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ME/CFS South Australia Inc supports the needs of sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related illnesses. We do this by providing services and information to members.


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This article originally appeared in the June 1999 issue of Talking Point.

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Greg’s Story

Having had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for over 15 years following a major sinus operation in 1983, I feel my story may interest some sufferers, particularly those who cannot beat the illness even after long periods of time.

I realise that many people are affected much worse than I am with CFS (and other worse illnesses) and those sufferers need all the sympathy, understanding and help they can get.

This is definitely not intended to be a “woe is me” type story, it is a factual and honest account of my experience with CFS.

In the early 80’s ME/CFS diagnosis was new and naturally I found it quite frustrating to find out what was wrong with me. Was it just post operation fatigue. Was it just post operation fatigue, echo virus, a revisit to an earlier glandular fever, reaction to pesticide or herbicide use during my work, or stress from several sources, or what?

At the time of my sinus operation I was studying (by correspondence to Sydney) for completion of a Certificate in Hydrography (associated with water resource monitoring) which I commenced in 1975. Stress from examinations was high but workplace expectations, peer pressure and personal satisfaction dictated that the study continue. We were renovating and adding onto our house at the same time – suckers for punishment hey!

I had previously been very fit, having hobbies of skin diving, jogging, karate, playing guitar in bands etc. Looking back now, continuing some of these pastimes, may have contributed to me not recovering properly from the operation.

My worst year was 1985 which may have been complicated by the stress from the death of my father from lung cancer and by the move to city living after a job transfer from Mount Gambier for 12 months. During that year I had many days off work due to extreme fatigue symptoms and mind “fogginess” etc.

1992 presented more stress with job redundancy and after 2 years trying my hand at crayfishing, I decided to return to the family trade of the building industry. It has been quite some time since I have had time off work due to fatigue, but weekend are still most welcome and I try not to “overdo it” although this is not always possible. Luckily my symptoms still allow me to undertake most requirements of the building trade. These vary from concreting to computer drafting and include carpentry, roof plumbing, stone masonry, tiling, painting etc, with the heavy trades which require digging, lifting, and climbing naturally the most tiring.

Symptoms have changed in terms of the areas of my body it affects and fluctuated in severity, since the mid 80’s and continue to do so. At present the main ones include fatigue (of course!), twitching muscles, migraine type headaches, nausea, muscle tightness, feeling of heavy limbs, sore throat etc., and a peculiar stressed feeling in the shoulders and arms. Strangely, I very rarely develop a bad cold or flu which makes me wonder if my immune system is working overtime – if that is possible.

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