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Fatigue - I want my life back


In Elementary School I had BAD allergies and would blow my nose constantly throughout the day. It wasn’t until 2009 that I realized allergy mucus is supposed to be clear. My mucus, for all those years, was always yellow. In fifth grade I had to run a mile for school. Every year I had made ‘presidential’ which is the highest award you can make. That year I made presidential in everything except the mile. I couldn’t even run the whole thing. I was out of breath, light headed, and seeing black spots around the second lap. I never thought twice about that time until the Fatigue came.

By the time Middle school started, I began smoking cigarettes and noticed I got gas when I ingested dairy. I was also put on Ritalin for ADD and was told to take it at night. I stopped sleeping at night for a good couple of months because of this and I would pass out in class until they took me off. Again, I never thought about these things until the fatigue came.

The ‘allergies’ had ended by the time I got to high school. My fatigue begun around age 15-16 (I am now 25). I remember going to the same camp every year and one specific year I was so tired I laid in the tent a good part of the trip. That’s when I realized something might be wrong. They started me on light therapy which consisted of me getting up even earlier to sit in front of a light. This did not have any success and increased the fatigue because I ended up losing more sleep. I did a sleep study where they wired my brain up and checked my sleep stages throughout the night. Although I ended up falling asleep in the middle of the day due to fatigue, the study did not show anything abnormal. My junior year of high school I spent some time in a hospital where they treated my fatigue as depression. The drugs just made me sleep more and gave me panic attacks. I decided to get tested for mono at that point and it was determined that although I did at some point have the Epstein-Barr virus, it was not active at that time. I don’t remember ever having it. I also noticed I was very sensitive to sugar and eating it on an empty stomach made me shaky. My mother also has this symptom and we both tested negative for Diabetes although both of us still limit our intake of sugar in the morning. I had a sleep study done as well. But even though I fell asleep in the middle of the day, the results did not show any problems. I kept hoping that once I got out of high school it would go away.

College began and although I was drinking a lot, I was getting a lot more sleep and eating regularly. Drinking gave me temporary energy and for that I was grateful. I tried to schedule my classes in checkerboard fashion so I could eat and nap after every one. I noticed my blood pressure would decrease heavily and I would become extremely tired after eating. I kept a schedule of my sleeping habits thinking maybe there was some correlation. At this point I had been to the Health Center multiple times being checked for Thyroid, iron-deficiency, etc. I was told to ‘eat fruit’ ‘sleep more’ ‘sleep less’ ‘exercise’. It was at the end of my fourth year in college that something happened to my stomach. I was at a barbeque the night before and had some beers and some food and when I woke up my stomach hurt so bad I couldn’t move. I didn’t go see a doctor since I didn’t have insurance and for the next year whenever I ate, I could feel a bubble near the bottom right (from my view) of my stomach. I found out later it was actually my colon and I was told I had ‘irritable bowel syndrome’ and ‘don’t eat vegetables’. For that whole year and the next I **** yellow (smelled like baby excretion and was a clay color) after every meal. I quit drinking, I quit smoking. I picked up a coffee habit which GAVE ME MY LIFE BACK because it temporarily fixed the cold intolerance as well as the fatigue and the brain fog. Coffee got me through college and gave me hope.

After I graduated I had a rough start but I finally landed an amazing job and got my own place. At this point I still can’t run more than two laps because my lungs/heart won’t allow it, although I can walk for 15 miles and be fine. I still don’t drink and I still don’t smoke. I mailed my stool to a lab to test for food allergies and it was determined that I have a gluten intolerance so I no longer eat gluten and I no longer consume anything with milk protein. I sleep regular hours and enjoy life. I take a dancing class once a week, go for walks, and try to jog. I don’t crash after I eat anymore; however, I am still tired and cold all the time EXCEPT for the following exceptions:

• The first day of my period
• When I drink coffee (but I will crash the next day and have no energy)
• Sometimes when I drink a lot of water all at once
• When I eat sugar later in the day but VERY BRIEFLY but then I crash so hard, there is no recovery, I have to lay down, and I am usually out for the night (almost like a mild insulin coma)
• Every once in awhile when I get sick

I take a bunch of vitamins on a daily basis. I no longer take naps, but I do need to go home to lie down (unless it’s the first day of my period). I still plan my life around my fatigue and now around my food intolerance as well. I recently went to a cardiovascular specialist, Dr. Lansky, at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in light of a study
I had read years ago (when I did not have health insurance).

I wanted to get a Tilt Table Test done, but I haven’t yet. I feel like I keep taking shots in the dark and I don’t even know what type of specialist to see. I had a gastrointestinal check out my insides to see if maybe there was permanent damage from eating gluten but there was none. I’m not even sure if the food intolerance/cold intolerance/exercise intolerance is related to my fatigue at all. It feels like:

• Pressure on my head from the moment I wake up, and it gets worse when I sit up for a long period of time
• A hang over
• A brain fog which makes it hard to concentrate
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