Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Source:  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome    Tag:  chronic mononucleosis in adults
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is one of several names given to a poorly understood, highly debilitating disorder of uncertain etiology, which is thought to affect approximately 4 per 1,000 adults in the United States and other industrialized countries, and a smaller fraction of adolescents.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a rather bad name for it, in my opinion. Yep, I suffer from CFS, and let me tell you, it aint exactly what you'd call fun. I don't know what the best name for it is, there's quite a few names, and none of them seem to fit. I think anyway. Here's a list of them.....
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)
Myalgic encephalopathy
Chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS)
Post-viral [fatigue] syndrome (PVS or PVFS)
Chronic Epstein-Barr virus (CEBV)
Chronic Mononucleosis
Low Natural Killer cell disease
Yuppie Flu
Uncommonly used terms include Akureyri Disease, Iceland disease, Royal Free disease, atypical poliomyelitis, epidemic vasculitis, raphe nucleus encephalopathy, and Tapanui flu

I find 'Yuppie Flu' offensive, and 'Low Natural Killer cell disease' just sounds deadly. I just normally refer to it as 'CFS' or 'ME'.

You might be wondering what the hell CFS is. Well, to be honest, I don't really understand it that much myself. It has quite a few symptoms, and diagnosing it can be quite hard. I had to have so many blood tests it was unbelievable. But they were just to rule out other things. You have to have a certain number of symptoms before you can be diagnosed with it. When I started to sleep all day and get headaches, I just thought "Oh, i'm just being lazy," and "It's just my eyesight getting worse." But it was far different from that. I had quite a few other symptoms too, sore throats, muscle weakness/pain, waking up randomly in the middle of the night, when I woke up it didn't feel like i'd been to sleep, being freezing one minute, and roasting the next. I swear when that doctor said he thought I had CFS, I was just like "Eh? What in God's name is that?!" But all the signs were there, heres the list of symptoms you've gotta have......

Primary symptom: incapacitating fatigue
Incapacitating fatigue that is:
of new or definite onset (not since birth)
unexplained by other medical cause,
lasts for at least six months (from onset, not necessarily from when the patient becomes aware that the fatigue is an ongoing symptom)
and is not improved by rest.

Additional symptoms
The fatigue must be accompanied by a minimum of 4 of the following eight symptoms:
Impairment of short-term memory and concentration
Sore throat
Tender lymph nodes
Muscle pain
Multi- joint pain
Headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
Unrefreshing sleep or insomnia
Post-exertional malaise ( fatigue lasting more than 24 hours after exertion)

The cause of CFS is usually if you were very stressed in the previous year. Some cases start gradually, but the majority start suddenly, often trigged by a flu-like viral, or similar illness.
There isn't a tablet you can take for CFS, you have to get better the hard way. It varies in people, and its not really known whether anyone truly recovers from it, or just acheives remission from a relapsing, remitting illness. Some patients go into hospital for a while and come out the other side. Some patients can just make adjustments in their life and slowly get things back to normal. For instance, students can be home tutored, or go into hospital school (like me), and gradually be sent back to school. Even though hospital school/home tutoring is just supossed to be temporary, sometimes it can end up being permanent.

CFS is unlikey to increase the risk of an early death, although it has been listed as the cause of death in a few cases. That made me feel better when I saw that......

There are quite a few notable sufferers, and I can't tell you how excited I was to learn that Frank Iero, the rhythm guitarist in My Chemical Romance (my fave band) used to have it. It also made me feel better, as hes extremely active now, so I know I can get better. I didn't know quite a few of them but the ones I did know were; Florence Nightingale (you gotta know who that is), Cher (c'mon, you know who that is too, don't you?), Kelly Holmes (athlete), Frank Iero (as stated above), Flea (bassist in Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Lemmy (singer of Motorhead).

Having to live with it can cause anxiety, depression and stress. I'm not too stressed out myself, but I get anxious really easily, and I'm depressed. CFS sufferers can be completely cut off from social activity. You can be completely cut off from work/school and therefore don't socialise, which can make you feel even worse. It is believed that CFS sufferers are at a high risk of suicide. I myself am not, but there most probably patients who are. Some people argue that its easy to invent CFS-like symptoms for social, emotional or financial benefits. I do not see how there are benefits to suffering from this awful thing. I hardly ever see my friends, I feel the worst than I have ever done in my entire life, and i'm 14, so it aint like I had money anyway, but I don't think there are any financial benefits.

To be honest, I find it hard to talk about this, sometimes I think its all just in my head, as somebody once said to me that the only reason I stay off school is because I haven't been there in so long. The truth is, i'm not well, it can't be right for a 14 year old girl to feel like this, to sleep all day, and to not even have a life. Admitting it to myself is hard, but there it is. I'm trying to get everything back to normal, but it will take a while. I'm not really that confident that I can do it, but i'll try. Just incase you think it, I haven't wrote this so that people will feel sorry for me. I've wrote it because I want to raise awareness about something that most people have never even heard of. I hope you understand it more now, and that I didn't just make you even more confused. I probably did, but it can't be helped.