Caregiver of chronic fatigue patient asks for direction..
Your newsletter was recommended highly by a dear friend of mine, who is a hypnotherapist and part of the Verve newsletter and group. Recently my partner came down with CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome). The rapid onset of this has put me in a tailspin of questions and wondering what to do. We have been lucky enough to get acquainted with a good doctor who specifically deals with this, but have found the majority of the medical profession turning the other way, because it is not curable with antibiotics and because they cannot tell where it comes from at this point.
I have basically become caregiver in a matter of just a few weeks, because my partner is almost bedridden with fatigue. It has become draining trying to research sources and ways to help, along with finding help and trying to maintain some semblance of income generation.
Are there any resources that you can point to? Some sort of relief or therapies for CFS sufferes? And how about resources for their caregivers? Thanks.
Frustrated and Losing It.
Dear F. & L.I.,
First of all, there is growing evidence that connects fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other functional chronic pain conditions to a delayed reaction to a traumatic event. Posttraumatic stress generates a lot of cyclical biochemical residue in the muscle tissue and joints, and it can build up to eventually generate significant pain and fatigue. So it’s possible there was something in your partner’s past - and it could be years ago - that might have gotten this nasty ball rolling - a car crash, ICU stay, childhood illness, natural disaster or being on the victim end of a violent crime. Even watching helplessly as something terrifying happens to someone else could be enough to catalyze this reaction in some people.
That being said, there are some things you can do, but it will take patience, because this usually takes some time to overcome. First thing, I’d get a second opinion. The sudden onset makes me wonder if conditions like Lyme’s Disease or other alternate diagnoses have been ruled out. If you go to the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue websites and newsgroups, you can get the info you need to ensure you’ve got the right medical people on board, who asked the right questions and suggested the right interventions.
Second, you can use our imagery for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue and for Healthful Sleep because she’s probably getting poor quality sleep and not enough of it - it’s a symptom that comes with the territory. You could use our Relieve Stress or Relaxation & Wellness imagery, to keep yourself chilled in these daunting circumstances.
In addition, there are very gentle yoga exercises by Carol Dickman, in a video called Bedtop Yoga, that will be very helpful without inducing undue strain and fatigue. Your partner needs to keep moving, albeit very gently, with this condition. She also needs to keep breathing fully, again, to keep moving that gunk out of her tissue. Andy Weil’s Breathing Meditation CD provides very good guidance for this. So does Suzy Scurlock’s Healing from the Core CD set. If you have a good massage therapist who can give her gentle weekly or even more frequent treatments (perhaps you can arrange a trade for services, as this can get pretty pricey), this would also be of great value.
And finally, visit www.AskDrWeil.com to get some solid suggestions for herbal support and advice on what to eat and what to avoid.
I wish you all the best with this. It is a difficult situation for both of you, and you deserve all the support and assistance you can get to see this through.
Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award