Monday, 22 February 2016

Am I starting to Recover?

This is the question I keep asking myself. Is my tiredness getting better or worse? Strangely I do not know the answer. I have some good days and some bad days. Sometimes I am really optimistic and then the next day my optimism vanishes.  

Some symptoms are better than a couple of months ago and some worse. Looking at the good side first. My “brain fog” in the morning seems less bad. My mind seems a bit slow but at least I am capable of writing an email and doing some work. My resting pulse is a little lower than it was (but still higher than normal) and when I go for a gentle jog (I call it a jog not a run as it really is slow and my heart rate never gets above 120 beats a minute) it is easier than it was a couple of months ago. I am also sleeping better and have fewer headaches. Another good sign is that I sometimes feel anger again. For months if something was going wrong I would just get really sad and upset, now I sometimes get cross. I used to have a lot of anger, which I needed to keep a check on by going running and so to have it again is definitely a positive sign of returning to my old self.

 The main symptom that is worse is that I quite often feel dizzy, really light-headed, sometimes as if I am about to faint. Another really nasty symptom is that sometimes my heartbeat is really erratic. It can have three or four little beats really close together followed by a normal beat.  I also get these hot flushes, particularly when out jogging. This heat suddenly starts flowing through my body particularly my chest but sometimes my legs. 

The change of lifestyle I am finding to be reasonably easy. It is over two months since I had any alcohol, the long hard runs stopped a while ago. I am avoiding taking on any new things that will cause me stress and I feel much more on top of everything at work so much more relaxed. 

Overall, I knew it was going to take a long time to recover properly and I guess I just need to be patient but optimistic that I will fully recover.

The doctors are taking my problem seriously, which is good. My blood pressure and resting pulse are higher than normal so they know something is wrong but lots of test have shown no reasons for my fatigue and tiredness. It seems once they have ruled out everything else they are left with the only other thing matching my symptoms which is a mild form of Cronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Mild, because I can still function reasonably normally, including going for gentle jogs. It is nice to have a diagnosis (or will be when all the tests are finished) but it is not one I particularly like. It seems to me that the current state of medical knowledge is saying that we know there is something seriously wrong and there are other people with similar problems but at the moment we are not really sure what is causing it. This is why in my previous blog I liked the adrenal fatigue diagnosis (even if it is not a medically recognised condition). 

Thanks for all the comments from my previous blog and personal messages I have received. I really appreciate all of them and I am taking on-board everyone’s suggestions. It is great to hear from other people who have had similar tiredness and hear how they have recovered. 

To finish here are a couple of pictures when I have been out and enjoyed the occasional nice day we have had recently.



  1. Really interested in, and grateful for you blogging about, how this plays out Steve, thanks.

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  3. Hi Steve- I am a fell runner and local GP, I read your blog with interest. I am sure you are fed up with diagnostic suggestions but I have seen your symptoms in ultra runners before and referred them to a cardiologist for investigation of exercise induced arrhythmias - extreme athletes can get cardiac compensation changes in their heart that can make them prone to arrhythmias. This would not show up on a regular ECG, and needs a exercise induced ECG recording done and echo. If your GP has already covered this then great but I thought it was worth mentioning just in case. Hope you continue to recover. Natalie

  4. You're an in inspiration Steve and I wish you all the best. I was stopping at Wastwater Yha when you did the Wainrights and missed you by a few hours. An amazing achievement and by the sounds of it you're an amazing man.

  5. Thanks for the comments - I really appreciate them. Still no definite diagnosis from the doctors but I feel I am improving. I am expecting some dips but as long as the general path is that I am getting better then I am happy.

  6. Hi Steve, you don't know me but I am a fellow fell runner although a very limited one due to the same symptoms you mention above. I haven't told many of my running colleagues and hide behind the dodgy knees excuse. I'm sure you have received an overwhelming amount of responses from fellow runners but I feel I was motivated by your last post to contact you. Heart bouncing all over the place and bouts of ridiculous tiredness plague my life now but I manage them as well as I can. I cannot now plan any big adventures but still manage to get out and run the fells if I can have three times the rest in return for each outing. It's a pain but it helps me get through and be happier with having my running desires clipped. You will improve - perhaps your body is doing that 'three times as long to recover' thing - not very scientific but it generally fits. Btw I was up on clough head the day you were there in the cloud inversion. Your second to last post made me feel not quite so alone - up there enjoying it all but fighting the fatigue. Keep up the fight - but with intelligent gentleness x

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  8. Hi Steve, I saw your article in Trail Running mag. I had CFS for 8 years and 'recovered' 3 years ago but 'with limitations' as we call it. I have good and bad days, run when I can (slowly) but am unable to work because of the unpredictability of it. All the same things, palpitations, brain fog, fatigue and dizzy spells. Depressed and also angry sometimes. I got better (than I was) through Mickel Therapy which really helped a lot. I may not be who I was (in a previous life) but I'm doing my best!

    I hope you recover well, it does take time but be kind to yourself, it's braver to DNF than to finish and be wiped out. Best wishes, Ali


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