All of 2017 I was low. I had no voice, ear issues (right ear muffled, left ear sharp), complete exhaustion, so many things seemed to be wrong with me - and yet no one could help. I spent ages at Dr and specialists and then I gave up - I had no energy and I wasn't wasting it on hopeless attempts to be well, and many times, feeling worse due to doctors' senseless comments (like, "do you overly worry about your health?").
Towards the end of 2017 I dragged myself to an acupuncturist I picked out of Google. I picked her because she dealt with women's fertility issues...and I figured menopause was messing with my CFS. Not exactly the same thing, but it felt better than going to the acupuncturist who specialised in geriatrics (even if that was how I was feeling!).
I had my voice back in a few weeks. I also had the muck that had been on my chest for months and months (maybe years) clear up.
Muck on your chest should be something western medicine should fix - or at least I thought so. But if it's yellow or green, antibiotics work. If it's white (like mine was) antibiotics do nothing. I know because after some time of just believing the doctor, I insisted on proving that antibiotics did nothing. He was right. I insisted on trying puffers - they helped me breathe but didn't fix the problem. In Chinese medicine, white muck is old infection. There's a herb to clear it up, plus some acupuncture points to use - they worked. Not just on me, but dad too.
So, I've been going to her for about 14 months now (the same time as I had no voice) and I keep improving. It's such a shock.
The other day, I thought I'd done it. I thought I'd set myself back. See, I went to Sydney on Monday, by train, but still it's a big trip (3 hours each way on the train) and I had a sore hip. I pulled a muscle in it a week earlier. So sitting in the train, and walking, wasn't the smartest thing, but I went anyway. Then Wednesday I went to my classics book group and did the groceries afterwards. This is another day out without exercising my hip or doing the ice/heat thing, plus lots of sitting. Add to this I have work to do (that I've just skipped 2 days of) and a book to launch, and more writing I want to do. So I'm worried that I've pushed too far outside my energy envelope. That I've chucked pacing out the window - again - and I'm going to pay with the CFS crash/relapse.
I came home with the groceries, and I put them away. I didn't think, I just did it. I cooked dinner. I had a cold drink. I did a bit of work, and hip exercises, and ice/heat. When Pete got home I told him how tired I was and that I'd overdone it. I sat up for a bit, and then at 8.30 pm, I went off to bed.
I got up the next morning and as part of my morning ritual, I journal about the previous day. I wrote all this, and as I did, I realised something.
I HAD BEEN TIRED. BUT I HAD NOT BEEN CFS TIRED.
Sleep rejuvenated me.
I had put away the groceries.
I had cooked dinner.
I had functioned even when I was tired.
When I'm CFS tired, I can't do anything more. Or if I do, I drag myself to do the barest minimum. So, in the past, I would come home with the groceries and I'd be exhausted. The cold things woudl get put into fridge/freezer, and that would be it. I'd sit down, have a cold drink and a rest. Maybe I'd tackle the rest later, maybe it would wait until tomorrow. I had never, ever, had a cold drink while I put things away. I had never backed up by cooking dinner too. And I'd never done work and exercise and health things. And I had never woken up rejuvenated.
I'm tired, meant just that.
So far, I haven't had to pay the price for doing things.
I know a few months back that I noted I was enjoying life again. I felt joy, happiness, hope. These were things I hadn't felt for a very long time.
Now, I felt tired, I went to bed and I woke up refreshed.
These might sound so ordinary...but to me, they're life changing. They're worth writing about. Worth celebrating. Worth shouting to the rooftops - except I don't want to jinx it, so I'll just blog quietly! And I'll keep my fingers crossed that this isn't just a fly-by-night occurrence and that I might have some time of this joyful recharging living.