My Story - Part 4

Two weeks have passed since my surgery and I’m eager to get back to my life. The thing is I still can’t empty the dishwasher without needing to sit down for half an hour. I thought I would have seen some improvement by now, so I headed back to my GP (doctor) to see what was going on.
Unfortunately my usual GP was on holidays and I saw someone else, someone who didn’t know me. He looked at my notes, and suggested I start iron injections. I was already on iron tablets to help boost my red blood cell count, but he thought this would speed up the process. It made sense, so I let him poke me with the needle, it wasn’t the worst thing I’d been poked with recently. He then told me to come back next week for another one.
So come back I did. I wasn’t in a great mood that week, and he noticed. He thought I was depressed, and I was, after all I couldn’t empty a fucking dishwasher. He handed me a sample of heavy duty anti-depressants and told me to take them, that they would help.
I’ve seen what Effexor and drugs like it do to people, they’re full on. Useful for people with depression, but I wasn’t suffering from depression, I was depressed (They’re not the same and I’ll explain why in a later post.) I refused his offer, telling him that I simply wanted to get back to my normal life and was frustrated by the lack of progress.
All this frustration could have been avoided too. At no point did anyone explain to me how long it would take for my body to replenish its red blood cell count. If they had told me it would take months, and that I simply needed to be patient then I would have been ok with that, it would have given me a timeline and a goal to work towards. Instead I was left in the dark and only had my own high expectations to guide me.
So what did I do, I went and found another GP, one who seemed more proactive than my fill-in doctor from before, one that wanted to explore what might be causing my slow recovery. 
Amongst family and friends, the words chronic fatigue got mentioned, and despite being too early to be diagnosed with that (you need to have had unexplained fatigue for over 6 months), I made an appointment with an immunologist (they also take 6 months before you can get an appointment).
My new GP did all the tests he could, but in the end I found myself in a holding pattern, waiting to see this immunologist, killing time and from my point of view wasting time. I had things to do, a job to get back to, a book that needed editing so I could get it published. I put pressure on myself to get better, I added stress to my immune system, only I didn’t understand that at the time. I didn’t understand the damage that was doing.
So the day finally arrives, I go to see the immunologist, a wise man, an expert when it comes to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He sends me off for more tests. I get tested for sleep apnoea, brain tumours, cancer, everything that could explain why I was so fatigued. ‘Thankfully’ all those tests came back negative. I was fine, only I wasn’t, and there was a recognition of that, and that recognition came in the form of a being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I finally knew what was wrong with me, but unfortunately there was nothing I could do about it. The immunologist told me that because I was young and fit I would make a quick recovery. “Give it a year,” he said, “and I should be back to normal.”
It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, a year is a long time, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected either. I’d done some research into CFS and knew there was no quick fix. I was going to have to ride it out. I probably wouldn’t need the whole year I told myself. I’d start to see improvements after 6 months or so. I could use that time get stuff done, it’s not like it would be a complete waste of a year.
Well, a year went by and I saw no improvement. It was the most frustrating year of my life.