My story begins in 1994 when I was going through an extremely stressful time, I was doing year 11 in high school and my parents were going through a divorce, so things were not great. I had been a very athletic teenager and on a bad day would swim 100 laps of our local pool, so when I started to feel really tired all the time to the point that I couldn’t swim at all I initially put it down to all the stress I was under with school and at home. But after a few months of feeling really tired I came down with what we thought was just tonsillitis, I had a few shots of penicillin only to get worse and then to find out I shouldn’t have had them at all as I actually had Glandular Fever and the shots weren’t going to do anything for me.
“If I hadn’t of done Mickel Therapy I would still be laying in that darkened room today”
I then spent the next 6 months on the couch with my teachers delivering my homework to me after school and the next year recovering, of which I never really fully recovered from. For the next 15 years after Glandular Fever I suffered ongoing symptoms of Chronic fatigue such as constant tiredness, insomnia, IBS, anxiety, heart palpitations, gastritis, allergies and intolerances, rashes etc.
Over the years I saw multiple doctors and naturopaths with little to no help, I felt and knew there was something wrong with me but I couldn’t find anyone to help me, I started to feel like a bit of a ‘hypochondriac’ as I was always at the doctors for one ailment or another. It wasn’t until 2009 when I was working as a nurse in a clinic that things became a lot worse. I had been working very long hours as we were always short staffed, I was being treated very badly by a manager and I had a lot of stress going on in my family life. I started to suffer panic attacks of which I had never had before, my IBS got worse, my sleeping got worse, but still I pushed through it all and continued to be bullied at work and work very long hours with no ‘me’ time. I literally woke up one morning a month or so after the panic attacks started and felt like I couldn’t move properly, like my limbs were full of lead, at the time I was scared out of my whits thinking I had suffered a sudden onset of MS, but despite this I managed to drag myself out of bed and trudge into work, but this was the day when my body had had enough, I literally sat all morning with my head on my desk, I just couldn’t seem to muster up any energy to do anything and half way through the day I told my boss that I had to go home as I felt absolutely terrible, I left that day and I never returned to work again.
Things went from bad to very, very bad within a very short space of time, within a week I’d come down with the ‘virus’ that most people associate the cause of CFS with, which left me with fatigue that I had never felt before which made just getting off the couch to walk to the toilet a ‘big deal’, I’d never felt fatigue like this, not even with glandular fever. I had a soaring Temperature and lost 6 kgs within a few wks. This is when a lot more symptoms started such as full body tremors, complete insomnia (1-2hrs sleep a night), severe fatigue, constant nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and the list goes on. It wasn’t until about week 3 of this debilitating ‘virus’ and fatigue that my husband took me into the ER and I was told for the first time about post viral fatigue, the Dr on duty informed me that this fatigue could go on for weeks, months or years, as a nurse I hadn’t heard of this post viral fatigue and was totally mortified by the thought, how on earth could I go on feeling like ‘death warmed up’ for years (little did I know that it would be) so as soon as I got home and could muster up the energy I got on the computer and started ‘googling’ to find out that there were so many possible causes and treatments but there was no known ‘cure’ that I could find (I obviously hadn’t found Mickel Therapy in all of my searches yet) for this fatigue was terrifying, there just seemed be this ‘grey’ area on the subject of CFS, with so many differing opinions, it was extremely overwhelming to learn.
I then spent the next 6 months doing everything humanely possible to help myself, only to get worse. We saw countless Doctors and specialists, I had every scan you could think of (I was sure they were missing some sort of brain tumour that was hiding in the depths of my brain) had multiple blood tests, saw naturopaths, psychologists, I tried meditation, I tried telling myself ‘to get over it’ – as many people had so kindly told me to try, I had massage, IV minerals and vitamins, you name it I tried it, to then only be told by some people that I was Doctor shopping and I was just trying to find something wrong with myself!! I felt totally alone in my search for health and felt totally mistreated and misunderstood by the medical profession for whom I had worked for for so many years, Doctors looked at me like I was delusional, how could I have so many differing symptoms going on at once with no proof of anything being wrong, not even a single blood test coming back as abnormal?? I even had one lovely Doctor who referred to me as ‘the tired girl’, she would laugh when I’d come in (I didn’t find anything funny about the situation!) yet again for more blood test results, to find out they were all ok, she eventually so kindly referred me firstly to a psychologist, politely suggesting maybe I needed to talk to someone as she couldn’t find anything wrong with me and then she referred me to a holistic Dr, saying ‘who knows he might be able to help’, I gladly took any referrals and went with so much hope and optimism that this next person would be the one that would be able to help me. I saw the psychologist and both the times I went I would feel even worse afterwards, so quickly made the decision that talking with a psychologist was not for me.
I then saw the holistic GP who very quickly diagnosed me as having mercury toxicity, I thought, thank god, here we finally have the answer, here’s something I can work with to get better, I had all my amalgam mercury fillings removed and spent close to $10,000 on the dental work alone, I then went through an extremely horrible process of chelation treatment (basically it’s a very expensive, harsh drug to rid your body of heavy metals). I ended up so sick from this process that by early 2010 I was totally bed ridden. So I was back at square one, the second holistic GP, basically washed his hands of me when I ended worse off and bed ridden, saying there was nothing else he could do for me, so we gave away the chelation treatment and decided to take my health into our own hands.
I followed a very strict diet of organic vegetables and fruits (as my stomach could not tolerate anything else) and ate like a diabetic, eating every 2 hours and took oral mineral supplementation. By this stage my husband and I had left our home in WA and had moved back to Victoria to live with my husband’s parents, as I needed constant round the clock care, which my beautiful in-laws provided whilst my husband worked. My beautiful mother in law was my full time carer, she did absolutely everything for me, sourcing all the wonderful organic food, preparing meals every 2 hours, spoon feeding me, sitting with me for hours when things got really bad, constantly researching on the internet for answers, list goes on and on, she was definitely my angel in all the darkness.
By this stage I was sure I was dying of some mysterious illness and the medical profession had got it all wrong, I was so fatigued I couldn’t feed myself and needed someone to help lift me onto a commode next to my bed (this was the only time I got out of bed), the dizziness became so severe that I couldn’t focus on an object, I became light sensitive (so we boarded up the windows) I became extremely chemical sensitive – I could smell if someone had after shave on with my door closed and them standing at the front door of the house, I had only 1 of 3 people visit me and only one at a time as any more than one person in the room at a time was too overwhelming for me, I suffered constant nausea, I had severe pain in all my joints (FM), basically my life was unbearable (see full list of symptoms below), I couldn’t do anything, nothing at all, I couldn’t watch TV or read as this would leave my eyes severely fatigued and blurry for days, my life was an absolute misery.
At this point I’d had enough and hit ‘rock bottom’ both physically and mentally, saying to my husband that I didn’t want to live anymore if life was going to continue like this, I didn’t want to continue suffering all the pain I was in and I didn’t want to be such a burden on my husband and family, I felt like they would have been better off without me. My family had a locum GP visit at this time to try and help me and the visit from this GP is something I will never forget. The GP came in to my room and after making a quick assessment of me asked if he could please say a prayer for me, I said sure, not really knowing why he wanted to do this for me, after he had said the prayer, he said Fleur it’s so sad to see someone so young at the end of their life!!
At first I was absolutely fear stricken, here was a GP finally saying the words I’d been sure were going to be said to me one day, my worst fears had come true, I was dying, I think for the rest of that day I was totally beside myself with fear and desperation, how could this be happening to me? But thanks to the support of my beautiful family I was able to turn this into a positive and the following day I decided there and then that I was not going to let this beat me, yes I might look like death warmed up, but this GP had no idea what was wrong with me, so as it turns out it was actually the big kick up the butt I needed in my head to refocus, I knew I didn’t know how to get better but I just knew there was something or someone that could. So my beautiful family got back onto the task of googling everything they could find out about CFS (surely there was something I had missed in all of my searches) and finally my dad decided to read the book 50 recovery stories of CFS which ironically we had had lying around the house for some time, the answer had been under our noses and we didn’t even know it!! In his reading he found that MT was the only therapy to come up more than once in the book, so my husband looked up the website which stated it could cure CFS and he read all the testimonials to me and to be honest I was at first highly sceptical wondering how on earth a talking treatment was going to get me out of the ‘mess’ I was in and if it was curing people why on earth had I not heard about it, but at the same time I was super excited, all the stories seemed so similar in so many ways to mine.
I knew I had to try it and we got an appointment with Saul a Mickel Therapist within the week, this was at the end of January 2011. I was told that I would talk with him on the phone for an hour (Saul is in London and I’m in Australia), which was quite confronting for me. Firstly I couldn’t even hold the phone up to my ear so I spoke to him on loud speaker and second I hadn’t talked on the phone to anyone for over a year let alone talk to anyone for that length of time without suffering severe fatigue from it, but I thought I have to at least give this a go. With the guidance that Saul gave me in our first consult I learnt so much about the cause of CFS and that my symptoms were not something to be afraid of, what he explained made total sense to me and with this new knowledge I was able to talk with him for the full hour and the most amazing part of it is the next morning after talking with Saul, I, with A LOT of help from my family was able to leave my bedroom for the first time in a year and lay in the lounge room for 10 mins, it was only a short escape, but I will never forget that feeling of leaving my room for the first time.
It was then that I knew that Mickel Therapy was going to get me through this, I still had a very long road ahead of me of course (or so I thought), but I could see how it was going to work. I listened to and followed what Saul told me in each session and trusted in the process and slowly but surely my symptoms started to disappear to the point that by week 6 I was able to walk around the house (as you can see by the photos I was very excited!), 3 months in I was out visiting friends, going to the movies and going to the pool. I can’t tell you exactly how long it took, but I remember about 6-8 weeks into the process that I suddenly realised I didn’t have the ‘lead weight’ feeling anymore, it had happened so gradually (but so quickly in the whole scheme of things) that I hadn’t really noticed! I suppose I’m still amazed as to how the process worked to this day. I can’t recommend Saul as a Mickel Therapist highly enough, he was always conscious of how I was feeling on any given day that I talked to him. His knowledge of the Mickel Therapy and having suffered from CFS himself made the process all the much easier. I was at first concerned about my consults being over the phone and if I would be able to talk on the phone for an hour, but with Saul’s guidance it was not an issue, it did not make any difference me chatting to him on the phone as opposed to seeing him face to face, it was actually better at first as there was no way I was leaving the house when I first started Mickel Therapy. Initially I was concerned about the price, but since then we have added up the cost of everything else we did, which added to a approx. $30,000, so if we had of done the Mickel Therapy in the first place, we would have saved so much.
Some people find it hard to believe when I say I feel blessed to have gone through all of this, yes it was horrible and I know for sure I wouldn’t want to ever go through it again, but out of it all I can only focus on all of the so many positives that have come from it, having CFS brought me to doing Mickel Therapy which not only taught me how to get better from this debilitating illness but has taught me so much about myself and my body, it has taught me how to live life to the fullest and I now feel I am a better person for having experienced this.
I’m now doing all the things I used to say I didn’t have time for and I’m actually doing more now and enjoying my life more than I ever have. I’ve enrolled in art classes, I go to Pilates and the gym, and I’ve met so many new wonderful people through the process. I’m now looking at going back to school to study again and I hope in the next year or so to do the Mickel Therapy training too as I’d love to be able to give other people the new start to life that I was given!! Thank you so much to Dr Mickel for coming up with this amazing treatment and a BIG thank you to my wonderful therapist Saul, for giving me the tools to heal myself, for always supporting me and for guiding me in the right direction, I couldn’t have done it without you!!! I know for a fact if I hadn’t of done Mickel Therapy I would still be laying in that darkened room today.
Full List of Symptoms
Headaches/feeling of tight band around head
Full body tremors
Panic Attacks/feeling overwhelmed
Shortness of breathe
Post exercise fatigue
Extreme weight loss
Visual disturbances/blurred vision
Forgetfulness/short term memory loss