Well-Come to Agent for Change, a blog created by Marly Silverman, to serve as a catalyst for change that is much needed on the issues affecting millions of individuals stricken with neuroendocrineimmune disorders worldwide. Through this blog I want to share ideas, exchange, communicate and find solutions for everyday living. The goal is to pursue quality of life that will make a difference in the lives of individuals with neuroendocrineimmune disorders (NEIDs).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Idea on Pepsi Refresh Has Been Randomly Selected-Two More Steps to Go

Click on the link here to find out more

I recently entered another idea on Pepsi Refresh, which I was informed it made through the random selection, meaning that it has met the basic guidelines of the project and it has made through the first step of the charity Pepsi Refresh Project. I sincerely believe the idea is feasible and it will enhance quality of life for many in the NeuroEndocrineImmune diseases community.

The idea is already gathering support from patients, my friends, my family and many patient advocates colleagues, all who are rooting for my idea to move to the next phase: to be posted for public voting. The idea also has the support of PANDORA, of Rocky Mountain CFS and FM Association, CFS Solutions of West Michigan, Phoenix Rising, CFSKnowledgecenter.com for now. As we share the effort with other organizations we hope they will help promote it too. 

Meanwhile, there are a few things in which I could use your help and support. It will take no more than 5 minutes of  of your time. Please go to this web page and choose whatever way you can make your own contribution to promote the idea in deriving community support so my idea can be deemed feasible leading to its successful implementation. 

I also take this opportunity to encourage others to submit their own ideas, which can also benefit the NeuroEndocrineImmune Diseases community to this worthwhile project by Pepsi. It is a great opportunity to create awareness, generate buzz for our community concerns and mostly important to the plight of individuals stricken with these disabling, debilitating and devastating, sometimes fatal diseases. 

Thank you for all that you do. 

P.S.: Check out the new revised international version of the winning PSA (public service announcement) video from ME/CFS Worldwide Patient Alliance on PANDORATV youtube channel. 


Saturday, April 30, 2011

IRISH MEDICAL TIMES-Doctor letter to the editor shows a remarkable level of arrogance, biases and callousness

I recently came across the link below. It is a letter to the editor to the Irish Medical Times online by a doctor stating his opinion on what I suppose would ME/CFS patient activism.

The ignorance of this (alleged) physician of the state of the knowledge of the  science for ME/CFS is blatant and high on the level of arrogance, biases, and callousness for his patients. He is yet to catch up to the science! He has no idea what ME/CFS really is. Even the scientific or medical  point of view he attempts to make is clearly exaggerated to the point that it lacks common sense. To this doctor, this disease is a figure of patient's imagination running wild because of the internet.

May he never experience the pain and suffering of what ME/CFS patients have to endure. Because if he falls ill to ME/CFS, and indeed he is at risk simply because of his line of work, well, we could then only hope that a simple act of personal redemption might cure him.

His letter goes along with the comment made last year by one of the members of the Lords Main Chamber in the UK when discussing CFS/ME suggesting it is an uncomfortable illness. There ought to be an award for these types of comments. Does anyone have any suggestions? 

Dr. Monagham, here is our message to you. We are no longer invisible. We will speak up for ME/CFS, since you cannot or refuse to do it. We will continue to require large priority funding for specific biomedical research for this NeuroEndocrineImmune disease in the U.S.  The same must be done in the UK. We will send the message loud and clear and based in the current science. We will get the right answers. Your opinion as an answer to what ME/CFS is, and as it is written in your letter, deserves and has only one place to go and where it clearly belongs- in the circular file

Meanwhile, in my subsequent posts I will attempt to share with you as many activities as possible being planned around the Globe to celebrate Awareness Day 2011. I am listing a few on this post.

Young people with ME/CFS - "Speak Up About ME", fibromyalgia, chronic Lyme disease and MCS/EI will provide testimony to the CFS Advisory Committee (CFSAC) on May 10 and May 11 in person, by video and by phone. These young individuals will be part of the Advocates Extraordinaire(TM) Advocacy Leadership program culminating with Lobby Days on May 11 for Pediatrics and May 12 for all ages and for NeuroEndocrineImmune diseases. We will be wearing t-shirts that can be purchased here. We ask you that if you are coming in person to do the same.

Time for Action (Robert Miller) is now coordinating a letter to President Obama. RESCIND is also asking patients to write a letter to President Obama and their efforts are complimentary and being coordinated too. 

Tom Hennessy, Jr, was the original creator of the International Awareness Day for NeuroEndocrineImmune diseases (on their site they use the term Chronic, Immunological and Neurological Diseases). We owe Tom our immense gratitude for his determination to to create awareness for ME/CFS. His good friend of many years Jerry Grayson has been instrumental in keeping RESCIND site running all of these years. Thank you Jerry for your dedication to the cause.

We encourage everyone to provide testimony to the CFSAC whether you live in the U.S. or not. We would like to see a long list of individuals providing testimonies along with the ones that will be there in person or are already on the schedule. Send your testimony today and it will be entered in the record. This is your opportunity to tell decision makers about our plight and influence outcome.
Be part of 2011 May Awareness Month by participating in the many events found in the U.S. and abroad. Take ownership of your future. Tell decision makers how they can help people with NEI Diseases. It’s up to you. It’s up to all of us.

Join me and together we are: One Voice, One Community, One Cause(TM).

Visit the site of the Coalition4MECFS.org.- A group of ME/CFS non-profit ME/CFS advocacy organization collaborating and dedicated to improving the quality of life of ME/CFS patients. These organizations will engage and mobilize governmental health agencies, the private bio-medical industry, researchers, health care providers and the public toward finding a cure for ME/CFS and related NeuroEndocrineImmune diseases. 

Here are so far the organizations which have joined the Coalition4ME/CFS.org

CFS/Fibromyalgia Organization of Georgia, Inc.
CFS Knowledge Center 

 ME/CFS Worldwide Patient Alliance winning Public Service Announcement video is awesome! This PSA created and produced by Lynn Bousquet will be sent and broadcasted on television and cable channels across the U.S. and abroad in the months to come.

Get your feet tapping at the inspirational video below. YOUR WORLD GETS VERY SMALL when you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or a similar condition, like Fibromyalgia (FM), Lyme, chemical sensitivities, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) or Gulf War Syndrome (GWS).

P.S. Click here for a well thoughtful answer from Jane Colby, FRSA,Executive Director,The Young ME Sufferers Trust,Holder of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, and click here to read some of the comments on Facebook including now letters from physicians addressing this (alledged) doctor's letter to the editor of the Irish Medical Times. 

BELOW ARE PICTURES OF PAST AWARENESS DAY EVENTS - Conferences, meetings, proclamation day letters and special fund raising events.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ME/CVS/Fibromyalgie Nationale Protestactie Patiënten België VT4 Nieuwsit...

Thank you Frank for sharing this with us from Belgium. This is wonderful! "Wake Up Call" for ME/CFS  and did I understand correctly for fibromyalgia too? We join you all from the U.S. in solidarity. May Awareness month is around the corner. We will be visiting congress and will provide testimony at the CFS Advisory Committe. Together we are: 
One Voice, One (wordwide) Community, One CauseTM
We are getting ready for May Awareness Month for NeuroEndocrineImmune Diseases. CFA Advisory Committee Meeting is around the corner. Get Ready! Let's hear the many voices that make up our overall community. Time for a change! The Time is Now! ACT NOW! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Question from Anonymous dated February 9, 2011

A reply to Anonymous e-mail, dated February 9, 2011,

Dear Anonymous,

You sent me the following e-mail below:
“You wrote:  “...that mutual respect, courtesy and civility is once again lacking and the anonymity of the internet allows this kind of behavior go unpunished..."

I agree that civility and courtesy, etc, are good things and an ideal worth striving for. But I wonder: just how would you go about PUNISHING someone for behavior that YOU don't like?”

First of all let me qualify something important. When you state “You don’t like”, addressing it to me, I need to state that raising the issues of civility, respect and courtesy, are not based in the “like” or “don’t like” capricious category such as “I like chocolate ice-cream” and “I don’t like vanilla ice-cream”. That is not what I said, nor it should be implied. It is much more profound. I hope you understand that too.

Therefore here is my answer: I will not remain silent. I will encourage others not to remain silent. One good example is in the blog “For every naysayer complaining of an organization, point to something good these organizations have done. Do not be silent! One does not have to engage in a heated exchange, one can just say what it comes from the heart. At the end of the day the same rights one individual has in order to state a hateful position applies to a kind one too. Why are we so afraid to confront the tone of these voices?

Let me be clear, I am not advocating preventing someone from expressing what he or she feels; I am only expressing concern over the delivery of the message. The reality is that until someone walks in someone else shoes, (by the way the name of PANDORA’s official walkathon is “WalkInMyShoes™) one cannot 100% express that he or she is the absolute holder of the truth. It works both ways! It is also accepted by reasonable people that patients who diminish one organization over another are doing a disservice to the overall cause. As a patient I take umbrage on these types of approaches. As a patient I have to stand up and question one’s motives.”

The message is our community needs to be stronger and unified. We need solidarity. We do not all have to march identically and to the same beat, but the core of our (NEIDs) community standards, interests, values and objectives must be embraced collectively. When we do, meaningful change will come successfully. The time is now. 

Anonymous, I appreciate your question. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


"For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once though right but found to be otherwise." Benjamin Franklin

Once again I am excited about what is to come in the months ahead in the NeuroEndocrineImmune Disorders (NEIDs) Community.  I think this May 12, 2011 Awareness Day will be the best ever!

I am excited with some of the initiatives that are taking shape with the NIH State of the Knowledge of the Science of ME-CFS and a potential future engagement of the CDC with patient advocates in the NEIDs community. It is exciting of the fact that through many initiatives within the NEIDs Community, life-long friendships are being created and that the theme that “now is the time to make a difference together you and I”  is coming to fruition. Stay tuned for some future announcement.

As I look at the blogs that are popping up recently, I read one blog post today that prompted me to write this blog post  If you can provide input it is appreciated. I believe the topic requires some new voices in the conversation.

More specifically I would like to address one recent statement found on the amazing blog of “CFS Central”  in ref  to Dr. Nancy Klimas. Mindy wrote: “I believe one of the reasons that patients became so pissed about the recent Klimas study was because it felt like a slap in the face:  How could Nancy Klimas, who knows full well that biomedical research is what’s needed, participate in a cognitive behavioral therapy study?  I believe Klimas’s name on that study shows that her priorities are not always patients’ priorities, no matter how proactive she’s been to the cause over the years. Patients have to stand up for themselves; they can’t depend on anyone else to help, even Nancy Klimas or its own support group, the CFIDS Association of America."

The facts are that the research in question was done almost 11-12 years ago. Unfortunately, it was only recently published in its entirety.  It is the only research on CBT that factually states that CBT does not cure CFS-ME. In fact it clearly refutes what Peter White has stated, including one of his recent statement that to "his knowledge there has not been one CBT study that demonstrates he is wrong". This one in fact does!

I speak with great insight and knowledge because I participated in one area of that study. I was among the lucky ones who were part of the 12-week study program within the research study. I was told from the beginning of the study that it would not cure ME-CFS, but it would hopefully help me cope with the day-to-day challenges I was personally experiencing. Among these challenges: the devastating abandonment by a fiancé, loss of a 6 -income figure, and loss of a successful professional career. These losses are typically the type of losses that the majority of our overall community of suffering often experiences.

I can personally say that from that study, life-long relationships were created. PANDORA was established and a new life as a patient advocate for me took shape in a most profound way. Whether anyone in our community wants to hear this or not, the fact is that this study reinforced and came at a time in my life when I needed. 

And NO… I do not t endorse CBT treatments as the kind provided in the United Kingdom, without any other type of medical care. Absolutely not! However, we cannot blankly state that in the proper setting patients with NEIDs should not use every available coping tool they can find.

With this in mind I would like to ask Mindy to please reconsider the statement made against Dr. Nancy Klimas. I also ask you to join me in this request. I can share with our entire community that without Dr. Klimas’ medical expertise, I would not be writing this blog post on these important issues.  I can also say that without Dr. Klimas thousands of patients in Florida and beyond would not have access to Social Security, workman’s comp and private disability benefits. When a judge reads Dr. Klimas’ credentials in a medical report during a disability hearing, he is aware of her spotless credentials. Without the work of Dr. Klimas countless patients would lose hope ending in one of the most painful events, when I am told that another patient within our overall community has died by suicide.

I sincerely agree with Mindy in many areas.  I personally would like to see a complete wipe out of the mind-set of our health government agencies of ME-CFS and other NEIDs as well. I would like to see $150 million dollars being invested annually on ME-CFS. The same for the other illnesses  PANDORA embraces.

 I recently stated to some advocate colleagues from other organizations: “The main drive of the letter to the CDC (which Jill Justiss mentioned on Mindy’s blog post) is to change a NATIONAL policy towards ME-CFS. Only through a change in national policy from the bottom up, meaning we get patients and their state leaders, then federal congressional leaders, then cabinet members and then the bureaucrats to do what they are supposed to do, we will yield huge positive results. So here is our take: No more handouts. No more half-efforts. We need to be smarter. We need to collect connect the dots. The time is now for an all out effort by ALL to take ownership of our future and the future of millions of ME-CFS patients by collaborating…” BTW, click here for the CDC petition. 

I stand by this quote. I know it will not be easy, but we have to start building trust, interaction and networking among the patient community and our government officials, and the sooner the better.  Wouldn’t you think that 3 and half decades of getting “crumbs” as Mindy stated would not have induced a much smarter approach from our “independent patient advocates” also to create change? Instead what I have seen year after year, after spending 12 years watching the internal fracturing, bickering, anger, bitter disrespect, rage, and demonization of one another or of organizations across the board simply because one might not agree with another individual. It is pitiful! It has to stop! It has to begin right here. It is a waste of stamina, energy and creates emotional turmoil. The time one spends on forums creating disharmony and chaos could be better used to create change that is meaningful and powerful.  

It does not help us either with the fact that the stigma that this community of suffering already endures becomes larger than life, because of such misdirected and destructive behavior.

Yes, Let’s Be Angry! Be very Angry, because angry directed to a greater good creates change. I am all for it! Yet, I do not subscribe to the uncontrolled rage I am witnessing that is quite destructive.

I do not subscribe to the theory that “organizations have failed us”. But I do subscribe to the concept we can do better! I do not subscribe that our patient community should attempt to destroy the core and the foundation of several organizations, which have established through hard work, perseverance and resilience, programs that are beneficial to the overall community. Yet, I do subscribe to the concept that we should ask questions and provide constructive criticism.

I also subscribe to the fact that organizations without patient participation, do not thrive. They slowly become obsolete and ineffective. Again, only through sincere and ongoing participation and collaboration we can all win the fight.

Our community organizations’ tasks are monumental. It is a gargantuan struggle finding resources, getting volunteers, raising funds, answering phones, writing newsletters, communicating with officials, visiting disabled patients, bringing food to patients,  writing letter on patient’s behalf to Medicaid and insurance companies, and much more. I cannot help but question if any of the individuals in question have really taken the time to visit with a representative of any of the organizations supporting our overall community and to get to know them personally.

I embrace the fact that as organizations we need to get with the times, and we have to be smarter by using social media advocacy and other tools to our advantage.  Some of the suggestions as it relates to ACT UP (AIDS) as I have been reading on some of the blogs or forum posts, I dare to say have been replaced, re-evaluated and/or complemented by other much more contemporary approaches.

As someone who is participating not only as an individual and as a representative of an organization – PANDORA, which wears many hats as a local, state, national and international organization, yet with a very small budget, I can state that while within the confines of our mission we have accomplished successful projects. The same can be said for all of the organizations I have interacted supporting our overall community of suffering.

A good example to share of a good and yet “in your face” approach is the “flashmob” display in which I participated at the latest CFSAC meeting. It was a powerful display, yet it was respectful. For patients across the U.S. who saw the video and for patients across the globe it was an awesome event to experience. So why are not patients asking organizations "What can we do to help you to drive our message more effectively?"  

Instead, what I am seeing is heartbreaking and exasperating. It is also painful to realize that despite 3 decades later, the CDC is still lending credit to the psychobabble approach. It was this personal realization, which came as a personal anger and also shared by many in our patient community, was directed to the positive, leading to the cause-project ME-CFS Worldwide Patient Alliance on Facebook. I am proud to say that PANDORA supports this cause.

How about the grassroots artistic efforts of Sock it 2 ME-CFS? Why are not more patients supporting it in great numbers? Recently the creators of such patient initiative posted that they can no longer continue to do the project and could use assistance.  This project is the one that gave every CFSAC member a well-crafted colorful sock pin and created such a buzz during the meeting in DC and at the New Jersey CFS Association Fall Meeting last year.

Why aren't more patients supporting "FAX the AD"? A collaboration among several patient groups on Facebook and organizations? 

It is also heartbreaking to see within our patient advocacy community, that mutual respect, courtesy and civility is once again lacking and the anonymity of the internet allows this kind of behavior go unpunished and seldom refuted.  The tone found in many of the forums across our community are once again obnoxious, hurtful, demeaning, and counter-productive. When are we going to realize that this internal bullying approach is wrong?  It is said to say that I can tell you is that this approach has been in place for decades too and the results are the same: A community divided leading to a weakened community as well.  What is wrong with this picture?

Like many in our patient advocacy organizations, our board has been proactively advocating, lobbying and assisting financially families and individual patients on a personal level and through PANDORA.  Often we do not share these successful results due to confidentiality and privacy issues. How can any one of us truly measure some of the efforts organizations do on patient’s behalf? One way is by sharing your experience and knowledge of any organization you support. Express your appreciation not just for one organization but for many TODAY! 

For every naysayer complaining of an organization, point to something good these organizations have done. Do not be silent! One does not have to engage in a heated exchange, one can just say what it comes from the heart. At the end of the day the same rights one individual has in order to state a hateful position applies to a kind one too. Why are we so afraid to confront the tone of these voices?

Let me be clear, I am not advocating preventing someone from expressing what he or she feesl feels, I am only expressing concern over the delivery of the message.The reality is that until someone walks in someone else shoes, (by the way the name of PANDORA’s official walkathon is “WalkInMyShoes™) one cannot 100% express that he or she is the absolute holder of the truth. It works both ways! It is also accepted by reasonable people that patients who diminish one organization over another are doing a disservice to the overall cause. As a patient I take umbrage on these types of approaches. As a patient I have to stand up and question one’s motives.

There is no other diplomatic way to state what I am posting here. I know that I am going to probably get hate mail. I will have to deal with it. I also know that for each hateful e-mail, I will get 10 stating otherwise. I just hope I will not get death threats as some of the perceived enemies of our community including a controversial researcher has received when inflammatory writings by a few hit the forums and the internet.

As one very wise woman Tammy Saltzman (a S. Florida life coach) recently quoted another very wise woman- Margaret Chase Smith, “Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.” Therefore I welcome your input but I will also exercise my personal right to not post replies, which will damage the fabric and the strength of our overall community.  

I appreciate your taking the time to read this blog post. Thank you for all that you do. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

800 Yards Around (a CFS, FM, Lyme, ME, GWS song) - Bill Gaunce - Officia...

This is the new video we are featuring on PANDORATV (pandoranet) our video channel on youtube.com and on my personal youtube account too. Bill Gaunce created a smart, catchy and down to earth tune. The sound is country-western and is something that most of us can sway to it. The videos slides are cool and extremely creative. Enjoy it and sing along. I am! Here is 800 Yards Around for our listening and viewing pleasure and get a chuckle too.