In this entry to the Patient Voice, Mark tells us about a time when he was met with a radical kindness that he didn’t expect – all because of a simple Facebook post. Mark shares how he has found the chronic illness community to be one of great kindness throughout his illness journey.
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By Mark Hansen
In 1985 I had the flu while having black mold in my bedroom closet due to a roof leak that the management company was suing the roofers over. I recovered to some extent, but gradually developed greater and greater degrees of ME/CFS symptoms over the years. Finally, after 36 years as a Transit Bus Operator, I had to take a disability retirement despite the assistance over the years of the Family And Medical Leave Act… I had far exceeded the 12 week limit for the year.
In the years since, I have come to know many in the chronic illness community and they are nothing short of amazing. I now administer several ME/CFS Facebook groups and have some exceptional friends as a result. One incident of true and unexpected kindness really stands out…
Several years ago I needed to take a bus to Manhattan to make my first visit to Dr. Natelson’s Pain & Fatigue Clinic at Beth Israel. I happened to mention on a Facebook post that I would be part of the CDC Multi-Site Study and was making this trip. I was nervous about finding my way and asked if there was anyone from NYC that could help with directions. Within a short time, someone who I had known but a short time on Facebook wrote back and asked for the date and time of my visit. This marvelous woman who runs a Facebook community for Fibromyalgia took two trains and met us at the Port Authority Bus Terminal then escorted us via the subway to the clinic. She stayed with my wife while I was doing my exam and testing.
This woman that I had never met me, that did not know my wife, put her own sickness and pain aside to give us this gift of friendship! It left an indelible mark on my heart.
Mark Hansen is 60 years old and has been married for over 30 years. He and his wife love to camp and have a Fifth Wheel trailer. He enjoys photography, image editing, poetry, computers and hiking when able. They have a small home based business, and he does some consulting work for the investment community.
Mark has a love for nature; He and his wife camp whenever they can. He finds that observing the creation around us and its inhabitants is indeed a healing balm. Appreciation of this brings humility, patience, and perhaps the desire to share this vision through photographs.
This Bald Eagle image is one that he copyrighted in 2014.
Mark’s favorite quote is, “There is always time to bring a smile to someone’s face, and give their heart a warm embrace.”
Mark has written a book of poetry illustrated mainly with his own photographs that others may enjoy… He gives the pdf version as a gift to all who might appreciate it.
You can access it HERE