My experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
I am a 35 year old male, currently recovering from CFS. As I think that my experiences may help others in the same situation, here is my story.
I have always been an active person, someone who worked hard and played hard, a few years ago, there were regular periods where I worked large amounts of overtime
to meet deadlines, often working 70+ hours a week. I ‘relaxed’ by going down to the local pub for a few pints, though I never drank excessively. What free time I had was taken up with socialising
or a number of different activities including fencing at the local sport centre. Then I met my wife, we met in 1999 and got engaged in 2000 planning to marry in the Summer of 2001.
Gradually I found that I stopped going out so much, and spent more time staying in. Work also calmed down to more of a steady routine, without the need for so much overtime.
Then in the Autumn of 2000, organisational changes at work created a period of uncertainty and the pressure of work rose again over the following few months, whereas previously I had enjoyed the challenge of my work and was happy with any pressure, this time the pressure was different and caused by, to a degree, poor management organisation. I found myself having to do two jobs at once and under increasing stress, then in February of 2001, I became increasingly ill, initially trying to work through it, but eventually admitting defeat and going to the Doctors. I was told I had a particularly nasty throat infection and was placed on antibiotics and told to take 10 days off work.
After the 10 days I returned to work, the chaos I had left had somewhat abated and I wasn’t so busy. I found myself struggling though, still feeling awful and completely lacking in energy. I went back to my GP and had a series of blood tests. The results indicated that I had suffered a major virus, and my GP diagnosed Post Viral Fatigue, saying that I would feel tired for a few weeks, but that I should be fine within a couple of months. I was told to take things easy and make sure I had plenty of fruit and veg in my diet. So, not unduly worried I just got on with things.
After 1st April, the planned organisational changes at work left me with little work to do, compared to what I was used to, and I found this difficult, feeling very sleepy in the afternoons, and struggling to work my full hours. I found myself increasingly using leave to take ‘long weekends’, but felt just as tired the following Monday morning as I had at the end of the previous week.
By late May, I was beginning to become concerned, still feeling no better, with the wedding set for August, we were beginning to have to sort things out for that. I went back to my GP who said that they couldn’t help me. I had further blood tests, which showed nothing, and my GP just advocated that I continue to take things easy.
I was much worse by the time August came, I had struggled on at work, though had had a few more days off sick, but not many. I was hoping that a two week break in the Sun on our honeymoon would prove to be the tonic that I needed. I enjoyed my wedding day but wasn’t able to enjoy it as much as I would have if I had been fit and healthy, and arrived in Mexico for the honeymoon feeling exhausted. As, for us, the honeymoon was a once in a lifetime holiday, I was determined to make the most of it and we arranged for several all day excursions, which I enjoyed at the time, relaxing on the days in between, and by the end of the two weeks I was feeling not too bad.
I had a few days to rest when we got home before resuming work. Once back at work, for a while I was able to cope, but within a couple of weeks, felt appalling again. I went back to my GP, and managed to get across that I was having real problems. At this point, about 6 months after the original virus which seemed to have started it all, my GP started talking about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she recommended that I take a month off work, and have complete rest, she wasn’t able to offer any more advice than that. By this time, I was beginning to feel desperate to get better, so though not keen on missing that much work, agreed. I told work and then settled down at home for complete rest.
Within a week, I was much worse, it was as though I had been just going on Adrenaline alone, and now that had all gone, I felt several times worse than the worse I had ever felt with flu, and became pretty much confined to the house, though I tried to make an effort to walk a little distance each day.
After a month I was no better and so my GP wrote me off for another month. About this time, I started to research CFS and ME on the internet and came across a number of supplements that seemed to help a number of people. I had already tried high potency Aloe Vera, recommended by a relative and that had had no effect, so now I tried Enzyme CO-Q10 which seemed to promise miracles.
Initially, after a couple of weeks, I seemed to have improved a little bit, but decided to take yet another month off, ‘just to make sure’ which would take me up to Christmas of 2001. I planned (and hoped) that I would be able to return to work fully refreshed in January of 2002.
I continued to seemingly improve, but just before Christmas, having not changed anything that I was doing, eating or taking, I went downhill rapidly again, seemingly for no reason.
I became incredibly frustrated and a little depressed, My GP continued to say that basically there was nothing wrong with me, and began to suggest that it may be psychological, rather than physical. The next thing I tried was Enada NADH, which again seemed to promise miracles but was a little pricey, and by now after 3 months off of work, I was beginning to worry about the financial side of things.
I was in a really bad way now, on good days, I was able to move about the house without too much discomfort, but on the bad days, which seemed to be increasing in number, I was practically bed bound. This continued for over a month
During this time I experienced periods of deep depression and feelings of total inadequacy, some days not being too bad, other days feeling almost suicidal, and was generally pretty miserable and in almost constant pain.
Slowly I gradually improved again. By now I was also taking L-Carnatine, in addition to the NADH, and had also tried wearing magnetic bracelets and gentle Yoga, both of which had been recommended to me, but I couldn’t tell you whether anything was having any real benefit or not.
By March, my sick pay had been exhausted and I was on benefits, though my wife worked full time, her wage was not enough to support the both of us, but too much for me to get anything more than the standard disability allowance, so I was keen to return to work as soon as I was able. After discussions with my GP, and also with a work appointed GP, it was suggested that I should attempt to return to work part time in April. Eager to be earning again, and after agreement with my management that I could just work those hours I felt able to, I started back at work on 4th April 2002.
By now I had finally joined ‘Action for ME’ and noticed an advert for the ‘Integrated Medical Practice’ at Market Harborough, They had a web site so I checked this out and I was quite impressed, what they offered seemed to make a lot of sense, and though I was back at work now, I was only managing a few hours a day, and was still feeling very rough, as Market Harborough was not that far away, I thought that I would give them a try.
After an initial e-mail inquiry, I phoned to make an appointment and was given an appointment for a few days later. The drive to the clinic, though only 40 miles was the furthest I had driven in over a year, so was quite painful, but the consultation and the tests they undertook were not uncomfortable. The tests showed that I had a number of things wrong with me, a great relief that there were real physical problems and that it wasn’t just something that couldn’t be explained. Below is a picture of my blood taken using ‘live’ blood analysis.
This shows that my red blood cells are all ‘stuck’ together (top left), indicating poor digestion of protein, there is evidence of a yeast infection in my blood (the small white ‘flecks’) (bottom right) and they other two shots of dried blood show a white residue indicating that my lymph system was ‘gummed’ up and not working properly. Other tests showed that my system was too ‘acidic’. All these indicated that I was suffering from a poor quality diet, with my digestive system, unable to properly process the nutrients that I was getting, and that my immune system was operating at a non-optimum level. It was explained that these things would certainly cause the problems that I was experiencing. I was given advice for changing my diet, and a number of supplements to take. An appointment was made for 2 months time to check on my progress.
I was left feeling happy that there was finally something that had been actually identified that was wrong with me and that this could be treated, but angry that my GP couldn’t offer me these kind of tests on the NHS, had I had these tests a 12 months previously, I may not have had to suffer the pain and depression that I had, though I was still cautious that nothing would improve.
Initially the changes to my diet were a bit of an effort, but I soon got used to them, and within a month I was genuinely feeling better, the biggest change was that the constant ‘heavy fog’ that I had seemed to be under all the time, had ‘lifted’, and though I was still physically tired, I was feeling mentally alert for the first time in over a year.
By the time of the second set of tests eight weeks later, I had extended my hours at work, and though not back full time yet, felt much, much better. The second set of tests showed that there had been some improvement but that there was still room for further improvement, so I would continue with the diet, and with taking the supplements.
By the Summer, I was able to take a near normal holiday for two weeks, able to drive reasonably long distances, and actually enjoy my holiday. I still had to be careful, and a few times over did things, and then felt tired for a while,but by December I was practically back at work full time, and a third set of tests showed that my blood was near normal, as shown below.
The top left image shows that my red blood cells are no longer ‘clumping together’. The top right shows that there is no evidence of a yeast infection, the bottom left shows healthy white blood cells and the bottom right shows no white residue indicating that the lymph system problem had cleared up.
I am now back at work full time, and feeling much more normal, I am still tired, but probably in the same way that anyone is tired after a days work. I still can’t do everything I would like to, and still have to be careful, but I am continuing to improve. I am continuing to take some supplements to ‘maintain’ my health. The difference from 10 months ago is huge, I find myself running upstairs now, whereas then I had to drag myself, and it hurt.
It has been a long struggle, to me, but the time period from February 2001 when I suffered the virus which seems to have been the trigger, and today is only 2 years, which is nothing compared to some people with CFS/ME, and had I had the tests at the integrated medicine practice back in February 2001, I believe that I could have been where I am now, a year ago.
I would thoroughly recommend anyone to check out the website, and get in touch with the clinic to make an appointment. It is a private clinic, so you do have to pay, but the few hundred pounds that I have spent, I would have willingly spent 2 years ago to avoid the pain and problems. Ideally your GP would offer these tests, but they don’t.
I could have made things easier for myself in other ways, I found myself having unrealistic expectations, I kept saying to myself, I’ll be better in a month, and was then disappointed when I wasn’t, and I was disappointed when I tried one supplement or ‘cure’ only to have it not work. The thing with the Integrated Medicine Practice, is that each supplement that is recommended is targeted specifically at one or more of the problems that the tests show up, and in my case they worked relatively quickly, it was 7 months after first visiting the clinic, to having almost normal test results, and being back at work full time.
The website address for the Integrated Medicine Practice is
The address is
The Integrated Medicine Practice
75 Burnmill Road,
Phone: 01858 465005.
Other useful links
The Positive Health Shop - a great place to buy online suplements etc.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, queries or thoughts at