• Name: Kathryn Larouche Imler
  • Country: Canada
  • State: British Columbia
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 60
  • Year of Illness: 1999

Work and Education

  • Education: Four Year Degree
  • Former Occupation: Registered Nurse
  • Job Responsibilities at Former Occupation:

    Assistant Director of Care on a medical floor.
    Hiring/firing nursing staff
    In-service Education
    On Occupational Health and Safety Board
    Patient/doctor/pharmacist meetings for planning care, over-view of medication

  • Current Occupation: Retired/disability


  • Work Status:
  • Income before becoming ill:
    CA$ 60,000 (adjusted for inflation – CA$ 81,701 )
  • Current income:

    CA$ 50,000
  • Minimum Annual Income Loss (income loss adjusted for inflation since becoming ill):

    CA$ 31,701


  • 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: 30 (Moderate to severe symptoms at rest. Severe symptoms with any exercise; overall activity level reduced to 50% of expected. Usually confined to house. Unable to perform any strenuous tasks. Able to perform desk work 2-3 hours a day, but requires rest periods.)

  • Certified Disabled: Yes


My ME story begins, I believe, in February 1999 after accompanying a dying man back to his home in Myanmar. I was a Registered Nurse.
I experienced weakness, loss of appetite and diplopia after my return. All tests were negative and it was decided I had picked up a virus. I returned to health and worked for two more years as an Assistant Director of Care on a medical ward.
My former life was healthy and active. I’ve played sports all my life and particularly loved swimming, hiking, skiing (Whistler), cycling, skating and dancing (not quite a sport)
I have lost a lot with this disease. I lost my good earnings as an Assistant Director of Care. I was to replace the Director of Care when she retired in a couple years. I have lost a pension.
I have lost most of my friends. Most of them were friends from the many sports I did.
I lost my sense of self and purpose.
I have potentially lost my long life, it is unclear how ME affects our end organs.
I am missing out on doing activities with my kids and grandkids.
I am missing most social events as they often occur in the evening when I’m far too exhausted to think.
I miss dancing.
I miss being on top of a mountain (Whistler) on a clear but cold day. I love the wind in my face as I swoosh down the hill.
I miss the quiet of swimming, the many lengths I could do, often when the pool was mostly empty in the mornings during the week (I worked shifts). A piece of heaven.
Never, did I ever imagine I would never return to work after I was forced to stop due to what everyone thought was a ligament tear. Never did I think I would not be able to return to a job, any job for these past 16+ years.
The second summer of being sick, I went into a depression when I realized I may never cycle or hike again. I went through a period of grieving. I had to lie (lay?) to rest my former active, healthy life.
I have found my small purpose in life again. It may not be much but it’s enough to keep me going.

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