I'm Not Tired: International CFS/SEID/ME Awareness Day
May 12, 2015
Tomorrow, my sister Michelle and I will embark on a ten-week health overhaul, a candida/digestive health program from www.thewholejourney.com. It add...
April 25, 2015
From this point, I am adding more structure to this blog. On Saturdays, I'll give a general update on Michelle's and my progress with our illnesses a...
Creative Time Management Series
June 7, 2015
June 2, 2016
Where do I begin? First, the quick update: I had to ease up on supplements and reintroduce foods from my elimination diet early because my work schedule got way crazier than anticipated and I couldn't keep up, and I'm now stuck two months into the most lousy flare I've experienced in a year and a half. Whew, I'm glad that confession is over.
Ok, now the painful details/lessons learned, followed on the other hand by really exciting news:
So what went wrong? I was so enthusiastic and determined my last blog post. First, a couple piano projects turned into way bigger endeavors than I was led to believe when I first accepted them. Well, truthfully....one of those projects was legitimately out of my control. The other....I may have let it get out of control because I wanted to test my limits and help some people out. Note to self: the first month of an intense healing protocol is NOT the time to push yourself in your career or try to take care of everybody else (DUH, Lizzie!). All the performances were great experiences, though.
Second, I unexpectedly had to travel to South Carolina during the first month of the protocol for some of my performances. That's what really triggered the flare I'm in now. On one hand, it was hard to keep up with supplements and keep stress super low when traveling was a nightmare, the hotel lost our reservation, and I had to run around from performance to performance the next day on half a night's sleep. And forget about keeping sugar low. I needed more carbs for the kind of activity I ended up doing. However, despite not adhering 100% to the nutrition/lifestyle guidelines I set for myself earlier in March, I ate cleaner and more consciously on the South Carolina trip than any other trip ever. Yay for improved habits!
But after I returned, I was so exhausted I couldn't keep up with cooking and maintaining the elimination diet. Some days, standing to cook ground beef for five or ten minutes would been all I could handle, unless I'd been sitting or lying down resting all day. But I still had my teaching/performance schedule to continue, so I chose to conserve my energy, not put as much pressure on myself in the kitchen, and focus on stress-relief over diet perfection.
It was a hard decision; if I set my mind to something, I don't abandon it. But in this case, it was the healthiest decision at the time, and that's why I'm doing this: I'm doing this for health, not to prove how perfect I am or win the race to recover from my illness quicker than the next chronic illness blogger.
One huge positive, though: when I reintroduced corn to my diet, I discovered I reacted to it with severe irritability and depression, much like my reaction to gluten. That explains a LOT. As a result of my elimination diet, I'm now 100% corn-free.
Recently, my diet has consisted of eggs, Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free bread, sweet potato chips (Jackson's Honest is the best!!!), fruit, Applegate deli meats, crockpot chicken soup and beef stew, and TONS of Epic Bars and Larabars.
Fast-forward to this month: now I'm stuck. The performance season is over and I have some more room to breathe, so I am trying to focus more on health. Which is desperately needed, since a few of the more alarming symptoms from my first year of illness have resurfaced, namely, an increase in feeling lightheaded and collapsing. Sometimes it feels like an acute low blood sugar attack, where I suddenly feel insanely hungry and must have sugar that very second. Other times, it feels more like a result of standing or walking or being active too long (it feels like I run out of fuel to keep going, and a combination of food, water, and rest off my feet seems to help). My panic attacks have gotten worse and worse over the course of the spring semester and my circadian rhythms have done a 180, just like they did the first year. I've been falling asleep at 2 am and waking up anywhere from 10am-12pm. I am in a constant daze.
Because of my decreased health, especially my increased metabolism and fainting, my parents are sending me to a functional medicine doctor in the area. I have my first appointment on Monday. I'm so ridiculously excited.
I'm in the process right now of reading a fantastic book on treating CFS/SEID in preparation for my appointment. I've also found an absolutely fascinating book on Lyme and chronic illness. I'll be writing book reviews within the next week or two, as well as the results from my first functional medicine visit.