The account for the Irish M.E. Trust of the Wellcare Program undertaken between 19/04/05 and 31/08/05 by Catherine
Personal Background ( necessary to include so that the results of the Program can be viewed in context).
My name is Catherine and I have suffered with M.E./C.F.S. since the winter of 1979 following a viral infection, which was diagnosed at Dr. Steven's Hospital, Dublin . The M.E./C.F.S. wasn't diagnosed until 1993 and not accepted by a G.P. until I changed doctors a year or more later.
The initial infection occurred at a time of change and stress. For the early years the symptoms affected me for short periods with long gaps between. It wasn't until '86 that fatigue and a multiplicity of other symptoms became unrelenting. On September 22 nd 19 years ago, I began the trail of acupuncture, homeopathy, kinesiology and healers without more than erratic and short-term benefits.
My willpower ran out in 1990 when I ceased to be able to work consistently. Only occasional work on painting at home has been possible since. Keeping myself fed and laundered has been the extent of the challenge met for most of that time.
The impetus for beginning the Holistic Clinic's Wellcare Program was an awareness of a) the worsening of some degenerative conditions (organs, bones, eyes, skin) which I could easily identify from Deepak Chopra's “Ageless Ageing” and b) a belief that my health was being more and more undermined by an inefficient digestive system. There are good accounts of digestion in Patrick Holford's books and in John McKenna's “Hard to Stomach”.
My undertaking the rigours of the program was only possible because I had done the Buyteyko Breathing course and over six months had brought my Control Pause from 6 to 30 (on a good day). Without the benefits I got from that I would not have had the clarity of mind to assess the chances of the program being worth the cost in terms of money and effort, and have had that essential bit of energy necessary to begin.
Before I decided to begin the program I read the handbook twice. It presented a complete and cogently argued program with a long-term regime to follow. It didn't hold out the promise of a quick cure, in which I wouldn't have believed. It has as a central tenet the idea that, despite what one might eat, one can be malnourished due to an inefficient or defective digestive system. Since I have reckoned that to be one my problems for a long time, I weighed the costs and benefits and decided to proceed.
The financial costs are high. These are outlined at the end of this report. The costs in terms of effort and endurance are outlined section by section: The program begins with Cleansing. Nourishing , Challenging and Healing come in overlapping phases, finally Consolidation .
Cleansing: “ the process of removing anything that has found it's way into the body, has been left lying around, or has grown up there inappropriately…
each step of the process and each repeat of the program takes more and more of the debris away, like the layers of an onion. as the resistance to normal life processes are removed, the latter progresses more and more effortlessly”.
Since having completed the Foundation Regime and hope to (or intend to somehow) repeat the later stages of it several times over the next year or more. I hope very much that this will prove to be the case.
The first cleanse was of parasites .
It was preceded by a long initial consultation, acupuncture sessions twice weekly, which continued throughout, and what they call stage 1 and 2 diets, which also continued throughout. Stage 1 usually runs for an initial period but I decided to get into the full change of eating and drinking habits from the start. The attack on probable parasites began later.
In brief, the diet involves:
2 litres of water daily (taken between meals)
2 tbl spns. of flax seeds daily
Specified supplements (these changed at each stage)
Avoidance of: Processed veg. Oils and derivatives ( eg. Mayonnaise)
Wheat, eggs, soy, dairy (except a little butter)
All chemical food additives
Separation of foods i.e. don't mix at one meal: Fruit & starch (e.g. muesli)
Two proteins (cheese & meat)
Starch & protein (eg. meat & potatoes)
Flax oil is a main stay so that large salads with organic lettuce became a main stay for me. The diet suited me from the start. It was easier on my digestion.
The Parasite Cleanse consists of a large number of large capsules plus certain drops in water. Seven dosages in total a day from May 5 th to 31 st .
“ We are susceptible not only to human parasites, but also to those of other animals, including those of our pets ”.
- They deplete the nutritional reserves.
- They produce highly toxic by-products.
- They create chronic inflammation and scarring at the sites they inhabit.
- They do irreversible damage to critical organs like the pancreas, liver, heart and brain.
The cleanse is harmless to it's human host, unlike many other anthelminthics which can be severely toxic.
I had previously had some headaches, probably from the withdrawal of tea, coffee, and honey. From the parasite cleanse I suffered leg cramps. I also lost the relief gained from Buyteko – grew more tired and foggy-brained. I was also more tired from getting to the clinic, stopping and preparing the new diet.
The second cleanse (STAGE 2) was kidney . (The Nourishment, Challenging and Healing sections have begun by now and continue).
I began this on May 21 st . The overlap of tablets to be swallowed came to a daunting number. This cleanse involves making up a witches brew from substances provided by the clinic, plus capsules. This was completed on July 7 th .
The kidneys are involved in reabsorbing vital substances. “…during illness this is weakened and we tend to lose our critical reserves…, especially minerals from the blood. The purpose of the kidney cleanse is to challenge the kidneys to perform all it's functions effectively”.
The Liver Cleanse, which began on June 2 nd (stretching out the kidney cleanse and overlapping with it) consisted of seven weekly cleanses. The first was the most severe. I found however that I lost two days of any useful activity throughout. The substances taken induced diarrhoea, nausea, leg cramps, bad humour, exhaustion and, on the night of taking them, a loss of sleep.
Nevertheless, at this stage I had some erratic improvement in mental clarity and physical energy – some periods of ‘flow', as opposed to the usual constriction. There was a slight improvement in sleep; i.e. I had reduced from 10 to 7 my sleeping tablets following the six months of Buyteko Breathing work. Now the number went down to 5 per month.
As this stage continued, in the third month of the program, the improvement in the base level of activity was more consistent. My mood, already improved by Buyteko, improved further. A future, seeing a short way forward became possible. I could perform one common task after another and even co-ordinate some tasks. Previously it had been a case of one task, sit down and gather myself then get up and do another task. There was a slight improvement in memory, in reading ability and in tolerance to bright light.
Later in this section of the program I had the experience of being psychologically more present to myself, and further, a sustained sense of living at a higher or better level. The fog of memorylessness receding backwards and futurelessness clearing forwards. I also had a sense of a battle just beneath consciousness where some small element had some investment in my remaining unwell. This was manifested in a pain in my shoulder.
After seven or so weeks of these cleanses, just when I felt I couldn't stand it, I progressed to the Carbohydrate Exclusion Diet and the shock of eating only protein and green vegetables.
The Carbohydrate Exclusion Phase had the added interest of daily coffee enemas, more supplements and periodic liver cleanses. It can only be done under supervision and for a short time. After 21 days I had lost the will to live. After 26 days I was almost glad to fast. The clinic's rationale for this unpleasantness is: “It rebuilds damaged tissue, restores enzyme systems, commences the repair of chronically damaged bowel linings and blood vessels, and eliminates much of the malignant bowel bacteria. This diet should not be continued without strict supervision…it may cause significant health problems if persisted for over too long a period. Do not encourage friends to do it without supervision”.
My reaction to this was a return to a greater level of exhaustion, cold symptoms, and leg cramps again, nausea and increased irritation. On the plus side, my memory continued to improve (an engaged form of memory, more akin to being at a play than a film). I was able to remember a few phone numbers for a few days. I could reduce the sleeping tablets again, to 1 / 3 rd per week, although having a still far from normal ‘good' sleep. Nausea eventually decreased and I could reduce the amount of food I ate, as recommended.
The psychological effects of the protein and green vegetables were more remarkable and more difficult than the physical. I had a sense of being off balance, and of all my atoms attacking my mind, having been made alien by the strange food.
And thus to Fasting . I was doubtful about this. I had lost weight on the protein diet and lost even more now. I was careful not to let anyone but friends who had done the program find out, as I was not prepared to be pestered to come off it. I persevered up to the last night but one. I lost a little of the benefit, but that wasn't the end of the world. I found it hard. They tell me the healthier one is, the easier it becomes. These were three-day fasts.
I began to eat, slowly, there isn't any other way, and put weight back on quickly (having been thin to begin with). The program is emphatic about the dangers as well as the benefits of fasting: “For the modern person, undertaking a long fast is fraught with a new menace; namely the increased variety and level of retained poisons in the modern body. Within six days of stopping taking food the level of toxic materials mobilised by the body in an effort to eliminate them can become dangerous. Significant preparation and careful control would have to be used by anyone attempting to use fasting as a therapeutic tool nowadays”.
The experience was not pleasant. I watched a lot of TV.
Bowel Reconstruction is the second last part of the program (fairly self-explanatory).
Probiotics and different supplements again for around ten days. Re-introduction of carbohydrates and moving on to a Maintenance Diet with high levels of nutrition
(including juices) follows. I was on that for three weeks – the Consolidation Period .
At four weeks from the fast, food was tasting as good as it had before commencing the protein diet. At evening I was looking forward to the next day. I had an unquestioned expectation that things would turn out well rather than badly. A possible return to better health seemed more than theoretical.
I then went back to the clinic (on August 31 st ) for a review, expecting to continue long term on the stage 1 & 2 diet, with more work somewhere down the line…
It was proposed that I begin that work immediately. I considered the pay back I'd already gotten, and decided to find the means somehow and do it. So I am on one more round of proteins and greens with only the downside to show for it yet. And that will be the limit of my possibilities, at a big stretch for the foreseeable future.
I hope this account hasn't been overly detailed. When I consider doing something, I like to have as good a picture of what is involved as possible.
The other essential information is in re. Cost. Following are the totals: (As well as the Irish M.E. Trust's assistance I have had some discounting from the clinic. That would be negotiable between an individual and the clinic if circumstances warranted).
Supplements from 19/04/05 to 31/08/05 €1,127.50
Initial Consultation €100.00
Final Review €60.00
36 Acupuncture Treatments @ €45.00 €1,620.00
Added costs of organic produce + protein extras €3,000.00
At this point I tend towards the belief that it will prove worthwhile. I cannot imagine being able to fund any more than the current month I have undertaken. (I gather the idea is to continue periodically for up to two years. That would be the full experiment).
If there are any further significant changes as a result of this current work I will report on that too.
The clinic I attended is in Abbeygate St. , Galway . Tel: (091) 567 416
Quotes are taken from program handouts and from ‘ Peak Performance Health'
by Bruce W. Du Ve.
The Wholistic Clinic which I attended is in Abbeygate Street , Galway 091-567416
The Handbook – Peak Performance Health is available from there.
Please contact me c/o Irish ME. Trust if more information on this program is required.
Catherine 16/11/05 .
May 2010 UPDATE
Further to my report on the Wellcare Program undertaken between April 2005 and August 2005, I have found since I wrote, that it all had little long term benefit. Many of the dietary changes I made had been good but I have had no long term increase in energy. The improvement I got at the time, disappointingly, lasted only for 4 to 5 months. Mental clarity however is generally better. This may be down to a health food intake – green salad, flax oil, etc.
I queried some results which I received which were inconsistent with the expectations of the program but got no response from the head of the program.
I continue to be in touch with the acupuncturists and naturopaths there who are generous with their advice and I buy my basic supplements from them.
I don’t foresee doing any more with the program.
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