Recovery from ME after 9 years
How I got ill
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I had a severe bout of shingles on my face in January 1999 and never really recovered from it. I was back and forth to the GP for months and just told I had postviral fatigue. It was complicated by the fact that I have had an underactive thyroid for years and the symptoms are very similar. I was referred to a thyroid specialist and my medication altered but to no avail. Eventually the GP referred me to Seacroft hospital as I lived in Leeds and I was diagnosed as having ME.About me
I had just moved to Leeds, which had been very stressful, finished the work I was doing as a counsellor and trainer, and was preparing to start my own business as a counsellor. I had just become a grandmother for the first time and was thrilled to help looking after my granddaughter. It was intended I should work part-time and look after my grand daughter 2 days a week when my daughter went back to work part-time.Consequences of my illness
I never went back to being a counsellor. Somehow I plodded on with my husband's help looking after our grand daughter but it was exhausting, although very enjoyable and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I tried to work 2 hours a week at a local college but in the end had to give it up.Things I tried
The only help I got through the NHS was seing an Occupational Therapist. I know some people find this helpful but I did not. I felt they had a 'one case fits all' attitude and their insistence that I should on no account rest on my bed in the day was impossible for me due to the layout of our house and the fact my husband was at home all the time as he had retired. It was impossible for me to rest unless I went to bed.
I already knew about, and practised positive thinking and CBT as they formed part of the stress management programme I had been teaching.
I tried homeopathy and cranial osteopathy which helped a bit but nothing would relieve the terrible lethargy, lack of stamina and terrible pains I experienced in my limbs. I did take medication for the pain which did help a bit.
Eventually I had bloodtests with Dr Sarah Myhill which showed I only had about 25% of 'normal' energy levels. I tried loads of supplements, a low carbohydrate diet (I had already cut out gluten when I was first ill) and an infra-red sauna. It all helped a bit but I reached a plateau where I still could only be active (ie out of bed) for 10 hours a day. I was at a loss how to continue. My mind wanted to be active but my body let me down. I was also very conscious of all the advice not to overdo it else one would relapse badly and perhaps become bed ridden. But help was at hand.My recovery
I had moved to York as my husband was seriously ill as a result of having jaw cancer and I just couldn't cope with looking after him and being ill myself. My daughter and family had moved there in 2003 and we moved the following year so I could get some support. I don't know how I managed to do it but it was the best thing I did. My husband got the help he needed and we got support through the GP and things improved.
In September 2007 I went to a talk by Lyn White at the York ME group. She had recovered from ME through Reverse Therapy and now practised it. I was so impressed by her I decided I had nothing to lose except to spend some more money.Reverse Therapy
I had 4 sessions with Lyn in York and the effect was dramatic. From only being able to walk a few yards I started being able to walk further and further and decided to enter the Race for Life in July. I did the 5k course in less than an hour and was thrilled.
I started pilates and have a much more active life. I go walking a lot and I do voluntary work. There aren't enough hours in the day to do all I want to do. I am well enough again to take holidays and visit my family the other side of the country. Life is wonderful.
This recovery story is in categories: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME (myalgic encephalitis)