Wow. I can't feel sorry for myself when I see others who've been suffering so much longer than I.
"The Answer" is a toughie. Especially when we don't even know whether we share root causes. Many of us share symptoms, and that's what has lead us here, but who knows how many different factors may be involved? The potential causes and effects are endless, especially when you consider the domino effect that can happen from something like, for example, malabsorption.
Since I shot my mouth off, I'll explain how I got to this point and what I'm doing to (hopefully) correct it.
I thought I had Lyme disease originally but that was ruled out. I had fatigue and aches and pains that lasted for several months. I still have fatigue and some dizzines, but none of the body aches and stiffness I suffered for over 5 months before it just sort of disappeared. Don't know why. For the past few months, I'm tired every day (I NEVER feel totally normal) but I'm at least functional. The brain fog has definitely decreased. The worst part for me mentally has probably been the anxiety, which seems to be getting better as I slowly get better. I've also had tongue thrush this entire time and, I think, for many months before I ever got sick. The tongue thrush is regressing now (slowly but surely). I always considered a thrush to be an important clue, although the docs didn't necessarily take notice.
Over time, as other things got ruled out, I became convinced that I had a Candida problem and poor digestion (including malabsorption). I've also had GERD for years and took Nexium, etc, for over a decade. PPIs (like Prevacid, Nexium, etc) is one of the main things that led me to this point I think. They really wreak havoc on your digestion. I also had carpal tunnel, which has been linked to B6 deficiency, and allergies, which never got better even after 8 years of shots (Coincidence that my allergies have been better since I started taking supplements? I don't think so). I've come to realize that my current and previous problems were all part of the same thing. Add some destructive behavior to the mix, like inadequate diet, excessive coffee consumption, too much alcohol and you've got a recipe for disaster. Some people could probably keep going down that path forever and not fall into a period of sickness like I've experienced, but not me apparently. I also had sleep problems, which were tied into all of this.
Here's what I'm doing now:
Diet: I didn't eat any wheat or dairy for 6 weeks assuming that some of my problems were food related. I was going to do a full blown Elimination Diet but decided not to. I now pick and choose my times for eating those things. I take digestive enzymes religously, including a DPP-IV enzyme which is specifically for gluten and dairy. I limit junk food and eat no sweets. I eat fruit every day. Also limiting red meat. Lots of salads and raw veggies, brown rice, chicken, bananas, apples, etc. No coffee or caffeine or anything obvious irritants like that. I do have a few beers on the weekend but I can't drink much. I now have an alcohol sensitivity.
Gut healing: Aloe Vera Juice, Whey protein, Inulin, L-Glutamine, Colostrum, slippery elm. Just started Garden of Life Perfect Food as well.
Digestive Enzymes: I think this is extremely important. I'm taking plant based enzymes in order to get as much of the work done in my stomach possible as well as the DPP-IV when I do eat a little dairy or gluten just to ensure that stuff is as broken down as much as possible when it hits the sensitive areas in my intestinal tract. I'm also taking Betaine HCL. If this stuff really works like people say (causes heat/discomfort when you've taked too much), than my stomach is definitely not producing enough acid on it's own (I suspect my long term use of PPIs may have caused this). I have only been taking it a few days but have had NO heartburn since.
Supplements: Multi-Vitamin, B12, B-Complex, E, Fish Oil, Ginkgo and too many other things to mention. I see these things as compensatory rather than curative and I look forward to phasing some of these things out as my body heals. Already have. I've spent an enormous amount of money on things to improve mitochondria function, etc but I'm not sure any of that helped.
Anti-Fungal/Anti-Parasitic: Still taking some Candex until the bottle is gone and taking the last of a round of humaworm. I tried many of the usual herbal remedies. They have their place in all of this, but I think their usefulness is about over for me. I initially had a pretty serious die off for a week so I believe they did do something useful.
Sleep: 5-HTP has totally transformed my ability to sleep deeply. I sleep like a baby every night. I take melatonin when necessary. I'm assuming that I was lacking serotonin, or I don't think my sleep would have turned around like this. I used to sleep lightly sometimes. Never do now.
Also taking Probiotics. Not sure how much they have helped. I suspect I wasted a lot of money putting them in a digestive tract that wasn't ready.
That's about it, FWIW. I'm wondering if others are taking a similar approach?