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Excerpt from Chapter Four
'The New Me"


    "I believe the first change that I noticed in my life was the fact that endurance was a thing of the past. I would walk to the mailbox and return out of breath. I would get in the floor, tossing a ball to my cat, and have to sit down exhausted. If I stood in one spot too long, such as talking to a friend, I would get lightheaded and exhausted. If I lifted anything, such as a garbage bag, it felt as if it weighed a ton. I would go to the grocery store and find it hard to carry the little plastic basket around. No offense to anyone else, but to someone like me, this was degrading. I mean, a former US Army infantryman, drill sergeant, SWAT cop, who cannot carry the stupid little grocery basket around without getting exhausted! I can most certainly say that this was not in my head.

    I think what really made me angry was the fact that this all happened within a short amount of time. Barely three months ago, I was a hard-core SWAT team member and a fitness nut. Oh yes, I ate right, exercised everyday, and took my supplements. I wasn't supposed to be sick, but I was. I had finally met my match, and I couldn't even see, touch, or hear it. It was my invisible waterloo.

    So now, I had to learn my limitations when it came to muscular and cardiovascular endurance. I had never really had any such limitations, so it was quite inconvenient. In the past, there was nothing that I could not do physically. Sure, I was battling an arthritic condition, but I didn't even let that stop me. As I told my doctor, CFIDS is worse than arthritis in my opinion. I had to begin planning my activities around how much strength I had on that particular day.

    There were good days and bad days, but the endurance aspect seemed to never change. I tried everyday to walk or jog in a circle that I had laid out behind my house. It exhausted me and made me sick every time that I tried, but I kept pushing. The sad part was that I never showed any improvement. I was used to training hard and seeing my run time drop as I got into better shape. Now, nothing would change. I could make it for a few measly minutes before I had to stop. In all of my years with the military and SWAT, I never fell out of a run. Now, it is a common occurrence. Of course, in the military we would run six or more miles at a time. I was now struggling to walk a hundred yards."

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Living with the Unknown
Writers Club Press, an imprint of iUniverse, Inc.
Material Copyright © 2002 Brian Voncannon
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