19 August 2016

Being Diagnosed With CFS

Hello, long time no see.

In my last post (4 months ago, geez) I talked about why I find it so difficult to come back to the blogging world, how I feel disconnected with my own blog and how I had my last uni exam coming up. That post was published on the 26th of April, I had my marketing exam on the 27th, and then found myself in the doctors surgery on the 30th. That was almost 4 months ago and my lifestyle still hasn't went back to how it was before April but after countless trips to the doctors, a bunch of blood tests and a consultation with a homeopath, I finally know what's up. Let's rewind a wee bit. 

At the start of April I started feeling a bit crap but it was the final month of my first year at uni and I had a load of work to get done so I pushed it to the side and kept going. I just felt a bit off but I assumed I was run down and would be fine once uni was finished and I could rest for a while. I pushed on and did my essays and all that jazz, then when I got home after my final exam on the 27th, I went to bed and felt like actual death warmed up. Got a good sleep, rested completely for a few days hoping I'd feel better, then woke up on the 30th with a bad pain in my throat and I kinda just knew something was wrong. I hate doctors so hardly ever go but something was definitely up so I got an emergency appointment where they told me I had "raging tonsillitis". Yeah. Not just tonsillitis, "raging tonsillitis". I didn't realise doctors said raging but this one did. 

I'll fast forward a bit. Basically I got put on antibiotics, didn't get any better, went back to the doctor, got told I still had severe tonsillitis and to top it all off, scarlet fever. Had another course of antibiotics and was stuck in the house for another week until I was feeling a wee bit better. I'm not someone who likes doing nothing and by this point I'd been stuck in the house for about a month and was starting to miss my friends, my boyfriend and just going out and doing stuff. I was feeling a bit better so I started trying to get my life back to normal and kinda just ignored how I was feeling. In my mind, I'd done the antibiotics (twice) so surely I was all better and just needed to get back on my feet. So for the rest of May and all of June, I put how I was feeling down to being post-viral and just got on with my life. Deep down, I knew something still wasn't right. I woke up everyday with a sore throat and sore ears, I never felt rested, I barely slept at night and if I was on my feet for more than an hour I got dizzy and needed a nap. That wasn't right. I don't remember the time line but at some point in June, the doctor gave me the all-clear and said I was just tired. 

So now we get to July and I still wasn't any better. I felt so run-down and no matter how much I rested and stayed in, I didn't feel better. It's so disheartening to feel rubbish every single day but to have doctors telling you nothing's wrong. One day it just got a bit ridiculous and I ended up getting an emergency doctors appointment yet again. I'd been shopping with my mum for no more than 2 hours and legit collapsed when I got home. That doesn't happen to healthy people. I went to the doctor and finally got a thorough check-up and 4 different blood tests, and left feeling a lot more positive because someone had actually listened and agreed something was wrong. A few days passed and I was on the bus to Glasgow for a waffle date with the boyfriend (yep, waffle date. get yerself to Deesserts asap) when I phoned up for my blood test results, and got told they all came back clear. So yeah, I cried on the bus and felt super hopeless because, yet again, I was being told everything was a-ok. I got waffles though so it wasn't all bad.

Fast-forward to the 2nd of August when I went back for a final doctors appointment. I told him everything that had been going on and he confirmed that all my bloods came back clear and didn't say much else. I'd been doing a bit of self-diagnosis and had found out about something called chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as m.e (myalgic encephalomyelitis) and it sounded scarily familiar, so I decided to ask the doctor about it. He brushed it off and suggested I go on hypnotics and anxiety medication (I said no). Cried a bit more (I'm a crier if you hadn't already guessed) and left. That evening, my mum booked me a consultation with a homeopath. 

Now we get to the 11th of August and the end of this wee story. I went to a homeopath and we chatted for almost 2 hours with her asking a whole lot of questions and me telling her everything there is to know about me, my current health and every tiny health problem I've ever had. She wrote a lot of notes and diagnosed me with chronic fatigue syndrome, then made me up a homeopathic treatment plan. And, surprise surprise, I cried. It was with relief this time though. My homeopath was a doctor for a long time before going into homeopathy and is very reputable so I trust her diagnosis, and I completely agree with it. Chronic fatigue syndrome (aka myalgic encephalomyelitis or post-viral fatigue syndrome) is a condition which causes constant exhaustion that doesn't go away with rest and affects your everyday life. I have mild to moderate CFS which means I can still care for myself but I need to take days off from everything to rest completely and it's difficult for me to have an active life. I get brain fog and struggle to keep concentration, I haven't been able to read a book for months because I can't focus for long enough. My sleeping pattern is messed up and sleeping doesn't make me feel refreshed or rested anyway. I'm irritable and get mood swings, I completely zone out sometimes, I get bad muscle pain in my legs and back, I get headaches and earache, and I often feel light-headed, especially if I've been a bit busier than normal. Luckily, my CFS is only mild to moderate and I'm feeling positive now that I'm on a treatment plan. Most people with CFS recover over time and it's more likely for young people to make a full recovery so I'm feeling good. 

This post has turned into an essay so I'll leave it here - well done if you made it this far, I know it's been pretty heavy and boring, I mainly wrote this for myself because I feel that talking about it might help me take control of the whole situation so I can set myself a goal and be proactive in getting better. If  you want to know more about chronic fatigue syndrome the NHS website was super helpful for me, or the ME Association. So yeah, that's what's been going on with me.

I love you all a whole lot,
Catriona xo 

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