How You Can Turn Symptoms Around Naturally In Spite of Suffering from a Chronic Conditiontweet
Recently, I shared an interview with a friend in South Africa who kindly answered my questions on high blood pressure. Today, it is the turn of another friend (this time in the USA) who is a mine of information, particularly on her own health challenge which is suffering from CFIDS/ME (Chronic Fatigue and Immune System Disorder/Myalgic Ecephalomyelitis). The core symptoms include excessive fatigue, general pain, mental fogginess and often gastro-intestinal problems. While many other symptoms will also be present, they will typically be different for each person. These include fatigue following stressful activities, headaches, sore throat, sleep disorder, abnormal temperature and others.
You will see my questions and her answers set out below:
Q: Thank you so much for agreeing to this chat. To begin with, please could I ask you about your professional background?
A: I have a Bachelors of Science Degree, a degree in Medical Technology (ASCP), an Associate Degree in Nursing, and was starting my Masters in Nursing to become a Nurse Practitioner when I became ill with CFIDS/ME. I was a Medical Technologist for 3 years, then got my RN and practised for 2 years in hospital and on and off at various doctor’s offices, as my health deteriorated, for several years.
Q: Although I know you have several medical issues, is CFIDS/ME the one that has challenged you the most and how long you have had to put up with it?
A: Yes, the most challenging is the CFIDS/ME. I became sick with some kind of mystery illness in 1984 at age 27 after having a hysterectomy for endometriosis. I had balance problems, couldn’t remember things like my phone number, was in achy pain all over like the flu, barely had enough energy to shower, put on 40 pounds, my hair started to fall out, etc. It went on for months. No one knew what was going on — they thought I might have some kind of atypical MS. I was finally diagnosed in 1991 at the Cheney Clinic with CFIDS/ME after being ill for 7 years and all that time not knowing what was wrong.
I have been dealing with it since 1984 — 28 years.
Comment – Caucasian women seem to be diagnosed more often with CFIDS, with the majority in their 20s to 40s. However, CFIDS has been diagnosed in people of all ages and races.
Q: Please can you tell me what you did to improve the situation and especially about any natural ways that you found worked for you.
A: At the Cheney Clinic they gave me B12 shots, liver shots and magnesium shots. They really helped. I couldn’t take drugs (except for a few) so I started seeing a chiropractor, getting massage therapy and acupuncture. I became interested in nutrition, homeopathy and alternate health. I researched and tried anything that could help me. I was getting better control of the symptoms with alternate health, so after the Cheney Clinic in Charlotte closed in 1995, I chose to avoid conventional medicine as much as possible and focus on alternate health.
Along with changing to a grain free, dairy free, soy free organic diet, I had the mercury fillings removed from my teeth, avoided all artificial fragrances and chemicals in personal care, cleaning and household products, and installed water filters for drinking water and showering.
Q: Was diet important too?
A: Yes. I found I felt better on real food — artificial sweeteners gave me migraines and muscle spasms, while processed food (especially MSG) made my pain much worse. I found going gluten-free stopped the migraines and reduced pain. Going dairy-free stopped the chronic sinus infections and bladder infections.
In 2011, Dr. Terry Wahls came out with her astounding video about diet reversing her MS and I adopted her guidelines just a few months ago in January of 2012. Since then, my symptoms have been improving. As I said earlier, I eat an organic, grain free, dairy free, soy free diet. This includes 4 fruits plus 9 cups of vegetables every day.
Q: How have your doctors and other members of your medical team reacted to the way you chose to go about treating yourself and are they surprised at any progress you have made?
A: I saw my Nurse Practitioner a couple of months ago and she just laughed and said “Keep on doing what you are doing!” The idea that a grain-free, dairy-free organic diet could reverse autoimmune disease is still a very foreign concept, but they have seen the improvement.
I still have CFIDS/ME, but getting rid of chronic migraines, mild seizures, balance problems, chronic sinus and urinary tract infections just due to diet changes is pretty amazing even to me!
Q: What is the prognosis going forward?
A: Since they gave me less than 5 years to live in 1991, I think being “Alive and Actually Improving” is a great place to start with a new prognosis. Dr. Wahls thinks 7 to10 years to recover from long-term autoimmune dietary triggers is reasonable, so going forward we shall see. With God’s help I am moving forward “slow but steady”!
Q: Everyone has different interests but I wondered if you had any special causes that you particularly supported and why?
My interests lie in organic food, chemical free personal care and household products, and I support Hawke’s Health Forum (an alternate health information site) .
Organic food is my medicine. And information is priceless! These causes have given me hope and help in my journey to reclaim my health.