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I am a 32 year old mother of a 10yr old girl and a 3yr old boy and I was alittle embarassed to say that I needed help because this year we aren't having a christmas. I have to provide a roof over my children's head and that doesn't leave much room for extras. If there is any way that I can get some type of assistance to provide them with alittle something, that would be greatly appreciated. I pray for each and every one of you on this site that each one of us may be blessed with a miracle this year.
By Jeffrey D. Barnett (a Marine officer and Iraq War Veteran):
"Before my deployment [to Iraq] I was disposed to always be active. Whether it was with work, hobbies, reading, social activities, or other things, I did not like to be idle. Now I am sometimes content to sit idle with only my thoughts. Watching the ocean, sitting in my front yard with my dog, driving at night: moments when I can contentedly reflect on life alone. Adding a few friends and a pleasant discussion to this activity is now probably my favorite pastime. I now place a much greater value on experiences, while before I almost exclusively valued achievement. And I don’t necessarily mean grand, individual achievements, but also group achievements through things like playing poker or gaming with friends.
Now, I certainly enjoyed experiences before Iraq. Going to the movies to see the latest Will Ferrell film was just as gratifying then as it is now. However, my perspective on activity has changed, and now I am content to relax and just let things happen rather than relentlessly steer every activity towards an ultimate goal. I still steer towards goals, and be sure that I am still relentless, but I now have a far more balanced desire for simple experiences. This has given me a much deeper appreciation for my experiences and those who share them with me, because I know they are just as mortal as I am.
The second change runs slightly counter to the first, causing disconnect with others: After experiencing real chaotic violence and seeing how ugly humanity can be it’s difficult to get excited about some things the rest of the world views as important. For example, about a year after I returned from Iraq a new video game was released and heavily criticized in the media for brief scenes of semi-nudity, I remember feeling frustrated that some of my friends were deployed at that time and probably facing worse circumstances than I had, yet America was in a tizzy over whether its children should be exposed to alien buttocks. At the end of the day, after you’ve seen school children walk in a single-file line past the dead body of a man executed at gunpoint, it’s difficult to care about the social degradation caused by bare buttocks in a video game."
"... XMRV had been discovered in people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, a malady whose very existence has been a subject of debate for 25 years. For sufferers of this disease, the news has offered enormous hope. Being seriously ill for years, even decades, is nightmarish enough, but patients are also the targets of ridicule and hostility that stem from the perception that it is all in their heads. In the study, 67 percent of the 101 patients with the disease were found to have XMRV in their cells. If further study finds that XMRV actually causes their condition, it may open the door to useful treatments. At least, it will be time to jettison the stigmatizing name chronic fatigue syndrome.
The illness became famous after an outbreak in 1984 around Lake Tahoe, in Nevada. Several hundred patients developed flu-like symptoms like fever, sore throat and headaches that led to neurological problems, including severe memory loss and inability to understand conversation. Most of them were infected with several viruses at once, including cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr and human herpesvirus 6. Their doctors were stumped. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s presumed bulwark against emerging infectious diseases, dismissed the epidemic and said the Tahoe doctors “had worked themselves into a frenzy.” The sufferers, a C.D.C. investigator told me at the time, were “not normal Americans.”
When, by 1987, the supposed hysteria failed to evaporate and indeed continued erupting in other parts the country, the health agency orchestrated a jocular referendum by mail among a handful of academics to come up with a name for it. The group settled on “chronic fatigue syndrome” — the use of “syndrome” rather than “disease” suggested a psychiatric rather than physical origin and would thus discourage public panic and prevent insurers from having to make “chronic disbursements,” as one of the academics joked.
It’s amazing to me that anyone could look at these patients and not see that this is an infectious disease that has ruined lives,” Dr. Mikovits said. She has also given the disease a properly scientific new name: X-associated neuroimmune disease."
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