My ME/CFS symptoms, 2015
You might be wondering why on earth I'd write about the symptoms of ME/cfs when everybody knows Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME is about always being tired. What most people don't know is that this neurological illness causes dozens of unrelenting symptoms that fluctuate constantly and are quite unpredictable. The very least of these is an unfathomable exhaustion at the slightest exertion!
Fatigue is the least of our worries - let me share with you the list of symptoms that ME patients have to deal with on a daily basis, you might just be surprised at how strong we really are... not at all the lazy, weak, not-trying-hard-enough people that the general population thinks we are! We are warriors fighting constant battles within our own bodies every minute of every day.
Below is a list of symptoms that appear on the ME Support website. They were taken from a survey where patients were asked what their symptoms were and appear in order of frequency, the most common symptoms at the top.
Keeping in mind that each person is different and our symptoms fluctuate constantly, I thought I'd keep track annually of how my symptoms might change over time, so here's my first year in symptoms.
Main Symptoms of ME/cfs
I have almost every single one of these symptoms! Keep in mind that all symptoms are made worse by physical, mental or emotional exertion and stress.
KEY OF SYMBOLS USED
+ These are symptoms I have daily, they come and go throughout the day, can be quite random or all at once (like after a shower or hoovering).
++ These are some add-ons which might appear during flares (like if I go out or have too many visitors in a short space of time or do more than one chore in a day, flares, or payback as I call it, can last for days after the trigger activities) as well as intensity or severity of all other symptoms will increase during flares.
No symbol means I don't have these: I don't suffer from depression or emotional instability and that can only be by God's grace and His peace that passes understanding. I also don't regularly have tinnitus, I had it during a very bad spell back in May/June. My bladder function seems unchanged and I bruise much more easily now, but I wouldn't say spontaneously.
+ Muscle weakness after using muscles, lasting for days.
+ Muscle pain (mainly back of shoulders, upper arms and thighs.)
++ Blurring vision.
+ Sensations of pins and needles or numbness.
+ Loss of concentration.
+ Muscle twitching.
+ Difficulty in speech (using the incorrect word or not being able to think of a word.)
+ Poor circulation (cold hands and feet.)
++ Abnormal sweating with a sour smell.
+ Impairment of memory.
++ Breathing difficulty.
+ Extreme sensitivity to sound.
Tinnitus (ringing in ears.)
+ Sleep disturbances.
++ Palpitations and/or racing heartbeat.
+ Difficulty in standing for any length of time.
++ Vivid dreams or nightmares.
+ Joint pains.
++ Chest pains.
Emotional instability (crying easily or rapid mood change.)
++ Constipation or Diarrhea.
++ Recurrent sore throat.
++ Enlarged or painful lymph glands.
++ Altered sense of taste and/or smell.
+ Balance problems.
+ Difficulty walking.
++ Panic Attacks.
+ Poor temperature control.
+ Poor co-ordination (clumsiness.)
Poor bladder control.
+ Skin sensitivity to touch.
Spontaneous bruising and skin rashes.
+ Great thirst.
A few extra daily symptoms of my own:
Creepy crawly sensation all over, numbness and heavy limbs upon waking, unrefreshing sleep, weak and gritty (noisy) joints, visual disturbances (like seeing something out the corner of your eye, but there's nothing there).
Praise God for His peace and strength that gets me through each day smiling and praising Him! (even if I'm stuck in bed)
I see how this illness is affecting others who don't know the Lord and I can honestly say that I'd be falling apart if it weren't for our awesome God!!
Do you have any symptoms not listed here?
How have your symptoms changed over the years?
What would you say is your worst symptom?
My worst symptom is probably the constant pain.