For twenty years I suffered from an undiagnosed self-labelled ‘virus’. Every year, twice a year I was bed ridden for 5-7 days. I couldn’t go to work, let alone walk 2 blocks to the shop. I barely left the house. At the time it was simply unimaginable fatigue. Friends and family knew there was nothing they could do except wait for my ‘return’. At the conclusion of that week I would bounce back with gusto and like a typical ‘Type A’ throw myself onto the running track, increase my hours at work, perch myself up at the bar and re-commence my million-miles-an-hour lifestyle. With 17 years in the recruitment industry building desks and businesses I was accustomed to long hours and the heart pumping adrenaline associated with high stress – which became an addiction. To make matters worse I was a self confessed ‘hedonist’ – up for giving anything a go and pushing the boundaries all round. First to arrive, last to leave. Burning candles left, right and centre. Whilst I have always been a lover of healthy eating (I was the fruit salad queen) little did I know that my low fat, low protein, high fruit, high seafood diet was slowly reeking havoc with my body.
In 2008 I received some awful, life threatening news of my mother’s health (remarkably she is still with us). Whilst running someone else’s business I flew interstate on weekends making the most of every opportunity to spend time with my precious mum. Not surprisingly my ‘virus’ decided to challenge me, increasing in frequency. In 2010 I made the fateful decision to open my own recruitment company. 15 times that year I counted the arrival of the dreaded virus until one day I simply couldn’t get back up. And it wasn’t just the debilitating fatigue. My brain function had become so dysfunctional that I could no longer compute or concentrate long enough to read an email (let alone write one). I was suffering from such awful memory blanks and confusion that I would walk into a client meeting and apologise in advance if I stopped mid sentence with no idea what I was saying. Countless times I forgot my PA (and very dear friend) Jaz’s name.
In early 2011, following a multitude of tests, specialist appointments and thousands of dollars I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. For anyone else with a chronic illness that has experienced the immense frustration of not knowing – you will understand the relief of having a name for your illness.
A biochemist produced a 148 page report detailing the off the Richter scale toxicity in my body. Mercury, petrochemicals, lead, pesticides – you name it. I was at a very dangerous point. I dare say if it wasn’t for the fact I have always eaten a clean and wholesome diet things could’ve been a lot worse. Little did I know what those tins of tuna, chemical-laden vegies and sugar-laden fruit salads were doing to my body. Not to mention the toxicity in my home and the chemicals I lathered and sprayed onto my skin. Slowly but surely my body had lost it’s ability to detoxify. Things got worse on the energy front. Many would understand just how bad. There were days I could not hold my arms up to my laptop, certainly not above my head to wash my hair. Or type a text message. My right arm would hang limp at my side or in a sling – a telling sign I would later learn when I had done too much. Stimulation was a killer, anything that created an adrenalin reaction in my body. It became impossible to be with more than one person in a room, to listen to music or watch television. Children were out of the question. Spending an hour with a girlfriend could see me horizontal for days. I would make the choice of having a shower or driving 200 metres with my puppy to a dog park (Wilson inevitably won that debate). I would struggle to turn the wheel of my car (with power steering). House work became impossible. At the point when I was lying on the bathroom floor wondering how I would get back to the couch, so very lonely having not seen a soul for days, I realised that something had to change.
So began my ‘path to wellness’. I was according to my Doctor a star patient and a very fortunate one, I recognise that. I am (if not anything else) determined and would do what I was told. I shut my business and removed all stress from my life (excluding the diagnosis that is!). I moved down to beautiful Tassie and at the ripe age of 39 moved back in with my wonderful parents. I removed all processed food, sugar, chemicals, gluten, caffeine and alcohol from my diet. Even my beloved fruit. I started eating a diet that was geared to eradicating heavy metals from my system – good saturated fats, the fat on the lamb, the skin on the chicken. Fish became my enemy. It was a wholefoods diet laden with fresh vegies. I discovered the Far Infrared Sauna and sat in it every day for months. I had around me an amazing team of specialists who kept me on track. I walked away from toxic relationships that drained my already depleted energy and I embraced new relationships that gave so much back. I commenced paced daily exercise excited if I could walk 10 minutes and not crash two days later. I learnt to mediate. Finally, I learnt to meditate.
A year later I am so incredibly thankful and fortunate to have my life back and with it the choices of ‘normal’ people and the most extraordinary sense of possibility and opportunity. I recognise now that I was on entirely the wrong path and that CFS came along to teach me that lesson and set me straight.
And so begins my transformation. My passion now is to use my experiences to work with and inspire others, to help them reclaim great health through whole foods, clean living and boundless energy.
I look forward to sharing your journey.