Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome



I always thought that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) just needed to sleep more and they would feel fine... boy was I wrong!

As some of you that regularly read my posts may know, I was diagnosed with Myelitis in November 2011.  I still have it, one of the symptoms is random fatigue and a couple of my fingers and part of my lower arm sometimes go a bit numb and sore.  Six months after diagnosis an MRI showed that the inflammation in my spinal chord is slowly healing.  My next MRI is in May 2013.

In October 2012 I experienced 8 straight days of fatigue where my mind and body were exhausted but I just keeping pushing through my work and daily duties.  I was only training one day a week for a month as i was just exhausted most of the time.   A visit to my GP ended in a diagnosis of CFS. Apparently it can last six to seven years...Well that is just great! I can't get stressed, anxious or run down or I will "conk out".  Right... how on earth do I deal with this...?  Splasharama doesn't want to conk out. I want my old life back.

So, I felt like my world was falling down around me. I couldn't train like I wanted to. I couldn't concentrate at work as I was generally tired. I looked generally disinterested in most things but I was just fatigued. I napped whenever I could.  I trained only once a week as that is all I could manage.  I put on weight (eek!).

I had two choices. Feel sorry for myself and fall in a heap. 12WBT taught me that I have the power to be anything that I want to be.  I didn't want to be defeated. I chose to research CFS and equip myself with knowledge.  Knowledge is power.

If my body allowed me to get up at 5.30am and train, that was a win. If I managed to work a six-hour day, that was a win.  If I could drive all the way home after work without having to stop at my parents place for a nap, that was a win.  If I couldn't do these things then that was just normal life for me and I accepted it.

Three months on and I naturally still overdo it.  I stopped training altogether and spent two weeks working out how much energy it takes to do the essentials, being eat, sleep, see my family and work.  I was just as exhausted that fortnight without exercise! I turned to a medical professional that specialises in Chronic Fatigue and was advised to not exclude exercise.  I'm now limited to light exercise for 20 minutes twice a week, if I feel up to it.  I was also advised to do half of what I would normally do on the days I feel good.  I'm still working on finding the right balance for me.  No day is perfect.  I'll work it out eventually.

I've come too far since February 2011 to be defeated.  I'm just treating these things as a challenge that has been thrown my way. I love a challenge and love winning the battle.  This is not game over.  I'll come out of this stronger than ever because I have a strong mind  and a fantastic support crew.

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