After experiencing 4 years of this crippling condition, contrary to medical expectation, I have now been symptom free for over 7 years.
I am available as a mentor, to share my journey of recovery and to support you through yours.
I will explain how I can help, either by regular phone conversations or by an appointment to see me.
- Offer one-to-one consultations (An initial consultation of three hours is ideal)
- Recommend a programme of therapy using a combination of Clinical Hypnotherapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), NLP Coaching and Inner Re-Pattening. I also use Reiki. (These therapies are a powerful combination and have proven to be effective)
- Help you to recognise your priorities and the necessary life style changes to aid recovery
- Recommend reading of other inspiring healing journeys
- Be there for you along the way
I experienced 4 years of this most crippling condition (which most of you are familiar with), namely fibromyalgia (FM) in my mid-forties. This disease seemed to take me overnight from a healthy, vibrant, and fit 43 year old, someone with an always optimistic view of life, to someone very different. I was in constant pain, miserable, unable to sleep and at times felt utterly desperate and unable to cope with the smallest of life’s detail.
This is a brief account of my personal journey, which resulted in my life being free of the symptoms of this life shattering illness. Thankfully, this situation has continued to be my experience for the past 4 years.
At 40, I had been through my second divorce after 14 years of marriage. I didn’t have any children; I had always been far too busy in an exhausting career for that! I don’t remember a time when I hadn’t been working long hours in a stressful job. Looking back, I think I had lived most of my life on adrenalin. Several times, I had experienced nervous exhaustion, and once pneumonia, which I had so severely, it knocked me out for over 6 months. I always felt illness was an inconvenience and something that was stopping me ‘getting on’. I never viewed it as my body’s signal for me to stop, slow down or ‘heaven forbid’ change my life!
Once my divorce had been finalised, I decided to spend some time having counselling. I had been reading various books on psychology, a subject I loved, and thought it would do me good to take a long look at both myself and my life. After a further 18 months on this journey of discovery, I decided to make some lifestyle changes. I made the decision to resign my directorship with a local company and open my own business. I wanted to do something that would feel more meaningful and less pressured and to move into a much smaller property with the aim of being mortgage free. I had always felt that paying a large mortgage ruled my life and dictated what I could and couldn’t do work wise.
Six months later, I had taken over a small holistic health clinic. This I accomplished in partnership with a close friend, who had just passed her Oxford degree as a Five Element Acupuncturist. I still worked long hours, but at my pace, and eventually adapted to a much smaller income. After about 18 months of running the business, I met an ‘old flame’ and 3 months later I was pregnant with my first baby!
To cut a very long story short, I had complications with my pregnancy, I was found to be ‘placenta previa’. This, together with my age, and the fact that it was my first pregnancy was for my consultant ‘his worst nightmare’ (my placenta was positioned in front of the baby not behind). This condition would prevent a natural birth and meant I had to be very careful of any undue pressure on the placenta.
In summary, I spent a month in hospital several months before my baby was due. I slept at 2 hourly intervals throughout the night during this time. I suffered from a variety of complaints, including dehydration, severe indigestion, depression (something I had never suffered from), constipation etc. For each problem, I was given ‘safe’ medication. My diet was awful, including loads of carbohydrate and sugary foods (typical hospital fare!). With so much bed rest, I became enormous, and more miserable than I ever remember. Eventually I was allowed home 1 month before my baby’s due date, but only if I had 24 hour care at home.
During the early hours of 31st October 2003, on only my third night back at home, I awoke at 2.30 am and experienced a massive haemorrhage. Unfortunately, this was the only night I had spent alone. The experience was terrifying. At 5.14 pm the following afternoon, I had a caesarean section operation and was told how lucky I was to be alive. My placenta had sheered the night before and was only hanging on by the equivalent of a thread of cotton. Sleep deprivation continued with my young baby who, being a month early, was underweight and who needed feeds every 2 hours through the night.
On my return home with my beautiful son, I struggled to manage, partly due to the caesarean section operation but also because I felt so ill, exhausted all the time, aching and generally as though I had aged many years since my initial stay in hospital. The worst thing was being unable to sleep.
I now realise that all of the above was part of my life’s journey towards fibromyalgia.
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia approximately 12 months later by a specialist at the same hospital. I came out of the hospital feeling so much better for having a diagnosis; finally someone had confirmed that it wasn’t all in my imagination.
Three miserable years later, I was suffering more than ever, and taking up to 10 anti-inflammatories a day along with 8-10 pain killers. Some days I wondered how I was going to get out of bed; every night I wondered when I was going to ever have a good night’s sleep again. Every 5 weeks, I had what felt like full-blown flu symptoms. The worst though was the mornings when I stood looking at my baby wondering how I was going to find the strength to lift him out of his cot. I could go on describing the negative experiences of this dreadful illness for pages, but I know everyone with fibromyalgia has their own list of some similar and other individual complaints.
My relationship with my son’s father ended not long after I came out of hospital; however he stayed close by to be an emotional support when he could. I was unable to work for several years and eventually moved to the North of England which enabled me to get more house for my money and release capital to live off. Not working had given me lots of time to think and examine my life. I found it so hard not to feel sorry for myself and had to make a huge effort to get out of victim mode. I tried a few alternative therapies and practised Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day, which helped enormously, especially in making up for much of the lost sleep.
A dramatic change came for me when an old friend, Cathy, phoned to ask if she could use me as a ‘guinea pig’ for her new life coaching course. I was more than happy to oblige. We started with 1 hour once a week, and only after a couple of weeks I realised how ‘out of balance’ my life was mainly due to FM. My social life was nil, as I was always too tired to go out in the evenings; I was always ready for bed at the same time as my son. Exercise had been difficult. The one thing I loved, swimming, was a problem due to the absorption of chlorine (it took me ages to realise that I was feeling dreadful after I had a swim due to the increased toxicity in my system from the chlorine). There were so many things I couldn’t do anymore; life had become a daily battle for survival. Even drinking alcohol wasn’t fun; it just made my aches worse.
By week three, my friend Cathy (my now life coach) asked me, ‘What is the most important thing in your life right now?’. My reply was, ‘My son Sammy’ and she responded by saying, ‘Isn’t it getting rid of FM and being well again? And isn’t that the best thing for Sammy?’ She was right.
That was the start of my determined effort to rid myself of this awful disease and make ‘getting rid’ of FM my first priority. That meant for me starting to ‘let go’ of my money worries, and anything else that I was using as my excuse or my deflection for not focusing all my efforts on getting well again.
I started by booking myself a ‘BUPA Well Woman Day’, as I wanted to have a thorough check up and all my blood tests done etc. This ended up being a setback for me. The doctor I saw had a wife with FM and, although he gave me some detoxing advice and herbal supplement recommendations, he finished by telling me that, in his opinion, I wouldn’t get rid of FM.
After a couple of days feeling down, I decided that it was best to try and prove him wrong, so I continued my efforts. I was recommended to read an excellent book about Ph balancing and changed my diet in line with its recommendations. I didn’t realise how acidic my body was and how dehydrated I was most of the time.
I went weekly to a ‘five element acupuncturist’, who helped drain the toxins from my organs. I had found a wonderful homoeopath, who gave me a prescription of remedies to take every day. I tried Cranial Sacral Therapy for a time too, and had colonic irrigation (something I would not repeat despite the relief of symptoms which resulted!).
Next I took regular massage, the best was Ayurvedic massage, and I also had reflexology treatments. I increased my hot baths to two a day with organic lavender essential oil at night. I also gave myself regular Ayurvedic hot sesame oil massage (called abayangas) in the mornings followed by a hot bath. This was so soothing and excellent for drawing out the toxins in my body.
My back was a problem so I had regular appointments with a chiropractor, who also taught me the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which was a real help for pain relief. Finally I went to see a hypnotherapist, a wonderful lady who is now a good friend. Amanda was the first person I spoke to who had experience of helping people overcome FM. Also highly qualified as a psychologist, Amanda had developed an advanced method of hypnotherapy for people with FM.
After several long appointments with Amanda, my ‘release’ began. I started to have long nights of deep sleep, the first in 4 years. I cried for England and I started to get well. I really felt that all the treatments I had been having had helped me to get to a place where I could finally ‘let go’ of FM, which I now see as a huge emotional and physiological stress that had embedded itself in my being.
I still practise TM twice a day, and I try to keep to a fresh organic healthy diet. I hardly ever drink caffeine or alcohol. I have now read numerous wonderful books on ‘self-healing’, many of which I would recommend and wish I had read sooner. I use homoeopathy for everything, including as treatment for my son’s every ailment. We haven’t been to a doctor for antibiotics or drugs of any kind for years!
I now know without question that the most important thing is to ‘live for each day’ and to take time to ‘smell the roses’; funny how life becomes such a gift when you have experienced nearly losing it. My journey continues to extend far beyond my initial intention, from which I have learnt far more than how to cure myself of FM. I now know, among other things, how powerful our every thought and action is in relation to our overall fulfilment and happiness in life.
Every disease, illness and feeling of discomfort has something to teach us about how we can improve our lives. In order to understand what that lesson is, we need to connect and listen to our own bodies. This is not rocket science, rather an approach that is so obvious and easier than we could ever imagine once we decide what is truly important. The hardest part is to STOP and start ‘letting go’ and to accept that there is a power far greater than us as an individual. Ultimately we can be our best physician.
I hope my account inspires you to keep going on your own road to recovery.
With love and understanding.
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