Ian Cleary

The Lightning Process was confronting, challenging, interesting and fun. But most importantly I recovered, and my recovery was rapid!

A year later from a full recovery of CFS, and I’ve almost forgotten just how hard the years of being sick were. Living the life I want and doing the things I like has overshadowed the most confronting and difficult stage of my life.

In 2009 I decided to volunteer overseas for year and I was a picture of health. I trained in karate and judo frequently, and would enjoy running just to get outside. I ate well and took good care of myself. That year did have a few challenges, and despite being successful, it began the start of my downward spiraling health. I had reoccurring rashes and was frequently requiring antibiotics for infections.

After arriving back in Melbourne I started having digestive issues, and would vomit or need to get to the bathroom without warning. My girlfriend (now wife :)) would be able to recognise what she called my “throw up face”. We had no idea what brought this on as it was sudden and for no discernible reason.

Later in the year I contracted glandular fever, and the diagnosis was missed by the drs. I never seemed to recover, and every dr I saw told me to take it easy and rest. I followed the dr’s advice but continued to grow impatient given the lack of improvement. By this stage I was easily fatigued and needing to rest lots, not sleeping, throwing up, not digesting the food I loved and had painful headaches.

After 6 months of trying to fight this a local GP suggested I had CFS, which was confirmed by a leading CFS/ME specialist (along with lactose and fructose intolerence). This was shattering news. The next 3.5 years will be familiar to those reading this with CFS, so I won’t go into too much detail. I spent many days lying on the couch at home saving energy to get through the next day. I tried many drs and spent $000s on trying every health specialists goto for CFS from antibiotics and supplements, to food restrictions, to vitamin C drips.

I was very disciplined in my approach, yet any benefits from these were almost too marginal to describe, and often meant a more restrictive life – which is hard enough when you feel like you can’t participate in you usual coping activities (for me exercise and eating).

Fast forward to mid 2014 and I met a lady who could not stay quiet about the Lightning Process, telling me she recovered after 20 years and she had 12 friends who had also recovered. It sounded too good to be true to me, but I remembered my brothers friend had tried the same thing for chronic pain. I met up with him, he sounded like a reasonable person and he described his journey and symptoms which very similar to my own. As I left he mentioned, “there has been nothing that I have wanted to do, that I haven’t done since doing the Lightning Process”.

His parting words almost broke me. I had forgotten what it was like to dream, even about the possibility of enjoying the foods I loved and the rush from playing the sports I enjoyed. I made a list of the things I wanted to do and booked in to the Lightning Process.

The Lightning Process was confronting, challenging, interesting and fun. But most importantly I recovered, and my recovery was rapid! The multiple symptoms used to compound my health struggles. But I soon learnt, the opposite is true also, and as my symptoms subsided everything became exponentially easier.

I still laugh with my friend about how much of a fantasy getting even 30% better sounded. I slowly (by choice) built up to full time work and at age 29 decided to take up Australian Rules Football for the first time. I had a great season, and I feel on top of the world every time I step onto the field, as it wasn’t long ago that this was never thought possible.

I’m 100% recovered from CFS and am enjoying eating what I like and exercising lots. I’m really grateful to be able to live a full life again.

And the best thing is, it’s better the second time around.

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