The medical mystery


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I wrote earlier this year about my struggles with fatigue and exhaustion, and my efforts to diet and exercise and so on to try to solve it. Now it seems to be something more, and has become a bona fide medical mystery. In November this year things rapidly got worse. The fatigue became more extreme, accompanied by dizziness that is sometimes so bad it throws me off balance, often with pain and aching, especially in my legs. Any small amount of physical activity can make it significantly worse. A half-hour walk can leave my legs like lead the next day, my hands shaking with the effort of trying to chop a carrot for a snack. Other days are better, and I can manage to go for a little walk, or do some cleaning around the house. But now, in December, I still have no idea what is wrong with me–all that I know is that it is stopping me from doing the things I want to do, slowing me down, meaning I am stuck in bed more than I want to be, making it hard for me to do as well at work as I want and equally hard to have the energy to socialise. It’s super frustrating and I really want a diagnosis, so I know what to do to fix it, but all the tests I have done so far have yielded nothing. I’m starting to get worried it could be something like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but in the same breath hoping that it is just a bug or some virus that will work its way out of my system soon enough. I really hope it doesn’t drag on into 2015. It has been causing problems since May this year.

But trying to see the plus side to this, I have felt incredibly grateful to my friends, colleagues and family (even when they send me crazy articles from the most unscientific parts of the internet with their disease theories) for their support, kindness and adaptability. I’ve also gained some insight into how difficult it must be for people who live with invisible illnesses–it’s hard to be sick when people can’t see that you are sick. They can’t see how fatigue is more than just sleepiness, how it can be sudden and crushing, felt all over the body, filling the brain with a thick fog.

I am trying to be kind to myself, even though I am frustrated and my natural reaction is to charge on through. I have been eating very healthily, and managed to lose 13 kg this year, despite being completely exhausted, which was a good effort I think. Unfortunately now though I’ve had to really stop my exercise regime in the last two months as the fatigue has become worse and is exacerbated by exercise, and that is the only thing that works–careful dieting alone doesn’t shift the weight at all. It’s annoying, I was starting to feel like I was getting muscles!

Since I don’t know what is going on with my body, my 2015 resolution is to do the best I can in the circumstances and try to be kind to myself. I had grand plans for travel in 2015, grand plans for research, but everything is in a holding pattern until I figure out what is going on– or until it just goes away, which is what I am hoping for.

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