Imagine feeling exhausted after walking two blocks, having chronic sore throats, muscle and joint pain. Imagine your head feels like it is stuffed with wet sand and when you try to read, words swim on the page. Imagine feeling heavy and sluggish after a nights sleep. And imagine that these ailments last for years. These are just a few of the symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, betters known as CFS, a serious and disabling illness that affects and estimated 800,000 persons a year. I can imagine these symptoms because I was diagnosed with CFS in 2001. .
I first began to notice a change in my health in 1998. I had always been healthy, outgoing and full of energy. My favorite phrase was "I will sleep when I die", but in 1998 I began to notice that I was abnormally tired. For a few years I was aware of this feeling but always blamed it on other factors such as my mom's passing, working 12-16 shifts at my job, just not getting enough rest, not eating properly, etc. All part of a busy lifestyle. But late in 2000 I began to take a turn for the worse, the tiredness I was feeling turned to exhaustion. I began to have migrane headaches, earaches, swollen lymph nodes, sore throats, upset stomach and frequent diarreha. I remember in Feburary 2001 I took a trip to Florida and literally slept all the way there and back. I went to see my doctor and we did some blood work checking my thyroid, looking for viral infections and even multiple sclerosis. We found nothing from the blood work and I was rescheduled for September. The symptoms continued and got worse. I began to have problems with my sleeping from insomnia to sleeping on nearly all of my off time. I would even fight sleep at work and on the drive back and forth to it. I found it hard to concentrate and had short-term memory loss. I remember a time I went to answer the phone and when I picked it up I "forgot" what I was supposed to say when I answered it.