Free from ME – I Got Better

Long time no post, right?

I’ve been meaning to get on here for a while and give some closure to my silence over the last year.

Basically, I’m better.

Like, really. I’m actually better. Healthy, awake, energised, fit, happy and FREE! And it’s amazing.

I said when I turned 30 that my M.E life was unrecognisable from what I previously knew. Well now I can confidently say that once again, my life is unrecognisable from my M.E years, and you won’t be surprised to know that comparing my pre-M.E and post-M.E lives are also different. Obviously some things are the same (I can’t change me!) but some important things are very different and they will stay that way. I’m a changed woman, in most of the ways I needed to change [just didn’t see it], and I’m finally comfortable and confident in being myself again.

It’s bloody lovely.

I wrote a post ages ago about how having M.E is really hard not only because of all the physical, mental and emotional drains, pains and misery, but because there is no positive stories on the internet. My post basically highlighted that the reason for that is when you get better, you get busy with carrying on with your life – and doing all of the things that have been on hold during your illness …. lose lose! (Or win for the recovery folk)

I don’t want to come across as insensitive. I absolutely recognise my luck here, and I’m happy on a daily basis that I can get out of bed (I almost said “leap” but who does that anyway?”) I’m happy even before I roll my yoga mat out, do 45 mins of yoga practise, all before I’ve eaten anything and then gone to work. For a WHOLE DAY! [During my M.E I had no ability to make or store energy and so to do anything I needed food – I was literally hand-to-mouth).

I practise yoga 6-7 times a week. I go to yoga classes without being the one in Childs Pose for 60 minutes. I see friends for dinner, as in, I can go out at 7pm not to bed (yey!) I go away at weekends. I can travel – and I’m talking commutes and actual taxi-flight-bus-train-all-of-it travel.

I no longer have anxiety about cooking, cleaning, eating, preparing food, sleeping, resting, reading, standing up, speaking, listening, remembering (ok, still working on that) or general everyone-else-takes-forgranted functioning. I can even have 2 glasses of wine, and yes there are yawns, but only normal ones, not the ones that stretch your cheek-skin as if your mouth wants to eat a watermelon.

It’s quite amazing how easy ‘normal’ is.

Dont we always say, M.E Sufferers, that the dream of recovery is to not have to think about the small stuff? I used to define my illness as having to think about the small stuff, and now, it’s back to being outwardly insignificant but inwardly a huge big pile of mini achievements 🙂 (The person inside still screams YEY when I stay awake past midnight, AND, realise I’ve stood up for most of it).


TOP TIPS FOR M.E RECOVERY

I’ve listed below the 5 things I think have brought me back to life.

(1) Yoga

Yes, seriously. Yoga isn’t just exercise. Yoga is the one thing that made all of the little findings I’ve mentioned above and below, come together. Physical, mental and emotional; sensible, abstract and odd, and everything in between.

  • Yoga taught me how to breathe, sit and be still. Yoga taught me, at age 29, how to actually rest.
  • Yoga taught my mindfulness; to be present, be in the now and stop making everything about my apparently-now-rubbish future.
  • Yoga gave me a purpose right at the beginning of my M.E journey when I was totally lost, depressed and frustrated – get up and go to class. Simple steps.
  • Yoga maintained, very minimally, my muscle memory which was important to me given my fitness history.
  • Yoga challenges me physically, it pushes me. It not shows me that my body can do more than I think, but also surprises me daily because I think deep down I’d given up on my fitness. Yoga now gives me a physical routine every single day (and I mean this totally honestly, it’s my coffee – I’m a nicer person with it!)
  • Yoga gives me emotional clarity and mental freedom that I just never knew before. It’s like I finally know and understand my mind and its precious relationship with my body.

Are you thinking “But-I’m-too-weak-to-Yoga”?

You don’t have to be physically able to do yoga.

Yoga really isn’t just physical.

Types: Avoid the more physical types to begin with (Ashtanga, Dynamic Vinyasa) – instead, look at Iyengar yoga, Yin, Hatha and Restorative yoga styles.

Teacher: Find a teacher you like. Honestly, this is so important. Try a few different classes, different teachers until you find a style and teacher that you get on with. You need a teacher that you feel understands your situation. I was told by my first teacher (Tom Logan, Clapham South, you legend) that I could stay in child’s pose for an entire class if I wanted to. He allowed flexible payments so I didn’t pay for classes I inevitably missed. He researched M.E sufferers and suggested poses that would help me really relax. Or more suitable for me, to help me CHILL THE HELL OUT.

I’m talking poses that would boost my parasympathetic-nervous-system, a system I think had forgotten how to function with me. My body only knew stress and cortisol! Levelling up my Central Nervous System was key to beating the tired-and-wired type restlessness that is so common with M.E, and was a daily symptom for me given I was used to being so active/stressed/on-the-go.

Yoga offered me a type of mental and physical relaxation that I just never knew about before.  When I then mixed this with my learnings at the Optimum Health Clinic (see #4 below), I knew that this was putting me into Healing Mode. So more yoga meant more healing, and healing was all I was after.

Go try, keep seeking until you find a teacher you gel with. You won’t regret it even a tiny bit.

Balance

(2) Diet

So much is now habit that it’s hard to list things down as ‘to dos’ but I’ll try!

  • High protein diet: To support gland function and muscle function, but also to curb appetite so you don’t eat loads of carbs that will add to the feeling of lethargy.
  • Smoothies: Ignore the hype, it always focuses on different things. Here are my smoothie tips which come from everything I’ve learned over the last 4 years about steady energy release, protein, digestion – it’s all in here and I genuinely swear by this. I’ve paid good money and spent considerable time trying and testing, so see this as a little nutritious gift 🙂

    Greens

  • Vegetables, fruit and more vegetables and fruit: All about the vitamins! Takes no genius to explain this. Think bright colours, eat the rainbow.
  • Low GI: When you eat sweet hings, always ‘chase’ them with something savoury so that you don’t waste precious energy on a sugar-peak. Think fruit-with-cheese, treat-with-nuts. Low GI is your best friend for energy maintenance.
  • Green juice: Spirulina, Chorella, Wheat Grass & Barley Grass powder – 1 tsp a day of a mixture of these 4 supergreens, in water. If you can’t handle the taste then I get bored. Get over it. Get better! It’s really not that bad. If you want the benefits of the purest forms of animo acids and healing stuff, this is it, just drink. You’ve had worse.
  • Gluten/wheat free: Personally, I gave this up as a last resort at Christmas last year. I’m a changed woman. I don’t think gluten made me ill, not at all, but my entire being is just more pathetic than it used to be (!) and so I don’t think it can tolerate everything it used to. I gave up gluten and feel better daily. I am NOT Coeliac. But on days I eat gluten accidentally, I feel M.E-style symptoms in the 2 days following. I’m so glad I finally gave into my own stubbornness and questioned what I was eating. And GF is really not that hard if you really want to do it. If you’re not Coeliac, you can fall off the wagon and take the consequences, I accept that.
  • Healthy Digestion: Question your digestion. Could it improve? Are your enzymes working as well as they should? Is your gut bacteria working? Are you allergic to anything that you’re not aware of? Ask these questions, think, speak to people. I found, much later in this whole recovery process that I was filling my body with fabulous, healthy, nutritious foods but it felt like my body wasn’t taking any of them in? What a disappointment (and not to mention a waste of money!)

I spoke with my OHC Nutritionist and we discussed increasing the health of my gut. Then I started reading books on the health of the gut, and turns out, it’s like our main brain. Everything happens down there! Relevant for me, immunity, mood-boosting hormones, energy releasing ability… I was very definitely listening. I went through a period of taking high intensity garlic supplements [these are great for promoting good gut bacteria] and other gut-dwelling-bacteria [like the ones you hear about with the yogurt drinks but don’t be fooled, there’s not actually enough of the good stuff in those to make a difference, plus by the time it gets to your gut, all the good stuff has been heated up by the tummy.] I digress (but seriously, research, go play in a Health Food Shop, they know their stuff). Gut-health is paramount to a healthy immune system so in my case this was probably the final part of my puzzle. READ.

  • Avoid all white foods/carbs: They didn’t give you good energy release when you were healthy, so they certainly aren’t going to help you energy levels now. Get rid – they offer nothing good. Choose wholemeal/brown variations of bread, rice, pasta [if you’re still eating those].
  • Remove refined sugar: As much as physically possible. We don’t need ANY OF IT! You can replace sugar with slightly healthier varieties, and importantly, low-GI alternatives, such as brown rice syrup. Giving up sugar is really really hard and it is the only thing on this entire list that I am still constantly struggling with. For me – a genuine chocolate addict – I now make homemade organic, raw dark chocolate. And I can’t tell you enough, it’s SO EASY TO MAKE it’s almost funny. Or just buy dark chocolate varieties, I do when I want to. I wrote about this in detail in a post Aspiring To Be #RefinedSugarFree because friends were curious and they, I think, assumed it was easy (for a yoga teacher?!) See these easy recipes I posted on my Yoga site recently, plus a choc mousse fail-safe recipe that takes 3 mins to make and fools people with its brilliance.
  • Minimise/remove alcohol: I find vodka to be the least ‘tiring’. Wine makes me sleepy (but it’s sometimes worth it) and fizz is fun until the sugar low gets you…. As my mum once said, the sooner you order a soda-water-with-fresh-lime, the less battles you’ll have with your will power and the quicker your friends/colleagues/acquaintances can move onto something that’s actually worth talking about.
  • Avoid caffeine: Just as much as you can. We honestly don’t need it. It’s a habit, break the habit.

RECIPES?

Meals

Favourite cookbooks for learning how to eat simply but healthily and GF/SF were the really common ones. So easily accessible! They won’t turn you into a chef overnight, but the recipes are simple and encourage you to seek good quality, nutritious ingredients – and ultimately they start to teach you about cooking again, I think they’re a great entry point into learning to eat differently:

(3) Kinesiology

I’m not sure I can explain this one. I’ll say you need to trust the process. Be open-minded. If the stuff you’re trying currently isn’t working, look down other roads. The support, advice and clarity I got from my sessions were pivotal for my entire recovery – nothing was rushed, and I think that is the way it was supposed to be. I trusted the process entirely and was overwhelmed with how much she told me about my own body.

(4) The Optimum Health Clinic

The Optimum Health Clinic (OHC) is a bespoke M.E specific recovery clinic, in Archway, North London. I found the clinic via a book my mum gave me right at the beginning of my diagnosis, which I read cover to cover. The book was WHY ME by Alex Howard.

I didn’t go to the clinic until over a year later but I’ll explain later. OHC was set up by an M.E sufferer, Alex Howard, who battled with M.E during his late teens and for a long while after then. Such a debilitating disease at such a pivotal time. For him, he read and read and read until over a long period of time, he had bundles of impressive determinations, and eventually he put of all his learnings and subsequent professional trainings together to help other people with M.E.

I think most people who attend the courses I did at the OHC (Specifically for me, the 90 Day Programme & Nutritional guidance) assume that you leave the 90 days and bounce back into normal life. It wasn’t like that for me, BUT, everything I learnt there has found its place in the 2 years following my sessions with them.

The Kinesiology (#3) had revealed what my body was screaming out to tell me, and this course taught me that the body and mind are in a relationship, and if that relationship isn’t harmonious, it won’t end pretty. Like times (pre-M.E) that I would work 45+ hours a week, go out every single night – and I don’t mean drinking (that was only 1-2 nights…) but 1 night Boxing, 1 night running (7-15 mile type distances), 1 night swimming, another night out for dinner… Sometimes if I look back there were nights when my body was thinking “I’m feeling a little weak/heavy/hormonal/tired today, maybe it’s a sofa night?” but my mind was ALWAYS saying “No, you know you’ll have a great time, you always do! You’ll see friends, sweat, smile, laugh, go, go, go!” And of course my mind always won…

What exactly was involved?

The Psychology course covered NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), hypnotherapy and various other techniques. And 10% honestly, I wouldn’t have believed everything has I not seen progress in my own illness. IT WORKED.

Everything was made clear; from why the illness came to me, how tiny things on my life had contributed, how it wasn’t my fault. Also how I could help myself, slowly but surely, pave new thought pathways to a healthier me. When you’ve been ill for ages it isn’t your fault that your brain jumps to conclusions as soon as you get out of bed and realise your body feels heavy like lead. It’s a natural process that with careful and professional coaching, you can turn in the right direction.

2 other great things about the OHC? (1) You find yourself in a room with other M.E sufferers,. Don’t underestimate that – it’s overwhelmingly refreshing, comforting and an oddly huge relief – something I didn’t realise I was waiting for but could have cried when I got there and suddenly everyone just got it! (2). All of the Practitioners have recovered from M.E themselves. Awesome, right?

I’ll be honest too, it’s not free. Since I went, the clinic is seeking NHS funding and that would just be amazing. But it is currently still a private M.E-speific clininc. I was lucky enough for my parents to agree to foot half of the bill for me, and I know other people aren’t so lucky.

It took me a year from reading his book to actually realising I couldn’t beat this on my own. Initially it felt too expensive. I remember saying I could go on 3 great holidays with that much money. But then the morbid realisation comes that when your body is in no fit state to even consider boarding a plane, your priorities suddenly become clear.

M.E didn’t make any sense until I attended their course.

 

Without the OHC I don’t think my recovery would have been as successful or as thorough. I think this course helped me organise my ‘toolbox’ and then it was up to me to use it all correctly.

I recommend them without a doubt, I just suggest that you only go once you are ready to accept what they have to say.

 

They know their sh*t. They know M.E better than anyone in the medicinal (physical or mental) field I had or since have encountered throughout this whole process.

(5) Me

Sounds wanky doesn’t it?

But seriously. I did this. I obviously did it with the support of my family, boyfriend and loyal friends, and I couldn’t have done it without them but essentially, I was the only one who would implement all of these things and keep making them happen. Where there is a will there is a way.

Please don’t think I had it easy because I say this – I remember at my rock bottom thinking that I couldn’t bear the idea of a life like this and I already knew that I wasn’t going to settle for it.

 

You have to have the right attitude to make it work. All the love and support in the world won’t help you if you have decided that you won’t get better. If that is your attitude, I truly believe thatyou won’t. This is why my Tip #4 was so helpful – the Optimum Health Clinic – because they help you recognise your own patterns. Thought patterns you may have had your whole life that don’t have to be linked to M.E particularly but that could be unknowingly hindering you in many ways.

I’m not saying I wasn’t a depressed wreck through most of this because I was (but I obviously hid it really well – don’t we all?) but evidently there were more days of ‘get me the hell out of this’ than ‘this is now my life’.

You are the person that will keep up the fight, and if you’re lucky enough you’ll have a strong-willed, determined bunch of family and friends around you to fight it with you 🙂

Mum and Me


Closure

I came back to finish my story. Obviously I’m thinking “I just hope this is the end”, and I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make it so.

I decided on NYE 2015 that I wasn’t taking M.E into 2016. I wasn’t fully there yet but I was so very close to normal function that I was hopeful that I was almost there. I’d never allowed myself to think that before so that just shows how much better I was.

My little brother (19) got Glandular Fever around that time and had to cancel all of his travel-the-world plans. I was totally gutted for him, especially because after 4 months he still wasn’t over the fatigue and his blood test showed his white blood count was so low he wasn’t insurable. (I won’t go into the shockingly poor diagnosis skills of his Doctor, or lack thereof, because I think it was the doctor himself not the NHS, but I do worry that if I wasn’t there to be the firm experienced-had-M.E-sister at this point, I don’t know how long he’d have been out of action. I say this because honestly, we’d all forgotten about my M.E. Not in a mean way or an uncaring way, but we’d moved on. I had to dig deep to convince them that this could be bad and that losing 4 years at the age of 20 to fatigue would be awful).

So anyway, he saw our Kinesiologist. She gave him things to eat, drink, avoid, do (exercise included). He adhered to all of them. Within a few months his blood tests showed his counts were totally healthy, and within the month he flew off on his travels.

I decided to onboard his some of his Kinesiology prescription, and by the I mean I would add the things I didn’t already do. I swear this was the final kick I needed. Throughout my illness right from the beginning with the glandular Fever and Anaemia diagnosis, my blood count was poor. My white blood cell count over 4 years hadn’t got close to ‘normal’ so I set myself a target of May 2016 to change that. Every single day I drank green powder, carried on with my now-4-years-and-counting smoothie habit, practised yoga, tried not to get stressed, ate well, didn’t drink booze, avoided caffeine [the latter two now both habits and not as dire as everyone thinks – basically it means you’re not tired all the time so it’s a small price to pay.].

To add, deep down I knew that I was better and you’ll know as well as I do that there isn’t an “M.E Blood Test”. No, I knew my immunity had been a big problem throughout so I wanted the blood tests to confirm my hopes that I was indeed all-round HEALTHY.

May 2016 came. I was to busy for my blood test (!) so only this month (June 2016) were my hopes confirmed. White blood cell count well within the normal range and everything else wonderfully normal.

BOOM! 2016 is here and M.E is not. Goal achieved, life resumed.


M.E Research

I was inspired to ‘close’ this story when I was recently interviewed by one of my yoga students for an assignment she is writing at university. She interviewed me over a period of a few hours about my M.E journey and I found myself in tears. I’d forgotten (/pushed away/buried) all of the sh*tty, dark parts of my illness because I think that made the positive focus easier. I was surprised to find myself emotional when I remembered parts of my 4 years of M.E that I hadn’t recollected in 2-3 years.

photo (4)Incidentally, I’ve now been subject to interview by 3 people, all studying PHD or Masters equivalents (see my previous write up of my video interview for PHD Biomedical Research here). It seems that M.E really is still a question mark. When I see the output of the studies I will post about them – they were SO interesting to be part of. And as I said to this recent and 3rd interviewer (and yoga student and now friend), I honestly think she was meant to be part of my recovery! It was humbling to go back and realise how totally SH*T things were for a long time, and how great the good friends were, and how many things I kept trying and trying and trying in my refusal to accept that I’d be tired forever.

So there you go. Inspired to share by the 3rd interview of its kind, and although possibly punchy in my ‘tips’ at times, find the right attitude, the right team to suppose you and start organising your tool box.

I wanted to post something that was positive for M.E sufferers to find online because there is a severe lack of it. I hope my blabbering offers some positive pointers to recovery. Here’s hoping.


Kate

M.E Sufferers are like mobile phones….they only work if they’re charged

The analogy I’ve always used with regards to M.E – thanks to my Grandad’s contribution when I was first diagnosed in 2012 – was that I had to basically treat myself like a mobile phone. I needed to set aside time to regularly charge up if I was going to get on with normal life.

I stuck by this principle, sometimes reluctantly/unhappily/resentfully throughout my illness, and I still use it now when I suffer from exhaustion.

I’m pleased to say that my suffering has become less and less [a bit like my blog posts….I know sufferers will understand this (FREE YOURSELF!!)] but I’m not out of the woods. I still manage myself, but thankfully I now smile a lot more than I sleep 🙂

I don’t however shut my eyes to articles on M.E. Although I’ve gone through the motions, it still intrigues me. Like a perverse curiosity (and ok, also a I-really-really-hope-I-stay-on-the-positive-trajectory fear….). Anyway, on browsing the t’interweb today, I came across this recent post via Twitter, of a blog that explains my phone-charging-sentiment in a clear, positive and real way. There’s not always positive things knocking around on the internet about M.E [that’s where this blog came from incident], so I’m keen to celebrate this and share it.

The blogger is called Sian and her site is this:

http://howtodealwithme.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/let-me-put-this-in-way-you-might.html

Highlights from Sian’s post: 

“On social media I tend to only post about the happier things that happen….My profiles and feeds (as well as those of many others with a chronic illness) may look like a highlight reel. The things that I’ve been lucky enough to be able to manage to do.”

“So to sum up, if you ever see someone you know (or don’t know) that has a chronic illness post about going out etc, know that this is certainly a rare occurrence. That they have probably posted about it as they are so made up to have been able to do something relatively normal.”

Damn right. What you see on social media sites of an M.E Sufferer are the highlights. Just because they saw a friend/went for a walk/took a holiday does not (sadly) mean they have miraculously recovered and that they are better. That’s the dream, but no. They simply saved you the boredom os seeing them, again, in PJs/bed/sofa/not-having-showered/feeling sh*tty, down, flat….So celebrate it with them – these are the happy moments, don’t let them feel guilty for it – let them embrace the normal-ness. They’ll be back in bed more quickly than you could imagine.

The phone charging bit………….

“In this modern age most of us won’t leave the house without first charging our phone battery to make sure it works when we need it throughout the day. For someone with M.E to attempt being social or to attempt something around the house the same kind of thing needs to apply. We need to ‘charge’ ourselves up. Sadly, we can’t just plug ourselves in”

[Gramps, you’re so wise.] Sian then addresses the reality, that charging isn’t always simple – life throws you a curveball like an unexpected errand, a necessary doctor’s appointment, a visiting relative who you feel too guilty to say no too, the list goes on. Charging get’s interrupted, and you feel utterly rubbish. Nothing else to say. Bed-time.

Charging of mobile phone

Charging of mobile phone. Do they make these for humans?

PEM (Post Exertion Malaise) = “exert refers to simply moving, talking or thinking“.

The last bit of the sentence here is the nugget of genius. Talking or thinking. Personally, once I’d finally accepted that I could no longer cope with physical activity like washing/cleaning/walking (it took time, believe me), it was the emotional and mental activity including thinking, worrying, talking that left me absolutely shattered. Nobody realises this. Not even sufferers. It was an absolute drain for me.

943e9ae28dd766942ea5fe4eec734b27

“I guess the closest thing I can compare this experience with that is more relatable is that of having a hangover”.

For people our age (ok, I don’t know Sian’s age, but I’m talking late 20s/early 30s) – working a full day, going out for dinner after work, drinking, friends, cinema, parties, weekend’s away, late nights…..the hangovers are worth it because the events were amazing, right? Bahhhh. Hangover without the wine, fun, friends? M.E. I used to explain M.E exactly like this. The really sh*tty hangover symptoms, without the joy of wine.

a-major-component-of-hangovers-has-to-do-with-the-way-our-bodies-break-down-alcohol-3-630x471

I feel like I’ve written around too much of this post already – sorry Sian. It’s genuinely because I feel like Sian has read my mind. Thank you for explaining things for simply yet so accurately – I think more people should read this.

And lastly, Sian, I hope you get better soon xxx

Being Interviewed about M.E for BioMedical Research

A few weekends ago I was lucky enough to be interviewed by a lovely, intelligent PHD student called Dan as part of his biomedical research. Dan is compiling a patient-led documentary highlighting the facts and misconceptions behind ME/CFS. His work includes biomedical research into gut and intestinal bacteria, and wow, the man knows his stuff!

Dan has been collating in-depth interviews from a handful of ME sufferers in the UK. He has also been studying medical research about sufferers’ nutrition and intestinal health to prove his hypothesis that M.E patients can suffer from ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’. This would essentially mean that M.E sufferers (but not limited to ~ this issue can extend into Anxiety, Obesity, Depressing, the list goes on) have inefficient gut flora, which inhibits them from taking maximum nutrients out of their food, thus making it difficult for their bodies to function optimally. This is a theory I have come across many, many times during my battle with M.E – through Nutritionists, Kinesiology – which has rung true for me personally in a variety of ways…. ME Interview

When I take Vitamin B tablets religiously, I see little, if any, difference in my energy levels. When I inject Vitmain B12 into my leg, I see the effects within the day. When I take Vitamin D tablets (yes, the highest prescription strength), I see some improvements, but nothing revolutionary. When I spend 3 days in the sunshine and/or reflect on how I feel in the summer vs the winter, well, the difference is huge [My boyfriend always said I was solar charged – he was obviously onto something].

Dan and I filmed for over 4+ hours, sitting in my local park. Our interview covered everything from diagnosis, debilitation, depression and dealing with ME on a day-to-day basis. He asked questions about me. About me, my feeling, my emotions. My days, my routines, the effects M.E has had on my personal life, social life, every day life. He of course asked about my body and the physical symptoms, limitations and the general physical embodiment of M.E, but I really appreciated his focus on me as a person – Doctors everywhere, listen up 🙂

Yoga was a central focus for Dan’s research with me. He approached me with a view to discussing Yoga and how it has helped me physically and mentally to manage my M.E. Due to it’s ability to calm the central nervous system, as well keep a sufferer fit, challenged and happy, Yoga is becoming a proven solution to sufferers of M.E who not only miss pre-M.E fitness, but also who find their new ‘life’ overwhelming, depressing and difficult to accept.

Dan found me via this very blog and I’m chuffed to be involved. His funding comes from the charity Invest in M.E so my confidence if growing in society recognising this illness. Hurrah!

Dan and I filmed yoga, we filmed chat and we had fun doing so. My boyfriend even played cameraman! Good times and a HUGE high five to people out there using their brains for good. I can’t wait to see the final edit & hopefully, Dan’s conclusive research into Intestinal Health and it’s link to M.E.

Running for M.E.

I finally get to write about running on my M.E blog – I thought the day would never come! 🙂

So it’s not actually about me running, but it’s still making me smile [I have yet to get back into my trainers….one day….]

I met a stranger whilst watching my boyfriend and 2 friends run their first 10k race of the year this January. I obviously went to watch – you know, to add value by locating safety pins for boyfriend’s race number, asking him every 5 minutes if he needed a wee, and of course, to offer him and my 2 friends moral support. (Oh ok, I do like the look of boyf in Lycra. Ssssh.)

Anyway, boyfriend and friends started their race. I was bag lady.

There wan’t a big audience for this race – the early Jan races are more for the serious runners; to push them in their marathon training. So a quiet, but very sunny, day on Richmond Park, with no coffee van (they’re not allowed apparently. Damn it).

Me and a stranger started chatting as only women can. Shalina I eventually learnt (too busy chatting to ask names) was watching her friend Johnny run the same race, and it was her first experience of anything like it. Not a runner, she was excited and enthusiastic, and essentially, really impressed that people would get up early on a Sunday morning to run 6+ miles around a cold London park.

We didn’t stop chatting for the 45+ minutes our respective racers took to complete their races – broken only by the obligatory “GO GO GO” as boyfriend/Johnny/friends/some fallen-looking randoms ran past us.

Somehow, in the space of 45 minutes, we’d laughed a lot and shared our stories – me of ME, how I can’t run but how today was making me very happy, of how I’m being positive and trying to get better, and her, constant smile on her face, infectious almost. She set up her own business, and mentioned a family member having a debilitating disease but admitted knowledge was limited on other types, and shockingly, admitted she was 41.. (I had her down at late 20s ~ GREAT SKIN!)

Weirdly – and I say this only because London is huge and can be unfriendly – Shalina and I have kept in touch, and Shalina took that day as inspiration to start running. She very very soon afterwards, booked a 5km race on Clapham Common for end of March and mentioned that she’s run for me, inspired for my story… It wasn’t that I didn’t believe her; it was more that I was excited she wanted to start running, but didn’t see my part being any bigger than watching the race with her that day.

But she did – she’d listened to everything we’d spoken about, and she started raising money for an M.E charity, dedicated to me. She ran her first 5km race for ‘Action For M.E’  and raised £250. http://www.actionforme.org.uk/. What an absolute star?

Training wise, her attitude was awesome. Her first few runs were hard, but soon she was knocking out really impressive 5kms. She ran outside, she ran on treadmills and importantly, she stuck to it. She got her first medal on 22nd March – and check out that grin!! HURAAHHH!

I appreciate Shalina isn’t suffering from M.E. However, she ran that race for an ME charity, simply after meeting me and us becoming friends. I think that’s pretty brilliant. I didn’t know her 4 months ago, and in the space of 3 months she started running, donned the Lycra, and raised £250 for research into M.E, the sh*tty disease that is still lurking in my body, and so many of yours.

Shalina is still running, and this weekend I’ll teach her her 2nd ever yoga class. The positive energy I get from her is amazing ~ it just shows you that even though some friends may not have been in touch since you got ill (I can sympathise with that), the positive outcome is, it leaves room for wonderful new friends to come on in and do wonderful, uplifting things 🙂

Faith restored that meeting strangers in London parks isn’t always bad news….

Thank You Shalina! xx

“I met Kate on Sunday 11th Jan for the first time at a race in Richmond Park. I was so moved by her story that I felt inspired to try and run. At the age of 41, I had never even run on a treadmill in my life! I promised Kate that I would dedicate my first race to her and raised £250 for the charity Action M.E. I achieved my first 5K medal in Clapham – sub 30 which I was thrilled with. Kate’s story spurred me on especially in the last 0.5Km when my legs were tired and heavy. I can honestly say that I’ve got the bug – thank you Kate xxx”

Shalina 2

Magic Magnesium

Why should we be seeking more magnesium?

  • Increases energy
  • Decreases pain
  • Helps insomnia
  • Reduces oxidative stress
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Immune system regulator
  • Inexpensive
  • Oral forms are effective

Lots more information on why people suffering from ME/CFS are deficient in Magnesium, and why we – M.E/CFS sufferers – would benefit from taking supplements of magnesium with our diet: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=18422 

Where can we find it?

Magnesium rich foods:

  1. Bananas
  2. Almonds
  3. Flax seeds
  4. Avocados
  5. Sea vegetables
  6. Raw cacao
  • Try to consume wholesome organic fruits and vegetables rich in magnesium such as kale, collard and spinach
  • Enjoy starchy, non-processed vegetables and legumes four times a week
  • Include a variety of whole grains such as amaranth, buckwheat, millet and quinoa
  • Use organic cold-pressed oils for your cooking
  • Enjoy beans, nuts and seeds for their rich magnesium content
  • Use natural spring or distilled water free of fluorides for your daily use
  • Enjoy a variety of sea vegetables such as kelp, nori, arame, wakame, kombu and hijiki
  • Use natural, raw, unheated nuts and replace regular butter with nut and seed butters
  • Use a high-quality mineral salt such as Celtic sea salt rich in magnesium
  • Limit the use of processed foods, refined sugars, alcoholic beverages and artificial flavoring
  • Try to use non-fluoridated toothpaste
  • Include herbs such as burdock, dandelion and chickweed in your eating plan
  • Magnesium oil can be included in massages and your relaxation regime
  • Magnesium supplementation in the bis-glycinate form is most absorbable – See more at: http://www.fitnessrepublic.com/nutrition/healthy_eating/amazing-magnesium.html#sthash.wf2sRigw.dpuf

Source: No longer live. From Fitness Republic.

Inspirational Yoga Blog from CFS Sufferer

Elle, in internationality known yogi, tells her inspirational story about her experiences with Chronic Fatigue, Depression and Anxiety.

Herb blog includes facts about her deficiencies (B vitamins, Iron, Vitamin C), her ailments and how she overcame her fatigue. I love her attitude, her positivity and think her current life is pretty wonderful 🙂

Snippets that make me smile because they’re just so accurate include:

“The sucky thing about chronic fatigue is that from anyone else’s point of view you probably look fine and just seem lazy. Apart from dark circles under my eyes (that could be covered up with make up) and me yawning at 10 minute intervals I think I looked the same.” 

“I didn’t have a cold or look pale, I just felt insanely exhausted ALL the time.”

“Getting out of bed in the morning isn’t the most joyous time for anyone. But if I could try and explain how I felt each morning, it was as though my skeleton was laying on the mattress but my muscles had melted through. Most days I wished someone could help peel me up from the bed because that is how weak I felt”.

Here’s hoping for an ending like hers….as I yawn for the 47th time today!

Have a read of her story here, and of her fantastic yoga pictures : http://www.ellefitactive.com/blogs/ellesblog/16787856-chronic-fatigue

Yoga & M.E – BBC Radio Sheffield

For the Northern contingent and any eager BBC Radio Sheffield listeners, I was interviewed on the local BBC Radio airwaves today, by Howard Pressman about Yoga and M.E.

The subject was off the back of Sheffield being granted money to fund Yoga for M.E/CFS patients.

This is really positive step towards recognising M.E and treating M.E *high-five*

Hear the interview here, at 1:40:44….  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02j8m52

x

It’s the little things that make a difference

Today I am WFH. This means “working from home” to those not in the lingo (I deter but yes, I have been known to scribble “WTF” all over my diary only to realise my brain wasn’t engaged….)

For context, I used to “WFH” all the time; at least, when I was well enough to go back to work after the worst of my ME. I never WFH before that. My industry is much more face-to-face orientated and doesn’t massively suit sole-working-environments. Whilst I was getting back on my feet however, my company were brilliant. I worked part-days, I worked flexi hours, I essentially worked far less hours that I was getting paid for initially (for which I will always be grateful!) So when I was getting back into the employment-swing-of-things, I worked from home as much as I needed, and it became normal. I forgot the limitations of working alone in a cold house [heating your house all day? Ouch] And importantly, my team and clients got used to it. It was a huge step in the right direction because getting back to work was important financially as well as mentally. I was back in society 🙂

Now that I’m improving all the time, and I’ve started at a new company, I no longer WFH……..Because I thought I was ok. I thought I could handle it. But when I reflect, it makes such a difference to my energy levels and therefore my positivity towards what I can do.

As all Londoners know, the difference between staying at home to work and going into the office is the commute. The famous London commute. Millions of Londoners do it daily, and I have to say, although lots moan, there are also lots who accept it, and get on with it. It’s a necessity. Get on with it. Fine.

So back to my point. Google tells me I live 5.6 miles from the office. That 5.6 miles takes a chunky 40 minutes on a good day, to get door to door from home to office. Most of the time (given many days aren’t good days for the network that is Transport for London), it takes an hour. So that’s 5 days every week commuting to work where the commuter is not in control. I mean, compared with driving, walking or cycling. Completely in TfL’s hands…. For me, this involved an hour of walking, standing, waiting, more standing, queueing, gagging-to-get-a-seat-but-rarely-succeeding, and lots of rushing. It’s unpredictable, it’s stressful and it’s exhausting.

Having jumped into a new job nearly 5 months ago, I admit I’ve been ignoring my body. Like, a lot. Not on purpose, but naivety I suppose. Hoping I was alight? It always happens – regardless of how much I feel great, then awful, then take a really big dip… I still come out thinking I’m better! (Hey, it’s a positive way to live at least?) I just wanted to believe I was fully better, like, totally better. So I started my new job and just got stuck in. Did what the others did i.e. didn’t work from home. It’s a small office – I get it. So I’ve just got stuck in. I put my focus on getting my knowledge up, getting to know my team, clients, and role. I suppose I forgot to look after myself as priority. I have to say, it did make a nice change! The whole how-do-I-manage-my-ME thinking gets repetitive to say the least.

But I know I could have don’t myself more favours, and hence, following another recent set back [see previous post] I’m back to the old habits. And aiming to stick to them religiously, even when I feel better.

(I can’t help but laugh – I’ve said it before, but for a relatively intelligent human being, I can be really stupid sometimes – why don’t I ever learn!?)

Anyway, so by WFH I’m saving myself 2 full hours of fatigue-and-ache-inducing commute a week. That’s 104 hours a year – a long time, right? On those days, I feel good. I was going to say great, but that’d be a fib. I feel good. Right now, it’s lunchtime and I haven’t wished for a coffee yet, I haven’t had to apologise to anyone for yawning because (1) I’m alone, and (2) I’m not yawning because I’m, unsurprisingly, not yet tired, and, I’ve saved an additional hour-ish where I would usually be deciding (a) what to wear that’s comfortable [I’m a flat-shoe wearer since my ME – the calf muscles can’t handle the heels] and (b) putting my make-up on/trying to calm the hair from looking like I just woke up (which I did, a lot of the time – thankfully not so much these days). The make-up is to conceal the tired bags-under-my-eyes and to make my skin look something slightly better than dull…..

So a recalculation: WFH today has saved me almost 3 hours. 3 whole hours. 180 minutes. A LOT of seconds. That’s time that I would usually just waste away on an insignificant piece of exercise (which I suppose it is, kind of?)

Those 3 hours are amazing – and they make all the difference to how I feel.

But only if I use those 3 hours wisely.

That doesn’t mean I should fit in a 6pm yoga class because I can. Or pop out to the shops at lunchtime to run errands. I need to use that 3 hours in a healing way. That for me includes taking 10 minutes outside. Today, there’s sunshine, but most importantly, there is space. Not like central London, near my office, where I have to wonder whether there’ much point given I have to choose which pollution-filled, people-littered, un-relaxing miniscule corner of London I can get some peace and respite in. At home, I can just go outside, potter down the road (probably in tracksuit bottoms and UGG boots, I’ll be honest), I can say hello to the neighbours cats (very friendly), and then come home. Easy peasy. And gentle on the pins.

It means I can eat my lunch slowly and actually absorb the nutrients from it, rather than scoff it down as I multi-task at my desk, probably so much so that my body doesn’t realise what it’s eating and makes me want more food in an hours time [can that be my excuse!]

Have you ever tried to eat your food with your eyes closed?

Try it! You’ll be amazed at how many more ‘chews’ you take. That’s what the body wants – it all contributes to the digestion process. Enzymes. Functions.

I deter.

This is my 2nd WFH day in 5 months. And even in just 4 hours I’m overwhelmed at how positive it is; I am.

Here is a promise to myself that I’ll be disciplined with my working hours and manage my time so that I can save myself 3 hours a week of energy-wasting, i.e. commuting and turn it into energy-saving. Like the mode on computer. I promise to put myself into energy-saving mode as often as I can. Starting with those 3 hours. My body will really appreciate it ~ imagine having a day where I don’t feel tired by 10am…. Bring it on!

We don’t realise how much the little things add up.

  • Drinking warm water instead of freezing cold water, so our bodies don’t have to use energy to get it to body temperature
  • Carrying things – heavy bags, water bottles, stuff. Londoners, we have los of ‘stuff’ And it’s heavy.
  • Sitting not standing. I stick by my Gran’s advice which was – “If you’re standing sit. If you’re sitting, lie”. Simple but genius 🙂
  • Listening not talking [yes, guilty] (and makes you a much better friend too)
  • Using headphones to talk on the phone instead of using your arm. Sounds pathetic but if you have ME, this ACHES!
  • Sitting down to put make-up on as opposed to standing

It really is the standing that gets me, personally.

I know those who know me might be wondering what I’m on about given I practise yoga regularly. But it’s not as linear as that. Yoga helps. Yoga makes me sane. It gives me clarity as well as gives me muscles. I’m at a point in my recovery where I can make choices. And if I chose to carry the heavy stack of magazines and then walk 20 minutes to a meeting, then I’ve just spent up my energy that would otherwise get me through a 30-minute yoga practise. So for now, whilst my energy is finite and my choices are simple, I choose to prioritise my energy for the helpful things; like yoga. I just hope that, for example, the receptionists a work don’t think I’m a diva because I’ll say no to carrying arm-loads of post to the office, yet I’ll sporadically leave the office with a yoga mat on my back…. I can see why they are confused!

But I stick by my learning, that tiny little changes can make all the difference 🙂 

Right now, that’s WFH. Which also has added bonuses – and I’m not just talking about being sans make-up in your slippers….but do you know how much more work you get done when you’re left to get on with things?! It’s magical – businesses, take note !

Oh, and the pretty flowers #thanksmum

Tulips

Have I been kidding myself?

Have I, honestly, been kidding myself?

I mean, kidding myself that I’m better?

My ‘mere’ cold knocked me out for an entire week. Which occurred only 7 weeks since the last ‘mere’ cold also knocked me out for an entire week.

And I’m still floored.

There was me thinking my immune system was in a BETTER place, what was I thinking?! Must have been the pharmaceutical drugs….

I appreciate cold viruses are very probably getting nastier. But my boyfriend has (thankfully) somehow dodged both the ones I had, and we live together, so surely I can’t pretend that catching them was inevitable? My immune system must be that weak.

[You know me – I detest the word ‘weak’ and all that it represents, rightfully orwrongly…..]

You know the immune system is struggling when the little things don’t heal, for example, the tiny cut on your finger still painful 3 days in, the blemish on your cheek still there after a week, and most of all, the sudden onset of 3 ulcers in your mouth. Ouch.

Oh, and putting yourself to bed during the day!

I’m in bed. It’s Valentines Day ❤️ but sadly I don’t mean it in that way.

I’ve been in bed 4 days of the last 8, ranging from a 1-2 hours snooze to over 6 sleep. And I mean hard, deep sleep.

In addition to my normal night time sleeps, that is.

So I’ve been sleeping a lot again. At first I tried to excuse it – “it’s my body fighting the cold, it’s my body resting, it’s my body taking time out”. Yeah, a few days in bed maybe, but I’m reaching old standards. You know what I mean by old. I’m talking me-joking-I-had-narcolepsy-but-it-was-ME-standards.

Today I got up and dressed. Had breakfast. Walked down the hill to the post office to post my niece’s birthday parcel. That was all it took. Came home heavy, drained and tired. Straight to bed. Sleep.

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Was I bonkers to think I was better??

Or was I actually better, and this little pity-party is actually just my body actually recovering/resting/fighting this bastard-nasty cold??

I don’t know.

I’ve even gone as far as to wonder why the hell I didn’t consider my old employers’ offer of working 4-days-a-week. I could kick myself because recently, or so far this year, that feels like it’s the solution.

When I shoooo’d that suggestion off as unnecessary because obviously, I was better, I was obviously talking from my ego (I probably called it ‘positivity’ at the time). “I can do it; I can work 40 hours a week; I can push myself again”, you know, like I used to.

Look where that got me!

IMG_0102w

This pity-party has been slowly building, I admit. It’s not new news in my brain. And you know the score ~ if the brain is doing all the work again, that can’t be the recipe for recovery….

I love my new job. Great team, great people, great attitude. But because they’re great, they’re doing what they should be doing – always aiming for better. And since that’s how I think too, I’ve been unconsciously pushing myself out of my safety zone.

I think back to all the good habits I got into following all the expert advice from all the specialists I’ve seen along the way:

🔸 Eat low GI foods
🔸 Regularly snack
🔸 B vitamins with every meal
🔸 Take iron supplements at least a fortnight a month
🔸 Have at least 10 minutes a day outside in daylight and fresh air
🔸 ALWAYS rest at lunchtimes, even if just for 10 minutes. To the extent your breathing is soft, and your shoulders aren’t tense. Breathe deeply right into the belly.
🔸 Meditate on the tube where possible (close eyes and focus on breathing; no lotus dramas!)
🔸 Go to bed at 9pm having eaten 2 hours before to fully digest every nutrients
🔸 Avoid excessive walking/standing/rushing where possible (including the stairs at Warren St tube station. FAIL)
🔸 Avoid coffee and alcohol [although I’m back to adhering to this, finally]
🔸 Gentle yoga, or at the very least, pranayama, in the mornings
🔸 Be disciplined with my working hours, 9am-5.30pm. The consequences of not doing so were too risky.
🔸 Work from home at least once a week. Total fail.
🔸 Limit stress, last minute deadlines and unimportant worrying

How many am I sticking to?

One. Seriously, ONE.

Even that one has only just come back in action (no coffee or booze).

Which for an intelligent person isn’t even bonkers, it’s downright stupid!

I’m usually such an Achiever….. 😉

I know that my inability to stick to some of the above are either unavoidable, or socially really really really hard to maintain. I work. I have a team. I work to pay bills. To have purpose. My role involves other people. Getting up and leaving bang on 5.30pm indescribably difficulty when it means leaving team members working another hour. I can’t be that disciplined.

But I can’t work part time at my new job – I can’t even consider it (but I didn’t think I’d have to).

Still, I could kick myself for letting things get this bad.

Half a week off sick and 4 consecutive days of bed-rest isn’t an accident and I should know better – ARGGGHHHHHHH !!!

It’s back to good habits.

“Lock-down” as I’ve called it in the past.

Here are a few pieces of advice I haven’t taken recently but which will be on my hit-list once I can drag my ass out of bed:

(1) Royal Jelly:
A yogi friend told me this nugget of wisdom yesterday. Builds the immune system. It does baffle me that when we’re low in iron/calcium/magnesium we know what foods to find it in, but white blood cells? No idea. And I’ve looked. White blood cells are key for immunity; for fighting viruses, illness, disease; our immune system. She tells me Royal Jelly is known to kick start the immune system when it is run down. Hell yeah, get me to that Health Food Store!
http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/royal-jelly.html

(2) Liquid iron:
Iron, needed for healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. Oxygen is a very good thing. Girls often take advantage of their bodies’ ability to replenish blood loss through menstruation, so it’s essential to keep the body fuelled to prevent symptoms of tiredness and fatigue caused by low iron levels. I was diagnosed with anaemia when I got glandular fever so I was previously religious with this supplement….aaannnnnd, I’m not now. Lesson learned.
http://www.nelsonsnaturalworld.com/en-gb/uk/our-brands/spatone/spatone/why-spatone

(3) Maca Powder:
Said to give you energy. And my great friend, the one who introduced me to it, swears it increases her sex drive…. Now read this link and we’ll see she’s correct ~ Happy Valentine’s Day ~ you’re welcome 😉 💕
http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/7-top-health-benefits-of-maca/

(4) Berries. Lots of berries:
I’ve been craving these a lot recently, so will keep loading up! Body, you’re a clever one. Fresh or frozen ~ both are nutritious. Antioxidants, lowest sugar content of all fruits, and delicious.
http://www.joybauer.com/food-articles/berries.aspx

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Hopefully, by sticking to a few more of my own rules, I’ll get back on track and locate my mojo in the meantime.

Till next time…..

Chronic or Acute……?

I’m currently on my sofa with a large box of tissues, a blanket and a hot water bottle, having popped a Sudafed and downed a pint of water…. [I’m hot right now, I know].

Violins unnecessary – I simply have a cold.

A common, crappy, snotty cold.

Is having a cold actually a sign of recovery ?

This is the second cold I’ve had in less than 3 months, which isn’t the worse thing in the world I know, but it still pisses me off. I’m ok taking one winter cold for the team (by which I mean, general public who NEVER PUT THEIR HANDS UP TO COUGH/SNEEZE ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT) (yes, it’s a gripe – humour me, I’m grumpy). But 2 colds is getting silly and feels undeserved.

But should I see this another way – in that my body is acting a bit more ‘normal’?

I’m not living a high life at the moment. I may be a bit run down from work, but I’m not doing late nights and wild parties. The last fortnight I even swore off the fun things like de-caff coffee, the odd white wine and chocolate [if I’m still sick, where’s the moral in that?] Im doing everything in my power to stay on track in my recovery, and a pesky cold knocks me down twice in less than 10 weeks. Cheeky…..but enlightening.

Before ME, I didn’t do ill. Maybe an odd cold here and there, but one I could tackle school/work with; an inconvenience, but nothing to warrant rushing off to Boots for a Flu jab. I’d buy my old team oranges if they came in sniffling and then open all the windows (I wish I was joking…) The slightest whiff of a sniff and I’d be gargling ginger and garlic and going hard on the OJ.

Warning: Rant coming………

I outwardly resent the unhealthy commuters of London (if you didn’t notice). Or even worse, the suffering colleagues who come into the office, blatantly ill and snotty, because of course they couldn’t take a day off for a cold? What, you mean that common virus; “just a little cold…” that is not only your bodies’ way of gently telling you to slow down, but is a virus so complex that scientists across the globe still can’t work it out…..

I’m over that whole “I’m-fine-it’s-just-a-cold” façade. And it’s because of ME. My body feels like shit? I rest it. As for colleagues that pretend they’re fine to keep up appearances, even though we know inside they feel like total shit, they look like total shit [sorry, watery eyes aren’t a good look on anyone] and their bodies are screaming at them to REST? They ignore the signals completely, and make themselves feel worse by being ignorant to their ailing bodies. Oh, whilst infecting everyone around them in the process.

So instead of giving their body a restorative, efficient 24 hours of rest, they draw out the whole illness which ends up being a 2-week cold, by rocking into the office, sneezing over everyone, polluting the air with nose blowing blowing, and (I know it’s not on purpose, of course), spreading their mucus all over the communal touchpoints such as light switches, door handles, kettles, taps and cutlery draws. I think my colleagues – past and present – are wonderful, but this, this is a re-occurring gripe. I’m sure you’re boosting my immune system in some way [ok, I’m not sure – doctors?] but do you mind if I have a choice in the matter instead? I’m working my ass off to get better, and getting given the cold repeatedly, is not my idea of teamwork!

I deter. Back to my revelation.

Today’s speedy-on-set cold got me thinking. In the 2-3 years I was ‘down’ [by that, I mean, the period where my life was 100% led by ME]

I never suffered from an acute illness. Never. Not a sore throat, not a cold, not a sickness bug?

Obviously ME is a daily fight – it’s not called chronic because it’s minor but daily; it’s chronic because it’s daily, yes, but not minor. The reality is that every day you have ME, you wake up feeling like you’ve been run over my a freight train. I remember likening it to friends as a stonking great hangover that persisted all day; couldn’t get comfortable, couldn’t settle, couldn’t get up….arghhhh, horrible. Like the worst hangover you ever had, every day…(and without a drop of booze – the irony). If you’d have asked me at the time, I know for sure I’d have traded that for 200 colds! ☺️

When you’re body is fighting ME, wherever that came from (virus/surgery/trauma are the most common causes), your body does everything in it’s power to heal you. Many believe it doesn’t, but it does. It can’t do it alone though – it needs fuelling right, treating right and needs to be listened to. That explains why my immune system was going hell-for-leather 24/7/365 during my worst ME phase, to constantly keep me standing up/concentrating/walking etc. Which is probably why I didn’t pick up the common viruses – combined with the fact I was out and about less as well, so wasn’t in the sneezing firing line.

Does this mean that my immune system is now able to take time off? Am I healthy enough to come off high-alert?

Is my body telling me that I can finally keep it together and therefore I should celebrate the fact that I’ve got a cold; an acute ailment?

So hurrah for acute, and bye-bye to chronic?

Here’s hoping!

Given my current cold came on within hours from nothing to violent sneezing [is violent sneezing the new uber-strain of the cold now?] I’m hoping it’ll be as quick to leave as it was to arrive.

So for now, I’m going to listen-to-my-very-clever-body and rest, so that it can fight this infection quickly and get me back to health ASAP. Without risking everyone else’s week in the process. I’m thankful my down-turn is acute and not chronic – so as much as it pains me that say it, here’s to more of the same 😉

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Oh, for cohabitors, the jury is out….. Boyfriend, I’ve dettol’d the doorknobs and light switches, we’re having vegetables for dinner and all of our windows are open. What with that, my red nose and voice like a transvestite-air-hostess, I bet you can’t wait to get home……….