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Chronic Fatigue

Chronic Fatigue - The Victim
Tim had heard vaguely of Chronic Fatigue, but like most people, he referred to it contemptuously as “Yuppie flu,” and considered it a good excuse for those who were afraid of some hard work. Intelligent and ambitious himself, he had left college with a degree in Mathematics, and had been fortunate in being offered a good job by one of the top financial advisory companies in the country. He found his job both exciting and challenging and in just over a year had received his first promotion.

One day, however, Tim started to notice a change. At the end of the day, he expected to be tired, but with energy left to go out and enjoy himself. Now he found himself not only without the energy to enjoy the evening, but having to go to bed earlier than usual. Although previously a sound sleeper, he now had difficulty sleeping and would awake just as tired as when he went to bed. Other strange symptoms were also beginning to appear. When his boss commented on his memory not being as good as it was and that his concentration seemed to be slipping, he decided it was time to see the doctor.

Chronic Fatigue - The Doctor
Having listened to Tim’s story, the doctor produced a list of symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and asked if he could identify any of these. They were:

  • Constant headaches
  • Non-refreshing sleep
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired concentration
  • Pain in joints
  • Slight fever
  • Tenderness and swelling in neck or armpit
  • Aching muscles
  • Constant slight sore throat
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling worse after exercise
  • Tired beyond what is normal after minimal exertion (Chronic Fatigue)
  • Times of total exhaustion so intense that it resulted in a feeling of illness, although no physical symptoms could be found.
Tim was able to recognize all of the symptoms, as those he had been experiencing.

Diagnosis - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - The New Plague
The “new plague” is one of the names given to this mysterious illness now known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Doctors and researchers suspect that it has been around for many years, to a lesser degree, and known by different names. However a sudden upsurge of victims in the 1980s caused the medical world to start taking a serious interest and to give it the name of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as Chronic Fatigue (overwhelming exhaustion) was the most dominant symptom. It varies in intensity from victim to victim. Some experience mild symptoms and are able to cope, while others are having to remain at home, unable to work, due to the effect it has on their memory and concentration and in constantly zapping their energy levels. Some sufferers have benefited from taking supplements, (such as vitamins, iron tablets, etc.) and some have found supplements of no use at all. A great many have become severely depressed. Unfortunately, there is no known cure.

Chronic Fatigue – A Personal Story
I was first diagnosed as having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2001. I loved my job, life was good, and suddenly I was being crippled by this debilitating illness.

I left work immediately, as my memory and concentration were getting worse by the day, and pushing myself and trying to improve only seemed to make matters worse. I couldn’t understand why God had allowed this awful thing to happen to me. As each day at home passed, spent either lying in bed feeling extremely ill or just sitting around, I came close to despair. Then I began to develop aches and pains in my joints and muscles, particularly in my limbs. It became obvious that what had begun as just Chronic Fatigue Syndrome had now developed into its “big brother” -- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (known as M.E.).

I had now reached the bottom of my pit of helplessness and my frustration and misery were complete. That was when God stepped in, and for the first time, I began to sense His closeness and loving concern for me. I also began to sense that He was gently teaching me that I was not at a standstill but on a journey. The misery-makers, frustration, helplessness, and my constant battle with despair were in fact His tools for strengthening my faith and trust in Him. Added to this, God was also teaching me through this experience to learn how to cultivate patience and endurance -- something I had a very small stock of up until now! I began to read in the Bible more regularly and made some important discoveries.

Concerning endurance, I read that “Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36). Concerning patience, my greatest weapon against frustration, “So let it (patience) grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything” (James 1:4).

Armed with these wonderful promises, I was able to walk closely with the Lord through this wilderness trip, and finally the day came when I was wonderfully healed of the illness. Ephesians 3:20 expressed all that I felt: “Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.”

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