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Theda's desperate final hunt for a chronic fatigue cure

Sunday 15 May 2011

From Australian newspaper WA Today:

 

Theda Myint family
Theda with her mother Carol Adams and father Aung Myint.
Photo: Lucy Rickard

Theda's desperate final hunt for a chronic fatigue cure

Lucy Rickard
May 11, 2011

After more than a decade tackling an uphill battle with a debilitating illness, Perth chronic fatigue sufferer Theda Myint is set to embark on a trip halfway around the globe in her desperate search for a cure.

In just over a week, the 35-year-old, her mother Carol Adams and father Aung Myint will board a plane to India on what they hope will improve her quality of life.

More than 11 years ago, Ms Myint was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, leaving her with crippling migraines, severe body pain and an extremely low tolerance to light and noise.

She has been largely bedridden for more than a decade, living in total darkness and silence. Last month, overwhelmed with despair, she decided she could no longer go on, attempting to euthanise herself three times.

Having exhausted all treatment options available to them in Australia, and after being refused subsidies for in-home medical care by the WA government, the trio are heading off on a month-long trip to India where Ms Myint would undergo a traditional Indian treatment known as "ayurveda".

Her estranged father, a clinical psychologist who lives and works as an Australian volunteer in Thailand, found out about his daughter's recent plight and immediately boarded a plane back to Perth.

He said that while he had always provided for his family following his separation from Ms Adams, he knew he couldn't sit by and watch his daughter's condition unfold without helping in any way he could.

"It's quite important for me to be here for her," he said. "I had to come back; I had to help her through this. I don't want to lose my daughter."

Aside from providing assistance to Ms Adams in caring for her daughter and preparing them for the flight, his decision to return to Perth had also had a profound positive impact on his daughter, who has regained some hope over the looming treatments.

"Theda has really enjoyed having her father back," Ms Adams said. "It's been great, it really has."

The trip is a last-ditch effort by the family to treat Ms Myint's illness, with Ms Adams using up the last of her superannuation savings to fund the flights.

"I can't even think about what would happen if this treatment doesn't work," she said. "We have got to try it, we've just got to, there's nothing else."

Theda Myint
An intravenous drip helps Theda Myint battle the migraines which are
part of her daily battle as a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferer.
Photo: Chalpat Sonti

Hospital addresses treatment ordeal

The month-long trip to the world-renowned Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital in New Delhi follows a horror two months for the family.

After Ms Myint's third attempt to end her life, she spent several days on the locked ward at Fremantle Hospital where she was left writhing in pain while her condition was virtually ignored, according to Ms Adams.

She was committed to the hospital after a psychiatrist reviewed her case in light of her suicide attempts. Once on the new ward, Ms Myint's requests for pain relief, hot showers, diet-specific food and visits from other doctors were all refused.

In a win for the family, Ms Adams met with the executive medical director of the hospital where they agreed both parties needed to come to an arrangement for treating Ms Myint should she be admitted to the hospital again.

The hospital met with Ms Adams after it was revealed on WAtoday.com.au she would be lodging a formal complaint to the Department of Health over her daughter's treatment.

She told the hospital's executive medial director, Shirley Bowen, that her daughter was not given the respect or care that she deserved as a patient, and reiterated that she was not expecting Ms Myint's condition to be cured, just the symptoms treated.

Ms Adams said she was extremely pleased with the result of the meeting, which she said just means her daughter would be given the care she deserves.

"I just feel that at least this way, she will be treated for her symptoms with care," she said.

"I don't expect them to cure her ME, but just treat her with respect."

Dr Bowen said: "Fremantle Hospital staff will continue to work closely with Ms Myint and her family to assist where possible with the ongoing care of her complex medical condition".

Support for the family continues to flow on the 'Help Theda' Facebook page, while an auction being held in Margaret River next month also aims to raise money for Ms Myint's ongoing treatments.

Anyone wanting help or counselling for mental health issues 24 hours a day should contact Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, or Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

 

The above originally appeared here.

Please note: This article contains references to death. If you have feelings of helplessness, or of suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately. Lifeline is an excellent starting point: Lifeline – Suicide Prevention resources and links.

 


 

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