One thing that has bothered me for years is why I need 9 hours of sleep per night. Why is it, that if I get 8, I’m pretty much non-functional mush for the rest of the day? Other ME/CFS patients have mentioned they have a “magic number” of hours of sleep they need, whereas others are more fortunate.
I didn’t sleep well last night and woke up feeling pretty malaised. Not “terrible” like I felt after 8 hrs of sleep in the past, but compared to when I sleep 9 hours here, I feel more irritable, toxic, and the ME/CFS haze hit my brain & eyes with a vengeance. I don’t know what came over me to decide exercising on this day would be a good idea, but it probably had something to do with feeling better after hiking the last few times I did. Still, I haven’t hiked on a day when I started the day feeling very much like my ME/CFS ghost of christmas past.
The beginning of the hike was pretty unpleasant, but 20 minutes in, my eyes suddenly cleared up and I started taking in my surroundings again with clarity. In doubt, I waited to celebrate. After another 10 minutes or so, I found my energy picking up and feeling, for lack of a better descrption, “good” again. Against all ME/CFS logic, I ended up hiking an hour today at a very brisk pace. I even dialed my parents while I was hiking, and let’s just say talking while walking was nothing more than a pipe dream for the past 6 years if my adrenals had anything to say about that.
When I realized the haze wasn’t coming back, I thought with a good degree of certainty that what all the naturopathic doctors were saying about my sleep was true: that something important happens during the 8th hour which detoxifies my body. Perhaps triggering the liver to release glutathione. In the past, the only thing that helped with “8-hour malaise” in the past was coffee enemas, but even that only helped a minority of the time. Taking binders of all types never helped.
This brings me to something Lisa and Erik have been saying for awhile: the body doesn’t seem to detoxify when it’s a bad place. That’s probably why no matter what external measures I took, I could rarely resolve the 8-hour malaise. I could empty out the sigmoid colon and gallbladder via coffee enemas, but systemic detoxification never happened.
Erik never took any CSM when he was working up the ability to hike for miles during the 6 month period in the desert. Instead, he forced himself to exercise whenever possible. Lisa didn’t really follow suit and wasn’t disciplined about hiking, but was disciplined about the CSM. I wonder how I would fare over time combining the two, which I’ve been doing. I never really had any inclination how good of a detoxification mechanism exercise was; certainly it’s great for healthy people, but I never thought it’d work for ME/CFS patients. Therefore, I assumed Erik’s experience had to be a fluke. After today, I’m almost positive it’s not, and that if I’m able to exercise without PEM, that’s one of the best things I can do to detoxify.
Another hint that hiking is a great detoxification mechanism is my sharp chest pains, which were exacerbated when I first started hiking last week, seem to be ebbing ever so slightly. Lisa’s theory from the get-go was that I had toxins in my heart, whereas always thought it was virii. Perhaps it’s both, but exercise seems to be helping my chest pain (again, against all ME/CFS logic), and it’s hard to think that would be the case if it were caused by a bug.
One thing I’ve always had a hard time believing is that being a testosterone driven guy would be an asset on my journey to wellness. As a ME/CFS patient, any drive just led to crashes. I was forced, like all real ME/CFS patients, to set an energy envelope and adhere to it religiously if I wanted to avoid the slippery slope tomorrow. Right now is really the first time in years I feel like the combination of my annoyingly high motivation and high testosterone (according to labcorp) are beneficial. I’ve not gone hiking 1 out of the last 7 days. My pre-ME/CFS gym rat mentality is coming back in full force and as it turns out, it may actually accelerate my recovery.
I’ve rarely had events in my life when something happens that makes you throw out everything you’ve learned about ____ (in this case ME/CFS) but this is definitely one of them. What happens when you know a truth that’s so important it can changes lives and warrants rewriting the book on ME/CFS, yet no one that’s actually experienced said truth will ever believe it? Nothing, mostly.