Thursday, 2 February 2012

A corner, turned?

Monday before last, I decided to go alcohol-free for a week.  This had no real bearing on my ME/CFS: it's just something I do from time to time, to make sure I haven't turned into an alcoholic yet.  ;)

More seriously, I do drink pretty much every night.  I don't mean I'm a raving beer-monster; I mean I have a beer, or a glass of wine, with dinner.  Sometimes, on the weekend, J (my other half) and I will have an aperitif before dinner.  I am usually well within the government guidelines on alcohol intake (which are probably more restrictive than I need; safe limits correlate with body mass, and I'm 6ft tall...)

Anyway, it was time for a no-alcohol week.  And I noticed that, as the week went on, I started to feel... good.  I was aware that I was sleeping more shallowly, but my mind felt clearer.  I felt lighter.  Chores felt less insurmountable.  My productivity started to pick up.  I was working hard, and by evening was tired - but not in an 'ill' way.  A good, clean, genuine, all-used-up tired.

I started to have a creeping, dreadful feeling that my increased wellness might be linked to my reduced alcohol intake.  (Oh, conflict!!  On the one hand: a simple measure I can take that might turn my life around.  On the other:  Nooooo!!!  Don't take my beerz!!)

I cut my alcohol-free week short on the Saturday night.  Not because I was gagging for a drink, but because, if my suspicion was correct, I would rather have a sofa-based Sunday than Monday.  Monday is a work day, and I'm horribly (wonderfully!) busy right now.  I drank a thoroughly enjoyable couple of glasses of wine as we watched "Cowboys and Aliens" (which was a much better film than I expected, by-the-by).

Sunday came complete with brain-fog, aching limbs and that dull, nagging, 'slow' feeling.  The wine, perhaps?  Perhaps - but the results are not yet conclusive.  I've also been working to cut out refined sugar from my diet, and Saturday's dinner also included cheesecake.  Oh - and Sunday's breakfast was, basically, bakery cookies.  So I broke the number 1 rule of an exclusion diet, and re-introduced two possible causes at the same time.

For now, I'm happy to be both alcohol and sugar free.  Next weekend, I'll introduce one of the possible culprits, and see how I go.  (My money's on the alcohol.  What that means for all the homebrew kit in my shed is yet to be decided.)

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The doctor with a special interest

Early in the new year, I went back up to Peterborough clinic.  Not to see the O/T though, this time.  I had a specialist appointment with their 'doctor with a special interest' in CFS/ME.

He was somewhat horrified that I'd never been diagnosed by a specialist, so we went through a whole pile of questions/symptoms.  I tested out as mild/moderate on pretty much everything except IBS, which I am very happy not to suffer from.  ('Mild' means you have the symptom.  'Moderate' means it becomes worse on exertion, or that you cannot work because of it.  'Severe' means you are housebound or bedbound due to the symptom).

We also went through the long list of supplements that I take daily.  I have to admit: I was really hoping that he would tell me that half of them were useless.  That I could safely stop taking them with no effect on my health.  Unfortunately, he was enthusiastic about most of them, and even suggested another, additional one.  Darnit.  Those supplements are probably my biggest expense outside the mortgage and household bills.

He also suggested other things that I might want to talk to my GP about.  But this post seems long enough, so I'm going to leave it here for now, and come back to it another day.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Nudge, nudge

Quite a few people have nudged me over the last week or two.  "So, you know that other blog you started...?"  Ummm, yeah.  That would be this blog, here, wouldn't it?

I said I wanted this to be a chronicle of my recovery - and I do!  It has to be said, however, that I started writing here in a fit of optimistic enthusiasm, prompted by my first visit to the ME/CFS clinic in Peterborough.  I was determined: it was the start of a new era, a corner turned, the magic bullet was found, and it was going to be improvement after improvement, all the way, from here on in.

Of course, things don't work quite like that.  I've been up and down, just like anyone else.  Christmas was most enjoyable, but hard work - driving 200 miles each way to visit my parents, plus socialising, eating too much, staying up late, getting up late, and generally trying to shoehorn rests in around another family's schedule.  It's probably safe to say that the weeks before Christmas were actually very hard - I know I spent a lot of time on the sofa - and that the recovery from Christmas was slow.

I didn't want my first post back to be a giant whine-vent-whinge session.  And it's not.  But it's not all wine and roses, either.  I'm here.  I've been resting.  Energy levels have been *generally* improving.  But slowly.

And I'll try to post more regularly from now on.