Luckily, after a year in bed, serendipity found me. My mother was talking to a new neighbour whose daughter had suffered from CFS. This woman had taken her daughter to a doctor in Melbourne, and her daughter had recovered within a year. In CFS terms, this was lightning speed. Such a possibility immediately renewed my sense of hope.
I made an appointment to see this doctor, but it wasn’t easy. I was so unwell that I feared the journey to Melbourne, 300km away, would make me gravely ill. But I knew I had to go – and from the minute I was ushered into the doctor’s rooms, I knew I had made the right decision. Dr Ngu as warm, empathic and encouraging, firmly believing that she could help me and that I would get well. At last, I’d found someone who offered me more than a diagnosis.
Dr Ngu started me on a strict regimen of a special diet,homoeopathic remedies and vitamin infusions. The detoxification process was painful, but today my body is stronger than it has ever been. While friends tend to fall prey to colds and flu from time to time, I don’t.
In addition to the medical regimen, Dr Ngu insisted that I undergo stress-management training. This focused my attention on the negative thought patterns that often made living my life more difficult than it needed to be. Today, I completely understand and embrace the power of positive thinking: it’s an invaluable tool for withstanding the effects of illness. It also increases our capacity to feel joy and enjoy a sense of fun. After meeting Dr Ngu, I never again doubted that being healthy was possible.
Life challenges us all, but I believe nothing is in vain if we can ask, What can I learn from this?
What I learnt from my illness is that life is fragile and unpredictable. Beautiful things and moments can be fleeting and are often missed. I remember watching with awe the seasons change from my bedroom window. Recovering,I remember walking barefoot on the grass in the garden for the first time. I also remember the first time I danced again, and the first time I saw a movie in a cinema from beginning to end. I learnt to appreciate all over again those things we take for granted: the shape of the sky, the music of laughter, the beauty of being with loved ones. I’m lucky enough to have had a second chance, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
I’m still recovering from CFS and it can be frustrating at times. But I grow in confidence and health every day, and I feel happier now than I was before my illness. I have stronger relationships with my family and the friends who have supported me through my illness, as well as new friends. Now I’m pursuing a career I’ve always wanted and living the life I’ve always dreamt of having. For me, illness has brought about the realisation that life is an exquisite gift. :
Now in recovery, Karla Dondio has embarked on a new life as a playwright, poet and performer. She is also currently working parttime while building a career as a freelance writer. Karla believes that chronic fatigue syndrome was, and remains, her greatest teacher.
3 of 4 Comments
|Tina on 17 May 2012 ,16:03 |
Lime disease has now just being found in Australia from Ticks and after reading your story it sounds very close to that, but they can only test for it in America. You should look into the tests?
|helen on 13 May 2012 ,01:54 |
Thank you, Karla, for such an inspiring story. My heartfelt wishes for a continued and sustained recovery for you, and hope for other CFS sufferers to gain such benefit as you have.
|Kathleen Burke on 10 May 2012 ,07:35 |
I always take the time to read the stories of those who have suffered these types of illnesses because I suffer with fibromyalgia amongst other things. I am glad that Karla has such a great positive outlook on life, it is truly encouraging for the rest of us. I have found the recent article on gluten intolerance/sensitivity and its connection to these types of illnesses very interesting. It really makes sense, though, that if you suffer malabsorption issues your body will suffer and break down. May you continue to get well as possible Karla.
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