Recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
by Bruce Campbell

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Table of Contents

      Introduction
  1: What Do
      I Do?
  2: Multiple
      Strategies
  3: My Unique
      Situation
  4: Is Recovery
      Realistic?

  5: Loss

  6: Self-Help
      Program
  7: Energy
      Envelope
  8: Pacing
  9: Rest
10: Records
11: Exercise
12: Relapses
13: Stress
14: Emotions
15: Support
16: Recovery
17: Lessons
18: What About You?
 

Bruce Campbell's CFIDS/FM Self-Help Program


16: Recovery or Just Remission?

Four years after being struck by CFS, I had improved enough to consider myself recovered. I lived a normal life for a person of my age and had resumed taking long hikes (my personal measure of recovery). But I found myself haunted by new questions: Will my improved health last? Have I truly recovered or am I just experiencing a remission? Will I ever be able to see my improvement as permanent?

When I re-visited this chapter in 2010, nine more years had past and I could still report that I was enjoying good health [true in 2017 as well]. If anything, my improvement had continued. Sometimes I was able to do more than I did before CFS came into my life. Pre-CFS, I enjoyed hiking trips on which I walked 15 to 17 miles a day. In the fall of 2003, I had a three-day hiking trip on which I walked 18 miles a day. In 2009, I celebrated turning 65 by taking a hiking trip of more than 160 miles. If I can do that and not experience CFS symptoms, I am a very lucky person.

On the other hand, I experience mild symptoms of CFS at times, usually brain fog triggered by crowds and noisy places. My response on such occasions is to leave the setting and, sometimes, to take a brief rest. This experience suggests that I have not banished CFS entirely, even if it is dormant most of the time. A good description of me would be a recovered PWC (person with CFS), meaning that CFS is not gone but rather controlled.

What about the future: will my recovery last? I think of the permanence of my recovery in terms of probability, rather than as a yes or no proposition. It is likely that the more time passes without a relapse, the more the odds tilt in favor of permanent recovery, but probability is not certainty. I expect to remain sensitive to my body and responsive to its signals. And I am very grateful for my second chance to have a normal life.