Read how Candace responded to her full spectrum healing program...
Candice and I met a couple of months after implementing her full program. The initial improvement she describes is not the end of the story so...make sure you keep reading to the end.
Read Part One - HERE
Candace's treatment program can be reviewed in Part Three - HERE
“I am totally amazed!” Candace said when her bright, smiling faced came onto my computer screen. “It’s incredible how much of a positive effect changing my diet, taking vitamin supplements and supporting my adrenal glands has made in how I feel. I really didn’t think this was possible!
I was delighted to see that Candace had started moving in a positive direction. Her energy level and brain fog were better and her daily headaches had ceased.
Now that her healing program was in place and she was improving, we spent most of the visit talking about the need to continue practicing strategic pacing and twice daily healing time. Since Candice had a demanding work schedule, it would be easy for her to start thinking it really wasn’t necessary to do these things every day.
This is an important stage of the healing process.
Many people suffering from chronic fatigue and other symptoms of post-viral syndrome do not realize that, as they start feeling better, they need to stay disciplined with the program. It’s important to hold on to some of that new energy. I tell my patients they should aim to hold onto 10-15% of their energy every day, so it can be used to continue fueling the healing process.
During the next month Candace reported additional improvement. “My headaches, frequent sore throats, low back pain and fatigue have all greatly improved. This week my bodywork practitioner said, “Candace, your body feels like you’ve been doing yoga every day for the past year! The range of motion in your joints has also significantly improved.”
My instructions to Candace at this point were, “You've been suffering from ME/CFS for ten years. Keep working the program every day to deepen your healing.”
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
I suspected things weren’t going well when Candace moved up our next appointment by several weeks. This time, when I saw her face, she didn’t appear very happy. Candace looked anxious and forlorn.
“Dr. Kaiser, I don’t know if I told you I was planning to switch jobs. Well, I did and I’m not so sure it was a good idea. I think I’ve relapsed.”
Candace hadn’t told me she was considering switching jobs. If she had, I probably would have counseled her not to make such a big change until she had made more improvement and stabilized.
Candace had been at her previous job for several years and had mastered its tasks and social hierarchy. It was like she was on auto pilot. She could work from home and set her own schedule and she had a good working relationship with her boss and coworkers.
In her new job, Candace needed to become acquainted with a whole new team. She was now scheduled for an upcoming training week of several 12-hour days at the company’s headquarters in Boston soon. This is not what her doctor ordered!
“We’re meeting today because I’m about to go to Portugal on a long-planned vacation with a friend of mine. And then, at the end of the vacation, I need to fly back to San Francisco for 3 days and then fly to my new company headquarters in Boston for a week of intense training. I’m pretty much melting down right now as I look at what I need to do. Help! I need some advice.”
It’s almost inevitable that a person with ME/CFS experiences a relapse after noticing initial improvement. Your body is done with the old patterns of behavior that may have contributed to your condition. It needs you to pay better attention and give it what it needs to heal, or it will express its displeasure with a return of symptoms.
The occurrence of a relapse is your body’s way to communicate to you that you may be slipping back into old, unwanted patterns of stress, poor eating, over-exercising and relationship stress.
I needed to help Candace through her upcoming hellacious travel schedule.
“Is this a good friend that you’re going to Portugal with,” I asked. “Yes, why?” Candace answered.
“Because if she’s a good friend, she’ll understand when you tell her that you’ll need to take a 2-3 hour rest period every afternoon. You can do lots of things on your trip, but you’ll need to schedule a siesta for several hours every day, so you don’t crash. This will help your body recharge for the rest of the day. This trip can help you rest up for the remaining parts of your upcoming travel schedule.”
“That feels right,” said Candace. “I can do that. And my friend will understand. But what about the plane travel between Portugal, San Francisco, Boston and back to SF? How am I going to get through that?”
I told Candace to stay well hydrated, take all her supplements, eat lightly and, importantly, make sure to rest up between flights.
Fortunately, Candace survived her travel without experiencing a relapse. While the first few months of her new job were very intense, she was eventually able to moderate her work effort in such a way that her improvement continued.
Candace’s ongoing challenge will be to find a good balance between work activity (which triggers her sympathetic nervous system) and her healing program (which strengthens her parasympathetic nervous system). Finding the right balance between these two aspects of the nervous system can make the difference between healing or continuing to be stuck in dis-ease.
Eventually, Candace found a more fulfilling job that lets her work from home most of the time and have a flexible work schedule. Many of Candace’s symptoms have now completely resolved, while those remaining are clearly on the way out. I have no doubt her health and healing will continue to deepen.
Please forward this blog to your family and friends.
Keep Hope Alive!
Jon D. Kaiser, M.D.
Appointments: (415) 381-7655