So guys, I'm at a loose end and could do with some advice on a long-standing condition I just can't get to the bottom of.
In 2008, after a night out, I woke up with what I thought was an almighty hangover. It wasn't. But whatever it was laid me low for a couple of weeks, with abdominal pain, joint pain, headaches etc.
Blood tests were all fine.
It dissipated to a point where it was just an inconvenience - I essentially thought I was fine again.
But around a year later, I suddenly found myself getting tired. Not complete exhaustion, but that I was able to pretty much what I want to do, but knowing my limits.
Until last year, with the exception of two weeks in six years in which I was off because I was burnt-out, that meant I was able to continue working as a journalist in a very busy, stressful newsroom, doing a job I love.
In August, however, I felt more exhausted. I developed some kind of IBS, and went back to my doctors. A new raft of blood tests were ordered, which revealed nothing - except off the scale cortisol levels.
I carried on working and last month, an endocrinologist ruled out Cushings Syndrome and discharged me, and said my cortisol had come down into very top end of the acceptable range.
This week, I signed myself off work for the week - I'm just so tired. Now I'm on a mission to work out what's wrong with me and fix it!
So, at the moment, my main symptoms are this:
Exhaustion - doesn't matter how much sleep I get
(New) Joint cracking - my body is popping like a box of rice crispies, especially grinding in my neck and popping in my shoulders
(New) Slight muscle aches - in my legs.
Blepheritis around my eyes, and dark circles
Lots of floaters in my eyes
I guess the questions I'm trying to have answered are these:
Could it be this? If I really did have CFS would I have been able to work for eight years as a journalist/news editor in an insanely stressful office, with just a couple of weeks off here and there when I 'burn out'? Surely post-exertional malaise wouldn't allow it?
I've been on holidays and travelled with work and been pretty much fine.
If it was CFS would my cortisol levels be so high?
Have I caused these symptoms myself by constantly worrying about them, and stewing over everything and analysing every little thing that feels wrong?
I'm sick of being sick - but like I say, I have a job I like and an amazing partner.
I'd love to know your thoughts.
I'm going back to my GP next week, I'd love to know what blood tests I should demand.
I'm tempted to go on pills for anxiety/depression to see. Which ones would be best?