If you missed last week’s blog, please read it before continuing on. You've missed some important details.
As I said, my problems didn’t end there. Illnesses continued to inundate me, and I was still having seizures. I missed excessive days of work. I contracted some rare form of reproductive infection along with another infection at the same time. The doctor put me on penicillin and ceclor.
My husband, brother and I were going out one night to see the Lipizzan Horse Show. I felt awful. I didn’t want to spoil the outing, so I pushed through, slumping in the backseat with my stomach pitching. We were almost to the event when I realized I couldn’t hold onto my insides any longer. Everything wanted to escape my body. My husband stopped at a fast food restaurant, and I rushed inside to the restroom. One stall was used, the other out of order. I threatened the poor woman inside. She rushed out all flustered, my body revolting violently. I didn’t want to give up. I’d felt this bad before.
I returned to the car, still hoping we could continue on. I started having trouble breathing. My husband turned the car around and headed home. He dropped my brother off and continued on to the hospital. I was twenty minutes from dead the doctors said. We should have called 911. It was an allergic reaction to the antibiotics.
My life continued to be a living hell, sickness after sickness, doctor after doctor—all of them telling me I was just fine. My family gave me advice. “Don’t tell the doctors what’s wrong. Let them figure it out.” “You need to tell the doctors everything so they can understand what’s wrong and how sick you are.” I couldn’t find a strategy that worked.
I continued this struggle for another year or two until I ended up in the emergency room. This time, I had mononucleosis, an enlarged liver and spleen, and Epstein-Barr virus. I was put on complete bed rest. The slightest blow to my stomach would result in my spleen bursting. I was told I could never go out in group settings again—no church functions, no ball games, no concerts, etc. I was never able to return to a full-time job either. I was only twenty-seven years old. I went another two years before being diagnosed with CFIDS, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Epstein-Barr virus.(3)
Since that time, I have been diagnosed with close to thirty health issues(4) which some doctors believe have manifested from a dysfunctional immune system. For me, life is a constant struggle with sickness, fatigue, cognitive issues and overwhelming pain. I’ve often felt what Louie Zamperini expressed: he’d rather suffer intense pain for a short period of time than experience a lifetime of suffering.
Although the Center for Disease Control has defined CFIDS as a level of illness and pain equal to the last stages of AIDS, very little money has been dedicated to finding a cure. Many people to this day will not admit they have it because they are looked down upon as just being lazy or a hypochondriac. If you tell people you have CFIDS, they tell you they get tired too.
I admire and respect Laura Hillenbrand for her endurance and willingness to speak out about this devastating illness. You can find out more about her story at: A Sudden Illness: How My Life Changed.
Cindy A. Christiansen
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(3) I was told by CFIDS expert Dr. Lucinda Bateman that I have Chronic Epstein-Barr virus which is uncommon and separate from CFIDS or Fibromyalgia. I was unable to find specific statistics on this disease.
(4) Health Conditions: CFIDS, Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus, Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, Mild Pulmonary Hypertension, mild heart enlargement, mild mitral valve regurgitation, moderate tricuspid regurgitation, mild high RV systolic pressure, Endocrine Imbalance, Incontinence, Medullary Sponge Kidney Disease, Lymphatic Disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Hashimoto’s Disease, Spine Injuries, Seizures - slowing of left temporal region, Shortening of nerves and compressed nerves, Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis, Neuropathy, White matter disease of brain/MS, Tumors attached to adrenal glands, Tumor in Uterus, Celiac disease, Bursitis, Calcium build up in Achilles’ Tendons, Bone spurs Plantar Fascitis, Abnormal Swelling of Plantar Fasciitis, Interstitial Cystitis, Chronic Ulcer, Chronic Dumping Syndrome, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome