return to school. I was late for class almost every day but I managed to graduate. I found a job and I was able to work for one year, but then I would have to take six months leave, then work again for six months. This cycle repeated over and over because of the physical demands the job required.
My symptoms didn’t fall under any illness I had heard of, so I thought this was the fault of my spirit. I had been scolded and scorned. My co-workers thought I was insane. I was very surprised when one day I searched my symptoms on the Internet and found all of them on a site about chronic fatigue syndrome. I was sure I had CFS and told my family members about it. But they were only puzzled. They suggested I sleep in a room with strong sunlight or do some exercise.
In Japan, only some doctors in Osaka were familiar with and studied CFS. It is so even now. I live far from the hospital in Osaka, so I saw a doctor in the local university hospital who was said to treat CFS patients. He did various tests and a CT scan. He concluded that I had chronic fatigue syndrome. I saw him for some years. But the drugs he gave me for depression and bipolar disorder only alleviated my condition a little. The herbal treatment recommended by the Chinese doctor who examined me did not work at all. It was difficult to go to another university hospital. I could not believe the doctor who told me that I would recover in one or two years. I switched to the clinic in the neighborhood and was given only sleeping drugs. By then I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t be cured and didn’t go to Osaka. I tried massage, another Chinese medicine doctor and supplements.
My condition has gotten worse little by little. I often think of getting away or dying. It is impossible for me to do housework or bathe myself. I often lie in bed all day. My brain fog, which is getting worse, makes it hard to drive. I always need a walker or a wheelchair. I am happy because I am loved. I just got married. I have almost given up the idea of having a baby in the future. I sleep in a warm house with a roof over my head; I am given hot food and can buy some of the favorite things I want. If I recover from the illness, I will show my gratitude to all the people who have given me selfless love.
Grateful thanks to Hidehito Doyama for his help in translating Motoko’s story to English. Motoko’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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