Basic Stuff

  • Name: Anna
  • Country: United States
  • State: Minnesota
  • City: Saint Paul
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 35
  • Education: Four Year Degree
  • Primary Illness: Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS)
  • Diagnosis:
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
    • Postural Orthostatic Tachcycardia Syndrome (POTS)
    • Migraine
    • Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)
  • Year Illness Began: 2017

Functioning Interrupted

Former Level of Functionality: 100
(No symptoms at rest; no symptoms with exercise; normal overall activity level; able to work full-time without difficulty.)
Current Level of Functionality: 20
(Moderate to severe symptoms at rest. Unable to perform strenuous activity; overall activity 30%-50% of expected. Unable to leave house except rarely; confined to bed most of day; unable to concentrate for more than 1 hour a day.)

Work Interrupted

  • Former Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Job Responsibilities at Former Occupation:

    Physical rehabilitation of patients with various functional loss of movement.
    Lifting and transferring patients, pushing wheelchairs, implementing and demonstrating exercise programs, performing manual therapies, aquatic therapy, etc.

  • Years of Work Lost: 2
  • Current Work Status: On disability

Income Interrupted

  • Yearly Income Before Becoming Ill:


  • Yearly Income From Disability:


  • Minimum Current Annual Income Loss:


  • Total Projected Economic Losses For Years Not Worked:


Other Interruptions

Certified Disabled: Yes

  • A member of my family stopped or reduced their time at work to become a caregiver
  • My parents or other family members have provided financial support
  • This illness has severely impacted my ability to financially prepare for retirement
  • I reduced my work hours
  • I left my job or retired early
  • I decided not to have children (or have more children)

Most Impactful Loss

Losing the ability to be outside is by far what I long for the most. Engaging in hobbies and interests, friendships, and learning new things are all a massive loss to me.
The loss of my career and the ability to grow in knowledge and skill in a profession I found engaging and fulfilling.

My Story

I became ill right as I graduated from a Physical Therapy Assistant program (2017). I remember the flue virus that did me in and the feeling of alarm those first 6 months of continued symptoms. I was able to limp along by changing jobs to less and less physically demanding patient populations.

As I searched for a diagnosis, I remember trying to physically rehab myself and being eternally frustrated that I had, literally, the only disease that did not benefit from my exercise expertise.

My severity fluctuated in the mild range for 3 years. At the same Drs appointment where I was diagnosed with ME, it was also confirmed I was pregnant. I quickly deteriorated into moderate. After the birth of my daughter I crashed to severe and have since been diagnosed with POTS, Sjogrens and MCAD.

I'm not sure if I can describe the overwhelming and crushing realizations that occurred during that decline. I was swamped with post-partum hormones, realizing I could not return to work, then realizing I couldn't take care of my own child, followed by the realization I had become dependent on care for myself, over the course of a very short period of time.

My incessant quest for treatments has aided in lower symptoms and a more comfortable existence, but my functionality has remained severe since 2020.

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