GWI/CFS/CFIDS/PTSD. Viva La Revolucion.

When one hears the word Revolution many ideas come to mind such as Revolutionary war, Revolution (disambiguation) as well as Revolt.  Revolutions in thoughts and systems have been the ways and means for change throughout the history of humanity.

Revolution can mean many things in many ways to many people. None of these are as harsh in nature as that of Viva La Revolucion: the act of a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a short period of time; through armed conflict.

 Since the time of Aristotle to present: political, military, coups and all forms of revolutions have been widely studied by some of the greatest of human minds. Throughout human history, Revolutions have occurred and have varied widely in terms of methods, duration and motivating ideology. Results of these revolutions have included major changes in culture, economy and socio-political institutions.

As  CFS/GWI/Lyme/Autism Patients; we have the choice to create and design a new type of revolution involving peaceful and positive socio-political change. We can do this by using the unified powers of our large patient numbers to influence our established political system. As patients the time is now ripe to strategize, to form political entities and to lobby for our cause. It is time to Organize and it is time to get Political.

A huge challenge for us as patients is to not get stuck in the past with anger and injustices at our situation but rather to look towards the future for innovative ideas that will further our cause for treatment and cures. We cannot afford to spend another 30+ years stuck in the dark ages with these diseases.

 It is time to re-group and focus on the obvious.  We Need Research;  Standardized and Accurate testing methodologies;  Treatment Protocols; Prevention and Awareness. Collectively, our voices need to be unified in numbers to be heard. There are “many causes”  amongst our diseases trying to shout out all at  the same time;  these individual voices make it confusing for both the general public as well as the government to “hear”  as well as to  “understand”  our demands for future progress.

One of the basic techniques of a revolution involving Guerilla Warfare is to “take our weaknesses against the stronger opposing entity and to turn those weaknesses into our strengths.” In War, mercenaries and revolutionary fighters’ who have fewer and less potent weapons who are at a disadvantage against their opponents will strategize on how to overcome the stronger opponent. This strategy is a proven tactical methodology when unity and organization and leadership are all involved.

GWI/CFS/Lyme/Autism patients have the chance, we have the tools and we have the strength in numbers to elevate our position  by strategizing and uniting. The medical, societal, political and governmental agencies which have held enormous power and have stifled our progress for research and treatment are now at risk for the tables to be turned on them.

The Political Aspect of our diseases has to be handled progressively and we need to look forward. No matter how much injustice we have endured as  Patients; it makes more sense politically to go with the positive and progressive approach and to re-invent ourselves into success. The AIDS campaign was brilliant. WE have much to learn from their strategy as well as inventing our own.

Politically speaking, we need grass roots groups as well as ultra savvy politicos to make this happen.  Politics is a science unto its’ own. It is an intricate, intimate science that takes skill, passion, power and tremendous inside experience in order to be successful.

I have had more than a few revolutions in my lifetime thus far that have brought me to this point and time with wanting to fight for our diseases. Experiences where I was so influenced that I experienced a sudden, complete and radical change in my life. Through these experiences, my life views changed dramatically and my life was forever altered in my thoughts, dreams and aspirations. Needless to say my goals changed.

 Some of these experiences are too painful to speak of. Many of the positive life-altering experiences have had to do with education, traveling  and my illness since a young age. Yet, the one revolutionary experience that explicitly engaged me to enter battle with this illness; was watching my son Blake nearly losing his life to CFIDS. My Rules of Engagement changed at that point.

 I cannot help but think of our revolution with our illness and that of the story of Ernesto “Che” Guevara who was born on June 14, 1928. Ernesto Guevara set out on a life altering motorcycle journey through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Panama then back through Miami to his home City of Buenos Aires. It was in part his experiences on this motorcycle road trip across Latin America that would impact Ernesto in a way that upon contemplation of his adventures he experienced a sudden and radical change in his ideologies which then altered his path from becoming a full time Doctor to becoming one of the most well known Revolutionary Leaders of our time. He was a Major Figure of The Cuban Revolution; He was an Expert in Guerilla Warfare. Time Magazine places him as one of the 100 Most Important Figures of the 20th Century.

During Ernesto’s Motorcycle Journey across Latin America as documented in: “The Motorcycle Diaries”, he was one semester shy of becoming a Doctor at the Age of 22 when he set out with his great friend Alberto Granada riding double on a Norton 500 Motorcycle called “The Mighty One”. As the two departed Buenos Aires on their 8000+ KM trip, the Norton 500 began its’ journey by spewing smoke and sputtering. As they left Buenos Aires for their arduous trip across Latin America “The Mighty One” provided many comical yet dangerous adventures such as flying into an irrigation ditch with both occupants descending through mid-air, hitting a herd of cows around a bend head on; and suffering a frozen chain over the Andes in Snow and Frozen Terrain demanding that the Bike be physically pushed over the mountain range. It eventually died a slow death and was abandoned along the way. Instead of quitting, the two adventurers continued on their journey by walking, hitch hiking and even using a handmade raft to float down on The Amazon. On their journey, these young men witnessed Poverty, Injustice, Illness, Death and Oppression.

Ernesto began his motorcycle journey as a well-read, compassionate, almost innocent young man who was just forming his ideologies through literature and his exposure to his social class. Through the impact of his travels and the atrocities he witnessed during these; revolution took over his point of view with the emphasis on Viva La Revolucion and then World Revolution via violence and Guerilla Warfare. Ernesto’s fight ended during an attempted revolution in Bolivia that did not go well from the start. By this point, he was not the man who he began as.

With the help of the CIA and our Countries newly highly trained Elite Group of Army Rangers, The Bolivia Army had the assistance they needed to stop the Revolution in Bolivia from occurring. Che was captured and assonated. It was 1969 and he was 39 years old.

What struck me about Ernesto Guevara’s story was his plight with severe Asthma. Ernesto had such severe Asthma that it was a miracle that he was able to travel on a motorcycle in inclement weather throughout Latin America and even a greater miracle that he was able to traverse entire countries on Foot, in difficult terrain, while fighting as a savvy Commander in Guerilla Warfare. He went for long periods without medication, food and supplies. He came close to death on many, many occasions from his Asthma Attacks; both when traveling on motorcycle and then during fighting his battles. His Asthma Attacks were of the severest form.

Before becoming a revolutionary, Ernesto was studying Leprosy as an intern. On his 23rd Birthday nearing the end of the Journey across Latin America, he decided to swim across the Amazon River to reach a Leprosy colony that was quarantined from the Main Island. Ernesto was leaving the area the next day and his last wish before leaving was to spend his Birthday evening with the Leprosy patients whom he had become fond of. As Ernesto swam across the Amazon; which had not been attempted before; there was frantic screaming from the doctors and nuns on the Main Island to “Turn Back, To Stop”. From the Leprosy colony on the other side of the river, the patients screamed to keep going “ERNESTO!” They screamed, urged and begged and told him he could make it. Ernesto had an asthma attack during the swim and it was a miracle that between the currents, the deadly river animals, the water temperature and his lack of oxygen from the attack that he made this journey alive. As he made it close to shore, the Leprosy patients jumped into the water, pulled him out and greeted him with cheers, love, respect and admiration.

There are many theories on why Ernesto “Che” Guevara became a Marxist Revolutionary Leader with such iconic radical ideologies aimed at World Revolution.  I think one factor that may be overlooked  is the fact that Ernesto had a medical condition that created a revolution within him that contributed to his fate and the path he took. His compassion for those that were ill or in trouble that he continually assisted at the expense of his own well being; the fact that he studied medicine to help others; the fact that his Asthma instilled in him such compassion for human life as to swim across the Amazon to give respect to Leprosy Patients at the risk of his own life portrays a humanitarian aspect known intimately to those with chronic and critical diseases.

Having a life threatening illness, being critically or chronically ill instills empathy and compassion in those that experience this which goes beyond measure of word or understanding for those that are healthy. I believe that because of Che’s experience with his asthma illness; he was driven to this level of empathy which changes ones soul. The endurance of such illness can cause passion, yet can also cause mania if not managed with proper care.

 We have passed the crossroads stage and are now entering the time of Revolution with our illness. Although we are entering this new era of unchartered waters for CFS/GWI/Lyme/Autism, it is important for us as patients to understand what we are fighting for and why. In order to WIN a Revolution it is important to know what you are fighting for and it is imperative that you fight out of Love and Passion for the cause for which you have been oppressed. Revolutions are not won by anger, but rather by the intense desire by people to create a better existence and standards which they have unjustly been denied.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

JULIA HUGO RACHEL

VERY LUCKY GIRL ON VALCYTE

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