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Fatigue or Weakness or Both?
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Fatigue or Weakness or Both?

I went to the "Mall" a few days ago with my boyfriend and after 10 minutes of walking, I started to make a diagonal B-line toward people or walls.  My gait started to falter as well as my balance.  I was extremely fatigued yet I felt weak.  I even said to my bf, "I really could use a wheelchair".  Seriously, that is how bad it was.  Not that I would have went out of my way in getting one because we ended up going home 2 minutes later.

My lack of doing something so simple is ruining my "getting out of the house" life.  

So, I suppose my question is if I'm experiencing fatigue/weakness or both?  

I know some days I feel like I can't even stand to hold my own weight (I'm 110 lbs) or walk to the bathroom which is only 20 feet from my living room on the same floor.

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I am sorry to hear that.  I understand fatigue and feeling weak - sometimes it feels like my feet are attached to weights or slipped ankle weights on me when I wasn't looking.  I think it's two separate things.  

A question you can ask yourself is do you feel weak or fall asleep tired when your sitting and talking to your bf?  Being tired (fatigued) I think can cause you to feel a little weak but many of use know how to push through that feeling, it's different when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Hi Lisa,

Sometimes a wheelchair isn't such a bad thing... We have to learn our limits... I'm in a wheelchair all the time now but before I was any time we planned a big outing where there would be lots of walking I always got a wheelchair... I wanted to enjoy the day just like everyone else and I knew that if I was on my feet for very long I would have to leave well before anyone else was ready...

Don't let it embarrass you or make you feel like your getting worse... Just chalk it up to being smart by knowing what you can and can't do... If we are going to enjoy life right next to the rest of our family we have to get creative in making this possible...

Good luck to you and keep in touch on how your doing...

I'll be praying,
Hi Lisa,

Have you looked at the health page on the subject, it might help to understand it a little.

I can tell the difference between fatigue and weakness, for me fatigue includes cognitive fogginess too but i can feel weak and still mentally feel fine, my usual self, which is very different to fatigue. I do catagorise them seperately but know there is an overlap affect, because i experience different levels of fatigue, i tend to think of fatigue as absolutely dominating. Ignoring the weakness and trying to push through it does lead to temorary fatigue thats lifts with resting, the other type of fatigue doesn't.

If I use your example of being at the mall, by the time I get from the car to the entrance i would be feeling the weakness in my left leg, it feels heavy and starts to not lift very high. I start to veer to the left, oddly wobbling over to the left like someone has suddenly pushed me and my right leg starts to lift higher than it needs too. I think my right leg does this to push out the steps, over compensating for the lack of cooperation coming from my left.

It is all physically and mentally exhausting because you have to overly keep your focus on maintaining balance and walking, which leads to additional fatigue so your not only feeling weak your gaining temporary fatigue. Years before MS was on the radar, i would tell my dr that the ground was calling me, i have to stop no matter what, i just have to lay down or fall down lol this was before i started walking like a (drunk) string puppet.

Listen to what your body is telling you, stop and rest to see if you feel stronger but if it doesn't help, its always time to go home.

I had a few different "types" of what I thought was fatigue/weakness during my illness last Fall.

Fatigue: I could not stay awake. I was falling asleep on the couch and resting could even sleep at work.

Weakness: Muscle exhaustion that is not the same level my body is accumstomed to. I can see it easily with my work outs (sweating or aching at a lower level of exertion) in walking, carrying, trying to go up stairs and holding a blow dryer.

Vertigo: It through my whole entire system off. Going into certain stores seemed to make it worse. I had to hold onto my husband and even then I felt off balance and wobbly. That was the weekend after I had the abnormal Rhombergs but thinking back - my balance was not clearly not normal - but I felt nauseated, weak and "off" (that is how I explained it to the Neuro.)

I did experience all of this at the same time at times as well...usually in stores. I think it was the lights. I did feel very, ummm, sick and if I had known differently I would have asked for a wheel-chair but I never thought of it.
Hey thanks you all for your comments!  It is greatly appreciated!

I realize my limits now even to the most simplest things such as driving my stick shift car.  It's almost too much for me to clutch and switch gears. I so wish to have an automatic car now.  Standing to do the dishes appears to be cumbersome.  Going up 12 steps is like doing the stairmaster for 3 hours -- thighs are burning.  

I have good fatigue days (even though I still have it) and I have bad fatigue days.  It's been utter hell for the past two weeks now.

@Sidesteps: I have had a positive rhomberg since 2006 and it was during a physical examination done at some doc in a box for a physical I needed to start my new job.  It is still the same.  I suppose it wont be normal again?

@Supermum:  I know that feeling when you get up from a laying position and just walk to the bathroom and I practically collapse on the couch again in pure exhaustion from it.

I don't know what is causing this horrible fatigue but its been a year now (a wee bit over) and I don't know if it will ever go away.  Seems when I have the "bad" day fatigue it gets worse as time goes on -- like  my intolerance to any small activity such as walking, or driving my car to the nearby grocery store.  

I honestly think if Im going to do the mall thing again, Im going to get a wheelchair.  This way I can stay longer and enjoy the outing.  


Hi Lisa
I just read your post. I have, what feels like, muscle failure some days. My legs are weak and burn. I go to the mall occasionally, but it's not nearly the same as it once was. I take my cane but some days I get too exhausted. I start to sweat and weave. My balance is bad. The mall makes it worse because of all the stimulation around me. Too many colors, lights, sounds...

I have a 5 speed too and there are days where I can't even consider shifting. Yesterday was hard on my legs because I did a lot of walking. My right leg ached so bad I wanted to cry. Today I felt a bit better. I drank this drink that is full of vitamins and I used to drink it before a workout. (way back when)

I don't drink it all that often unless I need a push. There are medications for fatigue but I haven't had much luck on the results.

Take care
Sorry you are going through this horrible fatigue and weakness. Just the other day after my daughters birthday, I was feeling pressure in my hip/ bursts of pain and then my legs felt like jello. I was able to walk, but I felt like I just wanted to sit down.
My goodness, will it ever end??!! LOL

Please get as much rest as needed and if you need to use a wheelchair, walker, scooter, whatever it may be,,,, use it.

Always here for you,
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