A brief timeline 1996-2003…

1996- I first started experiencing fatigue. The fatigue would common phases and last anywhere from a week to a month. This still plagues me to this day. I can sleep anywhere from 8-16 hours a day and never feel refreshed. My husband and I joke that if sleeping were an Olympic event I’d win the gold! I also started experiencing pain in my joints, especially my wrists, that was so intense there were times I would just cry because I couldn’t hold a pen, make a peanut butter sandwich or even was my hands with our excruciating pain.

1997- My Doctor sends me to a Rheumatologist for a Carpal Tunnel exam. Surprise, the results are negative. Everything continues on except now the depression starts setting in from dealing with these symptoms all the time. There were nights I would curl up on the bathroom vanity in my apartment and hug my cat Merlin and just cry for hours. Luckily there was a bright spot that year. In October I met my husband, Jerry.

1998- Well, the year keeps going and I catch everything that goes around. If someone so much as sniffles around me, I’m out for the next week with a fever. I am diagnosed with Asthma (incorrectly) and have Sinusitis and Bronchitis at least twice a year.

1999- Symptoms still running amuck, but Jerry decides to marry me on St Patrick’s Day anyway. At this point I have just learned to live with everything the best I can and no one really knows how miserable I feel.

2000- Well new insurance means a new Primary Physician. Despite having seen more Dr’s than I care to count over the years, this one thinks I have Fibromyalgia and sends me to a new Rhuematologist who confirms diagnosis. Finally, a name for my pain.

2001- Having a lot of nausea and stomach pain. Finally end up in the ER on July 4, thinking my appendix had burst or something else that was going to kill me. Turns out my Gall Bladder has decided it wants to be evicted. That was the worst pain I could imagine! So a week later I say “Goodbye old pal” and bid farewell to this mysterious little green organ.

2001-2003 I still am having boughts of pain and fatigue. I have tried every arthritic medication known to man (much to my insurance companies delight). I still catch every bug that goes around. In 2003 alone, I spent weeks in February, May, August and November sick and on antibiotics.

Well that takes us into 2004… The year of the Cancer!