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Endymion
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/9/2005 8:34 PM (GMT -7)   
G'day.

For years I've suffered from hypochondria - I believed 'something' was wrong with me but as those who were supposed to know what that ‘something’ was could find nothing physical they gave it the impressive Greek name hypochondria, prescribed whatever the last drug-company rep through the door had sworn was the latest treatment for it, and with one eye on the clock called out “next”.

Now it seems to me that what I have might be CFS – from what I read on the Web I can say ‘yup’ to some tho’ not all of the symptoms – although as far as I can tell the cause, symptoms and cure of CFS today are as ephemeral as were those of ‘hysteria’ to Doc Holliday in 1881 Dodge City.

I am confident if I suggested to my GP that I had CFS she would probably agree, deciding privately that I was happier calling my hypochondria “CFS” that’s fine by her. She would probably still want to prescribe Prozac for the depression, diclofenacs for the muscle-pain and the latest snake-oil from Pfizer, Merck or Dow for a good night’s sleep, and she would still want her NZ$40 consultation fee under our ‘free’ health service even after my telling her yet again that I’m not going to swallow pills, potions and poisons that, at best, merely mask the symptoms while ensuring I remain a good customer of the pharmaceutical industry – and I can say that with some confidence having been a loyal, passive customer of the said industry for >30-years.

Change my GP? We are lucky to have just the one. Here in the Third-world that is rural New Zealand GPs need the vocation of a saint, the machochism for work of a bee and a willingness to embrace the poverty of a Buddha to practise at all – Doctors are leaving the country in droves for vastly higher-paid posts in the US, the UK, Australia and Japan. Even a fifteen-minute appointment with her is a four-hour round trip for me so it’s not something I do every week. If I ever have to go to hospital it’s a helicopter trip, so round here you don’t have a heart-attack on a dark-and-stormy night.

Nor can I blame her. She hasn’t the time to keep up with the cutting edge of medicine, nor to research vague and woolly conditions like “CFS” just for me. She’s too busy delivering babies and prescribing Viagra on behalf of good-ol’ Eli. Eight months ago she referred me to a specialist for further investigation of my ‘dizzy spells’ – which she thinks might be migranous tho’ I don’t have conventional migranes and which I suspect might be mild frontal lobe epilepsy tho’ CFS is such a catch-all that they might be part of that, too – and I’m still awaiting a preliminary appointment, at an hospital that’s an eight-hour drive away!

So as far as I am concerned vis-à-vis my GP I’m on my own. Researching CFS on the Net I’ve found a sure-fire cure via a book which would cost me US$29.95, or a guaranteed cure via an elixir @ US$50 a bottle (which also apparently cures cancer and every other disease known to man except, it seems, gullibility.) Yet the Net is also empowering. 10-years ago I would never even have been able to suspect my hypochondria might also be called CFS (or chronic Epstein-Barr virus disease, or chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, or epidemic neuromyesthenia, or myalgic encephalomyelitis), let alone research what is not known about it.

And, thanks to the Net and sites like this, I’m not completely on my own any more.

Williamm1985
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/9/2005 10:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Just wanted to say Hi. I also have CFS. I would be care when ordering those meds you are talking about. From all the research I have done there really is no surefire cure. Many things help different people and as long as there are no ill effects there fine to take. Im just saying becareful and research it before you take it. Its late where I am, I check back again tommarow

Endymion
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/10/2005 5:58 PM (GMT -7)   
G’day Williamm1985.

Thanks for that.

Be assured, I am not going to order the book or the ‘elixir’. If I reject what the doctor orders on the grounds that I have no confidence in it I’m hardly likely to spend money on unknown substances or quack philosophies available on the internet!

I note your statement that “I also have CFS.” I myself don’t claim to have CFS, just a number of symptoms that are part of a bundle presently conveniently swept together by the medical profession under a carpet called CFS , and would like to know how you are so certain you do ‘have’ it. Because your doctor told you?

Here are a couple of stories. Check the facts if you don’t believe me.

Ancient Rome was ‘plagued’ by an illness that seemed to affect everyone regardless of age, wealth or status. Its symptoms were anaemia, weakness, constipation, stomach pain, lassitude and often a paralysis of the wrists and ankles. (CFS, anyone?) Roman physicians blamed it on ‘noxious vapours’ from the River Tiber and could only prescribe a spell in the countryside away from the river which often did temporarily alleviate the symptoms of those able to leave the city for such spells and so seemed to confirm the diagnosis. In fact the Romans used lead to make pipes for the city’s water supply (“plumbing” comes from the latin for lead, plumbum) and the cause of the illness was almost certainly widespread, chronic lead poisoning which no-one then knew anything about.

In the 19th Century eminent, qualified, respectable physicians in Europe and the US firmly believed in a ‘disease’ of females they called hysteria. The symptoms included a wide range of presentations including what we now call PMT, post-natal depression, excessive sexual desire, no desire for sex, headaches, ‘emotionalism’, wind, painful menstruation and in fact anything nowadays covered by the term ‘women’s complaint’. The condition was seriously believed to have been caused by a ‘dislodging’ of the uterus and the treatment prescribed was the manipulation the patient’s genitals in order to produce a ‘sexual paroxysm’ which would cause the uterus to return to its proper place. Thus in towns and cities throughout the US and Europe desperate, depressed, sick women would attend doctors surgeries to be given an orgasm by manipulation, (and there were even mechanical devices marketed to doctors for the purpose). I kid you not.

I, personally, class “CFS” under that and all its other names, with ‘vapours from the River Tiber’ and 19th Century women’s ‘hysteria’. In both cases (and in many others) the doctors concerned meant well, probably genuinely believed what they had been taught and what their peers subscribed to, and did their best – or even if they knew in their own hearts it was a load of hogs-wash they didn’t have a clue what else to do. Yet for the patient’s sake they had to do something and as long as it ‘did no harm’ anything was better than nothing and probably even better if they could do it with a show of confidence. (“So slip off your drawers, my dear, and hop up onto the couch while I set up the machine. It’s the latest model from the Chatanooga Tenn. Vibrator Company, you know, and it cost $200 so success is guaranteed!”)

Twenty years ago my doctors labelled what I felt ‘hypochondria’ and tried to persuade me it was all in my mind. When I disagreed they spent a decade trying with drugs like Prozac to numb my mind into believing them. Now at least they’ve given it a name which makes it real to them, which is a major advance but in fact does nothing more than put them in the position of those Roman or 19th Century physicians who, because they’ve put a name to something, think they’ve conquered it.

I see no point asking my GP if I have CFS for even if she agreed it would tell me nothing. As best as I can tell from the web there is no certainty as to what causes CFS, no agreement as to the symptoms and certainly no consensus as to the cure. So trusting your doctor is a case of the blind leading the blind.

Where we differ from the Romans, and from those 19th Century women, is that the Internet empowers us. We are no-longer individual patients standing alone and helpless against the massive, fumbling, one-eyed Cyclops that is the medical profession but, by sharing our thoughts and experiences, can help ourselves. For me my doctor is just a diagnostic tool, an expert I employ – one I trust to be honest, but not necessarily right!

Williamm1985
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/12/2005 12:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi,

I agreed with all the stuff you said. I think all my symptoms are not caused by 1 thing, but rather a bunch of stuff and labeled as CFS. I have seen over 15 doctors in the past year. Some say its CFS, some says its depression, some says it anxiety and some just dont know. I am not completely sure of what I have and am not sure. So I guess by saying that "I have CFS" it makes it simpler. I really have something wrong with me but am not sure what it is. If you would like to chat more eon AIM or MSN messanger let me know , it would be nice
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