After I’d seen every specialist and “ologist” there is, in the area and out, (I was seeing multiple doctors a week…you know, the ones I pictured around a table in a conference room discussing my case in true House-like fashion, complete with dry erase boards and pointers.) The “answer” I’d been craving: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Now, for those “diagnosed” with CFS (which is Chicken-Fried Steak in my mind—remnants from my table-waiting days) they realize that it’s a, “we really don’t know-diagnosis.” It’s a “No, your body isn’t doing what it’s supposed to, we think…after all, you could be faking it-diagnosis.” I remember thinking, Really?? That’s it? Not only a blanket diagnosis due to the fact that everything else has been ruled out (Praise God, I know, I know) but a syndrome that makes me seem lazy? “Lazy” doesn’t quite describe me. I met the criteria for most of the symptoms, including fatigue that was indeed chronic, and off I went to sit in that stupid blue recliner. I sat, I hurt, I cried, I dreamed, I awoke, I cried, I sat, I hurt, I had my husband come to steady me as I walked to the bathroom to pee.
I didn’t have the strength to hold my arms up to do things like wash my hair or dry it, cook for more than 10 minutes, anything really. I would have to “recharge” for hours before I could do anything at all for even 15 minutes. I never accepted the diagnosis, maybe you could tell that from the first paragraph, and still don’t. I became very depressed and would have dreams about things like driving off cliffs or drowning. I would share that with my husband and scare him to death. I know he wanted to help me so badly it hurt him, but there were no answers to be had. We’d spent so much money and time searching, only to hear that there was no cure for this crappy diagnosis. One doctor told me that the estimated time frame for this syndrome was five years. Um, thanks. Enjoy your yacht and vacation to the Tahitian Islands.
I would walk in to the doctor’s office, sometimes I did it all by myself, and slump into the chair, having difficulty catching my breath. I reported on myself: from blood pressure to activity level to temperature to heart rate to what I ate and fluid intake. I kept the very best records for a very long time. After all, I really had nothing better to do. I remember trying to focus on some scriptures but my blood pressure was easier to comprehend. “You will live and not die” is only so comforting when you’re living in a stupid blue recliner.