It's been a while since I updated you on my health, and I know from my DMs that there are a number of you suffering from Long Covid, which by the way isn't what you have when you still feel a bit poorly a fortnight after testing positive! This diagnosis is only given after a minimum of twelve weeks of suffering with debilitating fatigue, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, brain fog, and a variety of other symptoms. It really is life-altering. As many of you will know, I also have Chronic Lyme, M.E. and Fibromyalgia, and some of the symptoms cross over between all illnesses. I have a wonderful G.P. and have been having tests at my local hospital to see if there is anything that we can do to improve my situation and reverse some of the damage. I am not a medical professional, so what I do may not suit you, however I have a plan to start with and we will tweak according to how my body responds....
I have a lot of digestive issues and have had a lot of tests done. I am still waiting for one more test and one more result, but at the moment, the aim is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, and I will find out soon if I am coeliac (I've previously tested positive for a gluten intolerance, but that's different from an allergy). I don't have any intrinsic factor in the lining of my stomach, so I can't absorb B12, however we have also found that at the moment, I am having problems absorbing nutrients in general. I have been taking a variety of prescribed supplements, however I'm being moved to injections and sublingual sprays. I'm not going to make any specific recommendations, as I had extensive tests to see which vitamins I'm lacking in, so the plan is personal to me.
Exercise: This is quite a tricky one for me. Some days (more days than not), it takes everything out of me just to do my skincare, have a bath and brush my teeth and my week revolves around which day that I might be able to wash and dry my hair - the fatigue is hugely debilitating and I don't think that people understand unless it's something they go through. However, my Consultant and GP have both recommended that on days that I feel up to it, I try to do a little exercise and we have agreed on using a seated elliptical, which my mother actually used as part of her physiotherapy following her stroke last year, and Kundalini Yoga, which should help to strengthen my lungs, as I am still using inhalers and nebulisers daily. I was asked if I could walk for 30 minutes 5 days a week, however I faint regularly so I had to tell them straight out that walking at pace is just not feasible at the moment. I mentioned the seated elliptical and we agreed that this was a good starting point because it will help to strengthen my legs, get blood flowing (which will hopefully help to prevent the severe calf cramps that I often suffer from), and hopefully boost my energy. I used to love yoga and this particular type - Kundalini, is often recommended to those who have been on ventilators, as it really improves and strengthens lung function, which is much needed after having Covid 6 times, plus pneumonia several times too.
Rest and quality sleep: In contrast to the previous step, whilst I do need to move my body more, what's even more important is quality sleep as this is reparative. I'll be honest, sleeping is not really a problem for me, due to medication I am taking, however I never feel refreshed from it. I also nap every afternoon for 2.5-3 hours, which I have tried to fight but I will fall asleep sitting upright! It's due to the medication, which we will gradually reduce and I hope to get full days back. Also, resting means completely switching off - not watching tv or reading etc, I've been advised that quality rest (almost like meditation), where I focus on my breathing, stop my mind from thinking about other things, and just focus on the here and now. This type of rest, in shorter bursts, should assist me in having more energy to do things. I do rest a lot (because I have no choice, due to the crippling fatigue), however this has previously involved watching tv or YouTube etc. I must admit that I do totally switch off in the bath, so I'll be stocking up on my Therapie bath products, but also pillow spray (use the code BEAUTYLYMIN to save 21%), which I've been using for almost a decade, and it really helps me to sleep, even when not on medication.
Eat fresh and organic: Generally, we cook from scratch. Don't get me wrong, I love a Five Guys or an Indian takeaway, but I prefer home-cooked food to pre-prepared meals, which I understand make life easier for some people. The problem is that I don't always have the energy to cook, plus when I lost my sense of taste for months, I had zero interest in food. My Mam grows a lot of fruit and veg and gives us an abundant supply, which certainly makes the organic aspect easier, and you can totally taste the difference. I don't eat a lot of meat, but we buy organic and I've been advised not to give meat up completely, which is fine as I do like chicken and the odd roast beef, but I'm not a huge red meat eater (again, this advice is specific to me and my body). We have a few basics that we tend to batch cook and make great use out of our slow cooker. I'm hoping that when my energy increases, I can cook more because I enjoy it, but it will also benefit me. I think that Hello Fresh (not affiliated!) looks like a good option if you are short on time for both cooking and shopping, or maybe aren't the most confident cook and want to try cooking from scratch.
Obviously, stress is bad for the body but I think that we all experience it in some shape or form at times, but my aim is to avoid it, or at least not worry about things that I can't control, which is what comes naturally to me. I personally think that laughing every day has a positive effect on the body, so I like to watch something funny daily.
Finally, I take probiotics daily and have done for years, but I've been recommended specific ones for my issues, and 70% of the immune system is in the gut, so it makes sense that we are what we eat, but also to replace any lost good bacteria (as I'm on antibiotics long term), but also to protect my immune system.
All of these steps will hopefully help with my other illnesses too.
Are you suffering from Long Covid, or do you know anybody that is? Have you made life changes or are you getting help in your recovery journey? I'd love to hear in the comments or you can DM me on Instagram.
You can read other posts about my Covid journey here.
Thanks for reading!
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