Dear Tobii-Rhea -
It sounds like classic CFS. People often ask questions in this forum, wondering if they have CFS, and I have to explain that CFS includes many other symptoms besides fatigue (the name is very misleading!), but you've listed all of the major symptoms of CFS in your note. You need to see a doctor immediately because, although there is not yet any cure, there are some treatments that can help you to improve the quality of your life.
The best source of information on CFS is the CFIDS Association of America. Here is their basic information page on CFS:
Under the Diagnosis topic, you'll find diagnostic criteria and a long list of other medical conditions that cause similar symptoms and that need to be excluded before a doctor can diagnose you with CFS. This is very important. Even if you do have CFS, it is possible that you have some other - often treatable - conditions that are contributing to your symptoms, like thyroid dysfunction or anemia. The CFIDS Association also has a self-quiz on CFS:
Another source of information is the CDC:
This includes diagnostic criteria for doctors. Print a copy of the diagnostic critera and take it with you when you see your doctor.
Although you are correct that there are some medical professionals who ignore the last 20 years of valid research on CFS and don't "believe" it's real, that is slowly changing, and there are many wonderful doctors who know about CFS and can diagnose and treat it. If your own doctor is not knowledgable about it, you can check this list for one who is:
You could also try a Fibro and Fatigue Center. Here is their list of centers:
It depends in part on what doctor you get at a F&F Center, but most people I've heard from have been happy with these - they should at least know more than your average family doctor (though I lucked into one who knows CFS well). Attitudes are changing about CFS, in part thanks to some remarkable research in 2009 that discovered a new retrovuris associated with CFS - most informed medical professionals now recognize that CFS is almost certainly caused or perpetuated by some sort of infection. Here's a brief overview of this new and exciting research, which you can also share with doctors:
Although there are many different treatments that might help you, and a doctor needs to test you in order to exclude other conditions and figure out what might help, one thing you should know about is Orthostatic Intolerance (OI), a condition of low blood volume and low blood pressure that affects more than 90% of people with CFS. This is almost certainly what's causing your dizziness and light-headedness, as well as contributing to many of your other symptoms. There are lots of treatments that can help with OI. here is some info on, from the doctor who first discovered it in CFS patients:
If you have other questions or have difficulty finding a doctor who can help diagnose and treat you, please feel free to contact me directly, through this site or through my blog, Living with CFS at www.livewithcfs.blogspot.com.
I have had CFS since March 2002, and both of my sons have it. There are millions of people all over the world with CFS who have experienced exactly what you are going through. It helps so much to know you are not alone. There is a wonderfully supportive online community that you can see when you visit my blog. Many of us are mothers just like you.
You are not alone, and there are treatments that can help you. Best of luck and please let me know how things work out for you -