My health has improved out of sight

Age 49
Sydney, Australia
Length of Illness: 10 years

Before joining the program I slept in till 9ish then back to bed after lunch and slept till around 4.30, ate dinner and back into bed around 7 pm. I wasn’t seeing much daylight. But in those few hours in the morning I was able to leave the house. My main symptoms were Fatigue, sore throat, poor quality sleep, IBS, always felt sick, I’ve had several crashes were I stay in bed for 7-10 days at a time.

I’d seen all the Doctors you can think of which not much help. The frustration of not being able to live a normal life. Doctors dismissed me for a long time, years in fact. They’d say I was overweight so that’s why I was fatigued. Or because I’m a Mum I must be stressed.. etc.

It was very very frustrating. When I joined Toby’s program in July ( I think ) of 2018.. I wasn’t great. Certainly there are others worse off but I felt I was missing out on so much and I felt robbed of the life I wanted to live. Every where I turned, I was told recovery was not possible and anyone who tells you it is, is only after your money.

So I waited a whole year before I joined Toby’s program and in that time I watched all of his videos on youtube. Then one night I thought “ if my kids had CFS I would absolutely give this program a go…. “ how often as Mums do we put ourselves last.. ? I don’t do that anymore! I’ve learnt through the program that self care has to be a high priority (that was a hard lesson for me to learn).

The first thing I discovered about the program was in the inner circle… people seemed genuinely happy and were posting happy stories of their “ Hell yeah” moments. People were talking about holidays they were taking. People were saying their health was improving. I had never heard such positive stories.. that in itself was worth the cost of the program to me.

Fast forward to March / April 2019 and I am posting my “ Hell Yeah “ moments and inspiring other members. I’m currently in the middle of a 2 1/2 month.. yes month.. holiday exploring the UK… definitely something I could never imagine doing last year.

My health has improved out of sight. Now, it’s not difficult but it’s work and it takes time and dedication. I was determined to follow the program and do the recommendations.. which I did and continue to do.. it’s just how I live now.

I no longer sleep during the day. I say yes to social opportunities. In September I walked a 5km fun run. I was so emotional during the walk. My legs hurt and it seemed to go on and on but I did it. It was a very special milestone to reach and a big step in my recovery.

Improvements are possible. Follow the program, improve your diet, cut out as much stress as possible, gently start moving again, think positive thoughts, set goals.. you can make a big difference in your own life. Take back control of your life.

It has been a number of years now since I recovered from CFS

Amy Sumner
Age 29
Western Australia

Before I started the CFS Health Program, I was utterly exhausted both physically and mentally, and was sleeping 16 hours a day. My most distressing symptom was severe brain fog, which relentlessly clouded my mind with cotton wool, making it hard to communicate effectively or locate memories and knowledge. I was sensitive to light and sound, and found I couldn’t enjoy reading, listening to music, writing, watching movies or doing anything much else that one might find productive when bedridden. I found that any small increase in activity or exertion would leave me completely wiped out for days afterward, with increased aches and pains through my entire body. One day I was in a hurry to catch a bus, but when I urged my legs to start running, they completely disobeyed me. No matter how I tried, my legs faltered and I couldn’t lift them to run, which was terrifying. Prior to joining The CFS Health Program, I had already achieved some improvements in my energy levels and reduced my hours of sleep through nutritional supplements and herbal medicines, as I had a great team of naturopaths behind me.

I was lucky in that I knew recovery was possible and that there were treatments that could help, but I was still missing part of the puzzle, and didn’t have anyone in my life who truly understood how I was feeling.The worst part of the overall experience for me was when I started indulging in the hopeless idea that maybe I really wouldn’t recover, and began slipping into a dark depression.

The very first positive change happened when I first spoke to Toby on the phone and felt the relief that finally, here was someone who completely understood my pain and struggle without question, and really validated my feelings. That was a big release because up until that point I’d been holding a lot in from my family and friends after some failed attempts to get them to understand what was going on. The main value in the program for me, was Toby’s way of cutting through all the complexity of this illness, and simplifying everything down to the most important achievable steps that I needed to take. Everything was very structured and clear, and I knew exactly what actions were required of me and why. I finally learned how to implement a graded exercise therapy program that worked for me, which enabled me to increase my activity and rebuild some strength and fitness, in time. I also regained control of my mindset, and found more positive and effective ways to communicate with my loved ones about what I was experiencing. Once I had some structure in my days and something to focus on, my family started to notice that I was improving, and as I worked through the program I slowly but surely got better and better. It was wonderful to be able to track my progress and see that I was increasing my activity without have big set backs. My aches and pains went away quite quickly after I started the program, and over time I realised my brain fog was finally lifting.

It has been a number of years now since I recovered from CFS, and most of the time I forget that it was ever part of my life. I now run my own business as a naturopath and eco makeup artist. I moved to southwest Australia, a naturally beautiful region of fairytale forests and stunning beaches which I love to get out and explore. I have a very active and cheeky 3 year old red heeler who keeps me on my toes and needs a lot of exercise every day. The biggest measure of recovery for me was getting back into playing netball. I run the whole court as Centre and I love it. It’s a possibility I could barely imagine at the worst point of my illness. I am back in the gym and these days, I really enjoy running – while listening to music. I am currently writing a book, living a happy and active life, planning an overseas holiday and looking forward to experiencing all the magical possibilities my time on Earth has to offer me!

The first thing to know is that you can recover. CFS is tricky because in my understanding, it is an illness that will not simply heal by itself given the time. You must do the work, and there are subtle differences between doing it the right way, and doing it in a way that sends you backwards. Stop listening to any doctor, well meaning relative or written word that tells you that you can’t get better, and instead seek out the success stories. Talk to the people who have been where you are and come out the other side. If you want to find gloomy, cheerless sufferers there are plenty out there, but they have nothing to offer you. If you believe you can’t recover, you will be right, just as they are. If you believe you can recover, keep going for it and don’t let go until you find what works for you. Celebrate the small wins because in the end they snowball into the big ones. I, for one, don’t believe you were put on this Earth just to suffer. It can be terribly hard to see it while you are in the midst of it, but in the end, this is going to be one big, crazy learning experience that taught you how strong and spirited you really are.

I had been ill with CFS for 10 years

Denise Armstrong
Age 53
Australia, NSW

Before joining the CFS Health Recovery program, I had been ill with CFS for 10 years the most recent 4 of these years I had been mostly in bed. I didn’t have the energy to stand or to sit up. Light and sound were very difficult, so I spent most of my time in the dark and in silence. In addition to the fatigue and cognitive impairment, I had very bad headaches which were not relieved by pain killers. I got out of bed to bath and to eat. I didn’t see friends or family and I didn’t talk on the phone much, I was very isolated.

In the 10 years that I had been ill, I had tried everything, multiple conventional and alternative practitioners, specialists and many remedies. I had spent over $30 000 on ‘cures’. The last treatment that I had tried had made my CFS far worse, so I was extremely hesitant to do more.

I was at the point where I didn’t want to try anything else and I had accepted that it wasn’t possible for me to get better. I had become very down and at times I had had thoughts that I didn’t want to go on.

There were so many challenges with CFS, other than the physical symptoms and the impact on my life, the loss of my self worth and misunderstanding from others were the most difficult. possible for me. Prior to getting ill I had been working as a senior executive in a large corporation, I had an active social life and was physically very fit, going on rafting trips and trekking for my holidays. When I became incapacitated with fatigue, headaches and cognitive impairment, most people in my life did not believe I was sick. Multiple, well intentioned practitioners reviewed the latest diagnostic tests and told me that I was fit and healthy, some suggested I was depressed. Even when I received the CFS diagnosis, most people around me did not understand the physical, mental and emotional impact of my invisible illness. A leading Australian immunologist that specialises in CFS told me to ‘hang in there until they found a cure’.

When I joined the Program, I finally had the hope and belief that I could recover and the knowledge on what to do, to recover. CFS Health gave me a comprehensive set of lifestyle strategies and tools that have enabled me to regain my health. The online modules which I could do at my own pace, included step by step tuition on diet, relaxation, techniques to create energy, breathing exercises, graded movement, stretching, strengthening and cardio exercises and most importantly mindset. The modules were supported with webinars, coaching with Toby and other coaches that not only truly understood the impact of the condition on my life, but had the knowledge to help me recover. Finally, the closed member facebook site gave me a global community of people that were experiencing the same thing, we supported and encouraged each other, and we watched each other recover.

In the past 18 months my health has gone from strength to strength. I am enjoying the simple things again like being able to plan a meal, shop for ingredients and cook. I can make a date and be confident that I can keep it. I am going out for meals again, going on holidays, meeting new people and making new friends. I recently went out for NYE for the first time in 8 years. I have also commenced online study and look forward to returning to work in the future. It makes me very happy to be able to help my elderly mum and uncle, and other people in my life that I care about. I enthusiastically recommend this program to everyone that I meet with CFS or fibromyalgia. For a condition where there is so little understanding and so few solutions, CFS Health made recovery

The program gave me structure, focus and hope

Erin Enright
Age 32
USA, California
Length of Illness: 7 years

Before joining the program, I had been housebound for 5 years. At my worst I was completely bedridden for 4 months. My main symptoms were extreme fatigue, brain fog, sensitivity to light, nausea, IBS, muscle and body pain. I had very little stamina. Things like trying to go for a short walk or socializing would leave me in bed for days or weeks, and those were the good days where I actually had a little energy to attempt those things. There were many times I wanted to give up. I was really anxious, depressed and had low self esteem. It was heartbreaking to feel as sick as I did and to not be believed by doctors, family members and friends. I was 22 years old when this started.  I had been to at least 10 doctors and tried many holistic therapies. I wasn’t making progress.

When I would get energy I would crash shortly after.  The program was a key component to recovery. It helped me rebuild my health. It was so challenging not to over do it when I had energy.

I met some of the most wonderful people in that group that I still keep in touch with today. It was so healing and helpful to have kind and positive people to talk to that were going through the same thing.

The program gave me structure, focus and hope. Learning to get a baseline for myself was essential and I don’t think I would have been able to figure that out on my own. The other main component was the support group. i moved out on my own to a little beach town, full of surfing and yoga which I absolutely love! I was able to work again! I got a job selling yoga clothing a few years ago and I currently have a job doing healthcare marketing! I am traveling internationally almost every year which I was told I might not ever be able to do again. I am enjoying practicing yoga, surfing, and skiing.

Never give up and don’t listen to anything negative. One doctor told me to just accept that I would never get better. You have to believe in yourself. No one can do that for you.

I remember on the hardest days I would just say what can I do in this moment to help myself. Whether it was making a green juice, taking a nap, or calling a friend, I had to say in the moment to stay positive and to not get overwhelmed.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Greatest pains, lead to greatest strengths.” This journey is one of the most challenging things to go through, but I can’t image going through life without the perspective and lessons I gained from it.

Wishing boundless love and peace to all.

I’d tried Chinese medicine, seen specialist doctors but was getting nowhere.

Suze Mackenzie
Age 31
Australia, VIC
Length of illness: 4.5 years

When joined the program I was over the acute phase of the illness and was no longer bed-bound as I had been the first 6 months of my illness but was pushing and crashing and had no idea if what I was doing was helping or making me worse.

I had very intense crashes with migraines, terrible brain fog, body pain, intense fatigue and gut problems. Some days I couldn’t spell my own name and I used to work as an editor! Fatigue and brain fog were the main constant symptoms with everything else flaring up in crashes. I couldn’t work and was very low emotionally. I had tried “graded exercise” on my own once a doctor suggested it but was doing way too much and it made me worse. I’d tried Chinese medicine, seen specialist doctors but was getting nowhere.

The fact that Toby understood exactly what I was going through because he had been through it was so important. I felt understood, that I wasn’t making it up, and I felt hope. I found learning to pace myself and find a baseline very hard but so important.

I didn’t realise I was doing too much even though I was barely doing anything compared to pre-CFS life. The goal setting was very helpful too. I found the solidarity of the inner circle phenomenal, their support was so valuable. I’m fully recovered and currently looking for a full time job.

I’ve been running my own small business these past two years (something I started when I was unwell) and doing a few different admin jobs but feel confident in my health to return to full time work. I went overseas last year for 3 weeks to France where I went hiking, swimming, bike riding and walked a lot, all with no symptoms. I am back skiing, horse riding and slowly getting back into running (pacing myself like I was taught!). I am an aunt to two little girls and can finally play with them with no fear of crashing! It can get better. It will take time. There is hope.

Toby’s program taught me life long lessons

Yvelle Corrielus
Age 31
USA, Florida
Length of illness: 15 years

 Before Toby’s program I was beat, fatigued physically and emotionally. At that time, I think I was about 25 years old and was struggling for over 10 years at that point. At my worst I was bed bound. My life was a constant battle where I have to push myself just to walk from room to room. The little things in life seem to be an obstacle course. I remember sitting in my car at a grocery store because I was too exhausted to get out and buy myself food. I had a difficult time socializing with friends, struggling in school, and I couldn’t keep a full-time job. This was my norm. I’ve tried every specialist under the sun from rheumatologist, chiropractor, acupuncture, bio-feedback, pharmaceutical, diet change, meditation, you name it!

One of the first things that captivated me about the program is that someone believed me and also experienced what I was going through. This was important to me because often times the doctors were in disbelief especially my lab results were normal.  Having going through Toby’s program taught me life long lessons. It shifted my perception of the disease to approach recovery from a different angle. What I mean by that is being self-aware.  Till this day I am conscious of how I function, what I eat, who I allow in my space, how I think. All of this to minimize triggers and flare ups.

These days I am working full-time as a nurse and enrolled for graduate studies. I’m travelling around the world and am truly enjoying life in ways I couldn’t even dream of. The little things are easier now. For example, I can go grocery shopping in the morning, go home to clean and have dinner with a friend later. This is a big win for me because I can now function like a normal human.  Toby’s approach played a huge part of that success. To anyone struggling I’d like to say that it is NOT all in your head.

To anyone struggling I’d like to say that it is NOT all in your head. You my friend are capable of recovering. You have to commit to changing your whole way of life but it is very possible. Lastly, I want to say don’t give up. Take the tools that Toby sets out for you and utilize it to your advantage. Sometimes all you need is a little spark shift your method that will lead you on a path of recovery.

The hardest part of this illness was the loss of my independence

Age 46

Before joining the program I was at my lowest. Excruciating Fatigue and wide spread body pain was the worse symptoms I had. I felt like I had tried everything as I was suffering from both Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. I was taking a heap of medication. I was mostly bed bound. I could only make it to the toilet. The thought of having a shower was a nightmare. It was many ups and many more downs for the previous 5 years.

The hardest part of this illness was the loss my independence. Loss of my life as I new it and guilt because every doctor

I saw told me I was fine and there was nothing wrong with me. I saw told me I was fine and there was nothing wrong with me.The hardest part of this illness was the loss of my independence. Loss of my life as I new it and guilt because every doctor  I saw told me I was fine and there was nothing wrong with me. After 5 years and trying everything and researching it all I honestly thought I wasn’t going to get better

Then I found the CFS Health recovery program. When I joined I was excited but skeptical, I thought it might just be another one to tick off that doesn’t work but I had hope only because Toby understood what I was going through and he knew what I was saying and how I was feeling. It made a huge difference. I started making small progress as I implemented  baseline into my life.

I noticed my energy levels going up. I could cook dinner and walk more. Something I couldn’t enjoy before joining the program. Before the program I was mostly sleeping on the couch because there was no way I could walk up my staircase to bed after a few months in the program I could finally walk upstairs and sleep in my bed. That was a huge moment. I started crying was so happy.

The biggest thing I learnt was to accept where I was at and to take baby steps consistently. The program taught me to be hopeful, it gave me my life back. Now I’m working full time, I do a Little bit of drag racing for fun on the side. I still look after myself and do the right things. There’s nothing I can’t do anymore If I just plan it out before hand.

I have loved getting back into drag racing, party’s and events, sewing, gardening, doing the simple things and most importantly spending time with my family. I have a grandson now so I need all the energy I can get. If you are struggling with M.E/CFS or Fibromyalgia, don’t give up. There is hope!

To put it simply – the program gave me hope and guidance

Jackie Kennedy
Age 23
Newcastle, Australia
Length of Illness: 5-6 years

I got sick when I was in my final 2 years of high school, I went from being extremely active with training or playing sport most days of the week to being virtually unable to get out of bed. At my worst, I would sleep 20 hours a day, had the whole onslaught of symptoms, only left the house for doctors appointments and my biggest activity for the day was moving from my bed to the lounge room for a change in scenery. I genuinely don’t remember 2 years of my life during my darkest days of CFS – it’s all a blur of sleeping, doctor’s appointments and snippets of Law & Order reruns. However, I do remember that pre program I was pretty lost. I didn’t know where to look for help… I was struggling with the balance of doing too much/too little, getting stuck in the exertion/crash cycle and making little to no progress as a result.

 To put it simply – the program gave me hope and guidance. After many months of searching and testing for any other plausible explanation for my symptoms.

The doctors finally gave me the “you probably have chronic fatigue syndrome “ chat. Much to my surprise, that’s where the conversation ended, my GPs just didn’t know how to help me, which is the unfortunate reality for the majority. Thankfully I stumbled upon the CFS Health team on instagram during my second year of CFS and it changed the game. All the research and work was done for me, I didn’t have to waste any of my “better” hours trawling the internet for how to recovery, I literally just had to watch the videos and implement the suggestions. There definitely wasn’t an instant noticeable improvement after starting, but like anything, given time and consistency, the progress came.

Fast forward 6 years and I’m in my final year of my Dietetics degree, working casually, am back into sport and exercise and generally just living and loving life without having to factor in my fatigue. I’ve gone from barely being able to do ‘sit to stands’ to lifting over my body weight at the gym and people genuinely being shocked when they find out my health history. and that progress all started with CFS Health.

 Recovery won’t be overnight thing but given time, the right tools and some unwavering belief – it is 110% possible. Be kind to yourself in the process. You’ve got this.

From hospital bed to full recovery

Miguel Bautista
Age 23
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Length of Illness: 4 years

I was in a very dark, terrible place. To say that I was a complete wreck is an understatement. I had just gone from being the number 6 (top selling) trainer out of 300 trainers in my company, purchasing my dream car, getting together with my dream girlfriend, about to make a big move with my clothing business, making good money…to being stripped of all of that in a very short period of time. Right before joining the program I could not walk, I could barely talk, I was in and out of the emergency room and had to get spoon-fed by my 73 year old grandmother.

Just thinking back to those times gives me chills because I believed in my soul that it was the end and all my dreams for the future were impossible to achieve. The most common symptoms I had were headaches, migraines, flashing lights, sensitivity to sound, lights, emotions.

I also suffered from ringing in the ears, diarrhoea, extremely sore legs, vertigo, nausea, and insomnia. It was not uncommon for me to experience hallucinations from sleep deprivation, mood swings, shortness of breath, food intolerance, cognitive disorders, brain fog, and memory loss. I’m sure there were a lot more but I basically felt like I was really dying. It seems crazy to list all these out..sometimes in severe crashes I had all these at once. In that case I was paralysed with pain, couldn’t even lift a finger off the bed or my body would feel like it was on fire. When I joined the program it was a huge relief just knowing that there were other people like me out there and on the very rough days I would listen to testimonials and replay them for hours. It made me feel like I wasn’t in this fight alone and that there were actually people out there who could understand me. The program gave me reassurance that I wasn’t just going crazy and that all the symptoms I was experiencing were real symptoms, not just something of my imagination. Now I am living out my dream, I am a full time video producer working with multiple different companies around my community. I even have international projects a few times per year where I get flown out around the United States to document a trip. I’m doing at least 6000 steps per day everyday and enjoying every moment. It’s so crazy because the things that would have caused severe stress before no longer bother me at all because I know how to control my mind much better. In fact, I just came back from Hawaii 3 weeks ago where I hiked 25km throughout those 8 days and a lot of that was uphill! Keep in mind that exactly one year ago to the day I was in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital hooked up to multiple IV’s, being spoon-fed, wearing earplugs and an eye mask because I was extremely sensitive. I was ready to throw in the towel long before that, and I never would have imagined that a year later I would be hiking with my family up a beautiful mountain in Hawaii to watch the sunrise. Now I am building my Media Business and try to inspire as many people as I can. Don’t give up. I can’t count how many times I wanted to give up, gave up, and then somehow survived the day and came back the next day just to go through it all again. People don’t realise how hard it is for people like you to do something as simple as trying. On the outside, to other people, it looks like people with CFS are just lying in a bed not doing much BUT…I played high level football for 5 years, was a wrestling team captain for 5 years, I’ve had my own small businesses since I was in high school and I was an honour roll student every single year I’ve been in school. And I can honestly tell you from my own experience that none of those challenges come even close to the challenges CFS brings. They can’t even compare. Some days my legs hurt more from standing up to go to the washroom than they did playing a full soccer game. Some days rolling over in bed caused more exhaustion than running a 100 meter sprint. It’s was terrifying. I want you to realise that just to go through what you’re going through right now is courageous and brave, and if you’ve given up getting better..get better for the people who love you. And think about all the people you can help when you get better BECAUSE you’ve been knocked down by life but you got back up time and time again.

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