Claudine Prud’homme has suffered from myalgic encephalomyelitis for more than a decade. Her illness was triggered by a viral infection so she was on high alert as COVID-19 infections spiked. “We might not always look sick,” she says. “But it really is a tragic illness.”

Murray, 38, knew she was suffering from what’s known as long COVID. But the different doctors she consulted could provide few answers beyond that. Often, she was told her symptoms were likely anxiety-related. Or, as she says, “that it was all in my head.”

Meanwhile, the once-active mother of two could barely look through her fridge without collapsing. A persistent cough and racing heart stopped her from sleeping at night. And the slightest effort could trigger extreme fatigue, leaving her bedridden.

Then, Murray finally got some clarity. After all other possibilities were ruled out, a stay at the Montreal Heart Institute led to a doctor sitting her down.

“What I’m about to tell you is important: this is not in your head,” Murray remembers being told. “Your symptoms are caused by an illness called myalgic encephalomyelitis.”

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