My Recovery from ME/CFS/CFIDS and FMS and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Sophie Meredith

I haven't written for some years here. I do look back frequently and the cellular memories are strong. I remember the sensation of dragging a body around and perching an upright head full of protest when neither felt like my own. I remember the loss of identity and the panic that accompanies it.

And now here I am, with a 9 month old baby and well.  He was 10Ib 3 at birth and it was a 26 hour hike up the proverbial mountain of motherhood with no intervention and I am STILL well; well and supremely grateful for my recovery which came after 5 years.

Now, I am ready to just begin to look back on those painful but illuminating times. I attribute my own recovery largely to the love and support of close family, friends and especially my partner, Alison, who as well as providing a loving and nurturing space for recovery, supported me in, amongst many things, exploring Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM). There were also a few key medical professionals whose acknowledgement was a cornerstone and starting point for recovery. I hope that more GPs especially, can come to realise this as a crucial and useful part of their role, even when they don't have the answers. I have particularly to thank General Physician, Dr Oldmeadow who in lieu of all the answers, was able to offer not only the crucial acknowledgment to my partner and I of the veracity of my symptoms, but also suggestions for many alternative therapies that I might try.

As for what treatments finally worked and what helped manage symptoms, the list is long. Ayurvedic medicine, colonic irrigation, liver cleanse dieting, yoga therapy, visualistation and meditation, pranayama, raw juices, exercise physiology and graded  exercise, Sukyo Mahikari, fasting, supplements, naturopathy, CBT, counselling, cupping, kinesiology, osteopathy and massage all featured in my explorations with varying degrees of success. What is clear is that some or all of these things combined, eventually helped to get me where I am today. I also refused any drugs to alleviate the symptoms. My rationale is that this immune disorder is connected with toxins, and more chemicals were likely to further clog an overloaded system. I hope more research can be done into CAM and its benefits for people with illnesses such as ME/CFS where conventional medicine does not currently have answers. There is no shame in not having the answers and much sense in exploring what might.

6 months after I gave birth, I was dressed in a Triathlon suit at the starting line breast-feeding my baby and while others were impressed, few would have suspected the satisfaction I felt. Only those suffering with the illness or close to someone who is/has could really have appreciated what it might feel like to make such a recovery from ME/CFS and FMS. Thank you Alison, my darling wife, and to every person working in the health field who is keeping an open mind to the possibilities of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. I finished that race and am poised to help others do the same.

To see details of some of my aids to recovery view my 2009 post 'How I have been getting better with CFIDS' Sophie Meredith


A disinterested medical profession?

By Louise Wallace

ONLY a handful of doctors have signed up for free national seminars on chronic fatigue syndrome, prompting patient advocates to call for a change of attitude among health professionals toward the illness.

ME/CFS Australia invited Dr Byron Hyde, founder of Canada’s Nightingale Research Foundation for myalgic encephalomyelitis and CFS, to speak to health professionals around Australia this month on the latest research and treatment options.

The organisation expected an overwhelming response to the visit by Dr Hyde, who has more than 26 years’ experience treating the conditions and is the author of several reviews and two books on CFS.

However, despite efforts to promote the event to hundreds of general practices and medical students, ME/CFS Australia said the response rates were “disappointing” so far.

ME/CFS Australia CEO Penny Abrahams said the poor turnout across the country suggested doctors were not taking CFS seriously and did not see it as a “real illness”. As Australian Doctor went to press, a total of 22 doctors had expressed interest in Dr Hyde’s final presentations in Perth and Melbourne.

Blake Graham, president of the ME/CFS Society of WA, said the “pitiful” response indicated a lack of interest from health practitioners. It was also likely doctors opted not to attend because they underestimated the impact of CFS or felt they were unable to treat the condition, he added.

“A change of attitude is needed so practitioners can expand their knowledge and level of care,” he said.


Finding and eradicating the worm..

Impurities of Intelligence

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured

By B.K.S. Iyengar from Light on Life

The whole educative thrust of yoga is to make things go right in our lives. But we all know that an apple that appears perfect on the outside can have been eaten away by an invisible worm on the inside.

Yoga is not about appearances. It is about finding and eradicating the worm, so that the whole apple, from skin inward, can be perfect and a healthy one. That is why yoga, and indeed all spiritual philosophies, seems to harp on the negative -- grasping desires, weaknesses, faults, and imbalances. They are trying to catch the worm before it devours and corrupts the whole apple from inside. This is not a struggle between good and evil. It is natural for worms to eat apples.

In yoga we simply do not want to be the apple that is rotted from inside. So yoga insists on examining, scientifically and without value judgment, what can go wrong, and why, and how to stop it. It is organic farming of the self -- for the Self.

To reach and penetrate as far as the fourth sheath is a considerable achievement, but I would be doing the reader a disservice if I did not point out that considerable achievements also bring in their wake considerable dangers. An obvious one is pride -- not satisfaction in a job well done -- but a sense of superiority and difference, of distinction and eminence.
It is an obsession in our modern society to focus on appearance, presentation, and packaging. We do not ask ourselves, "How am I really?" but "How do I look, how do others see me?" It is not a question of, "What am I saying?" but, "How do I sound?"

There are those, for example, who perform polished, well-presented, highly attractive yogasana. They are pleased with this, and with themselves, and are perhaps financially well rewarded for this outward excellence. When I was young, struggling to earn a living, to raise yoga in public esteem, to exemplify in my visible body the art and aesthetic beauty of yoga, I was always seeking to present asana in the best possible way, symmetrically, precisely, and in stimulating, coherent sequences. I was, when occasion demanded, a performer and an artist. This was my service to the art of yoga. But in my own personal practice I did not have this type of idea. I was concerned only to explore, to learn, to challenge, and to transform inwardly. Above all to penetrate. Yoga is an interior penetration leading to integration of being, senses, breath, mind, intelligence, consciousness, and Self. It is definitely an inward journey, evolution through involution, toward the Soul, which in its turn desires to emerge and embrace you in its glory.

You need a good teacher as guide so you will not hurt your body, overstretch, wrench, or nip the inner fibres, tendons, ligaments, mind, and emotions. This is yoga inadequately or wrongly practiced. I know; I have done it. But when yoga is only outward facing, exhibitative, and self-gratifying, it is not yoga at all. Such an attitude will deface and deform even the character you started out with. In class when pride rises or its complement, insecurity, as you look around at others, recognise it for what it is and send it on its way.

It is certain that there is much pleasure and satisfaction to be gleaned from life. Patanjali said the correct fulfilment of pleasure is an essential component not only of life but of liberation. But Patanjali also warned that wrong interaction with nature (where the afflictions or klesa still rule us) can bring about our confusion and self-destruction. The pursuit of pleasure through appearances, which I connect here to superficiality of intent, is quite simply the wrong way to go about things. To pursue pleasure is to pursue pain in equal measure. When appearance is more important to us than content, we can be sure we have taken the wrong turning.

The achievements of intelligence therefore also have their pitfalls, even more difficult to identify than the lure of the senses. We are only too ready to admit, "Oh, I can never resist chocolate." But how many of us would admit that we would willingly stab any colleague in the back in order to gain a promotion? We shy away from such self-knowledge as we instinctively feel that its ugliness lies closer to the Soul.

Most of us, at least in maturity, with or without yoga, fall into a dutiful routine, a comprehensive conduct of trying to "be good" and fearing the consequences if we are not. This is neither solution nor resolution, but it is a livable cease fire, or decency by dint of moderation. Controlling our desires is a continual pruning process, rather than a Damascene conversion.

When Half is Enough - Amazing Story of an incredible determination..

In life we keep complaining about what is or why we don't have.

Half the time we seem dissatisfied, though full-bodied and free to choose. Fat people say,"I want to be slim." Skinny people say,"I want to be fatter."

Poor people want to be rich and rich are never satisfied with what they have.


PENG Shuilin is 78cms high. He was born in Hunan Province , China .
In 1995, in Shenzhen, a freight truck sliced his body in half.
His lower body and legs were beyond repair. Surgeons sewed up his torso.

Peng Shuilin spent nearly two years in hospital in Shenzhen, southern China, undergoing a series of operations to re-route nearly every major organ or system inside his body.
Peng kept exercising his arms, building up strength, washing his face and brushing his teeth.

He survived against all  odds.

Now Peng Shulin has astounded doctors by learning to walk again after a decade. Considering Peng's plight, doctors at the China Rehabilitation Research Centre in Beijing devised an ingenious way to allow him to walk on his own,
creating a sophisticated egg cup-like casing to hold his body, with two bionic legs attached.

It took careful consideration, skilled measurement and technical expertise. Peng has been walking the corridors of Beijing Rehabilitation Centre with the aid of his specially adapted legs and a resized walking frame.

RGO is a reciprocating gait orthosis, attached to a prosthetic socket bucket.
There is a cable attached to both legs so when one goes forward, the other goes backwards.

  Rock to the side, add a bit of a twist and the leg without the weight on it advances,
while the other one stays still, giving a highly  inefficient way of ambulation.
Oh so satisfying to 'walk' again after ten years with half a body!