Daan was diagnosed with ME at the beginning of 2020. ME refers to inflammation in the brain and spinal cord associated with muscle pain. It is estimated that there are about 27,000 ME patients in the Netherlands (Klein Rouweler, 1999). In many cases, the disease is chronic and can have an erratic course.
It is a very complex disease that affects the functioning of the brain. Furthermore, other physical systems such as the immune system, the heart, blood circulation, energy supply and hormone production are affected as well. The cause is still unknown.
Not the fatigue itself, but the inability to recover from exercise is the core symptom of ME. Other important symptoms are physical and mental exhaustion, long recovery time, muscle pain, trouble concentrating, sleep disturbances, loss of strength, forgetfulness, headache, joint pain, dizziness, trouble seeing, sensitive lymph nodes, inflammation, cardiac arrhythmia, sore throat, disorientation and confusion.
In the Netherlands, there is a lot of uncertainty and little recognition. Due to the current COVID-virus, there is more attention to ME as patients experience similar symptoms.