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Any advice for a 50 year old who has just been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Teresa from Brisbane, Australia
Hi! Long story short, I have been to so many doctors over the last 22 years. All the symptoms of CFS, Fibro, Endocrine System, depression, and you know, the list goes on, and on, and on! Some doctors were truly sympathetic but had no clue. All the tests came out ok or low normal, whatever "normal" is. After a bout with a particular nasty virus last spring, I finally just started researching my own symptoms and asking for the appropriate testing. (I fired 3 doctors along the way. You must remember that YOU are the consumer in this process.)
Your symptoms match mine to the T. Ask for a THYROID ANTIBODIES test along with your TSH, free T4 and free T3. These can be done at the same time and are very inexpensive. As it turns out, I have a very under diagnosed disease called Hashimoto's Thyroid. This disease causes the body to think that the thyroid is a foreign object and works overtime trying to get rid of the object (like someone trying to reject a kidney after transplant). It causes all the joint and muscle pain, swelling, depression, anxiety, not to mention weight gain, and the list goes on and on. Hashimoto's caused tumors in my thyroid and I had to have my thyroid removed.
Cancer/1st stage, totally curable. I don't even want to think what could have happened if I hadn't become persistent and demanding with my doctors. There is much information on the internet concerning Hashimoto's so I won't even try to explain it all. Good luck and God Bless, Vickie
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A CFS diagnosis is sometimes a catch-all diagnosis from a doctor who isn't being as conscientious as you may need. Press for more diagnosis, because often a CFS patient turns out to have something harder to diagnose, but fixable! (10/18/2007)
There is CFS/Fibromyalgia magazine, as well as many articles and books on the subjects. There is NO one size fits all remedy but with proper treatment and therapies you will NOT have to sleep your life away. You must learn to manage your time and your energy so that you can prioritize the important hings in your life. Yes, you will have to learn new ways and may have to modify your life, but there is life with CFS or FM. Many hospitals or the CFS/Fibro netweork may be able to lead you to a support group, which will be really helpful, as you can meet others who have "been there-doing that" and doing well. There are even on-line support groups and interactive websites to help. (10/18/2007)
Try having your thyroid checked. They just draw blood sample to check your levels to see if you are over active or underactive. The blood test cost about $15-$20 it will make you so tired and just want to sleep. If you discover you have problems with your thyroid and find the right level of medicine to take you will not believe the change you will see in your return of normal energy level. (10/18/2007)
Debra wrote a couple of articles for ThriftyFun about her coping techniques for dealing with Fibromyalgia, which is similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Maybe some of her advice would help.
Hi, my 32 yr. old son has fibro & CFS. And yes it was very hard to diagnose. Dr's told him he would have up and down periods. His Dr. put him on anti-viral meds. They took a while to work as he was really sick. But eventually he was able to come off of them and feels great. Now he's starting to feel sick again (tired, etc.) and will go back on the anti-viral. Sorry u have it because it's not a fun way to live. (10/18/2007)
If you are working swing shift (changing shifts 7-3, 3-11, 11-7 etc) that would probably be the worst thing for you!!! I have Fibromyalgia and I did suffer terribly with CFS for many years also. Having and keeping to a regular sleep schedule really helps a lot.
Ditto on getting that thyroid checked!! Taking Synthroid has really helped me.
Overall, expect to have the above mentioned up and down periods.
I also seem to do much better when I eat very little processed food. Plain meats and vegetables and little grain products seem to be best for me. You may have a wheat or egg or other food allergy. Try eliminating a certain food for a couple weeks. If you are allergic you will feel better in a few days. When you add it back you will feel tired again.
Hope this helps! (10/18/2007)
I had anemia and it made me SO TIRED! I didn't know what was wrong until my allergist said it was probably anemia. He tested me and yes, my iron levels were low. Now my regular doctor insists that I do NOT have anemia because my numbers are just above the cut off (and that's because I take a daily iron tablet with vitamin c - you have to have vitamin c to make the iron work).
I finally do not need a nap during the day and almost have enough energy to make it through a full work day. If I'm at home cleaning, I have to take breaks alot, but I don't need a nap any more! YEA! (10/18/2007)
Well I see a lot of other people wrote to you. I have fibromyalgia too. 3 years ago I had applied for social security benefits--I was 41 at the time. I am now 44 and working very hard at a Drs. office about 30 hours per week and I am also a substitute teacher and I work at that about 12 hours per week. Yes, I am VERY tired and SORE. BUT I am working. I hope you are able to get help. (10/18/2007)
I suggested the thyroid function test. And the lady above who said synthroid helped her is 100% correct. Thats what they put me on a right off the bat I began feeling more energy but I do have to recheck my level every 3-4 months in order to see if the mg taken needs to be increased, and so far it has to each time for its something they can not do is just give you a certain dose until you are on it for awhile to see if you need more. But I can tell when I do for my sluggishness will return somewhat.
I tried to take the generic brand of synthroid - no way! I felt like I swallowed air. I could not even lift my arm without feeling like I was just worn out. Although some people can take it I am not one. Synthroid works best, but a little expensive. But feeling normal energy is worth it. I was telling my husband about this post and he reminded me that Sleep apnea (I think I spelled that right) will leave you having those same tired & sleepy symptoms. For he has had it now for 3 yrs. Before he was diagnosed with it he just wanted to sleep all the time. His driving job kept him wanting to fall asleep at the wheel. Finally, he stopped being so stubborn and went for help. That test was suggested and his case of it was so low they could not beleive it. After he got his breathing machine within days he could tell a difference and no more tiredness or sleepiness. Just another suggestion. I hope you find answers that help you.God Bless (10/18/2007)
I practically slept the last 15 years away. I thought that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I went to Doctors and was told to take iron pills or lose weight, I tried it all. I was so tired that I could hardly wait for the kids to get on the bus and my hubby to work so I could go and lie down. I do have thyroid problems and take synthroid, but even with iron pills, all I wanted to do was sleep.
I would toss and turn and ended up sleeping sitting up and would sleep through the night, but still wake up tired. I got really sick last Christmas and ended up in the hospital and had a blood test, not the usual one, this one is done in a vein or artery in the wrist and it tests the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. My level of oxygen was way to low (58) and my carbon dioxide was extremely high. I was recommended to have a test for sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing when you sleep. Most people don't even realize that they do it. The night I was tested I stopped breathing 30 times that night and one was for 125 seconds, I can't even hold my breath that long!I had the test and then went to a sleep lab and found out I have sleep apnea and now sleep with a sleep apnea machine.It is a small machine about the size of a loaf of bread,I keep mine in the drawer in my night stand. I wake up with energy, am not tired anymore during the day. I keep track of my apneas on the machine each day and I have gone from @30 apneas a night to @ 3 a week! The best part is because I have more energy I am losing weight. It's worth asking your doctor about or check out some info on Sleep Apnea on the internet. (10/18/2007)
I want to thank all of you! I did not realize just how many people would send back their input. I am overwhelmed! I do have sleep apnea and use a machime and have been back to the clinic 3x without any improvement!! How ever I will talk to my Dr. about synthroid. She has me on a sleeping pill(uped 3x) and 2 antidepressant pills...I don't feel they are working and she has me talking to a therapist!!!! But maybe synthroid will be my answer. Thankyou all!!!!!! K.P. (10/18/2007)
As you have been reading, a lot of CFS goes hand in hand with FMS (Fibromyalgia).
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org in reference to this site, I will help you get together with support groups that are out there, that can help short step you to alot of things, because of those belonging to these groups world wide, the information is lifesaving. I am also an FMS/CFS/chronic pain support group educator/facillitator
CFS and FMS can be worked through. I have had it all my life, I am 52. I know when and why things happen now, but I can't stop them from happening. I can change the course of severity sometimes.
waiting to hear from you, Grandma Joyce (10/18/2007)
By T&T Grandma
I have had chronic fatigue syndrome also. I have come across this diet in which 80% of the food consumed is from the alkaline foods (raw fruits & vegetables) and the other 20% from the acid foods (meats and cooked vegetables) I have been on the diet for a month and am getting a little more energy without the chronic aching. (10/18/2007)
May I suggest that you ask your doctor to also test you for diabetes? Untreated/uncontrolled diabetes can make one feel so tired one just wants to die! Also, Google: Low GI Diet and Eating for Energy, and see what comes up. (10/18/2007)
I cratered when I was 28 (am now 56) and was diagnosed with MS, Lymes, CFS, Fibro, and what else?! Am a single mom of 4 kids (each pregnancy I got better) but exhaustion and pain plan my day. I guess now I'm realizing that there is no grade for every day--I don't have to be perfect. I love Flylady.com as it helps me to schedule chasing my house. Good luck--I can't believe that half my life I have been limited!!! We can thrive; not just survive! (10/19/2007)
Have you tried going to a good licensed nutritionist? When I went to one for constant fatigue and digestive problems, she recommended, among other things, L-glutamine, an amino acid that muscle-builders use to build muscles. It's available at vitamin stores, has no side effects that I know of, and really helps with fatigue.
She recommended taking 4 500-mg. tablets twice a day. It doesn't give women big muscles. Google it for more information.
I also take ginseng and phosphatidylserine every day for endurance and mental alertness. (10/20/2007)
I will make an appointment with a nutritionist. Sounds like a great start! Thank you (10/24/2007)