Today I would like to continue my theme of acknowledging inspirational people. These blog items are to celebrate some of the people I have discovered online, in print or in person, who have motivated me to take control of my health, my life and my independence. These are people who have instilled in me a step-change that has been transformational, and I hope that by sharing them with you, you might also be able to benefit from their wisdom. I would like to introduce you to Dr Sarah Myhill.
Dr Myhill started off as a conventionally trained medical practitioner and she worked as a GP for the NHS for two decades. For some of this time she worked with patients diagnosed with CFS (or ME, ME/CFS, call it what you will – labels are meaningless in a collection of diseases that have all been lumped under the same umbrella due to insufficient funding into diagnostic biomarkers – but that’s a subject for a future blog post. I use the term CFS in this post rather than my preferred ME, because that’s the term Dr Myhill uses). Dr Myhill became increasingly aware that restrictions on her medical practice meant she was unable to serve the best needs of her patients because her own medical experience was not taken into account – instead she had to follow the doctrine laid down by big pharmaceuticals and the NHS. So she decided to move into practicing privately in order to reduce these limitations, and has worked tirelessly to empower patients with numerous chronic illnesses to take control of their own health, through focussed and specific diagnostic laboratory tests, diet, improving micronutrient status, managing allergies and sleep, and through lifestyle changes. Of course there are a limited number of us who can afford private treatment especially when ill health has taken away our financial independence, so one of the great things Dr Myhill has done is publish vast amounts of self-help information online and in print – helping the chronically ill to help themselves. And as always you’ll find lots of links to her work so you can do your own research, at the end of this post.
Here is a video of Dr Myhill talking about her work:
The reason I have cited Dr Myhill as one of my inspirational people is because the greatest gift she has given me is affirmation. Her detailed research into the physiology and biochemical processes behind CFS affirm that my illness isn’t all in my head, as the biopsychosocial touts would have us believe (yes, I have mentioned them before and I will dedicate a blog post to the subject soon. It’ll be a ranty one though, so I’m building up to it on one of my more adrenaliny days). She has won recognition for her written work on the subject of CFS, including a “Highly Commended” certificate at the BMA Medical Awards 2015 and three co-authored papers.
The big wake up call for me was when I was reading her work about mitochondrial failure in CFS patients. She described the initial tiredness from exertion being followed 24 hours later by a more severe exhaustion, and that the failing mitochondria involved can take around 4 days to recover. Reading that was startling because in my ignorance of the physiology behind my illness, I’d been describing to doctors what I call my “Four day crash” after even minor exertion. Dr Myhill had described exactly the pattern of my symptoms and explained why it was happening. At that point I knew she was something special and understood not just compassionately, but medically what was happening to me. To read about mitochondrial failure in CFS, see here: http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/CFS_-_The_Central_Cause:_Mitochondrial_Failure
So I started following the aspects of her protocol that I could manage and I have felt benefits. For more information on starting Myhill’s treatment regime, follow this link:
Another way she has given me affirmation is by detailing ways in which I can cautiously manage my energy usage in a way that directly contradicts the NHS Graded Exercise Therapy protocol. And unlike the latter, Dr Myhill’s ways have proven to be ideal for me as an ME sufferer at the severe end of the spectrum.
She has given me further affirmation by not just outlining a recommended dietary protocol, but she has instead detailed entire eating practices right down to online menu sheets for people living on a very restricted budget. These confirm that my Retox Diet has proven medical reasons for improving my symptoms. (I started my Retox Diet before I came across Dr Myhill’s protocol and it is very similar, although I maintain a small amount of carbohydrate in my diet as I’m not strong enough to manage full-time ketosis)
She has given me the knowledge I need to identify dietary supplements that can and do help my symptoms, without trawling through internet lies and mountebanks promoting nonsense miracle treatments on which as ill people, we cannot afford to waste precious energy and money. And again, because the supplements she’s recommended have helped my specific symptoms (magnesium has reduced my muscle spasms, ubiquinol (a type of Co Enzyme Q10) has improved my energy levels, amongst others) I know from my own direct experience that she is right, I can manage some of my symptoms without pharmaceutical drugs and their side effects (I’ll be writing a blog post soon to share the details of the supplements that have helped me, so watch this space)
Ultimately, the greatest affirmation of all is that the subtext of the vast wealth of knowledge Dr Myhill has shared is:
Yes, your are right. You are ill. Your illness is legitimate. It is acquired. It is not your fault. Ignore the doctors who tell you nothing can be done. You can take control and change your health for the better.
What a great subtext. Of course we all know the pain, disability and limitations we are experiencing are real and life changing – shame not everyone in the medical profession understands that about chronic illnesses. And Dr Myhill shares all this affirming information for free. How can we not feel positive when this immense resource is being given freely?
As promised, here are some links to more information. Be warned: the resources she provides are extensive. You could be reading for hours as you follow interesting link after interesting link in her writing. I have found a Facebook group that is run to help people following Dr Myhill’s protocols to be very useful too. It’s called Support for Followers of Dr Myhill’s Protocol. It’s a closed group but well worth applying to if you’d like to try her protocol yourself.
About Dr Sarah Myhill herself:
CFS – Treatments which are not worth trying:
Dr Myhill’s homepage – includes links to treating diabetes, Lyme disease, bowel complaints, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and numerous other chronic conditions: