Sunday, 22 March 2009


Something my doctor mentioned during my last visit is that my insulin is "up".

My first thought was what does that mean? Aparently insulin is "up" in people with type 2 diabetes. It can be treated with exercise and diet alone. So, my second thought was how is that possible, given I'm on what's probably the healthiest diet in the world - and sticking to it?

The answer is I've been slacking off with one part of my treatment plan: exercise, exercise, exercise. Easier said than done, for a person with CFS.

I've been going about it all wrong. I tend to do strenuous exercise (like horse riding, going on long walks, etc) infrequently; when in actual fact, I should be doing less strenuous exercise more reguarly.

My doctor recommended doing exercise at home, so I don't waste energy getting to a gym. He said an exercise bike is ideal. I don't have one, so I'll have to make do with the next best thing: a skipping rope. My doctor said 15 minutes a day should be all it takes to keep my insulin in check. That, and sticking to the diet, of course.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

DLU (Disability Liaison Unit)

Anyone studying with CFS should see their uni's DLU (Disability Liaison Unit). Even if it's not called the DLU, each uni should have a similar service.

I had a meeting with a DLU staff member today, expecting to be quizzed about whether my debilitating medical condition is real, because that's generally what happens whenever I ask for official help.

I was pleasantly surprised - to the point of being bewildered - at how much the DLU could help me. Here are just a few things the DLU staff member said she could help me with:
· Note-taking
· Providing a bed to rest in if I have a long gap between classes
· Making sure my classes don't take place at the times of day I feel tired
· Recording classes I miss
· Filling in special consideration and extension forms (saving me a trip to the doctor)
· Informing all my tutors of circumstances.

It's such a nice change having somebody who - after speaking to me for just half an hour - understands my situation and wants to make things easier for me.

Too often, people just don't care and us people with CFS are forced to find our own way to do normal things that healthy people take for granted. It's an incredibly comforting feeling knowing that someone has your back.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Special circumstances for uni students with CFS

I was nervous about returning to uni after a year away from study. Mainly, I was worried about how I would cope with going to class.

It turns out I'm handling two-hour classes fine. The problem is my Friday class. It's a full-day intensive! There are four of these sessions, and I was only told about them last week (after I'd sufficiently badgered enough people, but that's another story not worth telling).

I couldn't imagine myself staying at uni from 10 am to 4 pm. Thankfully, neither could one of my tutors. She figured out a way for me to do the subject: I'll be doing two-hour sessions once a week, which should mean that I attend half the classes for that subject. They're going to let me attend the other half of the classes next semester.

I haven't worked out the admin side of things, but I'm hoping that'll all go smoothly. I'll find out when I go to class on Friday.

Friday, 6 March 2009

My special diet

Here's an in-depth look at the special diet my doctor has put me on. The following foods are not allowed:

· Rye
· Wheat (so, pasta isn't allowed, unless it's wheat-free or buckwheat pasta)
· Wuppertaler (whatever that is)
· Cow's milk (sugarless soy milk is allowed)
· Cheese.
· Butter
· Bacon
· Ham
· Apple
· Grape
· Grapefruit
· Orange
· Pineapple
· Cantaloupe/Rock Melon
· Dried fruit
· Peanut
· Sugar
· Honey
· Chocolate
· Carob
· Aspartane
· Beer
· Coffee
· Tea (except green tea)
· Tap water (I'm getting spring water delivered to my home)
· Mushroom
· Tomato
· Potato
· Yeast
· Bread
· Vegemite
· Peppermint (I had to find an organic herbal toothpaste)
· Benz. acid
· Margarine
· Salicylate
· All other additives and preservatives
· Canned food (unless it's fruit with no added juice or sugar).

Sugar is in more or less everything. Juice, cereal, sauces... everything. Food that doesn't contain sugar usually contains wheat, which I'm not allowed to eat either (even soy sauce contains wheat). Basically, I can't eat any processed food. What's left is vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, meat and white rice. It's what my doctor calls a "Stone Age" diet.

Also, there are limits on how I can prepare my food. I have to eat about 50% of my food raw (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc). The only cooking methods allowed are steaming, roasting or grilling. I can lightly fry veggies if I'm desperate. But I can't use oil unless it's coconut oil or olive oil. And I can't eat salt, unless it's seasalt. I have to eat as much organic food as possible, and only lean meat.

Basically, it's a detox diet. But even with all the dietary restrictions advised by my doctor, there's still quite a lot to eat. I can eat all meat (beef, chicken, fish, lamb, kangaroo), nuts (except peanuts), and there's a big range of vegetables available. There's no shortage of food here!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Life is good

Life is all about good management, I find. Lately I made a few small changes and my quality of life has improved dramatically:

· I wake up at 8 am every morning. I sleep during "normal" sleeping hours now, and I'm less tired during the day, surprisingly.
· I study only from 11 am to 4 pm (or 10 am to 5 pm on a long day). In the evening, I wind down so my mind isn't racing when I go to bed.
· I say no. Last week a lot was going on in my life. I managed to say no to additional stresses, and it has done me a world of good.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Food desensitisation

My latest series of nurse visits have been "desensitisation treatments" where the MORA machine is used to "desensitise" me from the ill effects of certain foods I've been avoiding.

For those of you who don't know, I'm on a special diet as part of my treatment plan. Basically, my doctor has put me on the healthiest diet possible, to help my body heal. The special diet is one part of a whole treatment plan, which includes taking supplements, exercising, MORA treatments, and more. (See the righthand column of this blog.)