Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
One Patient's Story
By Angela Generoso
Reviewed by William Shiel, MD, FACP, FACR
At 21 years of age, Sarah Jones* felt like she was falling apart.Once an energetic cheerleader and member of a professional dance team, full of energy and life, Jones gradually found herself bedridden and unable to work. As time went on she became more confused as to why she was feeling constantly tired. Then one day a friend of hers, who was a nurse, asked if she had ever heard of chronic fatigue syndrome. "My doctor back then didn't believe in chronic fatigue syndrome," Jones says. "It was still up in the air; people didn't believe it existed. I think it's better now, but back then it wasn't." Jones found herself undergoing a series of tests, and when they were finished, she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, a disease which inhibits people from performing everyday activities due to severe tiredness. Although the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is still unknown, doctors can diagnose it by ruling out other possible causes of fatigue. "There was a sense of relief because finally there was a reason for all I was experiencing," Jones says. "People would constantly ask what was wrong with me, and I felt like I was going crazy. I never guessed it could be one particular illness that could be causing it all." Jones started on a long journey of medical tests in an effort to get better. She went through years of disappointment, having MRIs taken, going through blood tests and a thyroid test, and was put on a series of different medications and herbs. She put time, money and effort into seeing naturalists, visited mainstream doctors, and went through a series of allergy injections in an effort to find an answer.