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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: 10 Things Changed Since I Met My Naturopath

I wrote this article for www.empowher.com --

1. I can stay out of bed during the day.

Before Chronic Fatigue Syndrome led me to my naturopath Dr. Kelly Upcott, I was spending anywhere from 5 to 8 hours during the daytime in bed. I was also sleeping 8 to 10 hours at night.

The rest periods have very gradually been shrinking to the point that most days I don't need them. If a day has been too busy then I'll lay down for a half hour or so, but these times are becoming less and less frequent.

2. I don't hurt all over.

Before my naturopathic visits, I had pain in my arms, hands, legs and feet. I limped when I walked. I couldn't open a bottle or jar, or hold a pen without serious pain. I lost the use of my right arm, without warning, for months at a time.

I no longer limp. I type like greased lightning, and have flexibility and strength back in my fingers. I can go for an hour-long walk without faltering.

3. Flareups of tendinitis take a few weeks to heal instead of a few months.

I still have times when I'll have major problems with my arms and hands. But I use castor oil on the afflicted area, and I apply an ointment that helps lymph move at a better clip. I take omega-3 oil every day which seems to have made inroads in my chronic inflammation.

I may get derailed from time to time -- and do -- but it's not as intense or as long-lasting as it used to be.

4. My face, arms and hands don't vibrate or become numb anymore.

Well, hardly ever.When I began to vibrate and shake, that used to be my signal to eat something. I didn't get hungry, but I would feel my ability to think drain away, and my body and brain would fill with a physical white noise. I could hear the ocean roar -- or the beast of CFS -- in my ears.

But now, when I need to eat, I know, because ... I get hungry. I'm still capable of overdoing things. Occasionally I have more to do than I can handle, and I'll start to get some of these CFS symptoms, but now, half an hour away from the offending activity is usually all it takes to clear things up.

5. I'm not dizzy all the time.

I had such vertigo at one point, walking down my own hallway was a challenge. The walls seemed to undulate in on me and the floor seemed to rise up. I felt like I was going to bump into things even when nothing was near me.

Now I can walk without fear of tripping or falling over. I can drive a car. I can ride a bike, and even look over my shoulder for traffic while I'm riding.

6. I don't have bags and dark circles under my eyes.

I looked so old at 49 I didn't recognize myself. Every glance into a mirror was cause for mourning over my lost self.

The first acupuncture session I had made an ever-so slight rejuvenation of my face. My eyes were just a little bit more like my eyes. After a few months of acupuncture I began to cautiously believe that maybe I was in there somewhere after all.

I look every day of my 55 years, and have earned it. But I look like I'm alive, and I look more like myself again.

7. I can talk on the phone.

Before I was hit with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I spent many hours with a phone stuck to my ear, talking with homeschoolers and planning meetings and events. But that came to an abrupt halt when I got sick. Even a moment to say hello would be enough to make me dizzy, nauseous and vibrating.

I am not presently in the market for long conversations every day by any means, but I am no longer a basketcase when I hang up.

8. I'm no longer panting and gasping for air all day.
I would pant like a decrepit old woman from the exertion of walking from one room to the next. Standing up to cook or wash some dishes would have me puffing so loudly my husband could hear me from the next room.

I still have periods of time when I deal with this, but at one time it was a non-stop affair from the moment I dragged out of bed to the moment I collapsed back into it -- usually an hour after I'd climbed out of it. For weeks at a time I can now move through my house without my location being advertised by my gasping.

9. My sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is no longer in constant overdrive.

Even writing a four item grocery list used to put me to bed vibrating with a CFS kaleidoscope in my head and a barely containable desire to scream for it all to stop. I could lay there for hours without relief.

Adrenal support seems to have been helping me with this, from the use of various adaptogens like ashwagandha and deglycyrrhized licorice. Improved messaging of my central nervous system due to things like omega-3 oil and acupuncture seem to be restoring a sense of serenity more of the time.

10. I can think again.

Ten minute conversations used to exhaust me, sending me to bed to regroup my energies. I did not plan, I did not look to the future; I could hardly deal with the present.

My CFS symptoms were so overwhelming they were all I was aware of much of the time. I could spend a few minutes with my family after dinner, and then it was off to my bedroom with a head full of white noise and devoid of thought.

Now I am able to write articles and put in a respectable work week, spend time with my family, and think lovely thoughts about having more to life than Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I spent 15 years losing the battle against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Four years ago I found treatment that worked for me, and now I am making a comeback.

http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

Comments

Congratulations Jody. Its great to hear that the naturopath stuff is still working and hopefully you are continuiing to improve. (It sounds like you are.). So naturopathy is acupuncture, diet and ....??? The ignorant among us would like to know :)
 
Thanks Cort. I am continuing to improve, even with the amount of work I've been doing. A few years ago I wouldn't have been able to do any of it.

Naturopathy includes things like supplements like vitamin B12, and D, omega-3 oil, a tincture I take called Deep Immune with shiitake, reishi and maitake mushrooms, deglyccherized (sp?) licorice, ginseng and a bunch of other stuff -- antiviral, antibacterial, adaptogenic, among other things.

It's adaptogens like Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha. It's liquid chlorophyll mixed in water which clears out toxins, is good for the blood, etc.

Dry skin brushing and an ointment called Lymphagen which gets sluggish lymph moving. Castor oil topically for inflammation.

My low carb diet is a big part of it too. I get acupuncture once a month. That's all I can think of right now.:)
 
Yay! An excellent list of improvement and something to be very proud of, Jody. :) BIG HUGS! :)
 
Wow Jody, this is really uplifting! It helps me to recognize where I've improved and where I haven't as well... How long have you been working with this naturopath? Does she do the acupuncture herself? Did you have any trouble when you started the mushrooms? (Interestingly, I had quite an awful time on an 'excellent' extract, but can tolerate them just fine when they are in my Chinese herbal formulas?!)

I had a naturopath suggest the dry skin brushing and castor oil packs, but never got going with the castor oil (it stained the living daylights out of everything). I've never heard of the liquid chlorophyll, but have been warned that it can move toxins too fast, sounds like maybe you came across this regimen when your body was ready for it.
 
Thank you Jody for sharing such a wonderful ray of sunshine and hope.

Your descriptions are so familiar and seeing them listed also helps me see the areas where my husband John has also seen improvements. And gives hope for more. He is more or less following the supplementation regime from Dr. Myhill, which sounds a fair bit like yours (8000mg of D3 daily has really helped hand pain and stiffness and other things), but your naturopath is taking you a few steps further.

Now we are back in Canada we can seek out a naturopath - as soon as we can afford one.

Onward and upward Jody, it is great to hear you are doing so well. And thank you for looking back enough to reach out a helping hand.
 
Oh my gosh Jody, this is wonderful. So inspiring. So uplifting. (((((((BIG HUGS))))))))

I am going to try the Omega 3 oils, and the deep immune stuff, if I can find it. maybe a link to where we can get it...LOL In your spare time girl!

Love, Marian
 
I asked Dr. Upcott if she can do mail orders to the U.S. and she said she wasn't sure what would be involved with shipping across the border from Canada but she will find out if people want to order some from her. She suggests for Americans to look at St. Francis Deep Immune tincture. I did a google search, and found it a few places for about $15 for 100 mL. What I get from Dr. Upcott looks like about 250 mL for $80 CDN. Canadians interested in the one I get can let me know and I will pass that on to her.
 
zoe.a.m.;bt5373 said:
Wow Jody, this is really uplifting! It helps me to recognize where I've improved and where I haven't as well... How long have you been working with this naturopath? Does she do the acupuncture herself? Did you have any trouble when you started the mushrooms? (Interestingly, I had quite an awful time on an 'excellent' extract, but can tolerate them just fine when they are in my Chinese herbal formulas?!)

I had a naturopath suggest the dry skin brushing and castor oil packs, but never got going with the castor oil (it stained the living daylights out of everything). I've never heard of the liquid chlorophyll, but have been warned that it can move toxins too fast, sounds like maybe you came across this regimen when your body was ready for it.
Hi zoe,

I've been with her for 4 yrs. Things would probably have progressed faster but I haven't always been able to afford to get all the supplements or the low carb diet. Yes, she does the acupuncture.

I had an intense reaction to the mushroom tincture. Within 20 min. of the first spoonful my face went hot and it felt like it was covered with tiny hot spots. Looked in the mirror expecting to look like I had measles, but no marks. I hurt all over (more than usual). Each time I took a dose this would happen. Within a few weeks the area that got hot and prickly began to shrink and after a month or so it was just a small circle area in the middle of my face. Eventually, all that stopped.

I had quit taking it for a year or so and recently we both thought I needed more adrenal support as life got busier and I was starting to get more shakiness, roaring in my ears, etc. Within a few days that went away and I started to feel more solid ... very solid. Adaptogens effectiveness is definitely affected by your condition at the time you take them. And while I can't handle most of them individually this combination works for me.

I think the dry skin brushing helped me. Castor oil on a cloth can be wrapped in saran wrap to keep stuff clean if you want. It worked astonishingly fast for me. I have been very fortunate. :)
 
pamb;bt5375 said:
Thank you Jody for sharing such a wonderful ray of sunshine and hope.

Your descriptions are so familiar and seeing them listed also helps me see the areas where my husband John has also seen improvements. And gives hope for more. He is more or less following the supplementation regime from Dr. Myhill, which sounds a fair bit like yours (8000mg of D3 daily has really helped hand pain and stiffness and other things), but your naturopath is taking you a few steps further.

Now we are back in Canada we can seek out a naturopath - as soon as we can afford one.

Onward and upward Jody, it is great to hear you are doing so well. And thank you for looking back enough to reach out a helping hand.
Pamb,

If you move to southwestern Ontario I know a great naturopath.:) I take 8,000 IUs a day of D3. Less than that and I get shaky ... even when I get sun every day in the summer. I hope to become completely well one day and I will always be "looking back" to those still ill. And whatever I may be able to do for fellow chronics, I will do it. Hopefully when I am fully well it will be much more.
 
MEG;bt5380 said:
Oh my gosh Jody, this is wonderful. So inspiring. So uplifting. (((((((BIG HUGS))))))))

I am going to try the Omega 3 oils, and the deep immune stuff, if I can find it. maybe a link to where we can get it...LOL In your spare time girl!

Love, Marian
Definitely get into the omega-3, Marian. Good for your brain function, your blood, inflammation, pain, etc. Check out the St. Francis deep immune thing. If that doesn't work out, we can see about shipping Dr. Upcott's to the States.
 

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