Dear Group, I am so very humbled with all of your kind words re: my CFS Reality article "The Thief of Many Lives." I had written "The Thief" in my very early days of CFS. I would like to tell you a little bit about me, if you are interested in getting aquainted. My name is Kathleen Houghton. I am NOT a writer, I am/was a nurse. I am almost 48 years old. Pre-CFS I was a Pediatric Special Care nurse caring for infants and children on life support. I am well respected by most in the medical community. Since CFS, I have been mostly homebound (past 12+ years) though I do have some "good spells" every now and then. In my early days of CFS, I had to have 24 x 7 nursing care as I was unable to even turn or feed myself and I was in diapers. I also had insurance in those days! Many of my early symptoms have gone into hiding at the moment, however, I have MANY new health problems now... Porphyria, chronic pancreatitis, peripheral neuropathy, cardiac and neurological problems too long to list, major cervical spinal surgery a year ago (out of the clear blue sky I might add) SEVERE Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in which on a "good day" I can neither have company or be company due to the everyday chemicals people use on their body and clothes. SERIOUS ISOLATION... I consider this my "Kriptonite" like Superman would, I collapse at one whiff of fabric softener/ perfume etc. Those are a few of my day to day nightmares. One thing that I DO NOT suffer from is depression. Frustration YES... depression NO ! For obvious reasons. I have a great doctor as well as a great neuro-surgeon and anesthesiologist who all believe how sick I am and they are all very compassionate. We all know that they can not "make me" better. We all do our best. My suggestions... # 1 --- Priority before ANYTHING else -- Find a way to get a good night sleep. I am not a medicine taker... Been there - done that it is all poison to my chemically laden body. However, the one and only med I do take is Ambien to get a good night sleep. I NEVER miss out on it. Nothing good can happen to your body if it is not well rested. If Ambien does not work for you, try others and see what will. # 2 --- Please.. Please ... Please... get rid of all the household and body chemicals that are in your home, under your sink, in your bathroom etc. All the chemicals, detergents, cleaners etc. are absorbed into your body either through breathing or by spraying it on your body or washing your clothes and drying them in that "just fresh" chemical which is toxic to your immune and neurological system. If you think CFS can not get worse... well as a former wearer of adult diapers due to CFS I will tell you that MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) is the bear of all bears, so yes, it can get worse. Check out Gordon and Jackies MCS site "Our Little Place" for more great info about MCS. # 3 --- Spread the word about CFS as much as you can. If you need to make copies of "The Thief of Many Lives" and stick a copy in every out-going piece of mail you have (yes bills too) you will be reaching a huge amount of people and never know where the information will end up. Please email me a request to make these copies. firstname.lastname@example.org If you have not seen "Living Hell" try to get your hands on this video. Please feel free to email me, I do not guarrantee immediate responses but I will do my best. Most Sincerely, Kathleen Houghton PS--- With regard to my personal CFS advocacy contributions: In the past I have been on local talk TV, live radio, lobbied in Washington, spoke with Senators, given large (500+ people) CFS information presentations, displayed info at health fairs, set up display windows with CFS info at book stores, designed our first CFS card on Blue Mountain Greetings, I have been focused on (actually CFS was focused on) in Health Story specials on all local TV news stations as well as all newspapers up here in Alaska and a few other places. I will be happy to share with all how to do the same.