It is now about a year ago when in my way back to family home for christmas vacation I was struck by viral meningitis. To make things short I will go to the most important points during the process of recovery. First I was told by doctors that I would be ok in few days, something that was not the case. In my case I developed a chronic fatigue and some doctors told me that it was normal, others told me that it was not possible. Anyway, after doing a long research, I kind of understood that my synthoms were very similar to a chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). It was an scary thing because most of the studies I found said that CFS has no cure. In my case, after 9 months fighting all this I managed to overcome it, and now, I may not be totally ok, but I am at 99 % of who I was. So what I did: First, it was to learn about what people were doing to get out of CFS and then apply that knowledge to be cured. I understand that once you fall into a vicious circle of being ill it is hard to break it, but I am sure we all can, and before I continue I would like to say that most of my recovery was due to mental strenght and mental framework changed. With this I am not saying that this is a psycological disorder, rather that it is both physical and mental. I am sure that cytokines, a byproduct of brain sweeling, but also a byproduct of depression and negative mental states, may play an important role into this disorder. Having said that, you need to be ready to expect a long journey of 2 steps foward and one bacward all the time, and this can be hard to handle as you may think that you are not recovering at all. So I suggest to be patient, to forget about all the things in your life and focus on your recovery. When your energy levels are so low, the last thing you need is to waste this energy in any other thing rather than in the process of healing. So do not get stressed, and I know that this is easy to say and hard to do. Be like a person who smokes a joint and does not care about the rest of the world. In fact Marijuana has helped me in this way a lot, as well as in taking away the pain which no other pain killer could do. I started consuming some of it many months after my initial illness started, in the first few months I was too weak to do any thing like that. So anyway, I will make a list of the things that i believe may have worked for me:
First I changed my diet; no carbs from grains, no sugars, no milk, and I added green shakes (smoothies) to my diet in the last few months. I strongly believe that the smoothies has helped me the most in recovering my energy levels. Check out for paleodiets.
Second, I did some meditation which will help you a lot.
Third, being so crazy about sports before all this meningitis thing happend, I decided to join a swiming pool with salted water and a spa (this last was really good): It was hard at first to find the balance between keeping healthy and not falling into a relapse, which were provoke most of the time by mental or phyiscal activity that used all of my available energy. So remember to leave energy for your recovery and ignore your ego and competitive instints ( this was really hard for me since I fell into that trap so many times, probably delaying my recovery). Anyway, swiming a bit everyday was really good, qas well as pushing just a bit foward little by little, only the days that i knew I had that extra energy. Over the months (9 months), I passed from 100 m to 500 and 1000m with no stop. Although, again, becareful with the intensity of your exercise, soon, once it is all over you will push your body to its limits again, but now you are in the proccess of healing. Remember that the recovery is not lineal and once you enter in the fast recovery part, it will be very fast. At least it was for me.
Fourth, suplements and vitamins. Given that I was told that no medicine is available to combat enteroviral infections I decided to take many suplements that could help to combat that and also my fatigue. I ended up spending a lot of money and i am not sure if they helped or not. I started with herbs, such as raw olive leaves, oregano oil, shitake and many more. I also read that everything could be related to mitocondrial disfunction and the generation of ATP, I took suplements to help me with that such as D-ribose, lcarnitina, Coenzime Q10 and Magnesium, and I strongly believe that they helped in my energy levels although I am not sure to what extent. Similarly, I took some vitamins but only for the first months with no improvement. I took some actimel to help with the flora of the gut which is related to CFS and also maybe disrupted by enterovirus and this, i am positive, helped me to finish my chronic diarrea and many other intestinal symthoms. Marihuana helped me a lot; in taking away my massive headaches and making more relaxed about life, i noticed a great change with this. However, the thing that has helped me the most, at least on the dayly basis, was the sun.Sunbaths were amazingly empowering me every day, it was like a drug to have 15 to 25 minutes of full body sunbath. This is highly recomended.
Fifth, I changed my mind. I was fed up with being ill and found some people who had recovered from CFS by telling to themselves that they were ok and slowly resuming their daily activities. For me reading that was like an insult since I knew that there was a clinical proof that I had a virus which unleash all this situation. However, I started to believe in the power of the mind to heal and so I ignored many of the synthoms I was having and I slowly started doing more things, to the point that in a month or two I was feeling almost ok and in 3 months I WAS BACK to rock climbing and training really hard.
I am know almost free of all my symthoms although i am not as before and sometimes I get really tired, however, I dont worry about them since I know that they will go away after. It is a bit like the noise from this 2 step fowards one step back that I have got used to live with.
Just remember that you will be ok if you really want, I promise. I should have written al this before because there are so many usefull things I am leaving behind. Nonetheless, I hope it helps and I am very happy to have found the stories of other people to better understand what doctors could not tell me. Thanks to the meningitis trust for all their support. I am really convinced now of the relationship between Viral meningitis and CFS. It is left to scientists in this field to find the real link which will help people who developed CF and CFS after viral infection such as this. Whether the disorder is due to enterovirus, cytokines, leaking gut, central nervous systems disorder, etc is not clear yet but I believe that with websites like this and all the precious information they hold, soon this mistery will be solved.
All the best to all of you...