When I was housebound I thought going abroad would never be a possibility again. But Dermot and I have just got back from a 6 day holiday in Torbole, Lago di Garda, Italy.
We went on this holiday less than five months after I started the life-changing Dynamic Neural Retraining System programme (details about my experience with it here). After this holiday I can safely say that I have my life back in more ways than I ever thought possible. Here are some examples of why I think that:
1. Chronic fatigue syndrome gone
In Italy we got to do loads of the things we both love like running and swimming. We also went on a two hour mountain bike tour and five hour trek. Apart from that we walked around the beautiful area, went shopping, went out in the evenings and basically were up to something most of the time.
Five months ago I used to crawl out of bed at about noon most days and then hardly have the energy to do anything all day. The walk from the sofa to the kitchen (about 10 steps) used to feel like a never-ending marathon. It feels so great to know that I now have the energy to do anything I wish to do.
2. No more food sensitivities
Having my first ice cream after about a year was simply incredible [and the second, third, fourth and fifth ones were pretty amazing too ;)]. I definitely wasn't eating the healthiest food, but it just felt so nice to be able to eat and drink anything I wanted to without any anxiety and without needing to check all ingredients before even considering eating or drinking something. I even had a slice of Dermot's pizza, some bread and a bite of corn on the cob just to prove to myself that corn is no longer a problem!
All this is pretty huge for me especially when I think about the time when I could only eat 8 different fruits and vegetables and drink just one type of water to manage to stop throwing up multiple times each day. Before starting neural retraining I remember thinking that apart from the fact that I was housebound, it would have been impossible to go abroad as I would have had to take ALL my own food to keep safe. Far from being the case after all :)
3. And no more multiple chemical sensitivity
Being able to go wherever I want feels extremely empowering. To be on a plane, in the passenger seat on the motorway for a few hours, in a crowded bar/restaurant, on a ferry, in a shopping centre, in a hotel and also back in church is just amazing.
When I was housebound and when anyone who would come to see me had to use my laundry powder and all my cosmetics, I wouldn't even have DREAMT that it might one day be possible to go abroad again. So I had to pinch myself quite a few times during this holiday!
It has really been a defining point in my recovery and I feel very lucky and blessed. As I mentioned in my open letter to Dermot, he was my rock through it all and apart from having such a great time myself, I was also really happy for him as he really deserved and needed this break.
And if you suffer from a similar mysterious illness, please don't lose hope. I must admit that I had reached a point where I had completely lost hope but the Dynamic Neural Retraining System gave me my life and my hope back and I will always be grateful for that.
I also couldn't have got here without the help and support of my family and friends, as well as all the medical professionals who helped me along the way. In particular my allergist, Dr Michael Radcliffe, without whose advice, guidance and early diagnosis I definitely wouldn't have reached this point, and my dietitian, Marianne Williams, who played a huge part in my recovery too. Thank you all x