This summer, we published a post about important new research on chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating illness characterized by muscle pain, inflammation, cognitive impairment and overwhelming tiredness. As we described, the disease has been renamed as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or sometimes ME or ME/CFS, and the research shows promising progress toward an eventual laboratory test for CFS.
In our law practice, we often represent people suffering from CFS who are fighting for long-term disability insurance benefits. LTD insurers are notorious for discounting complaints of impairment and pain based on CFS because of a lack of objective findings. As we reported in the earlier post, medical researchers are discovering objective markers of the impairment that are likely to contribute to developing a lab test to establish the existence of the illness. In the meantime, we advocate on behalf of our CFS clients to prove their reasonable and believable subjective complaints of pain, weakness and overwhelming fatigue that can prevent them from being able to work.
Enlightening documentary on ME/CFS
Jennifer Brea is a CFS patient who created a documentary called “Unrest” about her experiences that won multiple awards, including one from the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. According to NPR, diagnosis can be difficult, and Brea’s doctors did not diagnose the disease in her case for more than a year from symptom onset.
NPR reports that research dollars are scant as compared to those for multiple sclerosis, despite CFS being more disabling and more common. According to the NPR article, three-quarters of those diagnosed with ME/CFS can no longer work.
“Unrest” is widely available for viewing on media platforms. Those suffering from the illness may find comfort in Brea’s story and other people can learn more about the CFS experience.