Five years ago, I thought I was having a stroke. I certainly had some of the symptoms. I was having trouble talking and understanding speech. I had numbness in my face and body, dizziness, and vertigo. I became increasingly disoriented and the doctor found that my blood pressure had shot disconcertingly high.
But as it turns out, it wasn't a stroke.
These were simply more frightening symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. All were symptoms I'd experienced before, often for weeks or months at a time. They'd just never combined so intensely before. It took me till summer to get over the worst of it, and back to my usual fragile status quo. I was still sick but not as incapacitated as I'd been that winter.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an illness that can and will pop unexplained symptoms upon the sufferer, at random. The causes for this are not understood. Treatment can be just as uncertain. Some of us are fortunate to be able to find treatment that works for us. Some of us have not been so fortunate. I am among the lucky bunch who are nearing recovery.
There are a myriad of different treatments that have been tried with varying success among the CFS populace. Some have had improvement through different medications. Some do better with a combination of dietary changes, and a much slower paced life than the norm. And that includes that individual's norm, before they were stricken.
Some benefit from homeopathy, or naturopathy. Others find meditation, breathing exercises, and supplements make a difference.
As for me, I improved on a low carbohydrate diet with nutritional supplements, homeopathics and herbal remedies. Rest has been an essential part of my ongoing recovery. At my worst I required hours during the day, every day, in bed. As I got better, I only needed two or three short (half hour to an hour) daily rests. Pacing, which means taking the day in smaller doses with breaks every few hours, and keeping my activities small and short, has helped increase my energy level. A quieter life style, with frequent use of the word "no", seems mandatory for recovery.
I often think about stroke victims and wonder if in some ways my experience of recovery from CFS has been similar to some of theirs. I have often felt like I have suffered brain damage, and am slowly coming back from it.
I spent 15 years losing the battle against CFS. Two years ago, I found treatment that worked for me, and now I am making a comeback.