Greetings From Bed on Hard Knocks Island

I’m writing today from a very foggy place. I have to concentrate really hard when I consider what day it is, what the date is, and when someone asks me questions it takes an unwarranted amount of time to answer. This is my 3rd day in bed, and as much as I thought today would be better since I literally slept until 6 pm yesterday and fell back asleep at 9 pm for the night– I’m still not feeling much more alive. Luckily, my mom and I are still holding down the fort on rich people island. One of the worst parts of being in a full-blown crash is how isolated it feels. Luckily at this residence, my room has huge windows and an amazing view, so while I was only awake 3 hours yesterday, at least I had nice things to look at.

Not Too Shabby a View

I know to an outsider this seems ridiculous. And I’m sure there are people out there thinking “You’re simply sleeping TOO MUCH, and that’s why you’re so tired!!!” If I had a nickel…. It’s very hard to explain what my body feels like amidst a crash, and this one is one of the worst I’ve had in a long time. I think it was Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit and longtime CFS sufferer who said “Calling it ‘tired’ is like calling the atomic bomb a firecracker.” The only reason I got out of bed yesterday was to go to the bathroom and to take medicine. My mom tried to wake me up a few times and get me moving, but the thought of being upright nauseated me. Finally at 6, she made me drink a huge class of orange juice and eat toast and eggs so my body wouldn’t be running on empty. While I ate we watched a show on the science channel about the science of memory, dreams, and what makes us who we are, which was pretty mind-blowing. But by 9 I had fallen asleep again. I remember really really wanting to brush my teeth last night but standing that long just wasn’t going to happen, so I skipped.

Beyond the ridiculous fatigue are other symptoms that have been difficult to find relief to. I’ve had a non-specific pain radiating throughout my body, kind of like my bones are aching, that did not respond to pain killers. I’ve had a headache for a few days that is not a migraine but won’t go away does not respond to regular meds. Today at least the pain has let up and the headache has improved, but that heavy, wet-blanket fatigue hasn’t gone anywhere yet. When I woke up around 9 this morning, I sat up slowly in bed just to have my heart race and beat loud in my ears followed by a dash of dizziness to seal the deal. Good morning! God loves you!

The last symptom I’ll share, because we’re having so much fun here, is one of the most bizarre. I have this extreme sensitivity to sound that at times turns me into a crazy person. When I first became sick at age 9 this was one of my first and most jarring symptoms. Things like a hair-dryer, vacuum, or even the neighbors lawnmower were suddenly somehow painful, almost unbearable. I am noticing now that when my symptoms get bad, this sensitivity becomes heightened. It isn’t just loud noises either. For instance if someone leaves the laundry room door open with the washer or dryer running, I basically can’t relax or think straight until it’s closed. If someone is playing the radio in the car and there is static in the background, I feel like my head is about to explode until we switch the station. And it usually happens in the middle of someone telling a story that the sound of static becomes so overwhelming it’s all that I can hear, often causing me erupt in an erratic verbal explosion like “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CAN SOMEONE TURN OFF THE FREAKING RADIO?! I FEEL LIKE I’M ON CRAZY PILLS!!!!” And then everyone looks at me like I’m on crazy pills. But in my brain, the sound is the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard. I’ve found that many people with CFS have at least one of their senses which is painfully heightened. For my mom it’s her sense of smell; one whiff of the wrong perfume and she can get an instant migraine. Don’t we sound like a bucket of fun!? We are. :)

On day 3 in bed, I was mulling over the last week in my head, trying to piece together the puzzle of what-in-God’s-name happened to land me in bed this long feeling like I was hit by a cement truck and then rolled over by it once or twice. There are a few possibilities and I’m pretty sure it was a combination of all of them which created the perfect storm, but one in particular: I pushed myself for too long. Since my family is rarely all together in the same city, I hate to miss out on anything when we are. My brothers are two of my favorite people–they’re a lot of fun. They’re also two of the most hyper people I’ve been around. They were very go, go, go while they were here, and since I love to be around them, I tried to go, go, go with them everywhere they went until I die die died. It’s the same lesson I’ve had to learn before that I will continue to learn until I get it right; I have to limit myself. No one will do it for me, mostly because no one else has to pay the price of overdoing it, only I do. And I’ve overdone it so many times you’d think I’d have it down by now, but I don’t. I have to learn to say no. It does mean missing out on some things that I’d like to partake in, but the alternative is missing out on 3 days of life, and you never get those back. The doctor calls this being proactive vs. reactive. If you can sustain yourself by limiting things and paying attention to your body, you can pretty effectively avoid crashes and super-sick days. There were a couple of days last week I didn’t feel great but made the decision to go to the beach anyway, or go fishing anyway, and those anyways ended up being pretty detrimental.

Just so we’re clear, I don’t write posts like these to be depressing. I’m not doing it to complain or fish for pity. It was my goal from the start to try my best and paint an accurate picture of what life with this illness looks like. And sadly, some days or weeks, it just sucks. No getting around it. At the same time, I remind myself this won’t last. I study the things that got me here, and I thank God I have family (mostly Dr. Mom) to see me through the really tough parts. I wonder a lot how anyone would survive this illness alone, and I honestly don’t think it’s possible. Everyone I talk to in the waiting room at the specialists office has one primary thing in common; they have one person to whom they owe their life. A spouse, a parent, brother or sister, child or friend. CFS isn’t terminal. You don’t die from the symptoms. But I really can’t imagine where I’d be if I didn’t have the help of so many people in the past. Sleeping under a bridge somewhere. Keyword: sleeping.

In the light of friendship, I’d like to share the Gelpi’s rendition of one of my all time favorite songs from one of my all time favorite shows: Thank You for Being a Friend, from the Golden Girls. Luckily my brother Doug can basically play any song you ask him to on the piano, so he did me a solid. My voice is terrible so I apologize in advance, but hey, it was fun. This is dedicated to Emily and Kaitlin aka Matt Damon.

Health, Happiness, Crash and Burns

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Hard Knocks Island

If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of a place called Fisher Island. That was true until last January, when my mom found a CFIDS specialist with a clinic in Miami, and my brother happened to be engaged to someone who was from there. Without ever having met my mom or me, the soon-to-be in-laws invited us to stay with them when we came to the clinic for the first time. We would soon learn that they didn’t live in Miami exactly, they lived on Fisher Island; a private, man-made island only accessible by ferry or boat once your name has been added to a list and cleared by the guard. It’s like an exclusive night club but bigger and islandier and your money’s no good here. You buy everything through an account number. Your cash might as well be monopoly money.

It’s a real testament to my brother’s future in-laws that we were welcomed with such open arms. We could have been a bunch of crazies for all they knew. Hadn’t they met my brother? It was pretty immediately a Mi Casa Su Casa situation, accept it was more like My Island Your Island. It is exquisitely clean, beautiful and pristine here. There are pools galore though I never see anybody swimming in them. There is a private beach with a restaurant a few feet away. Theoretically you could effectively choose your own sushi menu right out of the ocean. That tuna there! I want that one! It’s something like Disney World meets the South of France. I’ve never seen or experienced anything like it. Whatever it is, of all the places to be sick, this one ranks in my top 3.

Before my first trip out here in 2011, I had spent most of the month of January in a horizontal position at my mom’s house. I was horribly depressed. I was watching everything familiar to me, all the things I defined myself by, slip slowly away with my health. It wasn’t easy watching or letting any of those things go. But I remember feeling the tiniest bit hopeful when my brother Nick called me the night before I was due to depart. “Dude are you ready for Miami?!” Sometimes even hearing the energy in someone elses voice could exhaust me in its own way. I groaned and said something about needing to pack but not having the energy to do the laundry. I remember he was so cheerful and said “All you need is a bathing suit. There’s a lot of sitting around and doing nothing on Fisher Island.”  I closed my eyes and let those words hang in the air. “Sounds perfect.”

As promised, we were welcomed with enthusiasm as soon as the ferry docked. I remember entering their home and feeling like Little Orphan Annie entering Daddy Warbucks house–which is funny because Estee’s dad slightly resembles Daddy Warbucks.  Every room was beautiful and had what I consider to be the most important detail in any room; large and bright windows–most with a view of the ocean. I suddenly felt really lucky to exist, and that glimmer of hope I had on the phone with Nick came back as I hugged the new members of our family and they insisted we eat dinner even though it was past 10. I remember my doctor’s appointment wasn’t until two days after we arrived, and thank God it wasn’t because most of the next day was spent in bed with a killer migraine and that ever so seductive hit-by-a-truck feeling. The only difference was, this time I woke up in a beautiful room with a breathtaking view. And to some extent, that did make a difference. It at least softened the blow of it all. I remember taking migraine medicine and going back to sleep. And when I did, something happened something that continues to happen. I fell asleep but could hear real life happening outside the door. I would try to yell or move to wake up but felt paralyzed and voiceless. This happens to me often when I take naps and I don’t know if it’s a part of the illness or something separate entirely, but it is unsettling. I finally escaped dream world to find that Nick and Estee brought lunch into my room on a tray and sat with me while I ate. Looking back on that time now, I can’t believe what a fog it was and how bad I felt. I remember Nick trying to convince me to read the book “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen but any time I would try to begin reading, the words would fall out of chronological order and I’d have to keep re-reading them, or I’d start to feel car sick and put it down after just a few sentences. (Luckily that symptom has mostly passed and 2012 has been filled with books!) I went to bed that night wondering what Dr. Klimas would be like. I prayed hard for two things. I prayed that we would get answers, (real answers) and I prayed that I wouldn’t find out I was crazy. By that time, I really started to question my sanity. If enough people look at you sceptically, express disbelief, or tell you you’re experiencing something psychosomatic and not actual illness, you’re going to start to question yourself, no matter how bad you feel.

To make a long story short, my prayers seemed to have been heard. For one thing, only after Dr. Klimas ran extensive tests and blood work (my initial visit at the clinic lasted seven hours) did we finally get some answers that made sense. Finally, it was explained why I always felt like I was about to faint any time I stood up or any time I had to stay standing. I had Postural Orthostatic Hypotension due to low blood volume. This diagnosis was made in under 30 minutes using a tilt-table test. (You can request this from your doctor.) The best part is, it’s totally fixable. There’s a word we love. I take atenolol in the morning and try to consume 12 ounces of fluid containing electrolytes. Atenolol prevents your heart from jumping up to 140 bpm when standing upright and controls the severe fluctuation of blood pressure. This is what I mean about answers. When these symptoms were told to one of my other doctors he told me to drink more water. She also explained how the chronic migraines are typically a result of brain inflammation (a primary condition of CFS) and how dehydration is one of the biggest triggers for migraines. (And also that prescription migraine medicine tends to dehydrate you) So especially on travel days, you should double your liquids. And you can’t just drink water. You need electrolytes. Probably the biggest diagnosis that came from that first round of tests was news that I had Lyme Disease and we would start aggressive antibiotics to get it under control. But beyond the interview, the tests, the drawing of blood, the explanations in scientific and layman’s terms, stands out one particular moment between Dr. Klimas and me. She had just finished drawing blood when I admitted to her that I had been really worried that I was going to come to the clinic and be told that I was crazy. Then we both kind of laughed and she told me that in all her time working with this illness, there has been one patient who was certifiably crazy, and that was an extreme case. “People who come here aren’t crazy, they mostly just want their lives back.” I exhaled. Finally. Validation. I had never wanted to hug a doctor so much in my life.

I’m going back to Dr. Klimas on Friday, and in the meantime am enjoying Fisher Island with family and as always, working on staying present. You know what helps me stay present? Views like this:

And golf carts like this…

And this…

And babies that pose like this…

And smile like this…

All of those things help, at least a little. I’ll report on the doctors visit next. Until then…

Health, Happiness, and Cadillac Golf Carts.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; The Game!

When someone asks me what Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or Fibro) is, I never really know how to put it. I usually want to ask “How much time do you have?” I remember once while being crashed on our couch at home, my mom read off a list of CFS symptoms and 5 minutes went by and she was still reading them off. It was almost laughable. I ran out of fingers and toes marking the ones I had. Since I’ve got the time, I’m going to put the long list here. You can make a game out of it; every time you come across a symptom that you have, take a pill! See? Being sick can be fun. I’m going to keep this list in my back pocket, then it will be accessible whenever I need help explaining the effects of the condition. Feel free to do the same. Ready? Go.

Pain●generalized muscle pain ●new onset headaches ●aching, burning shooting pains anywhere in the body  ●arthragia without joint swelling ● frequent and intense pain in upper spine and neck area ●abdominal pain. Post-Exertional Malaise and Fatigue●Flu-like or hangover feeling following minimal physical or mental exertion, sometimes immediate, sometimes delayed several hours or a day or more and associated with immune activation, with sore throat, tender lymph glands, general malaise, increased pain and cognitive symptoms ●Feeling worse after exercise, rather than better ●Taking a prolonged time to return to pre-exertional function level ●Lack of endurance. Autonomic Manifestations Orthostatic Intolerance:●Neurally mediated hypotension (NMH) i.e. problems with regulation of blood pressure and pulse, especially when standing still; with symptoms of dizziness, light-headedness, slow response to verbal stimuli; an urgency to lie down ●Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) i.e. Excessive heart rate during 10 minutes of standing still; blood pressure drop upon standing; light-headedness, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, irregular breathing, visual changes sweating, headaches. ●Delayed postural hypotension i.e. blood pressure drop after many minutes of standing, rather than upon standing ●tilt table test abnormalities Other autonomic manifestations: ●Palpitations with or without cardiac arrhythmias ●24-hour Holter monitor results with oscillating T- wave inversions and/or flat T-wave ●breathing dysregulation ●shortness of breath ●intestinal irregularities ●irritable bowel syndrome ●diarrhea ●constipation ●alternating diarrhea and constipation ●abdominal cramps ●bloating ●nausea ●anorexia ●urinary frequency ●painful urination ●excessive urination at night ●pain in lower abdomen. Immune Dysfunction●A general Ill or flu-like feeling, more frequent in the acute onset stage of the illness, less frequent in the chronic stages, most notably post-exertionally ●tender lymph nodes ●recurrent sore throat ●new food sensitivities ●new chemical sensitivities ●hyper-sensitivity to medications and their side- effects ●allergies. Sleep Dysfunction●frequent awakenings ●nightmares or agitated dreams ●non-restorative sleep ●variations in sleepiness and energy throughout the day ●hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) ●Restless legs syndrome ●periodic limb movement disorder (jerking or twitching during sleep). Neurological/Cognitive Symptoms●Easily confused ●Slow information processing ●Difficulty retrieving words●Occasional slurred speech ●Occasional dyslexia ●Difficulty with mathematics ●Easily distracted ●Forgetfulness (primarily short-term) ●Attention deficit ●Inability to focus vision and attention ●Inability to cope with fast-paced tasks ●Overall feeling of “spaciness” or “brainfog” Motor Disturbances:●Loss of muscular coordination ●Muscle weakness ●Muscle twitching ●Loss of balance and clumsiness Overload phenomena: ●hypersiensitivites to light, sound motion, odors ●Inability to block out background noise and focus on conversation●Informational overload with inability to multi-task ●Motor overload, with staggaring and weakness ●dizziness ●numbness●tinnitus (ringing in the ears) ●nausea ●shooting pain ●Overload may cause temporary immobilization. Neuroendocrine Manifestations ●loss of thermostatic stability (fluctuations in body temperature; fluctuations of cold and hot in different parts of the body; intolerance to extremes in air temperature; low body temperature) ●night sweats or other sweating episodes ●weight change, with loss of appetite in some patients or abnormal weight gain in others ●loss of adaptation to situations of overload ●anxiety●worsening of symptoms under increased stress (physical or emotional).

In other words: No, I don’t think that taking a magnesium supplement will make me all better. But thank you anyway. :)

Health, Happiness, Game On.

Let’s Talk About Dancing.

I arrived in Miami on Friday to spend a few days here. This is partially the reason I’ve been so crashed. I never do exceptionally well when I travel, and this time was no exception. But it’s nice to be sick in a beautiful place. I mean if you’re gonna be a human waste-land, might as well be a human waste-land on a beautiful beach. My brother and sister-in-law had a baby shower this Saturday (she’s due in March)and we decided to make a Gelpi Power Hour weekend out of it. I am staying at a hotel on South Beach and I dreamt all night of heavy base techno music. Wait, that was not a dream. I was actually up all night listening to heavy base techno music ricocheting off the walls. At around 2 am I kid you not, Club Mango played that song “What is love? Baby don’thurt me…” and it was like a real-life Night at the Roxbury!

Mm hmm.

Truthfully it wasn’t the music keeping me up, though it didn’t help. My legs were on fire, cramped up and emitting heat like they do. So I read more of my book as the base and noise of drunk people bounced around below. At first I was agitated but then I grew to like the sounds. It added to the authenticity of my Miami stay. It reminded me of what the noise of being alive is like. Also they played a lot of Rihanna so, you know. That was cool.

Every now and then they’d play a song I liked and out of the corner of my eye I’d find my foot tapping to the beat of the song without knowing I was doing it. The interesting part of it was that as I noticed this, I started reading a chapter in Marc Nepo’s book called Questions Put to the Sick: When was the last time you danced? I think this is what Carl Jung would refer to as Synchronicity. But that’s another story.

Allow me to say some things about dancing. 1. I love to do it. 2. I’m kind of terrible at it. 3. I don’t care. 4. OK I kind of care. 5. After a few beers I don’t care anymore. And I’ve been told my skills have improved. Anyway, I love dancing. I actually crave dancing. If there is a span of time where I don’t dance, I get the dancing itch, and the only cure is to rock out somewhere with loud music and move my body in any deformed way it feels that communicates physically the fun I’m having in my brain. It can be alone in my car, or at a bar, in the shower, or a wedding. Ooooh weddings. Those are the best. I think that’s why Dane Cook’s standup about girls saying “I just need to dance,” rings so hilariously true to so many people. Sometimes I’ll feel ansy and I know it’s because I need to just dance it out. I swear I’ll wake up the next morning after dancing and feel better, as though it was a bug I had to get out of my system. I’d argue it’s just as important as your dentist appointment or annual colonoscopy. You just have to do it. You’ll feel better once you do.

I may or may not have been compared to Elaine in the past.

Or you’ll feel worse. Wah Wah. (Debbie Downer tone) Being sick and constantly walking a fine line between functioning and non-functioning, there’s always the possibility of over-doing it and paying a price. Like last year in March, I danced the Dougie way too hard one night and I was crashed the next day. All because of the Dougie. But I need to say this:  it was worth it. Sometimes you pay a price, and sometimes it’s worth your while. “What happened to Mary?” “She Dougie’d too hard last night.” “Poor thing. I’ll make us some sandwiches.”

Here’s what Nepo writes about dancing:

The ongoing effort to dance, to give gesture to what we feel and experience, is ultimately healing because, as riverbeds are continually shaped by the water that moves through them, living beings are continually shaped by the feelings and experiences that move through them. If there is no water moving through, the riverbed dries up and crumbles. Likewise, if there is no feeling moving through the body, the being at the center of that body will crumble.

More often though, there is too much to give gesture to, and we fail to move these feelings through our bodies. In truth, much of our inner sickness comes from the buildup and pressure of all that is kept in. The ongoing act of releasing that inner buildup is what spiritual practices call embodiment.  …Once unblocked, giving gesture to our inwardness not only frees us from becoming pressurized, but the gestures, once allowed out, teach us how to dance further into our own lives.”

Pretty cool right? I know some people think it’s just psycho-babel and the idea of someone shaking their ass in the club to Lil Wayne and calling it spiritual embodiment is just a joke. Understandable. But pay attention to the music you hear and the subconscious urge you feel to move. It’s not a calculated choice we make. Even babies and toddlers begin to dance (sometimes better than me) when music is played for them. Sometimes, we should be still, but sometimes we should MOVE BABY. And don’t let your thoughts get the best of you. Don’t try to analyze it or over think it. The best kind of dancing is unrestrained, uninhibited, belting at the top of your lungs-holding a pretend microphone-singing to a pretend audience, unrepressed, uncontrolled dancing. It doesn’t matter if you’re bad. If you’re having that much fun, you’re far from bad. You’re the best!

So the next time you’re out, or in, and you feel the hunger, satisfy it. It is actually good for you, for your body and your soul. If someone asks you why you’re dancing alone in the kitchen, tell them you’re moving your life experiences through your body so you can dance further into your existence. They’ll like that. Here’s one last anecdote about dancing. After my step-dad died in 2006 the house was oddly empty and the family was pretty down. My mom told me later she would turn on Ellen in the afternoons and dance along with her, by herself in the living room. Sometimes it was the only thing she achieved that day. But guess what? It made a difference. It changed the energy of the room. It changed her energy–Made her smile, even for 30 seconds. And in times like that, you’ll grab hold of anything to get you past the moment of pain. So I love that part of Ellen’s job is to get up every day and dance, and to get other people to dance along with her. I love that my mom got up and did it, even when she felt devastated and lost. These are small, small things that in the end can shape large parts of our lives. I haven’t danced in a while, so maybe I’ll give the Dougie another go tomorrow and just cut myself off a little earlier. For now, my legs are cramped and I’ll do some research on fatigue-friendly dance. Perhaps I’ll head down to the nursing home and see if there are any classes there. They’ll be more on my pace. Maybe I’ll even meet somebody special.

Health, Happiness, and DANCE!

A Snails Pace

I’ve been as productive as a sloth the last few days. Not sure why, but my pain has been worse than normal and energy has been low. Way low. Like non-existent low. Thus I’ve turned into a slow-moving snail, crawling from room to room wrapped in a blanket and moaning a lot. I’m sure I’m a real treat to be around. It may be recovery from the Holidays or the weather or the moon or it may just be that, hey, this illness doesn’t need a reason for you to feel bad. Even when you’re doing everything right, you’ll have poopy fart days. Luckily, I am jobless, so I let those days come and pass and rest until recovered. I still wonder what it would be like if I had my old job, and had to work an 8 hour day through feeling this way. I remember those days all too well. Then I get really nauseous at the thought and watch another episode of Frasier.

(For those of you out there still working with this illness, hang tough. I know what those days feel like. We’ll get there)

On days like yesterday, I have no desire to see or talk to anyone. My phone rings and I just can’t bring myself to answer. The feeling is rough because I am a social animal after all and love my friends and family a lot. But there are some things you just can’t fake. And when I’m feeling that way, there’s no faking enthusiasm. I’ve tried it and failed enough times that now I just don’t answer. The person on the other end would have a better conversation with Monty than me. Maybe I’ll pass the phone to him next time. I realize that this makes me, at times, a shitty friend, sister, grand-daughter, aunt. But I know how the conversation would go.

Hello? Hey Mary!! Hey. How are you!? Awesome. You don’t sound awesome. You got me. What’s wrong? Feel like death.What’s bothering you? Just really tired? Yeah, just really tired. Did you try those South African JuJu Beans I sent you? They’re supposed to be good for energy! No, too tired to stir the mixture. Bye.

South African JuJu Beans. P.S. I made this up.

See? Worthless conversation. And explaining my symptoms to people over the phone doesn’t help either, not to mention it makes me the Debbie Downer of the Century. I’d rather just hibernate until I don’t feel so lifeless. Whoever’s still around when I emerge from the cave are the people I call friends. Anyway yesterday was the National Championship and I was supposed to go to a party to watch it but since I was half dead I didn’t show up. Coincidentally the Tigers didn’t show up either. (BURN!) I watched it in PJ’s on the couch with Monty while icing my legs because they’ve been cramped for days. Then I scoured Facebook and laughed at the angriest statuses I’ve ever seen. “Completely Embarrassed.” “Time to FIRE LES MILES!” “Worst LSU game EVER!!!” “If we run the option again I’m going to MURDER MYSELF!!!” I don’t know why angry statuses humor me. They just do. Don’t hurt me.

Anyway, I’ve been receiving a lot of emails lately from people who are seeking help in getting diagnosed or who think they may be mis-diagnosed. I wish I were more an expert on CFIDS so I could offer real help but in the end I’m just a sick kid with two anatomy classes under my belt. (My mom on the other hand has a medical background and has suffered with the illness for over 20 years. I’ll get to that later) The most important thing I can tell you is there seems to be a key difference between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia regarding exercise. It’s complicated since there is not one diagnostic test for either, but a main difference is that exercise seems to be helpful/relieve pain for many people with fibromyalgia. On the other hand, exercise can be extremely detrimental to those with CFS. An easy way to tell is just to pay attention to how you feel the day after you exercise. Having sore muscles is a normal reaction. If you are completely crashed, as in, feel like you’ve been hit by a truck and have trouble getting out of bed, you most likely have CFS, or the component which causes “Post-Exertional Malaise.” Trying to push through this ‘crash’ will only set you back and make you worse. It basically comes down to this. Do you feel like this the day after exercise?

Then Stop.

Or do you feel like this after you exercise?

Then continue!

There is so much misinformation out there that I truly am surprised I was effectively diagnosed and treated. But this took years and didn’t happen until my mom found a specialist: Dr. Nancy Klimas. There’s also a lot of people trying to sell things that won’t help you. So be wise. Currently, there is no cure for CFIDS/Fibro. So be wary if someone offers you the cure-all. I’m going to attach some helpful links for those interested in reading further on the illnesses for now. BUT, I am ALSO going to collaborate with my mom on one of my next posts and try to clear the air about some things regarding ME/CFIDS/ and Fibro. I am also going to try to get my doctor in on the conversation because I know she holds a lot of vital information that is scarce and hard to find but would help a lot of people out. So stay tuned.

I’ve also received some emails that read “Hey, I’m tired all the time. Do you think I have CFS? How do I get diagnosed?” This question is kind of like the equivalent of asking “Hey, I gained some weight in my midsection. Do you think I’m pregnant?” For one thing, calling it ‘tired’ is like calling the atomic bomb a fire cracker. It’s hard to give it a word or name people can understand, but tired definitely falls short. Think more along the lines of bones-crushing fatigue. Anyway, while feeling like you could sleep for days and being extremely exhausted are key symptoms, they are far from the only symptoms. CFIDS is an autoimmune disorder, meaning every autonomic process in your body is basically haywire. Thus, you feel like death. And chances are you look like it too! Anyway, the links are below. But I promise to devote space in the future dedicated to debunking some myths and trying to spread accurate awareness about these illnesses. In the meantime, guess what? I’m tired.

Health, Happiness, and Hang In There.

http://phoenixrising.me/

http://www.cfids.org/about-cfids/do-i-have-cfids.asp

http://www.pandoranet.info/

AboutMECFS.org