Pueblo Woman’s 3 years to Diagnosis

Jillian WEBB

Jillian McQuitty Webb – Facebook photo

Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for someone to struggle for years before finally getting diagnosed with ME. Jillian from Pueblo went to more than 30 doctors and medical specialists and underwent more than 60 medical tests in 3 years before getting diagnosed at the Mayo clinic in Scottsdale.

Jillian suffers from severe fatigue, dizziness, cognitive issues and other debilitating symptoms. But the former cosmetologist looks well so people often don’t take her illness seriously.

Reluctantly, she went public with her diagnosis and turned to crowd funding to help pay for a trip to Salt Lake City. Jillian will be treated at the Bateman Horne Clinic, one of the ME specialist clinics in the country and the closest to Colorado. In addition to education and treatment and, more importantly to her, engage in research that could help lead to a cure for ME/CFS.

MEAction Colorado welcomes Jillian to our community and wishes her well on her journey.

Here’s the link  to the full story in the Pueblo Chieftain by Zach Hillstrom.

Look Back at #MillionsMissing 2018

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Julie and son Xander

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 11th! As we start planning for the 2019 #Millions Missing rally, here’s a recap of last year’s event.

May 12th 2018 saw our first #MillionsMissing event. We held the rally at the state Capitol in Denver late morning to avoid a hot afternoon. So, of course, the morning started gray and drizzly. We had plastic sheets to cover our display boards and flyers on the tables.

The weather improved by the time our scheduled activities started. Several members told their stories about living with ME. Two people who were unable to attend sent their stories to be read by volunteers.

  •  Dr. Liz (reading herself) (from Westminster)
  •  Cody (reading himself) (from Pueblo)
  •  Julie (reading herself) (from Elizabeth)
  •  Beth (read by Hannah) (Beth from Fort Collins; Hannah from Louisville)
  •  Kris (read by Alida) (Kris from Livermore; Alida from Loveland)
  •  Lee-Anne (beautifully read by her twelve year old daughter Erin) (both from Denver)

Our guest speaker was Wayne Connell, President of Invisibile Disabilities. Nathan Young, husband of member Dr. Liz, MC’d the event. He, also, designed all the graphics. Friends of one of our members provided live music.

Information tables were set up to distribute flyers about ME to visitors. Display boards showed pictures and stories about our members who are living with the disesase.

Nora and gang 300x300Diane Edes gave the welcome talk and John Kelty wound up the event with a rousing call to action.

It was the first time for many to meet someone else suffering from the same illness and to make new friends.

Here’s the link to the picture gallery. Take a look.

Here’s the YouTube link to watch some of the videos.

This year we would like to reach even more people.

Tell us your ideas on how to do so!

UNREST in Denver March 2nd

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Update  as/of 1:25 pm Thursday March 1:

Unrest is still on for tomorrow but stay tuned for any last minute weather updates.

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MEAction of Colorado is proud to present a screening of Unrest, a Sundance award-winning film by Jennifer Brea, with a panel discussion. Invite your friends, family, and doctors to join us!

The event will be held at 1:30 pm on March 2,2019 at the Co-Op at 1st at 5045 W 1st Ave, Denver, CO 80219-1005. Doors open at 1:00. Refreshments will be served after. Come early to check out the indoor farmer’s market!

Medical providers can earn CME credits. Click here for details.

Donations to cover the cost of the event and to support the work of MEAction may be made online at our GoFundMe page or in cash at the event.

RSVP at MEAction or on Facebook.

Twenty-eight year-old Jennifer Brea is working on her PhD at Harvard and months away from marrying the love of her life when she gets a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden and looking for answers. Disbelieved by doctors yet determined to live, she turns her camera on herself and discovers a hidden world of millions confined to their homes and bedrooms by ME, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a systemic neuroimmune condition characterized by post-exertional malaise (a severe worsening of symptoms after even minimal exertion). It causes dysregulation of both the immune system and the nervous system. The effects of ME are devastating enough to leave 25% of patients fully housebound or bedbound. At least 75% cannot work or go to school even part time. An estimated 15-30 million people around the world are suffering from ME.

View the trailer here.

Representing ME at the Womxn’s March

Kristen Aguirre from 9News Denver did a very nice segment on MEAction Colorado’s planned participation in the Womxn’s March providing some visibility that is greatly appreciated by those whose lives are so badly impacted by this ‘invisible disability’.

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Group photo courtesy Tom Strobel

Our small but mighty team grew a little bigger with the addition of some last minute volunteers who braved the below freezing weather and helped represent those fighting ME who can’t physically make it through the march.

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Some of our members who are too ill with ME to march – photo courtesy Sue Cunningham

We marched to draw attention to the fact that 75 to 80 percent of the people that are affected by ME are women and historically diseases that predominately affect women don’t get enough attention and research funding.

The Women’s March is a very public inclusive venue and we hoped that we could achieve a lot of awareness by being there.

Several marchers told us they had seen us on TV the night before. And we were able to share information with other people on the route. Altogether a successful event.

MEAction at Denver’s Womxn’s March

UPDATE: Jan 15,2019 – Here is the updated map for the Womxn’s March showing our meeting place and the shorter, alternate ADA route that we will be following.

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Raise ME awareness in a big way at the 3rd annual Women’s (Womxn’s) March!

We invite anyone with ME who is willing and able, to meet and walk the shorter ADA route, along with our healthy allies, friends and families who can push wheelchairs to represent the #pwME that we love who are too ill to participate.

If you are not well enough to join the march, let us represent you!  In the comments tell us;
1) How long you have had ME
2) Your city

Bring your friends and family, put on your MillionsMissing shirt and let’s make some noise !!

Please RSVP here or on Facebook. Let us know in the comments if you can bring along a wheelchair or 2  just for the day.

Get creative and make a sign either about your #pwME or about HHS or NIH like these examples:
“NIH: STOP discriminating Against Women and M.E.,Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/CFS”

“HHS – Continue the work of the CFSAC – #MissionNOTaccomplished”

Link to Official March info.:

 

Our First Year!

our first year 2018 300x meacIn February 2018, MEActionCO started as a FaceBook group with a handful of members. With guidance from MEAction’s national team, we managed to organize and plan for the first Millions Missing event in Denver. As the group grew slowly to about 35 members we pulled together to organize the event.

May 12th – We pulled it off. It was a drizzly cool day at the state Capitol when we got together for the first time for a morning of speakers and live music and mutual support.  We scored a little media coverage with stories about Pam and Nora.

We had barely caught our breath from the Missing Millions event when the word came from the MEAction Global network that Sen Ed Markey of Massachusetts had introduced Senate Resolution 508: A resolution supporting the goals of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome International Awareness Day.

We got to work and donned our red T-shirts again to meet with a staffers at the offices of our Senators, Cory Gardner and  Michael Bennet.

While we continued to push for sponsorship from our senators for SR 508, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) threw a monkey wrench into the works. HHS had sponsored the CFS Advisory Council (CFSAC). Since its inception CFSAC’s charter had been automatically renewed every two years as its charter expired. But in September, without notice, HHS decided not to renew. Even the members of the Council were not informed.

We immediately renewed our discussions with our senators’ staffers.  As a direct result of our efforts, Sen. Bennet’s office joined Sen. Markey’s and others to contact the HHS on our behalf to demand answers.

MEAction’s National Congressional working group, with a coalition of other ME advocacy groups, drafted a letter to the HHS demanding an explanation and a plan to continue the work left unfinished when CFSAC was abruptly terminated.

MEActionCO members have been meeting in person and via phone calls with staffers from the offices of both Senators and 5 of our US representatives to ask for their support and signatures on the HHS CFSAC letter.  (Look for an update here on that campaign very soon).

While getting a baptism by fire in the workings of congressional lobbying, other actions were being initiated by MEActionCO members:

  • In July Holly Heiman volunteered to start the Doctor list. She collated feedback from members’ experiences with Colorado doctors who seem knowledgeable or willing to learn. The list is available to MEActionCO Facebook members.
  • On August Jim Lutey, husband and caregiver of his wife Pam, organized a presentation for the Greeley After Hours Rotary Club to raise awareness and understanding about ME. Jim is willing to share his slides with anyone else who would like to present to a group.

As we approach the end of the year our member list has grown to 120. Our To-Do list has grown as well. We commend all the efforts of our members in 2018 and invite everyone to participate according to their abilities and interests. There are lots of opportunities and we are all in this together.

 

FRIDAY – Virtual Protest Day !

Terry-HHS-Protest-1-1-330x183Time to get out your #MissingMillions T-shirts and poster boards!

In case you haven’t heard, last week without warning or explanation, the Feds terminated the Federal Advisory Committee on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFSAC).  Later the DHHS asserted that ME/CFS has been so embraced by the federal government that an advisory committee was no longer needed!

In response to this outrage, MEAction is organizing a day of protest this Friday, September 10,2018. If you are going to be in DC you can join the protest in person at HHS Headquarters in Washington, DC! Wouldn’t that be terrific!

Since most of us will not be able to do that, here’s the plan presented by #MEAction National;

Show up virtually on September 14th!

  1. Take a photo of yourself within the theme of “We will be Heard.
    Suggestions:Stare defiantly into the camera and hold up a sign that says, “Hear ME Now HHS;” or “We will be heard;” or “We will not be silenced.

    Write such words on your body.

    Cover your mouth with a bandana and write, “Do not silence M.E.” or “HHS will hear ME.” –  If you have another photo idea, we love it! What is the message that you want to send to the HHS? Use the hashtag and get the word out!

  2. Post your photo to social media with the hashtag #HearMEnowHHS.  Tag the HHS director using the twitter handle: @SecAzar
  3. Call and email HHS Secretary, Azar.  Watch this space! We will provide you call and email details soon.
  4. Send your friends to D.C.  Encourage all friends and allies in the DC area to protest on your behalf!

Let’s take this a step further:

  1. Wherever you are in Colorado, there are other MEAction Colorado members nearby. If you are feeling strong enough to do so, reach out them and plan a little group photo shoot. You can do this ahead of time and post your pictures on Friday.

You can find friends in your area on our Facebook group or Contact us here and we’ll do our best to help.

If you are not on social media or need help posting, email your pictures to MEActionCO@gmail.com and we will post them for you.

Click here for more information about the CFSAC or here for all the details about the MEACTION protest.

 

 

1st Outreach Presentation in Colorado

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Jim Lutey explains Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

One of the big goals of MEAction is to raise visibility for People with ME (#pwME). Last Tuesday, August 28, one of our Northern Colorado members, did just that. Jim Lutey’s presentation ‘What about ME’ for the Greeley After Hours Rotary Club, was the first such presentation by a member of MEAction Colorado. Jim talked about the disease symptoms and its impact on people’s lives. He told how ME has disabled his wife Pam who became ill 2 years ago. Pam was a member of the Rotary Club but is now too ill to attend meetings.

Jim stressed the need for research funding, medical education, standard diagnostic guidelines and coordination among the groups who are working to raise awareness for this dreadful disease. I had the privilege of attending and adding comments to the discussion. We covered the MEAction organization here in Colorado, and the national and global organizations.

Jim’s presentation was well received. The club members were attentive and asked thoughtful questions. One gentleman raised the issue of disability insurance and we discussed the problems that many #pwME face in trying to get approved for disability when it is so difficult to get diagnosed.

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Greeley After Hours Rotary welcomes Jim and Diane

Members of the club expressed appreciation for the presentation and said they had learned a lot. They were interested in how they could help. They are hopeful that Rotary International will be open to supporting MEAction.

While Jim plans to give a few more presentations on ME for Rotary groups in the Greeley/ Loveland area, he can’t be everywhere. He will make his PowerPoint available for anyone who wants to give a similar talk. If you have contacts with Rotary clubs or other service or community organizations that would be interested, please let us know. If you would like to give a talk, let us know what info you require.

We need to educate Colorado. You can help.

 

– Diane for MEAction Colorado

 

 

URGENT Petition – Please Sign !

meaction logoDear Friends,

The MEAction Global Network needs your help!

Sign this #MEAction petition and stop the CDC from making ME treatment guidelines without our input!

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is updating its ME treatment guidelines. As part of this work, it is attempting to quietly hire the same independent contractor that previously recommended graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of ME.

We cannot let history repeat itself: Sign the #MEAction petition to stop the CDC from repeating a terrible mistake. Then SHARE on social media and with friends and loved ones. We must act quickly and respond by Friday, Aug. 31st. That’s this Friday!

​​We encourage allies around the world to fight this contract by signing the petition, no matter where you live.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE