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Chronic Fatigue Message Board

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The past 3 years of my life have been a nightmare. I'm a 29 year old University Graduate with a commercial pilot license (multi-engine, IFR rated) and job experience as a teacher overseas. I started getting symptoms three years ago consistent with all the criteria for Lyme (although at the time I knew nothing about the disease and was unaware of any connection). They effected me greatly in my job at the time (pilot/general lodge worker) at a fishing lodge (headaches, forgetfulness, confusion, fatigue etc) and after several months and realizing this wasn't going away anytime soon I saw my family doctor. He diagnosed me immediately with having clinical depression (I was depressed at the time but I think in large part to the previous few months) and I started on anti-depressants. They did nothing for me initially and my troubles continued. I was having such disorientation, headaches and confusion I didn't feel confident in my ability to fly anymore and decided to go to Korea and teach English for a year in the hopes that things would improve. Although the job required considerably less mental focus and ability my symptoms continued to be terrible and I would routinely forget things and find myself feeling and acting in ways uncharacteristic of how I normally am. In addition to the extreme cognitive impairment and headaches I was always fatigued, often felt extremely irritable, and had flu like symptoms at least 80% of the time. The depression seemed alleviated during much of the beginning of my stay but I don't believe the anti-depressant ever did anything else for me.

Near the end of my contract I started getting horrible pain below my chest and one day while teaching in front of the children I fainted. At the hospital I was told I had an appendicitis (most likely this was a false diagnosis) and it was removed. Later after returning home I had another operation removing my gall batter (likely what caused the pain prior).

After finishing the contract and returning home I was a complete mess with all the same symptoms I had before I left. As a result I was determined to find out what was wrong. In searching I found lyme disease was consistent with nearly every symptom I had. I brought up the subject to my doctor and his response was "the likelihood of lyme or some other type of infection is so small it is not worth testing". After being referred to a neurologist I was told it is still likely depression and I should either increase my dosage of medication or switch to something else. Unsatisfied with what I perceived to be a closed minded approach to a serious health problem I sought out a doctor in the area that had dealt with the disease a lot and had him order the tests. The results came back with a positive test for both ehrlichiosis and bartonella and negative for lyme. Despite the negative lyme result the doctor told me I have all the clinical symptoms of lyme disease and he started me on anti-biotics (said false negatives are common). It's been about a month now on the anti-biotics and while at times I seem to feel better I don't think there has been any significant improvement.

After hearing the results of my tests my family doctor (the one who wouldn't order the tests) has become more helpful and is referring me to another neurologist and a bacterial infection specialist.

Complicating matters is the discovery that my girlfriend tested positive for Chlamydia recently. I met her after my symptoms started in Korea and am 100% certain she has not had relations with any other men while dating me (and with only one person prior to meeting me). I can only assume that she got it from me (I took a test recently and am awaiting the results) and I am trying as hard as I can to make sense of all this. It makes me wonder if I have numerous other infections which I haven't been tested for.

Could there be a connection? I have heard that Chlamydia has been found present in a high number of CFS sufferers (which like lyme disease correlates extremely high with my symptoms). If so then what do the ehrlichiosis and bartonella positive tests mean? Could it be my immune system is completely messed up and I'm just susceptible to every type of bacterial infection out there? What steps should I take from here because my symptoms are terrible (I can't work or deal with the day to day demands of life) and I don't know what else to do?

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