Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting Well: The Philosophy


There are many ME/CFS treatment approaches, countless protocols, and a lot of what I can only call “stances” that go along with these. Some practitioners maintain that you can only get well if you purge your body of its accumulated toxins. Many insist on a completely natural approach, while most conventional doctors will prescribe pharmaceuticals and merely smile vaguely when you bring up the topic of supplements. Every practitioner has his or her own bias. 

Unless you are fortunate enough to see a ME/CFS doctor with considerable experience, you probably will be subjected to dogma.

You are not a practitioner, you are a patient, so you don't have to be limited by the confines of prejudice. There is only one philosophy that truly works for ME/CFS patients: if it works, do it. When you have the mother of all multi-system illnesses, this is not a time to cross treatments off your list simply because you don't believe in them.

As a good case in point, I offer myself. Before falling ill, I was an all-natural kind of person. I fed my family organic food, much of which I grew myself (and still do). I used herbal remedies for the most part, and I even wrote a book, The Supermarket Survival Handbook (never published), about safe, non-toxic products. 

I still espouse the use of safe, non-toxic products, but during my long experience with ME/CFS I have learned that there is a place for everything. I take a small amount of clonazepam and a drop or two of doxepin to help me sleep, because no herbal remedy or complementary modality has been able to touch my insomnia. I also take a slew of vitamins, all of them in fact, and other supplements: fish oil, magnesium, zinc, NAG, enzymes, butyrates, and many more. The single treatment that has helped me the most was a cortisol injection. I take hormones (estrogen and progesterone), and I also visit acupuncturists. I meditate.

All of these things help, some quite dramatically. They are my bag of tricks – treatments that I pull out of my hat as needed.

My advice to people with 
ME/CFS is to develop your bag of tricks, and not stand too much on principle. The most productive approach is a pragmatic one. Do what works - for you.

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