My name is Larry Baldwin, MD and I was practicing general surgery and vascular surgery in a small town when I suddenly became ill with a severe flu-like illness followed by orthostatic hypotension, debilitating fatigue, brain fog and migraine pain. I was dizzy with brain fog when I stood up and for those symptoms alone, I could no longer practice surgery, which requires being upright and competent to operate. Thus my beloved job and career, in retrospect, ended from one day to the next. Through a medical school classmate (my wife, Jan Linse Baldwin, MD, and I were in the same medical school class at the U of Minnesota-Twin Cities) we quickly found a CFS specialist in Minneapolis who diagnosed CFS.
After many years I was well enough to arrange a physician didactic mini-seminar on CFS with Dr. Bateman. We presented a lecture to the entire U of ND-Grand Forks Medical School followed by a special didactic with only the medical students. I have endured this dread disease for 29 years with: debilitating fatigue, severe migraine and widespread pain, pneumonias, POTS, sleep-related disorders, brain fog, and frequent viral infections. I have been taken care of by many physicians who were open-minded toward the disease, and one who isn’t. I see the consequences of close-mindedness and its related dangers and frustrations. I have learned to take great, great joy in the things that I am able to do; the disease is mostly in the “background” of my life with occasional episodes of being in the “foreground” during acute symptom exacerbations.
My wife is the person who helps me get through this disease by encouragement, wise advise, patience putting up with this disease, and helping me figure out what medical event is happening at certain times when there is no doctor in town or the region who knows about the disease.
I am very grateful for the faith I have, for my family and friends. If one word stands out for me as a consequence of this disease it is: “gratitude!”
Larry and Jan Baldwin are longtime supporters of Solve M.E. We are grateful for their enduring partnership and donations.