I realised something the other night and it shocked me. I’ve been at war with my body. I’ve been treating it as if it is a traitor, and being angry and resentful of its betrayal of me. And not surprisingly, that hasn’t been working out too well for me!
Really, it shouldn’t have come as that much of a surprise. On and off over the 21 year period of CFS and electrosensitivity I’ve felt let down and betrayed by my body. I think most of us experience periods of anger and resentment toward our physical bodies during periods of prolonged illness, but as I’ve once again had to face, it’s not exactly the most productive of illness management techniques to declare war on yourself – body, mind and soul. There is no winner in that!
Hope … dangerous or necessary?
You see, up until my most recent health setback – the invasion of stomach parasites in my body – I was slowly but surely improving in many of my symptoms (after having been diagnosed with pyroluria and been treated for that genetic illness for 8 months).
Since the pyroluria diagnosis in August 2012 I had started to allow myself the double-edged sword of hope. This cunning seductress, “hope”, has played a role in my CFS journey since 1992 and I have often ridden the roller-coaster of emotions that accompanies her presence in my life – only to be later slammed in the face by her buddies disappointment, devastation and hopelessness.
So, although I’d started to allow hope in back in August, I continued to protect my previously damaged spirit with a good dose of skepticism and caution. Part of me truly believed that finally giving my body enough zinc, B6 and B3 would have to improve it, but I still convinced myself that if it didn’t, I’d still be okay. I’d survived well – and thrived – for some time with CFS and the constant electrosensitivity pain. If nothing changed, I’d be okay (I think that’s called protective resignation – or I’ll call it that!)
Hope Blossoms …
But by April I could definitely see the incremental but noticeable progress of recovery. I even dared to say I was definitely recovering. I’d been going to the gym for five months, gently building muscle and stamina. I’d recovered surprisingly well from a long bike ride while on holidays in Western Australia. I had even been trialing skipping my afternoon nap – an illness management staple for 18 years – and finding I could sometimes manage it without feeling terrible.
In short, I had almost completely and utterly fallen for the seductress of hope – and her mate “belief” – that I was finally on my way to total health and recovery from CFS.
Enter Stage Left – Mr & Mrs Stomach Parasite and family
In late April, after a fairly full on day the day before, I woke exhausted. No real surprise. I’d just take it easy and by the next day I’d be much better (which had been a recent pattern and so I had started to trust and rely on my body to recover). “I’m sorry to advise, but that option is no longer available” should have been the announcement in my bedroom that day.
The fatigue was back with a vengeance, and it continued for two weeks. I was blind-sided. And it just didn’t make sense because I knew I was getting better. I knew there was something else going on, despite it feeling like a garden variety CFS relapse.
So I dragged myself down to Melbourne to my chiropractor/kinesiologist who had diagnosed the pyroluria (followed up by a confirmatory urine test). I drove an hour, slept two hours in the back of my car in a public car park, drove another hour to my destination, and slept again. Needs must!
And my guru/kinesiologist/chiropractor, Dr Tracey Lademann, did not disappoint. After much examination and muscle testing, she diagnosed a stomach parasite, masquerading as a virus. I knew something was different! She recommended a herbal parasite zapper (supplement) and I walked out with a weight off my shoulders. As I wrote in another post, it was Not a CFS Relapse: Just a Normal, Treatable Illness – Yippee!
Within 2-3 days I was feeling substantially better. By Day 5 I woke with no heavy arms, no heavy chest (both signs of CFS/adrenal fatigue for me), and on Day 8 I even went for a 20 minute walk. Even I was astounded at my swift recovery, but I wasn’t arguing. I was back on track baby! 🙂
Oh, Did I Mention The Detox Bit??
By Day 12 of the treatment I started feeling like I had a cold. Low in energy, a bit sinusy and generally yuck. By Day 14 this had turned into full-blown fatigue again and I was panicking. I called Dr Tracey, but even before she returned my call I instinctively realised it was probably some form of detoxification. A quick Google and it was confirmed. A visit to Dr Tracey gave me a few more supplements to support the detox/herx reaction, and I prepared to wait it out. Surely it couldn’t last long … that was mid-May! Hmmm.
Remember at the very start of your CFS journey when you just thought it was the flu, glandular fever hangover, or something else that was just temporary and would pass soon? (Those days of trusting that your body is built for recovery from illness and it was only a matter of time before you were back to “normal” again? Oh, the memories …). Well, I realise now that that’s how I’ve been treating this detoxification process. Temporary, annoying, but it’ll be over soon.
So, in many way, despite the exhaustion and other unusual symptoms (leg pain, other myalgia) I’ve continued on with my life as if I was April 2013 Louise, not September 2013 Louise. And because I kept thinking “I’ll be better soon”, I’ve resisted adapting to a more body-nurturing, illness management diet and lifestyle.
Resentment and Anger
And as I said at the start of this blog, I’ve realised I’ve been angry and resentful at my traitorous body that has let me down once again. And in my stubbornness to accept “what is” and my resistance to my current circumstances, I’ve realised I’ve been treating my body as the enemy.
Now I don’t mean I’ve been drinking and smoking and punishing my body in an over-the-top way. But I have been punishing it subtly – so subtly I didn’t realise I was doing it!
So what have I been doing or not doing? Well, mostly not doing the things I know to do to treat my body the best I can and doing the things I know that work.
Usually in a fatigue relapse, once I’ve accepted it (the key thing here!), I adapt. I plan my meals in advance, I prepare vegies in the morning for the evening meal (while I have more energy), I stock up on healthy frozen vegies for emergency nights, I make soup or other large batches of food that can be frozen in small meal-sized containers. So, if nothing else, I know I (and my daughter) am eating well and doing the best for my body that I can. I also usually juice and drink lots of water.
Because this time I was resisting that this could be longer-term than initially realised, I’ve allowed the quick protein/multi-vitamin shakes, store-bought frozen chicken and vegie pies, and tins of salmon to become my staples – in amongst the food my darling Mum has sent me and the days I feel guilty that my daughter and foster brother (my parents’ 18 year old foster son now living with me) have not had a good vegetable-rich meal for a while.
And overall, I’ve just felt really resentful in all areas of my life – which is so not like me! One of my favourite sayings is “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. I have forgiven people in my life for indiscretions many would never forgive because I truly see resentment as pointless. But obviously when it’s Louise versus Louise I changed the rules!
Words to a traitorous body …
When I’m angry and resentful this is what I want to say to my body.
“How dare you?! How dare you let me down again? How dare you allow me to hope, really hope, for the first time in years? There is so much I have planned with my blog and my business, and now I can’t do hardly anything because ONCE AGAIN you have let me down. When are you ever going to give me a chance at a full life? One where I get to follow my dreams, my passions, and be financially free? I have so much to offer the world, but I can’t do it like this. What have I possibly done to deserve this? What further lessons are there for me to learn before I get to be healthy and contribute to the world and make a difference? And what, in my screwed up psyche, is choosing to manifest this? Haven’t I done about 100 times more emotional work than most of the population?! What can there possibly be left in my belief system to have me subconsciously manifest more illness? …”
And on and on it goes, bubbling under the surface (I even wrote a poem about it if you want to read it). Maybe it’s not anger at my body directly, but anger with the Universe, God, Spirit, or whatever you choose to call the spiritual energy I believe is present in our lives.
The White Flag of Surrender – Let Go & Trust
So what now? Surrender. Not giving in or giving up. Just stopping the war, declaring a truce and getting on with life. Letting go of the anger and resentment. Accepting I need to make some changes in my diet and lifestyle to aid the detoxification (my Dr assures me that’s still all it is – it’s just knocking my already weakened immune system and other systems around a bit more than the average person). And taking one day at a time, nurturing my body, mind and spirit, and trusting it will all resolve itself in time.
My mantra all year has been “Let Go & Trust”. I may have forgotten it recently, but it applies again now. As Star Trek collective “The Borg” sum it up so perfectly – “Resistance is Futile”. 🙂
P.S. Serendipitously, I just read this phrase in a book by Esther & Jerry Hicks that seems to fit quite well with the message of this blog: “Feel the difference between the idea of “beating the illness” and “allowing the wellness”‘ – The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide. I think it’s time to stop fighting or trying to ‘beat’ the illness and start “allowing the wellness” 🙂