Monday, May 6, 2013

Health improvements

As I sit down to write about my recent health improvements, I'm here alone in my house while the others are at my niece's birthday party. I needed to turn the party down due to not feeling well. Today and yesterday I've felt sick, even though I've been feeling so much healthier the last few months. It's days like today that I have to remind myself every few minutes to just hang on to hope. I have to keep reminding myself that I am improving, even if there are dips along the way.

Smiling because I'm
improving. Sometimes
I feel very alive.
In my post today, I'll share my latest health updates.
Brain fog. I have had brain fog every day for the majority of the day for over the last four years. Nonstop. It was my normal. Lapses in memory, not knowing what day it was, complete fog city. It felt like I was drugged or poisoned.

Now for the past month and a half or so, I have been waking up fog free for the first time in four years. It's amazing. There is no cloudiness in the brain now. I feel un-poisoned. I'm not sure how this happened. I have been drinking a lot more water lately, ever since I started eating salt before each sip of water. I was probably a bit dehydrated since I didn't drink much water for years, as water made me feel sick to the stomach. It's because my sodium was super low, and drinking water brought it lower. Now, however, water tastes good as long as I eat salt. I'm not sure that it's the water alone that cleared up the four plus years of brain fog, because I drank a lot of water three and four years ago and was fogged then. I think the program I'm on is helping a great deal, and the hydration is a cherry on top.
Dizziness. I have had dizzy episodes on and off sporadically for the last four years. I would have to be careful many times a day to not turn my head too fast, or sit or stand too fast to avoid the room spinning. I've blacked out a few times before, so I know when it's about to happen and how to move in order to prevent it. My days have been spent carefully moving so as not to pass out.

Now that I'm eating sea salt every half hour with water, the salt raises my blood pressure and I'm not so dizzy. I feel more confident going out of my house and in public now. I'm also less anxious in public because I don't have to constantly manage the dizziness.

Energy to get out of bed. For last few years, I would wake up feeling like a 99 year old woman who hadn't slept at all. I would feel incredibly unrefreshed, exhausted and bone tired. Like I had been hit by a Mac truck. It would be a huge chore to summon the energy to get out of bed.

For the last five months, getting out of bed has been getting easier very gradually. Especially in the last month, I have been waking up extremely refreshed. I am able to hop out of bed with energy the minute I wake up, if I want to. I feel energetic and sprightly and clear headed now when I wake up. This is amazing. This is a huge, clear improvement.

Overall energy. I used to have year after year filled with days of absolutely no energy at all, except for a window of an hour or so at 9 pm at night, or some other random hour, like 3pm-4pm. Some days I would live for that hour of energy, and that's all I lived for. Usually, during that hour or half hour, I would also have a very high mood and a clear head. During the day, I would barely have the energy to eat breakfast, then I would crash on the couch and slump there watching a movie. I would often not have the energy to shower or even change my clothing. So I would go for a week with the same clothing on, or skip a shower for several days. I wouldn't have the energy to cook or go get the mail.  Energy would come and go throughout the day sporadically. But then like clockwork around 6 pm each day something odd would happen. Around this same time each evening, my body would just shut down. Suddenly, out of nowhere, in the middle of a sentence, mid laugh, or while doing anything I would instantly get so weak, nauseous and dizzy. I would go limp, unable to think, speak above a whisper, move, walk at all, turn my head, stand, comprehend what people said to me. I would freeze so as not to pass out from sudden movement, but I didn't have the energy to support standing or even sitting up on my own, so I would melt wherever I was at that moment. I dreaded 6 pm. Oddly, it would pass in a few hours, though. And still more odd, around 9-10 pm, I would feel fantastic.

For the last several months,  I have not had 6 pm crashes like that. They started to ease up to the point that I could start making dinner for Karl, and I was able to make it through dinner without falling apart too much. I would have to sit after dinner in my chair waiting out mild crashes. Then gradualy it got better, and for awhile I was able to wash dishes after dinner even though I was very weak and trembly, and had to take two sit down breaks between washing dishes in order to get through them. Or I would just let them lay in the sink and I'd go collapse on a couch. Over the last month, I've found myself able to eat dinner, hop up, do the dishes, clean the kitchen, and feel well enough to want to go out for a drive to the store or just to get out of the house. Amazing. I don't really have dips of energy that bad at any point in the day. For the last month, I have been waking up with energy and have energy and a clear head all day until 9 pm. I start getting a little tired at 8 or 9, but it feels gentle and even pleasant more like a normal person's tired would feel. This last month has been amazing energy wise. It's not even frantic energy, it's calm energy, there to be used or not. I don't use it most days, though. I'm so used to just sitting and being still with quiet activities that I just keep doing slow, quiet things.

Migraines. I used to have migraines and tension headaches 24/7, so severe that I couldn't function. I had them every day the first year I got sick, and then they mysteriously went away for two years. Then this past fall they came back even worse. Tylenol and Advil taken 4-6x a day had no effect. Plus, the headache pain was also in the neck and down into the shoulders, and my shoulders started creaking and popping each time I moved a fraction. These migraines showed up every day or every other day for the last five months straight.

Now for the past three months I only get a mild headache once every week or once every two weeks. It's only in the head now, and easily goes away with just one OTC. This is major improvement.
Anxiety and panic attacks. For the last four years, I would have between 2-10 panic attacks per day, with high anxiety between attacks. The anxiety and panic attacks went on all day every day in and out for four years. With nausea and IBS to go with it. SSRI's, benzo's, any and every herb couldn't touch the anxiety and paradoxically, most of these added to the anxiety.

The anxiety and panic attacks started going away for the first time in February of this year, a few months after I did work with my medical intuitive counselor, Brett, and right after I started using my Bio-Tuner. I also started hTMA Nutritional Balancing through Hair Analysis in February, so these three modalities all helped. So things have improved dramatically over the last three months. Since then, I've had intermittent stretches of days, sometimes weeks with no anxiety. I've also had a whole month of no anxiety and no panic attacks. There is no pattern as to how often and how long the interludes of calm lasts, but just to experience a whole day of no anxiety, sometimes days on end with no anxiety, and sometimes a whole week! Even one day of no anxiety, after 4 years of it nonstop is such an amazing experience. I savor these days.

Nausea. I've had nausea just about every day for the last four years. It comes and goes in waves, about 2-10 times a day or more. Sometimes it lasts all day long for 3-4 days in a row. I've lost a lot of weight because of this, sometimes going down to 96 lbs and holding there.

I had major improvement in nausea for a couple months last spring when I worked with a healer, then the nausea came back. Now since starting Nutritional Balancing, for the last few months I've been having blocks of one to two weeks at a time with no nausea at all. Then I'll have mild nausea for only part of a day, and it is gone for another week or two at a time. This is phenomenal.

IBS. Oh dear. For the last four years, I've had severe IBS. Much of my agoraphobia stemmed from this. I would have severe nausea and weakness, and sometimes sweating and shaking for two hours before and two hours after a bowel movement, every single day, year in and year out. It would feel like I had to vomit or have diarrhea, but neither would happen and I'd just have to wait it out. This caused me to not want to leave the house waiting for this to pass each day. But it could hit at any time, even if I had just had a bowel movement, so it wasn't safe to go out. Also, the mildest of stress, even talking, could bring this on.

For the last three months, the IBS has improved dramatically right after starting the NB program. I think the GB3 is a big factor in this. Believe it or not, bowel movements lately have been easy, pleasant, and might I even say... fun? It's no big deal now. True, every now and again "it" will hit me again, but it's rare now. I can deal with it because I know it's improving.

Sick in the middle of the night. For the first three years I was sick, I would wake up out of a sound sleep about once a week or a couple times a month, drenched in sweat burning up, then freezing cold and shaking. I would be sick to my stomach, about to vomit or have diarrhea. Or I would wake up in the middle of my sleep in a severe panic attack, suddenly sitting bolt upright in bed choking, gasping for air, sucking on air trying to breathe. Or I would wake up from a sound sleep suddenly sitting bolt upright, choking on vomit unable to breathe.

This stopped happening last year. I am so glad. It's been over a year now.

Trouble sleeping. For the first year I was sick, I slept only 1-2 hours each night, and laid awake the rest. Then the next several years, I slept better but still had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. I would regularly lay in bed for hours on end unable to sleep, and I woke unrefreshed. 

My sleep has gotten better over the last six months, especially this past month. A few nights recently I've been falling asleep the minute my head hits the pillow, and sometimes I will wake up in the exact position I fell asleep in, meaning that I didn't change position or move once. Over the last month I've been ready to hop out of bed full of energy and refreshed the minute I wake up. This is awesome.

Food intolerances. For the first three years I was sick, I had severe reactions to gluten, dairy, meats, fruit, vegetables, oils and processed foods. When I ate gluten, within several hours for the following 12-24 hours, I would feel what I ate scraping along inside of my intestines  like thousands of tiny shards of glass. It hurt excruciatingly. It felt like PMS cramps, but sharper. I could barely stand up when this happened. So I ate no gluten. I also couldn't  eat dairy, as in any milk, butter or cheese. I was sensitive to it even in trace amounts in packaged food and supplements. If I ingested it, I would have severe nausea. Any fruits, most vegetables, even cooked vegetables, as well as any meats besides chicken made me nauseous and gave me IBS. Processed food from packages or tins gave me severe cramps. Any fried foods or fattening foods made me sick as well. So I lived on five safe foods for several years, eating the same thing every day. Chicken, rice and beans, oatmeal, organic blue corn chips and chocolate.

A year ago last summer, I worked with a healer and within a day all the food intolerances went away. Since then, I've been able to eat anything. True, I still had nausea most every day after that, but it wasn't coming from those particular foods anymore. In fact, after that, the more I ate those particular foods that once made me sick, the better my stomach felt.

Hypoglycemia. For the last several years, I used to need to eat at least every 20 minutes and sometimes more often to prevent passing out from low blood sugar. I needed to carry food in my pocket or place it within my hand's reach at all times. If I went upstairs in my house, I had to take food with me. When I got a shower, I had to have food within reach on the other side of the shower curtain to prevent blacking out. I was so hypoglycemic that for one year, even when the weather was beautiful, I couldn't go outside my door even with a plate of food because I was so wobbly in the legs. Even when I did eat. the wobbliness and low blood sugar wouldn't go away. I suspect it was panic driving the blood sugar super low, and the low blood sugar fueled the panic, so it was a vicious cycle. I remember many summers sitting indoors looking out wishing I could go outdoors but not feeling safe enough to do so, and not wanting to risk passing out outside and hurting myself when there was no one else around to help.

Since last year the hypoglycemia is better. Now that my digestion is better, I can eat more fattening, satiating foods instead of just carbs like before, so I can go longer without eating. I can go out in my yard safely without carrying food, and I even go on half hour walks now without carrying any snacks with me. This is huge improvement. I can go up to three or four hours without eating food now, even though I try to eat more often than that. Having even slightly better regulated blood sugar means I am naturally just that less anxious, as both affect each other.

Passing out in the shower. I used to get dizzy and nauseous in the shower every time I showered. If I would pull the shower curtain open a little and take a gulp of cold air, it would help steady me. I would end up having to skip taking a shower some days, or get a super short one.
I think I'm noticing easier showers now. The last week has been good.

Depression. This goes with the whole territory of being ill. I've had months and whole huge chunks out of certain years where it was quite heavy. I've been by nature a happy go lucky person before I got ill, so this isn't innate to me.
Since February of this year after having sessions with my medical intuitive Brett, my moods have evened out and I've been feeling lighter and happier  than I did during the many years before I got sick. I was feeling this almost euphoria for about two months before my physical symptoms started to improve. Brett helped me identify past trauma and toxic beliefs about myself and the world and he helped me release them. He helped me to set the stage so healthy beliefs could come flooding in and set as a new foundation, and he helped me to see who I really am.

Agoraphobia. I went through a year and a half, maybe two where I didn't want to leave my house at all. Technically, this wouldn't be called agoraphobia per se, since with this condition the person would fear certain places due only to irrational fear. In my case, the fears were real, not irrational. I didn't want to leave the house due to unpredictable dizzy spells, unpredictable diarrhea and nausea, extreme fatigue and wobbliness, hypersensitivity to sounds and motion, as well as anxiety.
Now that many of the old symptoms are becoming rarer, I have blocks of time during the day where it is no big deal to go out. These days I might feel a mild tiredness, but that is OK. If I'm in the car and we go somewhere and I feel tired when arriving at any destination, I just walk slowly or we turn around and say that we just enjoyed a relaxing car trip with no destination needed. Just to be going out on drives in general on a sunny day is huge progress!

Startling. For the last 3 and a half years, I would jump sky high when my cell beeped for a text, if my phone rang, if a door banged even lightly, if a dog barked, if someone knocked on the door. I used to inadvertently "pull a Thumper," as we soon came to call it. I would sit with an elbow on the table propping myself up most days, and when a loud sound would occur, BAM, I would jump and my elbow would land on the table loudly. Kind of embarrasing.  Like the rabbit Thumper who has an uncontrollable hind foot. He stamps loudly once when danger is present. I used to have a pet rabbit incidentally named Thumper. He did some impressive foot thumping in his day.

I haven't startled in I don't know how long. Several months or more, some time after I worked with Brett this past winter. I noticed I wasn't jumping anymore when my sister got startled when someone rang our door bell and she all but leaped out of her skin. I was as cool as a cucumber. I started paying attention to my responses and realized that I just wasn't jumping anymore and hadn't been for awhile.

Dark under eye circles. I'm keeping an eye on the circles that are there in the mornings when I wake up. They go away mostly by the afternoon. They are the next thing I look forward to reporting a change in.
I'm going to undergo testing in another month with the program I'm on, so I'll do a post then showing my results and improvements in actual numbers. Until then, I'm going to keep enjoying and accepting my improving health, especially during the occasional dips.

***Update, written a month later, May 29, 2013:

I have had a good number of friends congratulate me on my improvements, and although this post was completely true when I wrote it, I lost much of this progress on and off over the last few weeks this month. The last few days I've been to hell and back. But now today I feel fine again, and pretty much completely healthy. At least I have one good day in a month's time! This process is a rollercoaster. I do accept it though. I'm flexible, and believe in myself.


  1. Reading this post made me very sad.

    I have myself been through a long list of challenges as part of this AF illness, most notable were dizzines, brain-fog, hypoglycemia.
    I used to have such severe weakness in legs that I could not brush my teeth or do a shave while standing in front of mirror.

    There were days when my energy was so low that it used to feel like I was a walking corpse. Repeated flus (a times upto 2-3 times per month) were a part of life. I remember after one of the flu episodes was over, my energy went so low so that I wished I would die - almost wished for that.

    I have had a series of small illness in last 2 weeks as well - mild heat-stroke followed by an upset stomach followed by a minor flu. This was again followed by a minor flu in next week, again followed by an upset stomach and heat effects again.

    However, reading your list of illness and symptoms that come with CFS, I feel like you seem to have been having much more and many more troubles, and perhaps for a much longer period. The list and the post in itself is too long :( Wonder how you could live through and sustain through all of this. It needs tremendous courage and strength for that.

    Am still very happy to hear that you have had improvements in spite of all this. Wish you could have a speedy recovery....

  2. Hi B, I hope the flu goes away for you quickly! Looking back, I think this post is the most upbeat post in the whole blog, since it shows improvement. :) I guess I don't realize how it sounds until I view it through someone else's eyes.

    When you say flu, do you mean sore throat, coughing and runny nose?

    1. When I say flu, it means that respiratory infection where you get symptoms like body ache, some fever, dizziness/vertigo, sniffy nose and may be sore throat and cough. For me, that has been the biggest pain area in this AF illness. My body can't seem to tolerate any kind of weather/temperature change even within 12 hrs and inevitably flu results. Worse, when it is over, leaves behind server adrenal weakness. I have recently studied and found homeopathic medicines for myself to keep it in control a bit.

      Yes, you are right, this post is upbeat since it shows improvements happening; I perhaps missed out that tone :) Sorry to have that pessimistic tone in my comment.

      I kinda became sad to see the underlying layer of long list of symptoms/ailments that you have been battling for so long in AF. I related it to the pain and suffering I went through and thought what you must have undergone when your list of symptoms is much longer.

      Anyhow, good to see you upbeat in physical as well as mental space. I almost wish none, and absolutely none, has to ever suffer from this debilitating monster called CFS or AF.

    2. I'm always curious what other's CFS/ME/AF symptoms are. Curiously, I haven't gotten a cold or flu since getting AF in the last four years. Weird, huh? Don't feel sad for me, my friend. This is just a season. We will look back on it someday, and it will be a distant memory that we barely remember. :)

    3. Yes, it is weird, that you did not have a single episode of flu. For me , the flu has been a prominent and recurring symptom in last 5-6 years. In fact, looking back, I see that my flu episodes had been increasing in frequency steadily for many years before AF which means that the adrenal weakness had been setting in for many years before the full-blown CFS symptoms occurred. My journey of CFS, the detection and attempts to cure itself has been a long spiral.. But will talk on that some other time (I feel I can almost write a book on that, it so long a story)

      Thanks for the encouraging words, my friend...I hope it is just a season... though the season seems to have lasted a very long time. Cheers :) - B

  3. I'd like to hear your story sometime. Maybe you could even start a blog! Yes, this illness is only temporary. Cheers to you, too! :)


Comments welcome!