- Name: Christyne Bliton
- Country: United States
- State: Michigan
- City: East Lansing
- Gender: Female
- Age: 62
- Education: Masters Degree
- Primary Illness: Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
- Postural Orthostatic Tachcycardia Syndrome (POTS)
- Year Illness Began: 2006
- Former Occupation: Bioengineer
- Job Responsibilities at Former Occupation:
Project manager of a national bioinformatics consortium at University of Michigan.
- Years of Work Lost: 17
- Current Work Status: On disability
Minimum Current Annual Income Loss:
- Total Projected Economic Losses For Years Not Worked:
- This illness has severely impacted my ability to financially prepare for retirement
- I left my job or retired early
Most Impactful Loss
I don't get to participate in the lives of my family and friends.
I was managing a national bioinformatics project at University of Michigan when I got sick with a flu-like virus. I kept trying to exercise out of it because I was athletic and that always helped in the past. I couldn't figure out how I could catch the flu over and over again. I didn't understand it was post-exertional malaise.
I was at an AI and complex systems conference when I realized how much trouble I was in. I couldn't sit up through the talks. Within 6 months I was fully disabled and had to stop work. Thankfully my sons were in college. I feel so badly for ME patients who struggle to care for their children.
Money from a patent I had wiped out our debts, so we did ok on my husband Matt's salary and disability. He takes really good care of me. But I'm so sad about all the science I missed out on. I could have done a lot of good. I was so excited about advancing biology and medicine by doing my part.
This disease damaged the math and logic parts of my brain from the brain inflammation, so that part of my life is completely over. Now I'm trapped in my little house and can't visit anybody. I can talk a little on the phone which I'm grateful for. I get to have little visits from friends and family which I'm really grateful for. I can manage my basic needs thankfully, but Matt does all the chores, and takes really good care of me.
I really miss the world though. It was an exciting life, and it ended with ME/CFS. Now my life is tiny and boring and full of fatigue and pain. I do art as I can, but my hands are badly affected with the peripheral neuropathy that comes with the other neurological problems of the disease. So I mostly do digital fractal art for fun, like the "Little Curly" owl I like to use as my avatar (in lieu of my photo).
I am very fortunate in that I am surrounded by love, so I'm grateful.