Dr. A, the doctor we saw yesterday, called me this morning. She had obviously looked through Jessica's records and she said she'd done some research, and she believes Jessica has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Most of the criteria for CFS says fatigue for 6 months, and we're in our 5th month, so the doctor said let's wait another month to be sure, and maybe she'll get better within that next month.
The primary symptoms for CFS as reported from the Center for Disease Control are:
- difficulties with memory and concentration
- problems with sleep
- persistent muscle pain
- joint pain (without redness or swelling)
- tender lymph nodes
- increased malaise (fatigue and sickness) following exertion
- sore throat
Dr. A wants us to do the saliva test to check her adrenal functions, saying this was still a symptom in CFS. She would then give her a low dose of hydrocortisone to boost her adrenals to produce their own steroids as they're supposed to.
She still wants to do the allergy testing, saying that allergy symptoms overlap. But we're not wanting to do that. (See yesterday.)
She said herbs can be given to improve the immune system. But she would only give one thing at a time so we'd know what was working, and wants to start with the hydrocortisone.
Dr. A did suggest that Jessica try to do a little exercise each day to prevent atrophy or the loss of muscle. We have cut back on Jessica doing much of anything because it seemed if she did much of anything, she'd be down the next day.
She also said that anti-depressants are used to treat CFS. Not for depression but for the illness. As Dr. A said (and it's nice to hear someone notice this), Jessica is not depressed. Jessica is bright and has hope!
In fact, at church last night, Matthew was given a new Bible, and Jessica started flipping through randomly looking for hopeful messages. She then looked up heal and healed in the index, and ended up with this: "Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment." (Matthew 9:22)
Added at 5:00p.m.: Jessica's had a pretty good day! I asked her if she felt normal today, and she said she didn't know. I think she's forgotten what normal is. She's seemed almost normal today to me. Though she did say late this afternoon that she's tired, her head hurts and her throat hurts.
The homebound teacher is here now, and she's doing wonders to get her caught up!
Good news - The dance team teacher has agreed to let Jessica do book work for the rest of her P.E. credit for the year, so she won't have to make it up. She sent home a physical education book (from 1953!) without questions, and Jessica is to outline 5 chapters.