Archive for chronic fatigue

“Multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence!”

Around age 10 when the light sensitivity started

Around age 10 when the light sensitivity started

By: Emily

I’ve always had a love for food (who doesn’t?), but my love affair with food really started in junior high when I was old enough that my mom would let me plan and prepare family dinner. My mom is a fabulous cook, and she always fed our family traditional, “healthy” meals: chicken and rice casseroles, lasagna, turkey sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs, eggs and toast, etc. We ate basically the standard American diet and what every health professional would say is a normal diet. She fed us the healthiest she knew how. We also had a green salad every night, and in the summer we would eat tons of veggies from our garden.

I remember my health issues starting when I was around 6 (that’s about as far as I can remember—I might have had other issues when I was younger, I just don’t remember). I would get strep throat and really bad earaches about 3-4 times a year, and I would get the flu every couple of months. When I was around 10 or 11 I started developing intense sensitivity to light and the back of my eyes would ache, which would turn into massive headaches. I felt like a vampire, always shutting the curtains, never turning on the lights. These episodes weren’t constant. They would come and go, so it wasn’t predictable. They eventually started going away, and I forgot about them.

Around age 15, very thin

Around age 15, very thin

Throughout junior high and high school, I started having fatigue issues and near the end of my senior year in high school, I developed the chronic headaches and sensitivity to light again, but this time they also came with numbness and tingling in my limbs, adrenal fatigue and a few other nasty symptoms. I was in all the school plays and was always dancing and exerting a lot of physical effort so I just blamed these symptoms on being tired.

Looking back on my high school days, I realized that I didn’t eat very much at all. I was very thin. I never really thought about food and just ate when my mom made meals, and I grabbed an apple for lunch. 

After high school, I tried out for our city’s Miss America Organization pageant and won. I started eating “healthy.” I added more greens and fruits, planned my meals, exercised regularly, and made sure I ate enough to give me the energy I needed. I actually started feeling better. Read More→

“Why did God invent food?!?”

Shara MitchellBy: Shara Mitchell

Up until the last year of my life, I have lived with one foot in the camp with the “health nuts” and one foot in the Standard American Diet (SAD). When I was a child, my mother taught me to love wholesome foods, vitamin supplements, and occasional fasting for detoxification. I was never really taught how to cook, however, and when I became an adult and got married, I wanted to please my family. Although I started out trying very hard to cook from scratch and make healthy foods, eventually I found that my family liked it better when I made recipes that were less healthy.

I had vowed to never let my children drink soda, but as many years went by (years of overwhelm that can wear a person’s resolve down), I not only started allowing my kids soda, but also found myself drinking Diet Coke daily… sometimes twice per day. My kids hated chunky vegetables in the soup that I loved to make, so I stopped making it and made the creamy soups that made them happy. My husband at the time seemed to appreciate it more when I gave in and kept the peace by serving less healthy foods, so I felt like I was alone, and I gradually gave up my resolve to feed my family in a healthy way.

Although I had never struggled with weight, energy, or general heath after my first two babies, things started to change after baby number three. I couldn’t get rid of the last 10 pounds of baby weight, and I started to feel really tired and achy much of the time. My stress level was high, and I was overwhelmed with small children. I basically ignored the problem, and coped by doing yoga to ease the muscle tension that at times would overwhelm me. I wasn’t really exercising much and my cooking was “survival cooking”… cheese quesadillas and juice, you know, convenient kid food.

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“My body doesn’t need animal eggs or milk”

Pilar ArceBy: Pilar Arce

(Read the Spanish version of this story.)

I remember the first great commercial of milk and cereal I saw when I was a kid. It convinced me that my body really needed milk to be strong, happy, and healthy like the kids on TV. Even though milk sometimes made me sick, I knew my bones would be stronger if I had some milk, cheese or butter with my breakfast.

When I was on my mission I got a disease called “chronic fatigue.” It sounded funny, but after some months it affected my back and I came home three months early. After going home, I had the well-known “chronic phases,” which means there were weeks when I felt extremely tired, and those days I had to rest, eat really good food, and say good bye to the stress. It was funny that when I rested the most I felt more tired. The good thing was that every time the “chronic fatigue crisis” ended, I had my normal and very active life back. I’m a climber, college student, a freelance worker, Relief Society counselor, traveler, etc. For a couple of years my life was like that, going up and down all the time.

Two and a half years ago I decided to be vegetarian (because I didn’t agree with how big industries treat animals like slaves). Even though I didn’t do it to be healthier, I received both emotional and physical rewards. I felt more energy, and my “chronic fatigue crisis” lasted for shorter periods.

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I heard the Savior say, “You are going to be okay”

Patty ButtsBy: Patty Butts

My journey with chronic fatigue began over twenty years ago when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction (CFIDS) and Fibromyalgia (FMS). I was so ill my doctor wanted to give me medical disability. After four years of agony, I finally said to my doctor, “I either want to get better or I want to die.”

Since then, I have drastically changed my diet, recovered, finished a doctoral degree in Holistic Nutrition, and have more energy than I did 30 years ago. My passion now is to educate others and give them hope for recovery.

It began with a sudden onset. I had gone on the Fit for Life diet, eating fruit in the morning and vegetables in the afternoon. I didn’t realize I had candida and eating fruit was like pouring gasoline on a fire….fueling systemic candida. I felt like a walking corpse. While trying to walk or get out of bed in the morning, it seemed as if I was beating a dead horse.

With each step I took my feet felt like I was walking on pins and needles. The pain was excruciating, not only in my feet, but in every joint and muscle. My lymph nodes ached and were swollen. My kidneys, my liver, and my spleen hurt. My doctor did a round of blood tests and found the blood tests were normal. Nothing was wrong with me. I felt like I was dying, and he found nothing wrong with me.

My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant that caused tardis dyskinesia (swelling of the tongue because of an allergic reaction to medication). My tongue became thick, and I couldn’t enunciate my words properly. My mouth was constantly dry. While attempting to sleep, I felt like I was doing round after round of backward somersaults. My life was so out of control I thought I might die and knew I could if I stopped fighting to get well and just stayed in bed. When I stopped taking the antidepressant, the side effects of dyskinesia went away.

The doctor then referred me to a counselor who recommended Prozac as the panacea for everything. By the first week I was more depressed than ever and by the second week I felt suicidal. Since then I have learned about the gene mutation MTHFR that doesn’t allow the liver to detoxify. Therefore, taking a medication that the liver cannot detoxify can cause suicidal feelings. All mental health begins in the gut. The counselor recommended doubling the dosage. No way was I going to double the dose. I had done some research and found I was not the only one who responded to Prozac that way.

Some of my friends and family thought I was faking my illness because I looked okay. Others knew me to be hard working and dedicated and knew I was really ill. I looked okay, but I couldn’t stand up without leaning on a wall because I was so weak and dizzy. My short-term memory was fouled up. Concentrating and thinking was a chore and trying to read was difficult. I wondered if I had an early onset of Alzheimer’s. I was depressed, and it seemed I was being sucked into a black hole.

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