Transcript of 11th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Cassandra Evans, Monday July 7, 1997 at 12:00 pm.

Ms. Evans: Hi, Doctor. Long time no see.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Cassie. It is nice to see you.
Ms. Evans: I suppose it would be more helpful if I come more regularly. It's just that it's so difficult to get out of bed and get myself going. And when I actually get dressed and ready to go out, I would much rather do something fun. No offense, of course.
Dr. Balis: None taken. I understand. It would be more useful if we could make this a more regular part of your life, but I'm here when you need me.
Ms. Evans: Thanks.
Dr. Balis: So, what brings you here today?
Ms. Evans: I'm seeing a new doctor. I don't think I care for him very much--I'm not sure yet. He asked me why I was there, and I told him I have CFIDS. He said, "That means you have Epstein Barr, right?" I told him it was something different. And then we argued about that for a few minutes. He asked me how I got tested for CFIDS. I told him that they narrowed it down by eliminating everything else. But he persisted in his questioning. Stuff like: "How could I have a diagnosis if there isn't a specific blood test?" Well, eventually he gave up. He's a chiropractor, by the way. I think he decided that since medicine was bullshit anyway, it didn't make much of a difference.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Why did you start seeing him for treatment?
Ms. Evans: My bones have been aching, and my back goes out so frequently it's impossible to sleep or even lie down. So a friend recommended that I try a chiropractor. This doctor is relatively close by. His adjustment--the back cracking--seems to help a little bit. I don't want to give up before I give him a real chance, you know?
Dr. Balis: I understand. Do you have a medical doctor as well?
Ms. Evans: Yes, I'm in contact with Doctor Halsey. He's such a dear heart! I adore the man. He's still playing with different drugs and stuff. Still researching. In fact, he went to a conference a few weeks ago, but I don't think he learned anything new. When I mentioned it during our last visit, he didn't say much. And he knows how upset I get when there isn't any good news.
Dr. Balis: Does he know about your chiropractor?
Ms. Evans: Yes. I don't think he's fond of chiropractors. But he supports anything that might help me.
Dr. Balis: Do you think it would help if the two of them discussed your case?
Ms. Evans: Ha! The chiropractor, Doctor Newland, despises the medical profession and doesn't even believe in the germ theory! He said germs don't cause disease--the subluxations in the back cause people to get sick. So I doubt they would get very far. I suppose you could say they're members of a mutual admiration society--not! He he he he...
Dr. Balis: I see. What else have you been up to?
Ms. Evans: Well, Elise and I are playing phone tag--she's the woman from human resources. She's supposed to get all the documentation for the social security application. Anyway, I think she has sent in most of what they need, but there are a few loose ends. From what I've learned about the whole social security mess, I think they automatically deny everyone who applies and then give opportunities for a review. This could go on forever and a day. Quite honestly, I somehow doubt it will ever get anywhere.
Dr. Balis: Does that bother you?
Ms. Evans: Yes and no. I mean, I paid into the damned thing. Now I'm ill and deserve the benefits. I could certainly use them. But I hate admitting the defeat--that the CFIDS has won and I've given up hope for a normal life.
Dr. Balls: Receiving Social Security doesn't mean giving up. It simply allows you the opportunity to regroup.
Ms. Evans: Well, whatever. I just doubt that it will be worth all the aggravation. You know, they sent me to three doctors already? The first one, a psychiatrist, was very nice and sympathetic. He explained the medical review to me and answered some questions. Then I saw a general practitioner/internist as well as a neurologist. They both were assholes--totally arrogant and clueless as to what CFIDS is and how it affects a people. How they ever got appointed to their positions, I will never understand. And when I returned home, all I could do was cry. It's like rubbing my nose into the fact that I can't work like a normal person, can't play like normal person, can't do anything like a normal person. Why don't they just tattoo the word "loser" on my head and get it over with?
Dr. Balis: You and I both know you aren't a loser. You can't let them get to you. Remember, they might not be doing it well, but they're only doing their job.
Ms. Evans: Yes, I suppose. David always makes fun of them. He says they aren't real doctors and can't hold down a real practice. What does he call them? Let me think...medical piranhas. Isn't that a riot?
Dr. Balis: That's pretty good. How are things between you and David these days?
Ms. Evans: Pretty good. Actually, he's been quite considerate lately. I guess he picks up on my level of pain. I think I tend to get testy with him when I feel rotten. He calls me pissy-girl. Kind of funny, don't you think? I used to take offense, but I cooled off, became calm, and realized what he meant. I can get a little nasty and irritable when I'm feeling awful.
Dr. Balis: I think everyone does, to a degree.
Ms. Evans: By the way, did you hear about Doctor Kevorkian? There was another assisted suicide. The woman was suffering from CFIDS. I have the release from the AP wire with me, actually. Let me read it to you: "Kevorkian may have assisted suicide. Southfield, Michigan. (AP) Doctor Jack Kevorkian apparently struck again on the very day the Supreme Court ruled there is no fundamental right to assisted suicide. Hours after yesterday's ruling, a woman was found dead in a motel with a note to call Kevorkian's lawyer. Geoffrey Fieger said the 40-year-old woman suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and from fibromyalgia, or muscle pain. He also announced that he is running for governor next year." What a piece of work--the guy's running for governor! Anyway, I got a copy faxed to me from a fellow PWC. The poor woman--the poor tortured soul. It's such a shame.
Dr. Balis: A PWC?
Ms. Evans: Oh, I'm sorry. A Patient With CFIDS. The whole thing kind of reminds a person how awful this disease is. But I wouldn't go that far--suicide, I mean. There are times when all I can do is curl up into a ball, rock myself to sleep with tears streaming down my face, and beg God to put an end to my suffering. But there's more to life, isn't there? There are people who are worse off. But this type of thing brings awareness and the severity of the illness to the general public.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad you don't have the urge to follow in this woman's footsteps.
Ms. Evans: Me too.
Dr. Balis: Are you still having very intense dreams?
Ms. Evans: Yes! Funny you should ask. Do you recall the one with the black and white rats? Well, I had it a few more times with slight variations. So David--being the wise ass that he is--bought me two ceramic figurines. I think they are supposed to be mice, but it's a joke between us. He really has helped me laugh at myself and lighten up. Anyway, shortly after putting them on the bedroom dresser, those black and white rat dreams stopped waking me. Go figure. The newest dream revolves around a mountain. I'm on a trip of some sort. Definitely leisure. Some friends and I are hiking on a trail and get to the base of a mountain. They begin to set their gear up, and I realize I've forgotten mine. As they begin the climb, I follow up just using the rope they dangled behind them. It gets colder and colder and then dark and cloudy. The ropes start to get slippery, and I begin to fall. First, I'm just slipping a bit. And then, I'm tumbling quickly down the mountainside. It didn't feel like I had climbed very high up, but the fall seems like an eternity. When I finally hit the ground with a hard thud, I realize I've lost my sight. I start to feel "things" pecking at me, stabbing and probing. Whatever they are get harder and harder, faster and faster, and more and more ferocious. I begin to scream with all my might, but no sounds emanate from my mouth. It's truly horrid! And I have trouble waking myself up.
Dr. Balis: That sounds very unpleasant. What do you think it means?
Ms. Evans: Well, I tried keeping up with the crowd, but I wasn't prepared to do so, right? That's why I didn't have the appropriate gear. The falling probably has to do with my fear of getting worse and falling into despair. The loss of sight may have to do with my feelings of losing my way in life. And the probing may be the interference of medical professionals. You know how I feel about them. I'm not sure about the clouds and the cold.
Dr. Balis: You've thought about this dream a lot.
Ms. Evans: Yes. I try to keep a journal by the bed. That way, I can jot down notes when I wake up and reflect upon them later. It's come in handy. And shortly after I crack the riddle of a dream, it goes away. Makes me feel like I'm helping myself a little.
Dr. Balis: Dreams can provide great insight, and the journal is an excellent tool. I'm glad you're trying to find ways of helping yourself. Our time's just about up. Do you need a few minutes by yourself before your ride arrives?
Ms. Evans: Yes, please. I'm getting a little weary. Can you get me a glass of water, please? I would like to take some medication.
Dr. Balis: Of course. And, Cassie, I know that it's difficult for you to come here, so please don't hesitate to call me when you need to talk. Okay?
Ms. Evans: Thank you, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Cassie.
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