Friday, 12 November 2010

A Corner Turned

Quite a lot has happened since my last update. Well, in relative terms - my life is hardly swimming with activity these days!

I realised that I was still doing that 'headless chicken' thing of devouring everything I can find in terms of a possible cure. I was so keen to beat this illness that I lost sight of reality a little. I thought I'd come up with the perfect combination of supplements and be back to normal in no time. I guess it's understandable that I thought like that but it's not very helpful. So, I'm done with searching for now. I'm sticking with what I still think is a good range of supplements to support me whilst my body heals.

In a very timely manner, a lady on the Vimeo group I mentioned posted an intriguing video about working within our aerobic thresholds. As we try to 'push through' the fatigue and weakness to get things done, we call upon energy we don't have. That leads to episodic relapses that leave us feeling worse. It's why exercise can be downright dangerous for people with M.E. and why I get really angry when I hear people with the condition being told to 'roll up their sleeves' to overcome the symptoms. The symptoms are there for a reason; to protect us from organ/tissue damage.

So, the concept is that, by using a heart rate monitor that alerts us when we are reaching our aerobic threshold, we can avoid over-exertion and thus avoid relapses or periods of feeling a lot worse than we did. Conversely, it should result in me being able to do more. I'll learn what my limits are and what I can achieve without my heart rate getting too high. It won't be easy as my heart rate heads over 100 when I stand up but with patience and common sense it should free me from either being afraid to do anything or doing something that knocks me backwards.

I think I mentioned previously that I had joined an online community of people who are dealing with very similar challenges. That really has been the biggest boost I've had in ages. I decided that I wasn't going to join a local support group as, rightly or wrongly, I felt it might end up dragging me down further. It's so easy for me to be negative or feel sorry for myself nowadays and I was worried I'd get involved with a group where there was lots of whinging and not much in the way of proactivity. That's probably very unfair to all the local support groups out there but it was how I felt.

Anyway, I'm glad I took a bit of time to find somewhere online that I could get involved. It's strange but I already feel closer to some people I've interacted with in that place than I do to certain people that I've known in the flesh for many years. I guess that is partly because we have shared experiences and therefore understand each other and partly because most of those who were in my life previously have carried on with life and we've lost touch.

Another positive is that I have been awarded Disability Living Allowance. I felt strange about applying for this, partly because I don't really want to be tagged as disabled and partly because I always said I'd never claim benefits. However, I have to be realistic as I am now unable to do the smallest things. I completed the form honestly so I have nothing to hide or live up to. I'm spending a fortune on medications (you can get relatively little via NHS prescription) and various gadgets and amenities to be able to function in my home so some money coming in will definitely help with all that.

I've moved into a top-floor room now (house has 3 floors) and that has been a wise move. It removes me from all the activity that takes place on the ground floor and means I can choose when I'm able to take part in things rather than just always 'being there'. I'm doing a few things to make the room more comfortable and functional and I think it'll do me the world of good to have this quiet space as noise is actually painful to me now at times.

Sleep isn't so good unfortunately. Although I was a zombie at the beginning of my illness I did get loads and loads of sleep and that helped protect my body from damage. I think I still need 11 or 12 hours of sleep or complete non-activity each day but sleep isn't forthcoming. I have an appointment with my GP soon so that's top of my list to discuss with him.

I think that's enough for now.

Take care,



  1. Takes time [ sometimes a long you're doing pretty well :O) ] to get things sorted and to calm down. I think you're doing incredibly well actually and though we've only been in touch for a shirt while it's pretty obvious that you're organised and savvy.

    Great news about the DLA. The cocktails are still on ice when you're ready :O)

  2. Thanks Cusp :) I'll probably end up having further 'headless chicken' episodes anyway but at least I can eventually spot them.

    I think a lot of my learning has been to lower my standards somewhat. I've always set very high standards for myself and those around me and I'm having to learn to 'chillax' a bit now and not be so damn uptight about everything. It's been a useful lesson :)