Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Diagnosis

I talked previously about a bitter sweet March. Well, it didn't exactly end there.

I've been debating whether or not I should write about "this" for a while now and have decided it's time I start talking. Uggghh, where to start...

I've been sick quite a bit over the last year. You name some kind of bug floating around out there and I've caught it. It has been extremely frustrating to go from one illness to another. It seems like I was only healthy for a few days a time throughout this past winter. I've been to see several doctors and had countless blood tests run to try to determine what could be causing me to get so sick. Unfortunately, the blood work wasn't helpful with diagnosing the problem.

When I wasn't warding off a sinus infection, bronchitis, strep or the flu, I was just left feeling extremely weak and fatigued. I was experiencing severe joint pain and found it difficult to get through every day tasks like doing the dishes or picking up my son, Brady.

A lot of people chucked all of this up to me being an overwhelmed and sleep deprived mom. At first, I thought maybe some were right about me, which is why I had been beating myself up for not being able to do everything and be everything to everyone. I wondered how others were able to maintain this Super Mom lifestyle and why I could cut it. I carried so many feelings of inadequacy and found myself constantly comparing myself to other moms in my life.

I recently realized that I've been "abusing" ....yes, verbally abusing myself over all of the areas I felt I was falling short. It's like this nasty recording of my voice would just play through my head every day, all day long.

"Kelli, what has happened to you? You used to be so much more active. You used to be able to handle 20 times more than you do now. What's wrong with you, why can't you just get the rest of the baby weight off already? Come on, every other mom out there manages to keep a clean home, groceries in the fridge, meals on the table, laundry clean, play dates for the kids, visits to the gym.... Why can't you just get healthy and be normal again?"

I knew something had to give.

"Am I going crazy? Why can't the doctors find an explanation for why I feel so awful all the time? Am I really just a weak person? Why can't I pull it together? I'm trying to eat healthier, drink water, take my daily vitamins, get rest whenever I can. I swear I'm doing everything I know to do to get well and I still feel awful. My head is the old me wanting to do, do, do and my body is telling me loud and clear NO, no, no."

I had some friends tell me that they were sick of hearing that I'm sick...again. Some felt that it was all in my head and I just needed to work on starting each day with a positive attitude and I might feel better. Others thought that I had postpartum depression and needed medication. Everyone wanted to diagnose me except for the doctors, which left me feeling more confused, frustrated and lonelier than ever. 

Finally, I had a doctor say that she wanted to go through a long questionnaire to determine if I possibly had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was like a light bulb went off. I remembered that I was diagnosed with that back in high school when I got really sick at the age of 16 fighting a bad case of Mono. After going through the questionnaire, I knew that this is EXACTLY what I was battling. We talked about it for over three hours!

On one hand, I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis that explained in black and white exactly what I've been experiencing, but on the other hand, there's no cure. This is something I will have to face life long. There are no medications to treat CFS, but there are holistic remedies that can help me feel better and take my life back (in time).

It has been a roller coaster since the diagnosis in April. I'm going to continue to talk about this and my experiences because it is a widely misunderstood and under-diagnosed condition. If I can help even one person out their realize that they're not alone as well as raise some awareness, then sharing my struggles will be worth it. Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your health troubles. My wife is dealing with Adrenal Fatigue, which is similar and also is best treated by a prescribed combination of powerful herbal supplements. Your symptoms sound very similar to my wife's - also happened shortly after our daughter was born.
I know that Dr. Michelle Dougherty at Mainstreet Chiropractic is a specialist in womens health and may be helpful to you as well. Good luck!

Kelli Thompson said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I'm so sorry to hear that your wife is suffering from adrenal fatigue. I'm sure we can relate on so many levels. Thanks for the referral. I'll have to look into that!