I became ill in spring 2012 with a nondescript viral illness. This occurred at a time of heightened stress and I believe the combination triggered ME/CFS. I was erroneously prescribed an antibiotic — most likely penicillin or amoxicillin — for what was probably a viral illness, and I feel this may have played a role in me developing a long-term illness.
For several years I was mostly mildly fatigued and had some mild muscle pain. But I knew something more sinister had occurred as I had onset of tinnitus in my left ear just a couple of weeks after first starting to feel ill, along with several other minor but unexplained symptoms.
I was still in full-time work and exercising regularly until the end of 2016. My symptoms were startling to increase in severity and I knew I needed some time out. It was around this time that my symptoms became consistent with ME/CFS. I started a new position after a period of 8 months out of work, but it was too much; within months I was down to part time and really struggling. I finished the short-term contract working mostly from home and struggling to spend much time in front of a computer due to extreme fatigue, vision issues, and a feeling like my brain just wasn’t able to keep up and process information correctly.
Rough timeline of diagnoses and symptoms (non-exhaustive)
2009/2010: Raynaud’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), periods of heart palpitations.
April/May 2012: Fatigue, general pain, tinnitus (left ear), swollen cervical lymph node, dry eyes, infrequent and intermittent numbness in fingers on waking from sleep.
Spring 2015: Appendectomy for granulomatous appendicitis.
From autumn 2016: Exertional intolerance and post-exertional malaise (PEM), muscle tenderness, sore throat (especially on waking), tender lymph nodes, worsening fatigue, light swelling and darkening around eyes, infrequent and intermittent localized numbness on surface of left leg on waking, muscle spasms/twitching, stiffness (particularly in the thoracic spine, left side of neck and upper chest), sensation of internal vibration/tremor, ‘tired but wired’.
2018: Onset of vision / visual processing issues (illusory palinopsia (afterimages), blur, visual strain, photophobia (light sensitivity), floaters), stiffness in right thumb joint, onset of tinnitus in right ear, nocturnal bruxism and associated jaw issues.