My good news is that I have made major improvements in my digestive system in the last five months- all by completely changing my diet and taking supplements! After nearly three years of daily diarrhea and crippling abdominal pain, this feels like quite a miracle, and I am very happy about it!
The not-so-good news is that my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome still holds a tight grip on me. I felt that I was starting to improve a bit in January, but slid right back in February and early March. I gave three talks in February, which is more than I have given in a month since I lost all of my energy in July. Unfortunately, my body still can not recover from exerting any energy. After each talk, I was nonfunctional the following day (only able to sleep or sit and do nothing while awake), and it took a good week to return to my baseline of sleeping 12/13 hours per day. Giving three talks meant that I was in a constant cycle of trying to recover from the previous one. When my body is trying to recover, my brain also shuts down and I am not able to write or do anything more than read a little bit. This is why I have not been able to update my blog in such a long time.
Because these were my last scheduled talks, I forced myself to send out over 60 e-mails to libraries and schools, reminding them that I am still offering my PCT talk and announcing my new talk entitled, “The Gifts of Chronic Illness: Turning Adversity into a Path of Awakening and Transformation.” To date, I have received only one response of interest for my new talk, which was quite surprising to me. I had hoped to reach broader audiences than ones interested in hiking. I have to trust that the universe is looking out for me, knowing that I need to put all of my focus into my recovery at this time.
On Wednesday, I went for a short walk for the first time in a long time. I thought I was doing something good for myself- getting out in some sunlight and fresh air, and moving my body and circulating my blood. I was thinking hopeful thoughts. But as soon as I returned to my apartment, my body quickly started shutting down. I had wanted to make a smoothie for myself, but suddenly had no energy to do so. I slept for 2 and a half hours and felt AWFUL for the rest of the night. I slept until 1:30pm the next day (a little more than my usual noon-1pm). All because I attempted to move a little bit! It felt scary and very disheartening to become SO depleted after a short, flat walk. I wonder if I will ever be able to hike again. And I wonder how I will ever be able to support myself.
Having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is like living in the red zone of the battery on your phone. When the power in your phone drops to this place, it warns you that your battery is low and asks you if you want to continue. If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and do decide to continue and expend some energy, you become completely depleted without the ability to recharge. Completely resting for a week might bring you back to 10-15% of your power, and then you choose again whether to stay at that place, or do something and drop to zero again… Your body never moves past the “red” zone.
This video on singer Avril Lavigne’s experience with Lyme Disease shows her visceral remembrance of those months when she experienced the complete shut-down of her body to the point where she could not walk or talk, as well as how it feels to be told that you are “depressed” by your doctors- all of which I have experienced and felt, as well. It is very frightening to not know what is happening to your body, to suddenly become bedridden, and to be dismissed by doctors.
These chronic autoimmune illnesses have NOTHING to do with lack of motivation, laziness, or depression! They are completely physical. Avril is very lucky that she has a large fan-base to show her support. I have felt the very opposite!
Whenever I get down about my lack of progress, I have to keep reminding myself that I have not heard of a SINGLE person who improved in less than 1-2 years. I have heard of MANY cases who took several years to even start improving, and when they did, it was a gradual process.
One of these people is a karma healer who I just started seeing. She suffered from Lyme Disease, as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, herself. For three years, she was unable to work at all and was unable to care for her son. She started to get better by taking certain herbs and by receiving the kind of work that she now helps others with. She communicates with her clients’ guides, identifies their archetypes (accumulated from this lifetime as well as past lives), and then clears them. In my first session, she compiled a list of nearly two pages of archetypes for me and said that she would be exhausted if she were carrying all of that, as well! I have done a lot of work on my own (changing my diet, taking supplements, informing myself about autoimmune diseases, doing the daily workbook exercises in “A Course in Miracles”, listening to Marianne Williamson’s weekly lectures, meditating an average of 20 minutes a day, doing some gentle yoga when I feel up to it, and keeping up my gratitude journal). However, there are a lot of things an individual can not do on their own. We all need a support system and people to help us. I know that although my gut issues opened the door for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to be expressed, that this disease is heavily rooted in my childhood and in a lifetime of not being seen, and of enduring trial after trial with no breaks. My life has had very few joyful moments. Most of them have occurred on my long hikes, but this past one was tied with extreme illness and pain, which led to more and more of that until my body completely stopped functioning. This work helps to clear a lot of these burdens and pain. It is fascinating for me to sit back and be completely quiet while my guides tell her very accurately who I am, how I feel, what I have experienced in my life, and what my strengths and weaknesses are! None of us are alone. We might feel like it, but we all have unseen guides looking out for us and rooting us on!
I apologize for being unable to post for so long, and will do my best to write as I am able!
(For anyone interested, you can find me on Facebook, which I update much more frequently. Lately, I have been posting a lot of support for Bernie Sanders, who I feel very strongly about getting elected as President, as well as information on health-related topics.)