In the beginning
In the fall of 2013 I started to experience a variety of symptoms that included extreme fatigue (worsening 24/48 hours of activity), headaches, muscle ache & weakness as well intermittent dizziness.
It really stopped me in my tracks. I went from being able to juggle work, studying for my ICAEW exams, Chairing a local charity as well as having a very active social life; to being house bound (sometimes even bed bound), I felt like everything I had worked so hard to build was slowly slipping through my fingers.
My work & GP were great really supportive, I initially got signed off for a few weeks whilst we tried to figure out what was wrong, work straight away put me on a phased return (3 days a week & reduced hours) as well as getting an external vocational rehabilitation adviser involved.
This however was still too much I was calling in sick on a regular basis, getting frustrated at myself for not getting better or understanding what was going on. The GP ordered endless blood tests, all of which continually came back negative.
As things worsened my GP explained to me that she thought that I had CFS/ ME, but I needed to have yet more blood tests done as a process of elimination before she could make the diagnosis and refer me onto a specialised clinic.
Once these came back negative at the end of Jan 14, she made her diagnosis and I made the decision to get signed of work at the recommendation of my GP (something that I resisted up to this point). She wanted to sign me off initially for 3 months, but I was very taken back by this so compromised at 1 month, as at that point I was not psychologically ready take so much time off (I later got signed off for a further 2 months, taking my time off to around 3 1/2 months).
I was referred to the South West ME/CFS Clinic held in Frenchay Hospital, I got my referral through in March, but had to wait until June 14 to get my first appointment.
Having a supportive and understanding GP is essential, if you don’t my advise to you is keep switching until you find one that understands what you are going through.
I found the NHS website pretty useful in letting me know a bit more about the condition and what I should expect.