Theda's Story

Reporter:Mark Gibson

Once a bright, bubbly model and top broadcasting student. Theda was struck down with an extreme form of chronic fatigue syndrome ten years ago. The 34 year old has been in bed for the past five years. "She was continually told that's in all in your head, there's nothing wrong with you, you're crazy.""

Theda says "Nobody would put on this degree of illness, it's just insane." After watching her daughter waste away with pain, Theda's mum, Carol, made a heartbreaking discovery. "And when we cleaned her wardrobe out I found a big elastic band, a plastic bag and she had planned on taking a lot of tomaz or something and euthanasing herself. And she said to me Mum I can't do it and I said I understand, I said I can't help you and I can't leave the house knowing you're doing it but I do understand I said don't try and stay alive for me."

"What I want for her is for her to have a better quality of life." Theda's partner, Blake Graham, is frustrated by chronic fatigue's out-dated reputation. "Often people are met with a lot of negativity, scepticism, told that they're malingering and faking it and lazy and all these types of terms but in fact if you actually meet people with these health issues you find out that typically they're anything but."

Carol and Blake say Theda's medical testing and treatment cost thousands.. with no government support."When she was only able to suck ice blocks and throwing up 9 times a day, she dropped to 36 kilos, the only medication that stopped her vomiting was one they give to cancer patients having chemo and I wasn't allowed to get it on the PBS because she didn't have cancer." Theda's family want governments to listen.. doctors to act.. and society to understand. Carol says "I want the government to recognise this illness and help all sufferers."Blake says "She'll probably never run a marathon, that's fine, but if she could just be out of bed for several hours a day.""To the medical profession, start doing your research, you are doing untold damage, you're causing suicides." says Carol."Theda, are you going to get better? Absolutely, I'm determined to...Then I've got hope of having a life again."

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