Hi my name is Stu. I am 23 years old and like a lot of you on this forum I suffer from CFS. I would like to share with you my story as I am sure to some of you this will seem all so familiar.
well for me the troubles all started on the 13th November 1998. I was 14 and suffering from what I thought to be a simple sinus infection. I started to get suspicious when after 2 weeks of treatment I felt no better. back to the doctors I went for blood test which of course came back clear. at this point the school was starting to hassle my parents as I hadn't been in school for over 4 weeks.
the next stop for me was a trip to the E.N.T department of my local hospital to have my sinuses checked out. after several visits and various tests nothing again was found it had now been a few months since I had been at school. the tension was really beginning to build. with daily phone calls from the school insisting that i should try to return. this was easy for them to say but I was very rarely leaving the house, my body always in pain and a severe lack of energy that no amount off sleep or rest would help.
Medically the next step for me was the Paediatrics department being only 14. there I underwent several tests and heard several theories including a Form of Epilepsy and the big one a brain tumor. as you can imagine at 14 years old this was a hell of a lot to take. but my family were great they really helped take my mind off of things and as one by one the theories were dismissed we breathed a sigh of relief. By this time i had been away from my friend s and the school for at least a whole term the psychological effects of this by this time had really taken hold. as usual the school were kept in the loop and as usual pressure was being applied for me to return to schooling or I would have to repeat a year.
on my next monthly visit to my GP I was told that all the things that could be tested for had been and that they could now tell me that i was suffering form ME. it was then they explained to me that it would pass it's self in time and that the best that could be done would be to try and manage the symptoms which at this time had grown. i was now suffering from heightened allergies as well as chronic headaches, fatigue and joint pain. it was at this point i was put on anti depressants and referred to a psychologist. herbalism and homeopathic remedies were also tried. by this time it was near the end of the school year and i had missed the best part of 2 terms. I decided to try and get back to school only the afternoons at first then I managed for 2 thirds of the day and for a short time I managed whole days at school. this didn't last, factors that didn't help were being deserted by people I thought were my friends because I had become a topic of conversation and many rumors had circulated about my time off. this was the last straw I never returned to school as life was becoming unbearable with pain.
As I had made an effort the school awarded me a hours home tuition a week to prepare me for my standard grades, which I got, and the same for my highers which again I got. after school was finished i decided to let myself try and get better. this lead to me gaining a great deal of weight. this made everything so much harder.
after a long uphill struggle I passed my driving test and was ready to let myself recover again and hopefully get over the CFS. However on my monthly trip to the GP I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I was told that i would have to bring my weight down significantly. I asked to be referred to the local health center for a light excersise program to try and help lose weight. It was hard going for the first few weeks but I kept at it and could gradually do more and more. I was also finding that my new found fitness was helping my CFS as even on bad days my body could at least carry me about the house. within 6 months I had lost 7 stone. and went from a size 40 waist to a size 30. I had also increased my fitness to a great level. however there were still days that I could do very little it just made the good days better.
I was now 19 and I was for the best part alone. I had not had any friends in years. as an avid fan of ice hockey i signed up to the local hockey forum and started making some friends. I had managed to develop a form of social life. 6 months later with no better health on the horizon I made a decision and decided to go to college part time and study social science.
it was strange after all those years being back in an educational environment but somehow reassuring. this also Gave my confidence a boost and later in that same academic year I found the love of my life a woman who i will be marrying in June 2010. I found that through part time study I was capable of gaining a qualification and after 2 years I had my HNC last year I completed the first part of my HND and am finishing the second part this year. I have also Been accepted to University and will be starting the course there in September.
I am still suffering from the CFS that has held me back all those years but I have learned how far i can go and what to avoid to prevent a major flair up. although sometimes it doesn't work. like always I have my good times and bad . what I am truly thankful for is that I have the support of my Family through the bad times.
I thank you for reading my story, and hope that it maybe helps some one who is in the position I was in 9 years ago. I am not trying to say that I am amazing because I never gave up and have fought my condition because everyone who is on here has done exactly the same. I respect you all for sharing and trying to help each other through the hard times.