My name is Christopher Pitko (That's me with my son Colin in the picture), and I have CFS. Even though you don't know me, because I have CFS you know me more than most of my friends. And you know my story.
Why am I writing?
I’ve been receiving ProHealth’s weekly e-mail newsletters for years. But then I read the issue last May introducing the CDC’s national Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Campaign, the Traveling Faces of CFS Photo Exhibit, and the brief story about Rich Carson, ProHealth’s Founder, who is the only adult male CFS patient in the Photo Exhibit (www.immunesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/id/7155/). This caught my eye and stirred things up inside, and I shared the article with my family. Like Rich and many of you, I look healthy, and it's hard for some people in my family to understand me. So that newsletter depicted similarities in our stories that I could share with my family.
Also, it confirmed my intention to become involved, somehow, in a wonderful way, in affecting the lives of those who have been so adversely affected by CFS and Fibromyalgia. I mean, who else am I more connected with? At first it may be volunteer work, but when my energy improves I want to have a stronger role in being an advocate of better health. I've told my wife and my mom, one day I'll be on Oprah, talking about CFS.
About my life
My details are that I just turned 36 and have been sick with CFS for seven years. I grew up in Manhattan Beach, California, where I live now with my wife Judi and new baby boy Colin – our first. Just before I came down with CFS, I was surfing three to four days a week, volleyball once a week, gym a few days a week, golfing, waterskiing, and snowboarding here and there, etc. I was also putting in 50-hour work weeks. I'm a CPA, but was doing financial planning at the time. The typical Type A personality of most CFS patients.
Over the first three years of my illness, my health deteriorated more and more over time. Like most, I moved back home with mom, and have spent tens of thousands of dollars with several doctors and treatments over the past seven years trying to find answers and a cure, or rather, just some improvement in health.
Finally, my health rebounded after three years when I started taking a vitamin supplement… Chlorella. I slowly gained back energy and, because I'm Type A, I went back to work too fast and did too much, and relapsed to severe health again. For the past four years, I've been in and out of work, on and off disability, and have not again found the increased level of health I once experienced.
I am certain it will happen again one day, though I do manage much better now than during my first three years with CFS. The last half of my sickness I've focused more on alternative health therapies, including kinesiology, acupuncture, magnet therapy, Reiki, meditation, and a sugar free, alcohol free, caffeine free diet. And I'm closer than ever to complete acceptance of my compromised lifestyle.
Last year we moved to Annapolis, Maryland, hoping the cleaner air and slower pace lifestyle would improve my health. But the humid summer and the long cold winter did the opposite, so we’ve moved back to California.
As for those plans I have for being a health advocate: I even put together a business plan on how to help those with CFS four years ago when my health improved. But after going back to accounting work and relapsing, I had to shelf that project – for now. Being a CPA is my trade, but it is not my passion. Helping people and encouraging good health is my passion.
To be honest, my health is still very limited, but I wanted to get it out there, just to get energy in motion. That's how things happen.