What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet
What's in a name? that which we call CFS
By any other name would feel as awful
Here are a few names for my disease:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)
Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus Syndrome
Low Natural Killer Cell Syndrome
You can see even more names and historical background here.
Why do I personally call my disease Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)? It's just what I've gotten used to. Sometimes I use the more "official" term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) as well, though I'm not really a huge fan of the term.
To tell you the truth, scientists could call the disease "cat poop" and I wouldn't really care as long as they were doing real research and making progress in finding a cause, treatments and a cure for it...especially a cure. OK, maybe I would care if they called it "cat poop," but I think you get my point. To me the name should not be the main issue. No matter what it's called, I'll still have the same symptoms.
Unfortunately, it seems that the name is an issue.
To many people CFS doesn't sound as serious as "influenza" or "eczema," and it apparently doesn't sound as serious as "swine flu" either (don't get me started on swine flu...). Much of the public, media, researchers, and healthcare workers just don't seem to take this disease seriously because the name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sounds so benign. The name makes it appear that people with this disease are just tired, and it ignores all the other wacky and unfortunate things going on with our bodies.
Do I wish this disease were known by another name other than CFS? Yes. Am I passionate about changing its name? No. Do I support those who want to change its name. Yes. Do I have a preference for what it should be called instead? No. Why am I writing about the name issue? Because it was on my mind. Should I keep asking myself questions and then answering them in italics? I think not.