My name is Renee and I'd like to tell you a bit about myself since I feel like I know many of you already from all of your postings. I was recently diagnosed with CFIDS after almost two years of tests and hassle. I have spent most of my adult life working in the medical field in some capacity so it was amazing to me that it could be so inaccurate in finding the cause of my symptoms when they were so very real to me. I had my second child in February of 2001. This little guy NEVER slept. He was up all of the time and I knew that I was getting run down but I thought that I could combat my general fatigue by merely getting naps whenever I could and eating healthy foods. I got a bit of a bug in late spring of that year---headache, achy bod, sore throat, ears were clogged and sore. Well, the ears unclogged for the most part--I think I did a cycle of antibiotics but I don't recall for certain, but the rest stayed. I also started getting very dizzy with what people call vertigo. I'd had dizziness and headaches a few years back (1998) that sent me to a local neurologist who did an MRI, ENG, and sinus x-ray but everything was normal/negative. The neurologis chalked it all up to stress and put me on an analgesic for the headaches and Ativan for the stress. I took them as directed for several months before deciding that I didn't want to be medicated all the time and simply stopped taking the Ativan which was not especially fun. The analgesic I used as needed for headaches since Motrin or Tylenol didn't work on these bad boys at all. I figured I should follow up with a neuro since the headaches and dizziness seemed similar to those in '98 but I didn't want to see the same guy that just wanted to dope me. The new neuro ran another MRI to compare and that was also negative. By this time I was also complaining of aching and fatigue as well as a numbness/ weakness/tingling in my left arm and sometimes even my calves. He did an EMG, auditory testing, CT of head, sent me for a cardiac workup which showed a borderline mvp but nothing else.I also had this weird test where I lay on a table in a darkened room where the tech asked me questions while pouring running water in my ears. The only thing these tests turned up was a minor vestibular disturbance in my left ear. Soooo, nothing wrong. No MS. I was pretty convinced that I had MS from searching these symptoms on the internet but the neuro said that the MRI is very good at ruling it out. I went back to my primary care physician (pcp)in June. My primary was a physician that I had worked with for many years who I considered to also be a friend. We ran a bunch of blood work including the tests for Epstein Barr and thyroid.At this point I was adding sore lymph nodes and major fatigue to the list. Nothing. In August, I got the "mystery rash" that was plaguing a lot of area schools. I saw a dermatologist for that who diagnosed me with fifth's disease (parvo). He ran blood for that as well as a rheumatoid test and a test for Lupus...I think he also ran an ANA. Parvo was positive. The parvo got my joints aching and a fever. These went away in about ten days. It did, however, represent itself again about three weeks later which seemed odd but I dismissed it. In September I had my first real "episode". I can't really explain how bad I feel and I guess I don't have to with you folks. I found out the REAL meaning of fatigue--and it's not just "tired". I was so dizzy that I could barely stand or lift my head. The headache wasn't AS bad as it had been in the past but I hurt from head to toe and was very depressed and anxious. I could barely swallow. My legs were "weak" and trembly. I placed weak in quotes because even though my left arm and legs felt weak, I hadn't actually lost any strength in them. I could carry the baby or lift a jug of milk but I was BEAT. I took quite a bit of time off from work over the next six weeks. That was, by far, my worst episode. I've had milder ones since then but nothing like that one. I went to the pcp again and he tried to tell me that I might have allergies and gave me some samples of Zyrtec! I left and decided to switch practices. I went to see another doctor that I had worked for. He is an internist as well as an infectious disease specialist. He's probably one of the bigger Lyme disease specialists in the North East. I had been tested for Lyme, by the way, but he did more extensive tests as well as repeating the thyroid, rheumatoid, blood sugar testing, and cbc. I was complaining about a new pain in my hip area that hurt when I walked mostly. I went to see a ortho for this at pcp's suggestion. We did x-rays--negative. I had a CT of the lower abdomen since he was concerned that it was more in the groin area. I also saw the ob/gyn who did an exam and an ultrasound. All negative. Then I had a MRI of the abdomen and even a bone scan! Negative. Well, bone scan showed some arthrits in my neck. Neck didn't hurt til he told me that! I went back to my primary---thoroughly defeated. I said that for the most part, the dizziness and headaches were controllable. I was not having restful sleep at all but I didn't want to take sleeping pills. I was concerned that my hip was hurting and my lymphs---it just seemed like one thing after another. He asked me if my throat always felt as though I was about to get a cold--a little sore. I said yes. He said " I think we're getting into the dangerous area of chronic fatigue". I said, "That's real?" He said that of course it is real. I said that I'd had the test for Epstein Barr and it was negative....the other pcp said that was a test for chronic fatigue. New pcp said that is not the case at all. I left there and went home to read what the CDC had to say about this Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There is NO question in my mind that I have this. It may sound silly but I was actually relieved at first. I felt like I'd finally found a reason why I would have all of these symptoms but that "nothing was wrong" with me according to diagnostics. Since then---that was around January, I've been reading everything I can get my hands on. You guys are the best there is. I consider myself lucky to have had it as easy as I have compared to some of you! I hope I can contribute to your site with as much quality information as some of you have and that I can offer my support to whoever may share this horrible diagnosis. I'm just outside of Philadelphia, PA. I'm doing ok right now although I was recently told that my borderline mvp is now mvp with some mild regurgitation so I'm concerned about that. I started taking some vitamins from Prohealth last Thursday that are supposed to be for CFS/FM and I actually have a little more energy. I learn something new every day, mostly thanks to all of you. So, I want to thank you all and let you know that if there is ever anything I can do or say to help out--- I'm here. I'm a network engineer now, computer specialist for the last five years, so I'm available to help out in that respect as well. I only say that because it's obvious that you all need computers to maintain this contact and it's always helpful to know the "specialties" available in a community. At this point I'm trying to figure out which direction to go in now....I know there are some additional tests that I should have but I'm not sure what they are specifically so I don't want to run off to the primary having bloodwork, willy-nilly. I don't know if I want to see a naturalist ( spelling) or not. I shy away from pharmaceuticals for the most part but I don't know if I'm convinced that everything can be controlled/cured by natural means alone. I'm just kind of soaking it all in right now-- trying to find my way. Thank you all, ever so much, for the support you didn't even know you were giving me! Renee'