On March 21st bought my first wheelchair because walking is getting harder and I knew that my 3rd year of University would be more challenging than the previous two so I might need some extra help getting around. Exactly 4 months later, on July 21st, I went for a walk, for the first time since I got sick, without my cane. Today I am going to tell you about my miraculous recovery.
Over the past two weeks I’ve been doing something incredible for my own personal development and also for my future career prospects; I did two weeks of work experience at a biological laboratory. The shifts were 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and I was on my feet most of every day. The Laboratory was based in the next county over so I had to take two buses to get there, meaning that I woke up at 5 a.m. and often didn’t get home until 7:30 to 8 p.m. On the Saturday between the two weeks I also volunteered at my university as a tour guide from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. standing, walking, talking, and going up and down stairs. If you had asked me back in March if I thought I’d be able to do such a thing, I would have laughed to hide my tears. “I really wish I could,” I would have said “but it’s just not possible.”
This past week I have been able to stand in the shower while I wash my hair and shave my legs, and then dry and dress myself without having to sit down. I have skipped across a car park, run up the stairs, and chased my partner around the room in a play fight.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way “healed” or “cured”, I’m not even back to how I was before I got sick in the first place. I still have to pay very close attention to my body when it gives me those signs and signals to say “you’re near your limit. You’ll flare if you keep pushing.” But, I’m slowly starting to to be myself again.
So how did I do it? Firstly, let’s not underestimate my constant self analysis. I learned about my illness not just through internet searches, community engagement and books, but also through constantly listening to my body and watching how it reacted to certain stimuli. So I knew my limitations well and I could sense when my body had had enough. I knew when I could push harder and when I needed to slow down and rest so the only times I would have a bad flare was when I had to do something unavoidable or I got sick and my body put all its energy into fighting that. This is something that all chronic illness sufferers should do, especially when they have an illness that doctors know little about and there is little treatment for. Know yourself, your body, your illness and advocate for yourself, do what you know is best for you. Once you’ve reached this point, then you can start experimenting with treatments because you’ll be able to feel whether it’s helping or hurting you more. The one that helped me is Dr Sarah Myhill’s Keto Paleo protocol. I’m not going to go into great detail about it here because I have done so elsewhere and also she will explain it better than I can so if you’re interested you should check out her website. I will also insert my video here so you can watch me explain it poorly. Again, the important thing here is that you know what should happen during this process and that you know you’re body well enough to know whether what you’re feeling is expected or something to worry about.
It took about 6-8 weeks for me to start feeling a change. I began to increase my activity slowly and carefully taking a step back if I needed to. But when I first started calling it a success was when I was tired then rested then felt refreshed. This was something my body never did, I used to wake up exhausted but now I was starting to feel like my body was recovering while it slept like it should.
My diet and lifestyle is something I have to stay on top of and if I let it slide too much I start to feel the old fatigue and pain start coming back, but living this way has given my life back so I am happy and willing to do it for the rest of my days.