About 8 years ago, after years of various trials that had left me worn out, and a tornado that was blowing through my life at that time, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia Syndrome. There was a point where, for nearly a year, I was rarely capable of leaving the house for something as simple as getting groceries. Extenuating circumstances were not helping (more on that another time). I was weak, in constant pain, unable to get a good night’s sleep, and feeling like someone who was dying…only there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. I thought a lot about the word “chronic” and, at one point, I decided that I simply refused to assign that word to my life in any capacity that implied endless illness or futility.
I may have been sick, but I was also blessed by God to be chronically hopeful and chronically determined to survive. And not only survive, but to thrive. Against all odds, I kept believing that somehow, a better day would come for me. But I had an inkling that it would require some effort on my part. God helps us, but most of the time, we need to take a step in the direction of that help and put feet to our faith.
We also need to take ourselves out of victim mentality because that is a dangerous place to get stuck. And all it requires is a mindset shift, a renewing of the mind. We need to stop telling ourselves a debilitating story and start telling ourselves a new story. The story you tell yourself again and again is the story you will believe…and live.
There came a point in that particular year where I absolutely refused to believe that this was my lot in life and I truly believed that with divine help, I could and would overcome this debilitating illness. At the time, anything that involved much effort in meal preparation was not something I was interested in. But I prayed for guidance to find a way to get better.
That day, a hope rose up in me beyond anything I can explain. It was the kind of hope and faith that bubbles up when you know you’re on the verge of a turning point or a breakthrough.
I got out a couple of my natural health books which I often used and started poring over them, searching for answers. I came across something about the acid/alkaline balance in our bodies, learning that disease breeds in a body that is too acidic and it cannot thrive in an environment that is alkaline. I had already been vegetarian for about 20 years and vegan for nearly as long, but it’s possible to be vegetarian and/or vegan and still not be as healthy as we can be.
I got online and spent the next 6+ hours researching, determined to learn more about acid/alkaline balance. I followed the advice by Linda Rector-Page in her book Healthy Healing and fasted for a few days, taking in only a potassium broth and a green drink. Within those days, I started to feel some relief. I found charts online listing the foods that are high alkaline, pH neutral and high acid and determined to get all the foods I could get my hands on that were high alkaline. I started eating this way immediately…eating all raw foods—loads of dark leafy green vegetables, celery, avocadoes, bananas, apples, watermelon, fresh dates and more. I started squeezing half a lemon into some warm water every morning when I first got up. I ate handfuls of raw almonds. I had a green superfood drink every day. That was the food part.
I continued with my spiritual practice of daily prayer, scripture reading and meditation.
I continued with stress relieving yoga regularly, at least three to four times a week. This eventually progressed to never, ever missing my daily morning yoga practice, as well as adding poses throughout my day as needed.
I limited time and contact with people who I felt drained by and spent time with people who lifted my spirit and who I felt enlivened by being around.
I continued my habit of voracious reading on everything from faith and spiritual topics to personal growth, creative development, literature, health, raw food and alkaline cookbooks…anything that added to my health of mind, body and spirit.
And what happened? Within weeks, I went from being so weak I could hardly leave the house to living again, and what’s more, to thriving! It was clear that each day toxicity was leaving my body and health and vigor were entering in. I felt more alive than I had in years…possibly than I had ever felt!
Since that time, I have continued to eat a high alkaline, 70% raw food vegan diet most of the time and it has made all the difference.
Do I ever have flare-ups? Yes. Extremes of weather are still a challenge for me (especially cold, damp, windy weather) and can cause muscle and joint pain and stiffness as well as fatigue, but the most important thing I have learned in the last decade is how to take care of myself. Self-care is crucial to wellness and I hope you’ll read my other posts on this important topic.
For now, I hope that if you’re reading this and you struggle with Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue, that you will believe there is hope for you. While I am not a physician, I can share with you what has helped me…in the hopes that some of these things will help you too.
I will be sharing more about things I do and don’t do, eat and don’t eat to maximize my health in upcoming posts, so stay tuned. Perhaps you’ll implement some of those things yourself and start seeing amazing results too.
If you’d like to schedule a free 30-minute exploratory coaching call with me, please click here and book yourself an appointment. I’d be happy to talk with you!
Until then…blessings and renewed health to you.
* Photo credit: Take Me Home by d’pegasus ( through flickr & pinterest)