Wednesday, July 23, 2008

hit & miss

I have been trying to figure out why I've felt so poorly for the better part of the last 6 years. It started with some digestive issues that developed in early 2000. After a couple of years, they were still lurking about, so I decided to start seeing a specialist to determine what was up. Nothing conclusive--IBS (i.e. we don't have a clue), eat more fibre & take this pill when it bothers you.

Well, it bothered me every day (at that point for 4 years already) & the fibre made me blow up like a basketball. Plus I was tired all the time & irritable.

NEXT... I half-heartedly tried diets to alleviate my symptoms. I seemed to do better with the low-carb stuff, but never great. I knew already dairy & I weren't the best of friends, but otherwise, it was still a mystery as some things helped & some other seeming similar things did not.

Plus, did I mention I was tired all the time & really irritable? And I had chronic lower back pain too?!?

I always chaulked it up to smoking--if I didn't smoke, I wouldn't feel so run down, I'd sleep better, I'd have more energy, I'd______. I finally quit smoking in February 2008, but I never started feeling any better. I gave it time, let the toxins work their way out, but still no improvement at all. I was angry--here I'd finally given up the thing I thought was my curse only to find I had to go without AND not feel better...and if anything, starting to feel slightly worse. I kept up with my exercise routine, walking instead of running. I thought I was getting lazy, but really I would wipe myself out by exercising one week, and not be able to muster the energy to do much of anything the next week.

So four years after my initial attempt (and plenty of anti-depressants, supplements, diets, exercises, not to mention therapists, nutritionists, chiropractors, massages, and medical specialists, later), I thought I should try yet again to find some (any) answers to why I felt so crappy all the time. I started with the gut again...for some reason, despite the myriad of weird symptoms I'd had over the years, my gut was telling me IT was the genesis of everything else. So I went to a new highly recommended, highly sought after, Mr. Big Time. He ran a couple of tests others had not & suggested others still further; however, he came back to the standard IBS diagnosis, but added that some of my other symptom sounded very similar to the patients he saw that had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (FM) & that I should think about seeing a specialist who dealt with that.

Thanks to a friend from work, I was pointed towards an internist who specialized in FM, as well as other similar psuedo- and auto-immune related disorders. She ran tests no one else had run, and sure enough, I was finally starting to get some answers. I have Epstien Barr virus & it's fun offspring Mononucleosis. I also have many other viral infections (Cytomegalovirus & HHV-6 to name 2)--all quite active, thank you very much. No wonder I've been "tired." My poor body had been working overtime (for who knows how much time now--years??) to fight these viruses round the clock, 24/7/365, in addition to fighting my normal bodily fights.

So what now? How do I start putting pieces back together so that I'm not so tired all the time, so that I can get back to being active, have anything other than indifference & malaise as personality traits, and be able to start embarking on the goals & dreams I have beyond my body & caring for it so that it can function in a way that lets me want to achieve anything beyond my current goal of "just making it through the day"?

And this is where my journey begins...

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