My name is Lizzie Fall, and I’m 18 and live in Roswell, Georgia. Basically I became sick at the beginning of junior year. Literally. I went to school the first week, feeling fine. My 16th birthday (August 29th,2010) I started feeling sick and my throat was killing me. The next week I found out I had mononucleosis and I was out of school until the end of November. I felt okay for a period of time. The second semester I lasted until about mid February and then the tiredness and all of the symptoms came back. In late May I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which most people develop after a viral illness. It’s an Invisible Illness because on the outside you look fine.
From then on I was homebound until summer.
In the summer I finally was free of worries and I focused on improving my physical endurance. I had played softball for years and years and I was incredibly competitive. I was a pitcher and I really missed it. So I started slowly training to get back into it! Things were going well until school started in August. I completely crashed. My body couldn’t handle going to school, having personal fitness class and then pitching softball for my high school’s varsity team. I was the lead pitcher and I had to stop playing after only 3 games because I couldn’t handle the physical toll. The first game I did great. The second game was okay but my speed was decreasing. The third game, I could only make it for like two innings before I felt like I was going to overheat and faint.
My coach was a demanding and said I just needed to get in better shape. He told me to do more running EVEN though I had been training my butt off for the entire summer. He didn’t understand and neither did my teammates. I was experiencing a lot of post exertional malaise. My doctor told me I was heading for another relapse if I didn’t stop playing but it was too late. I relapsed and was back in bed again.
After I stopped playing I finally had enough energy to do things again but not for long! In November I relapsed again and was homebound for the rest of the semester and it sucked.
During this time I figured out why I had been having so much trouble with exertion and heat exhaustion. It was because of dysautonomia. Dysautonomia often comes after a virus. In my case it was Epstein Barr.
I tried to go back to school at the beginning of this semester for TWO classes, and I couldn’t do it! So I said screw it let me just do everything online.
So that’s where I am now. People need to tell their story. Doctors need to be aware of this issue, and not assume it’s a psychological issue. More Doctors need training and guidelines on how to treat the disease. Can we please change the name to M.E. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis? The name CFS is not acceptable and extremely confusing.