My Story: How I Became Ill With ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Recently I’ve been studying Infectious Diseases for my Nutrition course exam. Reading about viruses and bacteria, I had a revelation about what caused my ME.

Basically I caught Glandular Fever/Epstein Barr virus at university, also known as the kissing virus. Virus inject their DNA into your cells which replicate their DNA for them and create more viruses! Eventually the viruses burst the cell and are released. They go undetected by your immune system and they hide in your cells and alter your genes for immune defence.

So this caused me to feel fatigued, dizzy, weak, with brain fog, difficulty concentrating.

Also I had a typical student diet consisting of chocolate, crisps, microwave ready meals, pasta and alcohol. So my diet was atrocious! I was malnourished and the high sugar diet gave me spots.

I went to the doctor and told him my symptoms. He gave me tetracycline antibiotics to take for the acne and told me to keep a food diary for a few months and then get back to him. I felt really alone and unsupported and didn’t know what was happening to me.

Back then I had very low self-esteem and pushed myself to please others, doing what was expected of me without questioning what I wanted to do. So I carried on working hard studying for my chemistry degree and working full-time on my industrial placement year at the same time, even though I could barely concentrate. I started collapsing suddenly as I was so weak.

Anyway the antibiotics took their effect and killed off the bad infection. However they also wiped out my good bacteria so the opportunistic yeast fungus that lives in everyone’s gut called Candida Albicans overran my gut. They have hyphae projections that plant like roots in the gut wall and cause little holes to form that allow food particles to leak through the gut into the bloodstream causing leaky gut syndrome.

Eventually I became so ill in December 2008 that I was unable to function in society so my parents brought me back home and my Mum had to care for me for 6 months as I was too weak to stand up and walk to the kitchen to get a drink or make food. I was confined to either my bed or sitting on the sofa in front of the TV.

After a year of diagnostic tests from the doctors, they all came back negative and a neurologist in London diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (a syndrome is a group of symptoms) in December 2009. The only treatment they could offer me was antidepressants and that said it would take time to improve.

At this point I took charge of my own health, and with the little energy I did have I began researching on ME I signed up to an ME monthly newsletter and in one issue it mentioned that acupuncture can help. So my Mum booked an appointment for me to see a local acupuncturist.

Although the acupuncture only provided temporary relief, and not helpful in the long time, she detected that I had severe digestive issues and recommended that I go and see a Nutritionist.

This was the key to my recovery as she used a bio-resonance machine to detect that my body was overrun with multiple viruses, Candida and I can several food intolerances including wheat, yeast, sugar and beef. I immediately cut out the offending foods and wondered what on Earth I could eat as everything seemed to have sugar and wheat in it.

I remember when I cut out processed sugar I had the shakes for a day like I was coming off a drug. I ate fruit as a replacement.

This is when my passion for cooking began as I began experimenting with wheat-free alternatives and baking my own bread with gluten-free flour.

After about 6 weeks of changing my diet and taking supplements including Oregano to kill the Candida and natural antiviral herb supplements, I returned to see the Nutritionist and she noted a marked improvement in my health. I felt better and had so much more energy. The brain fog had cleared.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I believe it is my life purpose to share it and to spend the rest of my life helping other people with their health, using the knowledge I have learned on my own health journey. I feel blessed to have had this first hand experience of illness so I can really relate to my future clients and help them on a deeper level.

15 thoughts on “My Story: How I Became Ill With ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  1. Kate you’re a inspiration not to just the young but for all those out there that think there is no hope. So proud of you, wishing you every success for for future.

  2. Whilst it is sad that people have to go through this crap, I get comfort from you sharing your journey of health because I and I’m sure many others can feel so alone when going through stuff. Highly respect your attitude when diagnosed in deciding to take control and do what you could to support your healing. Thank you for openly sharing, look forward to some foodie ideas. Holly

    1. Thank you Holly! I’m glad you get comfort from me sharing my journey. I felt very alone and unsupported during my illness but I had a strong determination to heal myself. I hope you like my recipes. Wish you all the best in your own health journey. 🙂

  3. Well done Kate. You’ve overcome a lot and this site looks great. I’ve got some colleagues who might be interested in the recipes.

  4. Thanks Kate for sharing your story. I’m currently sat at home as I’m experiencing yet another day of missing out on being active with my fiancée and friends as they go out for the day. I have brain fog (feels like my brain is swollen), sore, swollen eyes with the whites having greyed over, lethargy, lots of tears, jaw clamped, spots… I’ve been diagnosed with M.E. and have bought some Pau d’Arco after a colleague told me about candida overgrowth. I’ve cut out pasta, normal bread, sugary foods etc. I feel very isolated and no matter how much explaining I do, people just don’t seem to get it. I’ve always had trouble sleeping but I got really ill when I got very stressed with work about a year and a half ago. Your story gives me hope. Thanks so much. I guess I need to work on my diet more?

    1. Hi Chloe,
      I understand how painful it is to watch friends going out having fun while being stuck at home ill. I felt very isolated as well. I had to move back in with my parents to be cared for by my Mum and it took her a while to understand M.E.
      If you have brain fog it is highly likely that you have candida. You could go to see a nutritionist with a bio-resonance machine to get it tested and they will give you supplements. My nutritionist gave me grapefruit seed extract to kill the candida and recommended that I cut out all processed sugar which I did. The candida was gone in a matter of weeks and I could concentrate again.
      I’m not a doctor, but it sounds like you may have scleritis which is inflammation of the sclera (whites of the eye) if they have a greyish tint. You need to go and see an eye doctor (an ophthalmologist) to check it out.
      Well done for cutting out pasta, normal bread and sugary foods. It’s a great place to start and will put less stress on your body as wheat takes a lot of energy to digest. Yes work on your diet a bit. Try to eat organic food if you can as pesticides in non-organic food add more toxins into an already overloaded body. Try to reduce processed foods and eat simple foods like fish, rice and steamed veggies. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and alcohol.
      Check out my posts Therapies to Heal ME – Part 1 & Part 2 for other therapy ideas that might help you.
      I’m so glad you read my story and it gives you hope! Keep going! The beginning is the hardest part but it gets better. 🙂
      There are lots of people online with ME. You can check out forums to chat to other people with ME. I’m always here if you want to chat 🙂
      Best wishes, Kate x

  5. Your story was so comforting to me to read. It is so hard to find positive accounts of this illness online. I was very recently diagnosed with chronic fatigue after a bout of mono the first semester of my freshman year in college. It has only been about two months of the brain fog/fatigue/body aches and I am already so frustrated, so it is so good to hear that there is hope! Is there anything that you would recommend for someone in the early stages of ME? I moved back home and am resting as much as possible, but I was wondering if there is any benefit in catching it early, or anything you wish you had known in the beginning that would have helped in the long run?

    1. I am so glad that my story was comforting for you to read and has given you hope! ME/CFS is curable and you may find after recovering that the illness has been a blessing in disguise. And given you the opportunity to rethink your life and what you want to do. Moving back home is a good idea so you can get support from your parents. I don’t think there is any benefit in catching it early. ME/CFS takes time to heal to re-evaluate your life and your lifestyle. There isn’t anything I wish I had known in the beginning except maybe to avoid taking antibiotics which wipe out your good bacteria. I would recommend going to see a nutritionist as the brain fog is often caused by Candida and gut problems. I would also recommend signing up for The Chyrsalis Effect supported recovery programme. You could learn tapping (EFT) to begin to release the trapped emotions from past traumas which may be causing your body aches. Avoid stressful situations as much as possible and reconnect with nature. I wish you all the best in your recovery back to health.

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