I am a 43-year old woman, raised in Dublin, Ireland and now living in Seattle, Washington, USA. In the early hours of November 7th 2011, I got sick overnight with what felt like a very bad virus. The symptoms morphed and changed over time, but it never went away and I have felt extraordinarily sick every day since then. I have visited many doctors and have had many tests.
In May 2012, I finally had to leave my job, my career, my social life. Almost a year after I got sick, I was officially diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) — known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) in the rest of the world — and there is no doubt in my mind that this was triggered by the flu shot (in a body already battered by stress, lack of sleep and a history of autoimmune conditions and allergies), which I got one week before the onset of viral symptoms.
In August 2014, I saw Dr. John Chia, one of the country’s experts in this disease and he confirmed M.E. and agreed the flu vaccination was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Before M.E., I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and had the toxic goiters on my thyroid ablated with radioiodine. I’ve also been battling idiopathic anaphylaxis, angioedema, vasovagal syncope and a slew of other symptoms for 14+ years, which were only recently diagnosed as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
I have been completely housebound, often mostly bedbound, since September, 2012 and, since then, I have very slowly slipped downhill. I am currently trying everything I know to gain some momentum and find a life with this disease, without causing further disability from treatment reactions.
I started this blog originally to chronicle treatment with low-dose naltrexone (a drug therapy not approved by the FDA, not used by very many doctors, and not backed by a lot of studies), but I stopped taking it after a month. My blog has since become my communication with my friends and family, my diary, my symptom tracker, and a therapeutic outlet. It has also connected me with some extraordinary people, for which I will forever be grateful.
I hope to help others with M.E. by providing info, support and the realisation that you are not alone!
Blog cover page image of phoenix by ClintonKun