Light at the end of the tunnel
We left Ann’s story at November 12th’s post and now take it up as she starts to make her recovery and regain her life once again. M.E is so often associated with helplessness and hopelessness but Ann has made the journey and recovered. We are grateful that she has taken the time to share this very personal event with us and we have presented her story unedited and in its entirety for you to read, pass on or recommend as an inspirational story for anyone in a similar situation…
In 2002 I was offered the opportunity of studying for a degree in Child and Youth Studies, a degree related to my work. I grabbed the opportunity, and buried myself in the study and research which it gave me the normality which I craved, blocking out the fear and restrictions placed on my life once again. I continued trying treatments that I thought may help me, and gradually after about 18months my condition began to improve very slowly. I’m still battling with low level pain in the piriformis, but it’s much better now. I really don’t understand why this happened, maybe it was my body reacting again to being strengthened and pushed into normality… I don’t know, but 8 years on, I know this is a battle I can win.
I began to notice that eating was becoming difficult again. I suffered constant nausea, and every 6 weeks or so it became so bad I that was off work literally trying to starve the nausea away so that I could eat again… until the next bout of sickness. I was losing weight again, and began to fear the impact on my muscles and bones. Nausea was something I had lived with and I thought was ‘normal’… until I tried first eliminating coffee from my diet, then wheat and dairy as my mother had recently done. The result was amazing – no more nausea and sickness! I switched to soya and rice products, goat and sheep cheeses and tried eating more nuts and seeds, which had great effects on my feelings of wellbeing. Marcus then suggested I take Phytogen, a soya concentrate and natural alternative to HRT. Premenstrual tension was a thing of the past, – I rarely suffer with any menstrual pain or discomfort now, and menopausal symptoms…. what are they again?
Jim and I moved to Kent in 2007. Life in Scotland had become too stressful for us both, and there was little quality time to spend together. The time had come to take a big step back from the rat race. The move proved very positive for us both. I finished my degree in 2008, achieving a Distinction. In 2009, drawing on my life and work experience and studies, I trained as a Postnatal Doula, and this work and has proved incredibly rewarding for me. I continue to work and study to improve my knowledge and practice; I’m currently working towards a child sleep consultancy qualification, and am just qualifying as a Doula Breastfeeding Peer Supporter. I’m self employed, I pace myself, I’m in control; life is good and I know what I have to do to keep it good.
I take acidophilus regularly, and continue my dairy and wheat free, low sugar and yeast diet, (no alcohol!) and follow the principles of food combining to keep my stomach calm and comfortable, and to prevent candida overgrowth. When I have occasional relapses, I take a course of ‘Fatigued to Fantastic’ to pull me back again. The bones are doing well; my last scan showed normal bone density in my lower back, my hips are a little below normal, but no longer at high risk of osteoporosis. My diet supports my health. I eat plenty of whole grains, soya and rice products, fresh vegetables and salads, nuts and seeds, fish, white meats and a little red meat. My favourite snacks are peanut butter (no added sugar of course!) on oatcakes or tahini on rye crackers. I don’t crave sugary or processed foods – one bite, and I’m back into the ‘nausea zone’, I’ll never go back there again! I continue to take osteoprime, glucosomine, chondroitin, MSM, vitamin B supplements, phytogen and occasionally a course of BCAA – basic chain amino acids – to support my muscles through a relapse.
Jim and I finally have an enjoyable, good quality life together. My back isn’t perfect, but I can work, I do everything I can to keep it strong including regular massage and cranial sacral therapy. My M.E. experiences have helped me appreciate the good things in life, and the more tranquil life we now have together. I love helping Jim at lambing time; I love the stimulation of my work and study, and the direction it’s taking me; I love our holidays in Exmoor with Titch our Jack Russell when we walk up to 9 miles a day; I love my regular long walks. So, there can be life after M.E, whatever M.E. is!