Friday, August 15, 2008

You Can't Make This Up

"Munchausen syndrome is a psychiatric disorder in which those affected fake disease, illness, or psychological trauma in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves." (Wikipedia, 2008)

I've heard about this illness and read about it a little bit too. But I've never seen first hand someone who suffers from it. And technically, today I wasn't witness to it in person, but in one of the most bizarre cases I've ever heard of, I read about it on the internet.

The story begins with Gina, or 'Pepe' as she was known, a young girl in her mid twenties who has Cystic Fibrosis. Her condition, so bad, so dire she really, desperately needed a lung transplant, and yesterday. She was on and off a ventilator like a yoyo, she suffered every kind of man eating painful manifestation of the disease - from constant lung collapses to chronic bleeding. Her lungs were 'calicified' they were that bad. And really on the brink of death, a donor set of lungs came for her. Her surgery and subsequent recovery were as difficult as life beforehand, again suffering every possible complication that could arise. Last week, things were just not good, she was told her new lungs (now functioning at 24%) were useless and she needed a second lung transplant. She had had a high temperature for about 6 months, high carbon dioxide levels in her blood for longer. It was just not good. And yet she fought. And fought. And fought. Until tonight.

...When her blog was shut down. Every spec of evidence of her existance poofed into thin air. And then it became clear that the whole thing was the figiment of one's (or twos') imagination. The whole thing about as real as a tooth fairy with one leg.

Now a bit of backround: Gina or 'Pepe' was a friend of Paul's. Paul himself has CF and had a lung transplant last year. He emailed me a few times for advice about recovery and I received his group emails about his progress. He also read this blog. So when 'Friends of Pepe' started, on the blog list (as in a list of people's blogs) was yours truely. I don't really mind that sort of thing as as much as it's sometimes weird having strangers reading your blog, it's what helps to educate people about CF, Diabetes, Transplants etc.

Paul last year wanted to buy 'poor Pepe' a Nintendo Wii and sent an email around requesting money. I didn't give any because...I'm selfish I didn't know the girl personally...actually nor him come to think of it.

But anyway, they've scarpered. Now I believe Paul really does have CF, and has had a transplant, but Pepe doesn't exist. There is a girl involved but she does not have CF.

I guess that everyone has their cross to carry, but when I consider what I've had in my life (medically speaking) I'd chose that hand of cards anyday over having a disease that makes me WANT to be ill. Of course they may just be down trodden fraudsters either.