Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I was halfway watching Ellen who had Cher on as a guest. I was doing some reading and every now and then would glance at the TV. I noticed Cher seemed a bit subdued. I started watching more closely and noticed the familiar look of CFIDS-a tired sadness behind the eyes, very little physical movement, answering Ellen's question's but not expanding on them, and then saw the quiet fatigued smile as Cher watched some contestants try to earn tickets to her show.

I thought to myself she has CFIDS. I quickly dismissed my thoughts because I'd never read anything about Cher having CFIDS. I thought maybe she was tired or annoyed with Ellen or something.

I decided to google Cher and CFIDS and sure enough there it was. Cher was diagnosed with it back in 1998. At the time they said she had EBV. Apparently at some point she went to Germany for treatment (I do wish we had access to treatment in Germany-they are doing some fabulous things over there with this illness as well as chronic lyme and work on treating myocarditis). She had a bad bout with it as recently as this year. My guess is she is struggling with it now. I doubt someone with this illness would notice the subtle telltale signs.

If you look at pictures of people with this illness you'll find this look. It's like an inner light has been subdued but gets reflected through the eyes. There's a sad quiet stillness too. My heart goes out to her.

I imagine there are many people out there who suffer from chronic illness who are having to spend the Holiday alone. Though I don't know your names, know you are not forgotten.

During illness the soul comes out of hiding and shows itself with fresh realizations and new priorities. You deal with issues of life and death and you discover the importance of love and caring of friends and family. It can also highlight issues such as loneliness, isolation, and be experienced as a dark night of the soul.

I believe it can be a place of transformation too. I just don't know what it looks like or feels like yet. Illness uncovers a world of meaningful issues that may have been covered over with the business of living out in the world. Now there are no distractions. There are no options but to look closely at what has been unveiled.

The religious scholar Mircea Eliade explores in his journals what he calls
"the spiritual,'religious,' functions of illness." "Illness," he writes, "is the point of departure for the process of personality integration and for a radical spiritual transformation." (Mircea Eliade, Journal III)

Virginia Woolf sets out the scope of illness in her brief essay On Being Ill:

Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of is strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.
(Virginia Woolf, On Being Ill)

I trust that I'll find meaning in this, and in doing so, a sense of peace.


Sue Jackson said...

That's interesting. I knew Cher claimed to have had CFS but she has also previously claimed to be "cured" which really irritated me because some of my family heard this, too, and knew she was back on tour and so thought CFS was easier to recover from than it really is. I know it's a silly and awful response to be irritated when someone gets well, but so few do fully recover from CFS that it invokes an irrational response in me. I previously figured she had some other form of fatigue that wasn't really CFS, but if she's recently relapsed, then it probably is really CFS after all. Without illness, she is such an energetic entertainer; I am sorry to hear she's ill again.

And I've heard bits of that Virginia Woolf piece before and been intrigued - I'll have to look it up. Thanks for sharing it.

Hope you're well enough to be able to enjoy the holidays and family and friends this week!


Anonymous said...

I saw some of that Ellen show on Wednesday myself and did think about Cher's seeming a little subdued...but then I've only seen her performing her music or in movies so I thought maybe her non-performing personality is somewhat shy? Honestly, it's hard to read emotions on people who have had so much plastic surgery.

I really hope that if she is experiencing a relapse that she is able to recoved in time for her Vegas bookings in February. I'm sure rehearsals, etc., is totally draining. Actually, as a CFS severe sufferer, I can't even fathom being in the audience!!

My husband had major surgery at UCLA in 2007 and was in a room down the hall from George Hamilton. His girlfriend is one of Rodd Stewart's ex-wives and was telling my in-laws how she "recovered" from CFS after attending some elite medicial center in Germany. The treatment costs were astronomical but in her opinion unlike anything available in the world. I was not there during this conversation but will try to see if I can find the name of the clinic.

Paula said...

check this out - it's very long but very interesting about the heart...

cfswarrior said...

Hi Sue-

I just want to know what Cher does to be able to do any entertaining at all! I can't even do errands anymore.

cfswarrior said...

Hi Paula-

Thanks for posting the link. I started reading it but am having bad brain fog so I'll have to return to it. It looks like a great article!

cfswarrior said...

If I could find a way to go to Germany and get treatment there I'd do it in a heartbeat. They are cutting edge when it comes to this, lyme, myocarditis, etc...

If you find the name of the clinic let me know!


david said...


i am from germany. the private clinic is called "leonardis klinik".

just so you know :)

if you want to know more, my e-mail is

Anonymous said...

I think I understand that "vieled look" she has. Yes she certainly has CFIDs but I believe she has had it much longer if memory serves. I learned about it in research because have been living with it since 1994. The reason it was not revealed was due to the affect it would have on her celebrity and her ability to work. She is operating with an incredible physical burden. Not only does it attack your body but it also attacks your mental and emotional wellbeing.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog from the beginning for the past week. It's interesting how much I find we have in common even though my story seems so different from yours. Anyway, I'm glad you blogged about Cher. I don't know anything about her, but whenever I would talk to my mom about how I'll probably never get well because no one gets well from CFS, she would say, "That's not true, Cher did" which would make me think that Cher probably didn't really have it at all. I'll have to give my mom the bad news.

The other thing is, I made a similar diagnosis myself. When I was reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, the descriptions of two of the characters "enchantments" sounded so much like CFS, I thought the author had to have known about it. I googled Susanna Clarkson and CFS and found an article saying that she had cancelled a book tour because she had it. I wasn't expecting someone who wrote an 800 page book to have had CFS, but it did take her 10 years.

Also I should say that I'm really enjoying reading about your journey and admire how you update so often. I like that you say so when you are feeling discouraged.


Jo said...

That look is called the "flat effect" and is common in mecfs.