Book Review: Kicking Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
Debra writes from personal experience – her story of confusion, struggle and hopelessness is familiar and it is comforting to know that she understands what is going on from a personal point of view. She explores possible reasons for CFS, going into leaky gut, increased bacterial load, the endocrine and immune systems, adrenal fatigue and thyroid function. This is a short overview and only really serves to show that the cause of CFS is still uncertain and that the symptoms are complex, altering and compromising most of the body’s systems.
In Chapter 4 – Getting Started With Healing, Debra outlines a commonsense approach to developing a plan; Step one is… make a plan. This may seem obvious to some, but the research into chronic fatigue syndrome is only just beginning. There is no cure and opinions are mixed as to the reason for onset and how CFS alters the body’s physiognomy. Most GPs are not well educated in CFS and even after a diagnosis only feel qualified to provide suggestions on management (how to curtail your activities), and perhaps a prescription for supportive vitamins and minerals. We have become so much in the habit of delegating our heath to experts, it is difficult to know where to start when faced with such limited support. If you want to investigate your symptoms further or make any attempt to get back to wellness the initiative must come from you. Reading through the Kicking: CFS plan gives you a good idea of how to begin: find a practitioner that will support you in your investigations, keep a record of your symptoms, identify your allergens, stop polluting your body (mould, chemicals, pesticides etc.) and detoxify your body. In each of these areas Debra provides practical advice on how to go about doing these and they make sense for anyone that wants to improve their health, especially for anyone with a chronic illness.
In addition to the plan, Debra goes into some detail about the various ways you can support your systems with food, supplements and natural therapies. In addition to a commonsense healthy diet there are 24 vitamins and minerals that she suggests taking as well as the following healthcare protocols:
- Support for the pancreas – juicing to increase nutritional status and enzymes
- Support for the liver – Killing candidia with an Innovite’s yeast Busters kit
- Support for muscles, heart and joints – eating essential fatty acids
- Support for the hormonal system – adaptogenic herbs (which act to normalise hormone levels)
- Support for the immune system – Moducare (a product containing sterols and sterolins) and immune-boosting injections
Reading this is quite overwhelming but setting it out in short dot points as above, it becomes more accessible. Again, it is apparent that chronic fatigue affects every system in the body and any support needs to be holistic.
For those of you living with a chronic illness, you will know that learning how to deal with the condition and manage your life around it is extremely difficult. Debra touches on this daily management, focusing on coping techniques such as asking for help, as well as looking at habits that will help you heal like getting enough sleep and pacing yourself. This section is tacked on at the end of the book like an afterthought, it is extremely brief and most of the statements are self-evident.
Chapter 5, titled ‘the role of antibiotics in treatment’ is based on the research of Professor Garth Nicholson from the Institute of Molecular Medicine in California. He posits that “it is a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can be at the root of much muscle pain and fatigue in a number of chronic illnesses.” I have not come across this research before, and I find the idea interesting. However, the cure of a year-long dose of various antibiotics is not something to jump straight into.
This is a relatively short book and I don’t think it does justice to the ideas in it. Overall, the health care plan is based on good principles and is a great starting-point for your own investigations. But because cfs is such a complex disease it is difficult to condense all the research and understandings about the body into such a short book. I recommend it as a beginning-point for anyone interested in taking action and writing a health-care plan, but more research is needed to see if the suggestions fit with you.
- Investigate Dr. Nicholson’s research and see if testing for these ‘bugs’ is a possibility
- Investigate my allergies – I have seen an allergist previously, (testing positive to nuts, tomatoes, onions, banana, some preservatives, polyester and nitrogen dioxide) but stopped going as I was very well at the time and the multiple tests were becoming very expensive. I will do some research and get a referral to an allergist.
- Investigate candidia and see if following a similar protocol is for me.
The website for Professor Garth Nicholson’s research is http://www.immed.org/fatigue_illness_research.html