Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Austin Skaggs and I have been severely ill for 6 months with something that doctors were struggling to put a name to until I saw a specialist in Mountain View, California. (Dr. Chheda for anyone interested.)
The diagnosis that I received is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis; a severe multisystemic illness that is usually triggered by an infection, stress or some sort of trauma, such as; a car accident.
I’ll link it here in case anyone wants to read up about the disease.
Before receiving this devastating diagnosis, I seemed to develop a sort of “fuck it” mindset and decided that I would drastically change my lifestyle in terms of diet, rest and nutrition.
About 3 months into the illness, I decided that if I didn’t end up seeing a positive upswing in my health or any signs of recovery within 6 months, I would kill myself. I really didn’t see a way out or any hope.
Well… it’s been than 8 months now and i’m actually sicker than the onset of my illness, but the outlook on my current situation has changed due to support from family & friends and possible treatments with my ME/CFS specialist.
These past 8 months of sickness have taught me to really appreciate the small details of life; The sound of wind blowing through trees, the smell of fresh cut grass, the feeling of warm sun hitting my legs as I lay on the hammock, and the cute faces of my two pugs that are by my side no matter how sick I get.
Even though my outlook has drastically changed for the better, I still think of suicide daily. Not that I want to do it, but it gives me a strange sense of comfort knowing that there is a way out if my health continues to deteriorate despite treatment (as is the case with some ME patients unfortunately).
Where will these thoughts lead me? Will they dissipate as I progress through treatment with Dr. Chheda, or will my health continue to deteriorate and the urges to find an easy way out grow stronger? I guess only time will tell. Until then, however. I have to keep taking care of my body, remain hopeful for treatment and appreciate the few good days I still have
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything, that we are free to do anything.”