I have always loved sports and fitness. After years as a graphic designer, I was on the verge of reinventing myself as a personal trainer. It was 2004, and I moved from Germany to Melbourne with my husband and our two little children.
Though I loved our Australian life, it was challenging as our marriage was under significant strain. Our boys were still young and needed my care, so this new career seemed the perfect fit for my life as a mom, wife, and working woman.
But then I got sick. A virus, I thought, something that zapped my energy. I felt as if my muscles had collapsed, and I stayed in bed for days and then weeks. Still, I thought, it will pass. Except it did not, and my life with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome started.
What the hell is chronic fatigue?
The doctor explained that this condition was assumed to be psychosomatic and that no doctor or scientist knew the exact cause of it and what was happening in the body. There was and still is no drug or medicine to treat CFS. Like many others, I had to find my own way to deal with it.
When the illness showed no sign of going away, I went to see my doctor, who diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
“What the hell is chronic fatigue?” I asked.
The doctor explained it was assumed to be a psychosomatic condition and that no one knew the exact cause or what was really happening in the body. This news was strange and scary to hear. But I had a family that needed me and life to get on with, so I went home without fully appreciating the gravity of what the doctor was saying.
The early stages of CFS
For eight months I had good days and bad days. But I was still hopeful it would pass. I even managed to get through moving from Melbourne to Brisbane with my husband and our 6 and 8-year-old sons. Then one morning, which I’ll never forget, I was feeling good so I jogged down to the river and had a great workout in the open air. I felt energized and excited, setting up our new home and being on the verge of launching my new career as a fitness trainer. But when I came back home, suddenly, I felt weak – my energy collapsed and my body was in pain. It was that morning all my hope drained away as I gave up the notion that this might blow over.
In part 2 the journey – my life with CFS – continues…
What does science say to chronic fatigue? Read this great article.