A few years ago I contracted a virus that started, innocently enough, with a sore throat - an infection on the roof of the mouth just left of that dangling bit (the uvula).
Being in excellent health, I thought nothing of it. Several weeks later, however, my throat had not cleared up, and the infection was spreading down my wind pipe.
A month later, it spread further. My nose and sinuses started to get infected, producing heavy, thick mucus. My lungs became a little infected, with a mild cough, and my stomach started aching a little, making bubbling sounds now and then, and producing a bit a gas.
Then my gums began to get attacked by the virus, my gum line receded, exposing previously covered areas of my teeth. Lots of plaque started getting deposited on my teeth as well.
Soon after, "pins and needles" sensations started to appear all over body, especially in my legs, but also in my arms, hands and torso. These prickly twinges seemed to come from my muscles, but I am not sure exactly where. It seemed that the virus was spreading widely.
Then some strange mental symptoms began. This started out with a weird feeling, which I can only describe as a 'social phobia', which left me feeling shy, tense and uncomfortable with friends, and on any social occasions. Emotionally, I felt frail and weak, and I found myself avoiding social contact more and more because of this.
Also, a very profound apathy and mental laziness developed. The apathy was towards all sorts of tasks and activities. My normal "can do" attitude was replaced by a "I can't be bothered" feeling, which is totally out of character, as I am normally a pro-active and highly organised person. How can a virus produce such powerful psychological changes?
Significant physical and mental fatigue were also taking hold, making me need more and more rest and sleep. I began to find myself dropping off to sleep at odd times.
The infection began spreading to other places: a mild eye infection (reddened eyes) appeared. And it even spread to my urethra (where it chronically persists in a mild state of infection).
The worst thing was that, about a year after getting the sore throat, I experienced an acute attack of what seemed like a brain infection (encephalitis) which caused a noticeable personality change, and afterwards left me in a horrible state, with severe panic attacks, fear, confusion, and mental decline. Thankfully, I have recovered a little bit from this trauma, but find myself with much lower intelligence now.
My doctor seems to think that this infection will eventually go away, but I see no evidence of that myself. I assume it is a virus infection, because my doctor did a bacterial swab on my throat, and this showed nothing. I don't think it is a standard infectious or tropical disease, because I was also tested for these by a specialist.
I have noticed that this mystery virus is quite contagious. It spread to all the people in the apartment where I live within 12 months, and to various social acquaintances as well. So it obviously spreads reasonably easily.
I notice the range of symptoms varies slightly in different people. Sometimes the virus infection starts with stomach sickness and diarrhoea initially, rather than with a sore throat. There is not always this chronic, mucus-producing nasal infection in everyone, and I was the only who got the acute brain infection, so this symptom is rare. The social phobia and apathy are very common, it seems, as is the lingering sore throat and profound tiredness. The worse thing is that whatever symptoms are present remain constant and chronic even after years. They do not seem to get better.
My questions are:
WHAT THE ***l IS THIS VIRUS?
WHY IS IT STILL ACTIVE IN MY BODY, EVEN AFTER SEVERAL YEARS?
AND WHAT IS THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION I CAN TAKE NOW?