It took two years and a whole load of anxiety, for the Doctors to finally agree that I was suffering from CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and another couple more years to free myself from this extremely debilitating condition
The reason why it took so long to diagnose the illness in the first place was because so little is known about the disorder and what causes it. Even now there are skeptics that still argue that CFS is only in the mind!
In my case it was very real, only I did not know that I was suffering from CFS at the time. It began slowly, as persistent flu-like feeling, and even after a nights rest, would wake to a feeling of complete exhaustion. Finally headaches that got progressively worse over time, and a general feeling lethargy
I underwent various scans and blood tests which all returned negative including one for glandular fever. It was at this time that our family Doctor began to suspect that I could have contacted the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), and what I was suffering was actually the little known Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. (CFS)
As, by his own admission, his knowledge on the condition was limited he referred me to the local hospital for further tests. Over the following months I went through more examinations and consultations, which included tests for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and last but not least AIDS!
Each test produced a feeling of anticipation, only to slip further back in depression and frustration by the negative response to a possible cure and the lack of answers from the Doctors as to the cause, that even I was beginning to think it was all in the mind
Finally the Consulting Physician from the hospital referred me on to consultant, who specialized in ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), as it is now widely known,
This was the turning point, and a glimmer of light in what had become a dark, depressing tunnel. At last, here was a Doctor who, not only could explain what was making me feel so ill, but also offering a possible cure.
From his studies over the past 20 years he could prove the condition was due to a biochemical disturbance within the central nervous system inside the brain.
The virus may have entered the system at a point where the immune system was at a low, such as glandular fever, and may lay dormant until something triggers it off, such as Stress or another illness,
The details are too numerous for this initial article, but there were two parts to the remedy that he offered:
The first; He could prescribe medication (individual neurotransmitter regulators) tailor made to my condition to regulate these biochemical disturbances in the brain etc
And the second part of the therapeutic approach, would be a that I agree to a modified activity program for both physical and mental activities. Without my agreement to the second part the first part would be a waste of both his and my time
Needless to say, I began a course of treatments that eventually brought me out of the horrible feeling of hopelessness to regain a normal life style, and in 2005, five years in total from the initial feeling of being unwell, signed off with a clean bill of health.
During this period, I have taken a journey of self-discovery, learned quite a lot about the debilitating symptoms and effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and learned to tame the beast. But ever watchful for its return!