Name: Lisa Valerio
Missing Since: January 14, 2002
Onset Age: 31
Current Age: 45
Location: Deltona, Florida
“My name is Lisa.
I woke up January 14, 2002 and felt like a truck had rolled over me during the night. I was 31.
I tried to get dressed for work, but it was impossible. The pain was intense and I felt as if all my energy had been drained out of my body.
Luckily for me, I was in the right city for a quick diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had a diagnosis within four months of symptom onset.
In 2003, I participated in a study at the University of Miami-Jackson with Dr. Nancy Klimas, esteemed Immunologist. Thorough blood work showed I had too many NK cells but their activity was low….lazy NK cells.
My life since has been a series of ups and downs. I lost my job as a Radiation Therapist. “Job abandonment,” they called it. My distress at losing a job I’d worked so hard to achieve was crushing. Not to mention the loss of income. That was even more devastating.
I applied for disability and was denied three times. Trying to get through that process was a big joke as my brain fog didn’t allow me to be the eloquent person I was. It didn’t allow me to speak about my illness and loss of health without crying.
I was told by family members that I should just go exercise and I would feel better. I should get out in the sun and get happier and that would make everything all better.
I should note at this point that before onset of symptoms I was an avid runner, rollerblader, worked an 8-hour a day job, active mother to my 8-year old daughter. All of that was ripped away literally overnight. I went to bed healthy and whole and woke up broken.
Fourteen years later I’m suffering a relapse that’s lasted since September of 2014. Symptoms I deal with daily are muscle tremors, heart palpitations, spots of numbness, significant pain all over, draining fatigue, brain fog, inability to recall words and peoples names and events, irritability, depression and so much more (how much more could there be??! trust me, lots).
Modern medicine has failed me. I have to fight to be heard by my doctors only to be told that the latest research I bring in concerning CFS/ME is an insult to any doctor I see. I shouldn’t be telling them how to doctor. Yet, they’ve failed me. The only “medicine” that has helped at all is Acupuncture and Meditation. Those two have gotten me off the couch and able to do some of my activities of daily living. I’m saddened and disheartened and ANGRY that I, a very sick person, have to fight for funding for research to find out the cure for this life stealing disease.
I am one of the Millions Missing.
I want someone to find me.”