Mia Isabel Anderson used to wake up at 12:30 pm, take a nap at 3:30 pm and would be back in bed by 10 pm until the next day.
During the time she was awake, she didn’t have much of an appetite or energy. Everything she did would cause discomfort, uneasiness, unhappiness, illness, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and fatigue. At 22, she was home bound and bedridden.
She rarely left the house, except to go to the doctor’s office.
Anderson’s mother, Nancy Anderson, yells from the living room, “Mia, did you eat your breakfast?!”
“Yes, Mom!” she said.
Mia Anderson forced down a few quick spoons of cereal before dumping the rest down the sink.
“Did you take your medicine?” Nancy Anderson asked, as she walked over to the kitchen counter where pills were laid out.
“Mia!”she sighed, disappointed they were still there.
Mia Anderson rolled her eyes and took the pills.
“So many pills,” she said.
Mia Anderson has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). She is no longer the person she used to be. She dropped out of school, quit working and stopped socializing. The only friends she talked to were those who reached out or came to visit.
The disease has no known cause or cure. It is difficult to diagnose and most doctors don’t know enough about it to even try to treat it. The few that do often are limited to experimental treatments that might help — or maybe make her symptoms worse.
Mia Anderson wants more than anything to be her old self. She wants her life back. With help from a Stanford doctor, she is getting it.