Research included 25 people who were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome 25 years ago. Of those people, 5 still met diagnostic criteria for the illness while 20 did not.
However, researchers found that the 20 who were considered in remission were significantly more impaired than healthy controls, and 17 of them weren't significantly less impaired than the 5 who still met the criteria.
What this shows is that even those who make improvements over time are unlikely to return to their pre-illness levels of function. Researchers say this underscores the need for better treatments.
While this study may make you feel hopeless, it shouldn't. We need to keep in mind that most of the study participants had made improvements, and a few of them made clinically significant improvements. That's important.
Second, studies like this help show what you're really up against when you have chronic fatigue syndrome, and they're part of the re-education of the medical community that we so desperately need.
I have fibromyalgia and not chronic fatigue syndrome, but my experience reflects the study results. (While we can't compare the 2 conditions across the board, they're similar enough that I don't consider comparisons to be "apples and oranges." More like, "grapefruits and oranges.")
I am considered "in remission," and yet I do have lingering symptoms that keep me from being as functional as I used to be. So why do people like me, with either of these conditions, consider themselves recovered?
To me, it's about what I'm comparing myself to. Compared to who I was 10 years ago, I'm at about 75-80% functionality. However, compared to 5 years ago, when I was at maybe 15%, I'm doing pretty darned well!
I've come a long way and regained an incredible amount of my life, so I figure I can live pretty happily with where I am - especially when I know there are millions of people who haven't been able to improve their conditions to any significant degree.
How much have you been able to recover? Do you consider yourself "recovered" or "in remission," or have you at some point? Leave your comments below!