Case Study on Fibromyalgia (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Hundreds if not thousands of articles have been written trying to explain the causes of Fibromyalgia. Originally, Fibromyalgia was thought to be a psychiatric illness, but more recently, research has shown that there are physical changes in individuals with Fibromyalgia that indicate a viral illness. The depression, memory loss, chronic fatigue, mental confusion, muscle and joint aches and pains that so many people with this disease suffer from are actually spread like the common cold! In fact, my quest into the origins of this disease began when it almost ended my medical practice.
My Battle and Conquering of Fibromyalgia by Daniel C. Dantini, M.D.
I first began to feel the effects of Fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue in 1986. Prior to its onset, I was leading a busy and satisfying life, feeling great and working hard.
My Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Symptoms started gradually. I began to feel very tired. I made all kinds of excuses for it. I was now in my forties and thought maybe I was just getting old. I would go to sleep right after work, waking up only to have dinner, and then go right back to sleep for the night. In the morning, the cycle would start all over. Eventually, I had a couch put in my office so I could sleep between surgery and office hours. I would just literally pass out for about two hours every day in the middle of the workday. I had very little time for my family, for myself, or for anything except sleeping, eating and going to work. It was a complete reversal of my previous life, and nothing like I had thought my life would be.
To make matters worse, new symptoms began developing within months. I started to get frequent headaches, night sweats, and irritable bowel. In addition, my muscles and joints started to feel heavy, weak and sore. For me, however, the fatigue was the dominant symptom. It was taking an enormous toll on my life. One particularly stressful incident made me realize that my constant state of exhaustion had reached a dangerous - and potentially fatal - level.
One winter night about 6 p.m., I had taken my usual two-hour nap and finished my office hours. I was driving home, and passed out at the wheel. When I woke up, I had veered into the center median and was zipping along at about 60 MPH, heading for a cement culvert. I got the car stopped just in time, but the shocking near-accident was a defining moment for me. I realized without question that I had to do something about my condition.
Initially, I thought my symptoms were the result of food allergies. In truth, food allergies do play a huge role in Fibromyalgia. Rather than being a cause of the condition, however, many allergies actually develop as a result of the viral infections. At that point, I had done quite a bit of allergy research, beginning in 1972 with my Otolaryngology (ENT) residency at the University of Pittsburgh.
So changing my diet did help alleviate the initial symptoms of Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, but there was still something missing. After my near-accident, I became aggressive in looking for anything and everything that might help me discover the cause of my ongoing symptoms.
At this time, testing became available in a research setting for different viruses. We had known that these virus types caused Burkitt's lymphoma, which is an infection of the white cells and was causing cancer in blacks in Africa. I wasn't concerned that I had cancer, but I knew that I was not feeling well. I had the test, and the results came back way off the board. So, I knew I had these viruses, but I didn't know what to do with the information.
As luck would have it, a pharmaceutical representative came to my office who had heard about research going on in Europe for herpes class viruses. I started taking antivirals in large doses. Since my food allergies had also changed, I began to think maybe there was an association between changes in food allergies and some underlying problem that wasn't so obvious, such as a virus
After six months of avoiding my key delayed food allergies and taking the antiviral medications, I was feeling like myself again. The person without pain and fatigue, the one I had forgotten even existed. I currently have a thriving practice in Northeastern Florida. My practice consists of treating ear, nose, and throat problems, food allergy testing, and facial plastic surgery. I have also now treated thousands of patients from all over the country with Fibromyalgia, beginning with myself.
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