October 14th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 41
Carson Gunn
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Submitted photo
Carson Gunn has been living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the last number of months. It wasn’t until recently that he was officially diagnosed and began expensive treatments in Calgary. Carson is resting at home currently but will have to return to Calgary for more treatments and tests in the near future.
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
The Gunn family has been going through a long and difficult process.

Their son Carson was recently diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Carson's father Doug Gunn says that it's taken a heavy toll on his son.

"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has made it so he can't do anything. He's bedridden. He can't even stand up. His body won't create energy anymore. It most likely started from a virus but he has numerous triggers they call them. There's a bit of mold, he's got high aluminum and other chemical sensitivities.

Gunn says multiple things lead to where Carson is today.

"It sounds like numerous things caused this. The doctor in Calgary who's been treating him says it's a number of things that piled up and then his thyroid had some issues and he was taking thyroid meds and that was kind of the start of it."

Gunn says Carson passed out at work and that's when symptoms really started to show.

"At work near the end of February he kind of had a crash and passed out and he's never been the same since that very moment. He hasn't worked since that moment and was unable to walk for 2 months and he's been bedridden for 4 months.”
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Gunn says one of the most frustrating aspects of this is that it took so long to get a diagnosis.

"Doctors don't even know about it. Not one doctor here or in Lethbridge would even recognize his symptoms. They said there's nothing wrong with him. It was pretty frustrating they said it was all in his head. This is a guy who can run an ultra-marathon. It's not in his head," said Gunn.

"You can find all kinds of information online. Anyone who wants to Google it it's all there but doctors still don't know anything about it. It's pretty sad."

Carson's girlfriend Ciana Travaglia, says it's not even taught in medical school.

Gunn says that according to Carson's doctor, it will never make it to the medical textbooks either.

"Dr. Hoffman says it will never happen because there are too many types of disorders that are not covered. It is a disease but it's not really considered one to the medical world."

In a GoFundMe set up by Travaglia, she writes, “Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease that affects 580,000 people in Canada and 1 million people in the United States. CFS lasts for about five years in the average person, but it can take as long as 20 years to recover from. That is a quarter of someone's life lost to a disease with no treatment or cure under Alberta Health Care.”
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Gunn says that Carson is the one who looked into CFS and found a specialist to see who then pointed them in the direction of another doctor.

"Carson tracked down a specialist. Dr. Stein in Calgary. She specializes in this disorder. She assessed him and checked him out and then recommended to see Dr. Hoffman who's an integrated medicine specialist. He does a mixture of medical and health food and even naturopath. He's kind of a mixture of everything to treat very similar things to this. He's good but he's not as in tune with it as Dr. Stein but Dr. Stein doesn't treat him. She doesn't have a place or way to treat him."

According to Gunn, there are many different types of treatment that Carson is receiving.

"He's been getting treated through drugs, supplements, through diet and even something called neurotherapy where they put a cap on his head to stimulate the brain."

The treatments have meant lots of travel for Gunn.

"I've been back and forth to Calgary for six weeks with treatments and now he's home until more treatments happen in Calgary."

There is no set time frame for Carson's recovery at this point.
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"There's no timeline with this. Its just treatment until he gets better."

These treatments aren't cheap either.

Since Dr. Hoffman is private, the Gunn family has had to pay for all his treatments.

With no timeline on a recovery, the Gunn's are fundraising to help pay for Carson's treatments.

So far, funds have been raised through the GoFundMe set up by Travaglia and also through her work at the Canadian Brewhouse in Lethbridge.

Their total goal is currently at $60,000 and they have managed to raise just over $30,000 so far through the GoFundMe and another $6,000 through the Canadian Brewhouse.

Gunn says the family feels blessed at this time with the support they've received.

"We've been lucky enough with friends and relatives dropping of cheques at the house. It's been good. We've done okay. It's been pretty nice compared to where we'd be without these donations."

Gunn says there are also plans with Pure Country for a fundraiser for Carson.

While their current goal is $60,000, Gunn says costs could climb higher with the uncertainty of Carson's recovery.

"We don't know what the end result is going to be. We just have no way of knowing. In three months is Dr. Hoffman going to want all these tests again? We just don't know. It depends on Carson's progress," said Gunn.
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"We're going to need more. Another $20,000 or another $40,000. We don't even know. This could go to $100,000."

Gunn says he just wants people to become more aware of this as a whole.

"Our main goal is to raise awareness to. People don't even know about it. I had never heard of it until Carson was diagnosed."

In raising more awareness, Gunn and Travaglia says he hopes diagnosis can occur earlier than with Carson's case.

"It took a month to get into Dr. Stein and then it took another month to get into Dr. Hoffman. Meanwhile his health is deteriorating. If we could've had some answers two months before he first saw this doctor, wouldn't that be nice?" said Gunn.

"We want to help other people than just Carson because it's not fair for people to have to suffer with no help," said Travaglia.
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October 14th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 41
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