Living With And Recovering From Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome In China - Laurance's Story
Here are my experiences of living with, and recovering from Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome...
I had been living and working in Shanghai for 9 years and had finally decided to change job, location and leave behind one of the best places I had lived. For the best part of my 20's and early 30's I had lived a fast life and candles were burning continously at both ends. I then decided to move to Hong Kong, which is just as mad and hectic, and I took on another brand new job.
One of my first duties was to travel for 3 weeks throughout the USA, a different city every other day, lots of meetings and late evenings. Towards the end of the journey, I began to feel very ill and weak. I put it down to the long travel.
Almost immediately upon my return to Hong Kong I revisited Shanghai for work, and had one very large night out. This night was the turning point...
There had been, now I look back, several warning signs along the way that things were not quite right. But this one night ended up putting me in a Shanghai hospital with very strange things going on in my head and overall general unwell feeling.
The doctor said it was a non descript virus, put me on a drip, and then sent me back to Hong Kong. I took it easy for a short period, but then continued with my life as normal. But I just wasn't functioning, and something was very wrong.
I was getting strange feelings in my head, anxiety attacks, and was very moody. I spent copious amounts of time in the private hospitals trying to find out what was going on. I had every test the doctors suggested I try. The worst thing was being sent away with a new pill, or having to wait for a test result, which had no effect or as usual came back all clear.
After 4 months I was clearly not well, very fatigued, unable to focus on anything, wanted to be alone all the time, and didnt want to do anything other than watch TV from my sofa. I was rapidly losing weight, dropping 11 kgs in 6 months. Not one physician was offering me any suggestions that made sense. I was starting to question my own sanity.
Slowly depression set in and thereafter I rarely left my house for the following 6 weeks. My new employer was beginning to wonder who they had hired.
Under the incredibly patient and understanding watch of my fiance, she slowly got me back out the door and into see more so called specialists. But they couldn't tell me what was wrong - all the tests said I was normal.
Eventually we went to see one doctor who came recommended by a friend. I remember the day clearly. As we approached the entrance I said to my fiance, I can't be bothered to see another doctor, lets go home. But she insisted as we were there, we should just go in and see what she had to say.
After one visit, she had proved herself to be the most encouraging and proactive doctor we had ever met. A very positive and upbeat person who at the very least gave you hope
She started taking tests for everything, and pushed through many of the tests so we had results that day. It was this incredible doctor, who took an interest in my problem and a undertook a personal quest to find out what was wrong, who diagnosed Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome
, and broke the back of my depression and set me on the way to recovery.
I realised that no doctor can spend all her time on me, so I began researching and bringing my findings to my doctor for discussions and for her guidance on how to get better. Together we tried and tested different medication, supplements and routines
Through a complete change in lifestyle: no alcohol
, a gluten and dairy free diet
, a regulated course of Zoloft (anti-depressant
), candida treatment, several sessions with a nutritionist
, working with acupuncture
, slow and regular exercise
, and the care and love of my now wife. I am just about functioning as normal.
It's been a long 2 year road, but I now can spot the symptoms of Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome
, know how to avoid aggreviating them, and understand how to live a normal life again.
Here's What Has Helped Me...
Find An Understanding Doctor...
My advice to anyone is to ensure you have an understanding doctor who is willing to go the extra mile for you
and believes in Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
I met so many doctors and specailists who said it didn't exist
. I forced them to admit it, rather than just let them send me away with more medication.
Work With A Nutritionist...
Work with a nutritionist who understands ME/CFS and the dietry problems it can have. I believe that your diet is the key
to your rebuilding and wellbeing.
Acupuncture Worked Well For Me...
For me, acupuncture
worked so well, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It boosted my overall wellbeing and immune system every time.
Exercise & Activity...
Keep some sort of regular exercise and activity
going, no matter how hard it is. I was able to gauge my improvement or lapses by the level of my exercise
. I needed a benchmark to work against.
This has been the most challenging thing in my life so far.
At times I didnt think I was going to make it. There were times I really didn't think life could get any lower or more difficult and my thinking became dangerously negative. But I refused to give up
, I knew that there had to be a reason for all the problems, and once I found the cause and understood what was happening, I was able to fully focus on getting better.
Now my wife and I have a baby, and just knowing that I was going to have a little person who was going to be depending on me, was incentive enough to stick to the diet, stay off the alcohol and try to be positive.