The debilitating illness of ME

Wade Walters, former Esquimalt SISIP Manager, is home battling ME.

Wade Walters, former Esquimalt SISIP Manager, is home battling ME.

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer
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Being so tired he had to sleep half the day was Wade Walters’ first inkling something was wrong.

The former Esquimalt SISIP manager says symptoms were slight and not concerning in 2000, but as time progressed so did the debilitating symptoms.

“I was saving all my energy for work and gradually becoming more and more tired,” he says. “All I could do in the day was go to work, and then go home and lay down, get up the next day, and repeat.”

On top of his inability to feel refreshed after a long sleep, he had headaches, muscle aches, short-term memory loss, sensitivity to bright lights and loud sounds, bladder dysfunction, night sweats, a chronic sore throat, and a sensitivity to certain foods.

It took a barrage of tests and back and forth doctor visits, but he finally was given an answer: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, known as ME to those who have it, and formerly known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

Stats Canada estimates there are over 580,000 Canadians, including 77,000 British Columbians, diagnosed with ME.

“I used to have a very active life, now I don’t even have the energy to take care of myself or my home properly,” he says. “This is like a life sentence.”

In August 2018, the illness forced him to resign his position and go on long-term disability. There are few treatment options for ME, which affects many body systems including thinking and concentrating, and there is no cure. Walters has been seeking help from his doctor and through the Complex Chronic Disease Clinic of B.C. Prescription pain medication has provided some relief but reducing stress through meditation and mindfulness training have been more beneficial, especially to help him cope.

As COVID-19 winds through the world population, research is showing many people who contract the virus and have long-term residual effects are also getting ME.

“I know there are people out there in our community who have contracted COVID-19, think they have overcome the symptoms but can’t figure out why they are so tired. It’s important to get an early diagnosis and not fall into the trap of pushing themselves to their limit.”

For Walters, he is hopeful a cure will be found, and that his energy and mental acuity returns to normal. Until then, the 62-year-old will continue to manage the crippling fatigue where every day feels like a flu day.

For more information about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis go to mefm.bc.ca/about-me

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Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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  1. Bet says:

    Hello: I just read your story of Wade Walters. I can help. I had ME too – lost 11 years of my life.
    The answer is from a Naturopath, specializing in the endocrine system. Ask him to contact me via
    this email if he wants further information.

    Bet, from Port Alberni.

  2. JJ Nick says:

    Wade was actually lucky to get a diagnosis. Many people do not because doctors are not educated on this disease, and there are no blood tests that can detect it. The ccdp is grossly underfunded, and has a wait list of at least 2 years since it’s inception. The patients are too crippled to do much advocacy, and look normal so people do not generally offer them support. Even worse, they and family members won’t believe that the ailment is not just a mood disorder. However experts like Staci Stevens and Lucinda Bateman have compared a control group with depressed patients and those who are deconditioned with ME patients, and the ME patients show many increased inflammatory blood markers upon exertion. The inflammatory response is even worse after a second day of exertion. This exertion is just 15 minutes on an exercise bike. It can take weeks for those with ME to recover to baseline from this CPET test, so it is usually done just by people who are desperate to get approved for disability. Most are not approved. So most patients live in poverty on top of their punishing disease. Some people recovered from covid are now starting to show similar signs. We hope the public will now believe that ME deserves more funding to find answers.

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