Wednesday, 24 September 2014

What do you do all day? (Therapies I have tried)

What did you get up to this week? What do you actually do all day?

I don’t mind being asked these common questions, in fact I quite like it, but it’s how to answer that I find tricky. 

Most weeks I will have a Focus Event, such as going to another part of town for an appointment or to meet a friend, and all other minor activities and resting are planned around that.  So the Focus Event is my answer to the questions ‘I’m going to …. but I’m not doing much else.’ 

The problem is, this isn’t true! I’m doing loads of other things.  Of course there’s a lot of resting but I also spend a huge amount of time actively working on my recovery.  The recovery processes and therapies don’t feature in my answers because I worry that it is mind-numbingly dull, and I definitely don’t want to be someone who only talks about their health.  Equally though, I want people (or possibly I want me) to know that I am giving 100% to my recovery, and I am not sitting around all day waiting to ‘be better.’ And so, I have compiled a list of what I do spend my days doing, the therapies and processes I have tried.   I hope it will help to answer the questions, and also give you some ideas to explore. 

When I was first out of action, I would approach each and every appointment with the idea that this new doctor/therapy could make me better.  Of course now I know that this is not possible and the best you can hope for is a meaningful and significant part of the puzzle to be put in place.  Different therapies aid different symptoms, and others help with coping with the realities of a Chronic Illness.  There are many ‘natural’ and ‘alternative’ therapies on my list for the simple reason that there is no single medical cure for Chronic Fatigue (because there is no single cause).  I am very aware of how lucky I am to live in a place with all these healing options on my doorstep, and to have financial access to them. 

Some modalities click with some people and not so much with others.  I also believe that different treatments are beneficial at different times.  I’ve created a (highly flawed) tick system showing what has worked for me at the time I tried it.   I have been able to learn something valuable from everything I’ve attempted; something I remind myself of when I am faced with yet another new patient ‘Medical History’ form.  Another time, I might be prepared to try even the therapies that only get one tick today.  Except nutritionists, NO more nutritionists! With food I take my (Integrative) Doctor’s advice and I do my own research. 

I was worried I had forgotten some treatments – particularly in those early days which are such a blur, and so I consulted the person most likely to remember.  Why? Because she has driven me to so many of these appointments! Far and wide: to Bondi, to Mona Vale, to Byron Bay Hinterland! And to Randwick, over and over again.  She has also catered for the most contradictory and ridiculous food experiments, given me freedom to carve my own path yet supported me at every step of the way, holding my hand through this crazy, scary, life-changing journey.   

I think we’ve got them all, and so not including the gazillionty tests, MRIs and -oscopies and the visits to multiple specialists from the ENT to sleep doctors, and gastroenterologists to immunologists, I present… My List!

✓✓  quite useful
✓✓✓  WINNER!

Acupuncture (3 different practioners) ✓✓
Chiropractor (3) ✓✓
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ✓✓
Emotional Freedom Technique ✓✓✓
Far Infra-red Saunas ✓✓
Gestalt/Family Constellations ✓✓
Gluten Free Diet ✓✓✓
Graded Exercise Therapy
Homeopathy ✓✓
Integrative Medicine ✓✓✓
Intravenous Vitamin Injections
Low FODMAP Diet ✓✓
Low Natural Chemical Diet (Salicylates, Amines, MSG) ✓✓
Meditation ✓✓✓
NET (Neuro-Emotional Technique)
Nebulising Glutathione ✓✓✓
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) ✓✓
Nutritionists (4)
Pacing ✓✓
Reducing Sugar ✓✓
Remedial Massage
Supplements (Take doctor’s advice – don’t waste time and money doing it yourself) ✓✓✓
Yoga Nidra ✓✓✓
Yoga Therapy (2) ✓✓✓

If you’d like any information about my experience of anything I’ve mentioned, please leave a comment below… Or share what has been the most helpful treatment for you?

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