Prior to June 2013, I had never been sick. EVER. I mean a head-cold here and there, but all-in-all, nothing to write home about. Except that time I got chicken pox when I was in 8th grade and Mrs. Drumond wouldn’t let me make up my science final exam… a story for another time.
Then BAM! Like a load of bricks- pneumonia. So that’s not really true. I actually went to the doctor because I was coughing for a good 2 months and pulled my trapezius (upper back) muscle. While I was there, he check my breathing and oxygen level (91%) and said, “Are you kidding me? Do you know you have pneumonia?”
After finally saying goodbye to the viral “house guest” who refused to leave after three bouts of pneumonia and its good friend pleurisy, I couldn’t seem to get my ‘groove back’. So the girl who has never seen the inside of a doctor’s office started on the road less (never) traveled: to the general practitioner, pulmonologist, cardiologist, neurologist and rheumatologist.
I had my script almost memorized since I’ve said it so often:
“I just don’t feel well. My hands and wrists hurt. My eyes are dry all the time. I feel like I am getting dumber every day. Even after sleeping all night I wake up tired, then I’m tired all day. But not regular mommy-tired… more like “How is it possible to be this tired, tired.” And… just like the effort it takes to lift heavy weights, that is how breathing feels. All. The. Time.”
- You have Anxiety: “Yes, I am anxious and twitchy, I am fully aware of that fact. Nothing new there.
- You have Asthma: Nope. I had asthma as a kid. And believe you me! I’d know if it was back.
- You are under a lot of Stress: Well DUH!
- It must be Allergies: “Yes. like everyone else I am allergic to dust and hard work… but still not it”
- Clearly you’re Anxious: Still nugatory.
- You might have a Pulmonary Embolism: Do I look tinged blue? (don’t answer that!)
- Anxiety anyone?: Well now yes. Thank you very much. I am definitely getting there.
- It may be Lupus: Thankfully, no.
- It may be …. (you better not say f’ing anxiety or I am going to go f’ing ballistic) better to see another doctor.
After visiting the best doctors in San Diego… no wait! In California! No wait! On the West Coast! (It must be true, you’re a doctor after all!) I found a rheumatologist who wasn’t rated by anyone, voted on by a magazine, or won any ‘by popular vote’ but he looked like a nice guy in his brief biography. What the hell. Can’t hurt right….
After an initial evaluation and oodles of bloodwork. Here is what he said during my follow-up visit, “You may have anxiety and stress but that is not what is causing your health issues.” The clouds parted, the skies cleared, heaven opened and the angles sung.
I almost cried. ALMOST.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is an inflammatory condition of the central nervous system that includes severe fatigue. Other symptoms include weakness, impaired memory or concentration, insomnia and joint and muscle pain. Up to half of those diagnosed with CFS may experience dry eyes or mouth, and shortness of breath.
Although there is no findings on the exact cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
Researchers have found a strong link between CFS and the pneumoniae virus (you know the one responsible for causing pneumonia). Research also indicates that that the triggers for breast cancer may also trigger Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (chicken or egg?).
“A common theme among patients diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is their exposure to a health-care situation that was demoralizing and demeaning.” I am a mom; hear me roar. Very loud. A lot. Until someone listens. (Plus I’m Silv’s granddaughter which doesn’t hurt either… just sayin’. For more on this visit: jewishbaltimore.net