The Wall Street Journal's newest CFIDS piece, on whether it's safe for those of us with CFIDS to donate blood and the role the XMRV retrovirus might play in determining the answer:
As I noted the other day, the Wall Street Journal's CFIDS reporting has been exemplary. If you have CFIDS, particularly an acute presentation in an advanced state like I do, even the thought of donating blood is criminally negligent. I would never risk inflicting this upon anyone, much less some poor bastard who needed a blood transfusion. Within the past year, the governments of the U.K., Canada, New Zealand and Australia have issued edicts legally prohibiting those of us with CFIDS from donating blood. In this country, the Red Cross announced last year, thanks, but no thanks. The FDA has been advised to do the same and we're waiting for their conclusion.
One of the things that fascinates me about this discussion is that it's finally being taken seriously. One of the first questions I asked after being diagnosed early in 1992 (I was egregiously ill nine months before I had a diagnosis) was, "Can I donate blood?" I followed these with, "Could I transmit this sexually?" and "If I were to get pregnant, could I give this to the fetus?" The answer I received from dozens of doctors was, basically, "Hell if I know." And they honestly didn't. But really, how fucking obvious was it that these were pertinent questions?
Twenty years later, with over a million Americans diagnosed with CFIDS and credible estimates running much higher, it's gratifying and vindicating the illness is increasingly treated with the seriousness it always deserved.
I can't help but ask, though, "What the hell took so long?"