Once upon a time I was an overweight PhD student in England.
I began to feel extremely fatigued, which was almost unimaginable to me because I’d been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a teenager. I did my research like a good student, and decided that dedicated exercise was something that could help me. I began doing Tae-Bo and Jillian Michaels workouts in the safety of my room. Then I joined My Fitness Pal online and started logging all my food. I thought I was being healthy (and for the most part I was), but my quantities were off. Who knew peanut butter was so calorific or that whole wheat pasta was supposed to be such a small serving? I dropped over 70 pounds when I started paying more attention.
Then I hurt my back. To this day the best treatment I’ve found is a combination of Pilates, acupuncture, and chiropractic care, as none of the many doctors I’ve been to have given me a concrete diagnosis. They’ve given me the generic diagnoses like sacroiliitis and sciatica, but no one seems to know what I should do next. Various specialists tried to cover the pain with prescription drugs, and without any guidance from MRIs and x-rays, physical therapists jumped from one thing to the next while crossing their fingers they wouldn’t hurt me more.
While under the care of various doctors, my fingers started to be stiff, swollen, and painful all the time. Some days it was worse or better, but the pain never left me. After going to a rheumatologist and undergoing scores of blood tests, he couldn’t find anything wrong and wanted to try me on various drugs in the hope something would help me. My blood tests don’t support this, but my symptoms match those of auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Hasimoto’s. I decided more guessing wasn’t the best option for me when my feet started hurting all the time, too, so I’m trying a homeopathic-heavy regimen,
Each week I undergo a combination of alternative therapies: chiropractor visits, acupuncture, Pilates, massage, and supplements. In addition, I have found a homeopathic doctor who is looking into my health history and guiding my elimination diet. I’m still waiting on diagnoses for my back problem and my joint pain, but in the meantime I know I have to cope with CFS. I am exhausted all the time, but can’t sleep because my back pain makes me so uncomfortable (though sleep is never really restful for those with CFS). I feel fatigued in my body all the time, and the pain levels vary each day from “mostly tolerable” to “I want to scream because my body is aching and burning all over”. I’m hopeful that this new elimination diet can help me in some way. At least on days I can’t function well I have my husband, pets, Netflix queue, and selections of comforting yoga pants and teas to keep me going.