Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrom The Enemy Within

Last year was a tough year for me healthwise. I fell behind in all my goals, didn’t publish any books, and often had to rest. I had hoped the New Year would bring a better year for me. I struggled up until November when I finally began to feel better and threw myself into several projects and worked at catching up and commenting on blogs.

The culprit was Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, known as CFIDS. When people hear this, they think I’m just tired and they’ll often give me advice: get up and exercise. Run a couple of miles. Get the doctor to give you something for depression. You have too much yeast in your system, so do a cleansing. They don’t understand that this illness is far worse than a little tiredness. I think of it as Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. Just try and wake me.

After my burst of energy in Nov and Dec, a family problem arose which set me back again. Then there was the saying good-bye to my favorite laptop and transferring all my files to a new one, plus getting accustomed to Windows 8 (don’t like it at all). Still, our holidays were pleasant and I had high hopes for the New Year.

Not long after the New Year, my husband caught a cold. He worried that I would get it. You see, with CFIDs, the immune system is, well, wacky. I told him not to worry because I knew that I would get it, and sure enough, I caught the cold. So did my son.

My husband’s cold went away after a week and a half although the cough lingered for a few days. My son’s cold stayed a week and left.

Four weeks later, I wasn’t any better and the cough was the same, plus I could tell that I now had a sinus infection. That wacky immune system at work. I ended up at the doctor’s office. Yes, he said, I had a bad sinus infection, but he was more worried that my cough hadn’t left.

Antibiotics and a prescription cough medicine for me. The antibiotics were difficult on my system, the cough medicine made me quite ill. Still, I took the medicines faithfully as I was told to. Now, with a triple whammy for my immune system, I was in bed most of the day and sleeping constantly, and certainly I was on the BRAT diet. The cough eventually settled down, the anti-biotics took 9 days before the sinus infection quit bothering me.

Five weeks later, I’m still suffering from the fatigue – exhaustion really and still having to rest most of the day, every day.

Why don’t I fight the tiredness, you ask? Well, it’s one of those ‘you have to walk in my shoes to understand.’

Don’t think that when I first got this chronic illness, I didn’t fight it. I sure did, but in time I learned that the more I fought against the fatigue and all the other symptoms, the sicker I became and the longer the bedrest.

I got this ‘enemy within’ in 1989. I overheard my husband tell a friend, “I thought she was going to die. Her skin was grey, she could hardly move, and all she did was sleep.”

I learned to live with it and my family learned to live with my ups and downs. For 10 years I was quite ill. Finally, I began to feel better. Eventually, I went back to work and for the next 10 years I worked full-time with few bouts of ill health, but then my enemy re-activated and struck with a vengeance worse than when I first got it.

I had heard that CFIDs could go into remission and could come back, and it surely did. Not only do I have this misunderstood illness, but I also have Epstein Barr too. Sadly, they play off one another so sometimes I’m down with both.

I’ve begun to feel better again, and now I’m back to playing catch-up, but I have to do this slowly and I have to eat right and I have to exercise gently and still remember to rest everyday. Stress is a trigger too, so I have to avoid stress. Meditation helps with that.

It’s like one man told me years ago, “With this illness you have to recharge your battery every so often.” And so I do.

Still, I know I have a good life. Yes, CFIDs causes a myriad of other illnesses and my immune system doesn’t work right (I have too many anti-bodies running around wondering what they’re supposed to do). Yet, this illness won’t take my life, and if there’s one thing it’s given me, it’s sympathy towards others and their illnesses whether physical or mental.

So, my friends, whenever you don’t see me for awhile or I haven’t been active in a group or I haven’t written a blog or commented on one, just understand that I’m recharging my battery and one day I’ll be back running just fine.

And this is why I self-publish. I never know when I’ll be down or for how long.

LHR, my friends.

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