November 7, 2012

More of My Journey and the Development of Empathy

Posted in Journey tagged , , , , , , , at 3:25 pm by Reva

After I had no luck with the Elimination Diet I kept researching.  I found a local Naturopath who reportedly specialised in managing ME/CFS.  This was a big deal for me.  In my training as a health professional I’d always seen the evidence behind what Naturopaths practiced to be weak, but modern medicine didn’t have an answer for me so I was willing to give it a chance. I did go in expecting that I’d be put on a wheat and dairy free diet as I thought that’s what all naturopaths did.

The naturopath did a pin prick blood test to check my blood type.  She then laid me on the couch and did a type of reiki.  She asked me what happened in 1992, stating that was the year this all began.  In 1992 I’d developed a rash all over along with general fatigue, and it was put down to a virus when blood tests were negative for Epstein Barr and Ross River viruses.  I was then put on the “Blood Group Diet” and given a series of supplements.

While the scientist in me was strongly against the blood group diet, the patient within was willing to give it a chance.  I figured that maybe she was onto something with the 1992 thing, and while the evidence for the blood group diet was shady it would be harmless assuming I could have a balanced diet.  Ironically my blood group was supposed to not have wheat and dairy.

I persevered for several months, returning to have the supplement tablets adjusted and waiting for that point where I started to feel better.   But that point never came.  I eventually decided I was wasting money on supplements that didn’t seem to be doing anything, and if anything the diet was exhausting to follow.

While I still think as a scientist I think having a chronic illness has given me an insight into the desperation that patients I work with also feel with their own treatments.  When modern medicine doesn’t have the answer I can understand a little about why people clutch at straws.  I’ve recently noticed that I seem to be more open to some of the less mainstream strategies people might want to try.  I can understand when your health professionals don’t have the answer you’re willing to give anything a try, even if the evidence isn’t strong.  While I suspect some people might see this as naive I prefer to think that I’m open minded.