Imagine living a life with no energy

Charlene Schoeman, an ME patient.

Imagine being confined to bed for more than half your day because you feel sick and tired. Imagine not doing the things you love because you are too weak. Imagine a life where you get completely exhausted when you are too excited. Imagine feeling like that every day.

This is how a local resident feels every day. Retha Viviers spends more than half her day sleeping because she does not have any energy. Retha suffers from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) which has lately been called Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease. This illness is a result of your body not making enough energy for you to function. The illness effects your brain, immunity, sleep ability and causes severe pain. These people therefore do not always look sick on the outside, and the disease is referred to as an invisible illness.

Retha has founded the ME CFS Foundation, which is the first of its kind in South Africa. The foundation’s work is to raise awareness of the illness among the public and medical practitioners, enabling diagnosis of patients, assisting those who can’t afford basic symptomatic treatment and also providing food to those who suffer severely financially.

Global research is making breakthroughs in understanding the illness, yet patients are still neglected and marginalised by society and medical practitioners.

The illness is unfortunately not well known in the community and most people are not aware that they might have the illness.

Symptoms includes:

• Sleep problems

• Flu-like symptoms

• Sensitivity to light

• Dizziness, nausea and sweating

• Poor concentration and memory loss

Anyone who is able to assist the foundation or people who want to get more information regarding ME can contact Retha via email at [email protected].

Also read:

• Moving for mental wellness

• ‘I need a new heart’

Nadine Myburgh

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