Olive Leaf Extract

…is not the typical title on this blog but it’s a glimpse of my world with supplements flooding my system hourly. I’ve been forced to regroup and re-prioritize my vision of “progress” lately. Once a full-blown relapse has occurred, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome becomes this horrifically stubborn monstrosity requiring gargantuan gaps of rest and only mild “exertion” the likes of which rev up my frustration levels into overload. Managing the fallout from that alone is a task no supplement provides. Ok. Maybe Niacin in mega doses (some refer to this vita b-wonder as nature’s valium) and a bit of l-tryptophan and valerian root but I’d rather find an outlet for the frustration that won’t sabotage progress or make me pass out (unless it’s bedtime!).

I discovered olive leaf extract accidentally in my quest to wipe out what had become a regular occurrence for me: daily fever, spiking sometimes up to 100 for months now. No identifiable infection. Exhausting. Olive leaf extract saves the day here. My highest temp for the past two weeks has been 99.2 and while I can feel it, it’s nothing compared to 100. I’ll take every tenth of a degree I can get. And that’s what this illness asks. It asks for appreciation for the finer points of improvement and patience for the long haul. Much to my disappointment, two weeks of supplements is not going to put me in the exceptional zone of early recovery. Experts’ general advice is 3 to 4 months of rest, pacing activity (this means if I go to the grocery store tomorrow, then I don’t sit at the computer and research for 2 hours as well or stand and do a pile of dishes in addition to and well, you get it…?) and heavy supplementation. I thought I could be the curve buster but I only managed to bust my stubborn idea in the fallout of a pig pickin’ tradition. Two days bedrest to recover from a family reunion might not be unusual for some but my whole body hurt all evening and I couldn’t sit up without pain the next day. All I did was walk a bit, stand around and eat, sip a glass of wine and laugh alot. But I did it for hours (including a hammock stint of glorious restful proportions).

But I’m improving hugely and falling into a renewed cycle of researching holistic healing practices, dusting off my herbal remedy books and reacquainting myself with the wonder of nature’s wise provisions. For one – Olive. Leaf. Extract. Supreme. In looking for a remedy for fever, I also found it to be an arrhythmia calming agent. And much else.

It’s a stark shift for me, this heavy focus on my health. I walked up steep steps to my room this morning and realized how different it all feels. I’m not kicking my butt for noticing my fatigue or for dragging. The spiritual tyranny of pride has fallen away and a sense of the influence of society’s ideas of productivity, stamina and endurance is breath-taking. I’m learning that pride ran me ragged and has now landed me flat on my back with new information to validate the highly relevant physical component/cause of this illness. As much as I hated the attitude others had about this particular illness, I embodied it against myself, scorning the downtimes and nagging at myself for not having what I didn’t have: energy or stamina. And my energy recovery process is not functioning properly on the most basic of cellular levels. No amount of boot-strap tough broad bull can change that. Knowing that has made a huge difference.

The good years, when I look back on the long stretch of relative productivity with minor recovery time, came on the heels of episodes of forced rest either via pre-term labor or a measurable illness known and respected by the medical profession. And I’ll never forget the surge of energy won me in the aftermath of a magnesium flush. So many pieces to a puzzle and pride ( a reaction agasint unwarranted shame ) kept it fragmented, disjointed and indiscernible before now.

So, it’s all good right now in spite of the difficulty. Plans are revised. Divorce proceedings are progressing (no minor passage, eh?!), and school will begin again for me in the spring. The preciousness of the moment finds deeper meaning in these times and creativity thrives in spite of the forced stillness. That tension between acceptance and vision with passion and promise keeps me finely tuned in a dance of healing. A strengthening appreciation for the immeasurable value of intuitive living is bolstering the foundation here, filling up the gaps shame created in ignorance made by refusal to trust my sense of things beyond the criticism. I knew. All this time. I knew there was more to this illness than had yet been revealed but I went with the most critical voice, internalizing it and alternately arguing with it for two decades. No more. That alone will free up some energy, eh? Praise God and pass the olive leaf extract! It’s time for my nap.

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5 thoughts on “Olive Leaf Extract

  1. I miss you too. Thank you for being there. Always. So many times. I have thought of you, my sweet soul sister, missed you, but been lost in a way I could not reach out. Still can not. Nothing real, just in my mind, but somehow that ends up a darker place than a moonless night on the mountain. I’m sorry… At times I drown in this darkness, isn’t that silly? When the sun shines so brightly! I will find my way out, I promise, and be a better friends again soon…

    1. far more than i would wish on anyone, i understand. and it’s a great lump of tears for you and with you. just today i commented on pierre’s blog about bouts of existential depression. for some of us the sun shines brightly while the dark engulfs the mind. i’m not convinced it’s all “in the head.” sometimes i feel we tap into truths unbearable, unspeakable and maybe we even tap into a whole earth of unspoken anguish. and all we can do is wait it out. the thing about those dark times, no matter how real they may or may not be…they are not all there is (not that we can remove ourselves into a new mental state by sheer virture of knowing that fact!). we may have alligators in the swamps dunking us down for another round while butterflies float overhead. we glimpse their elusive flapping shimmer and take a gasp of air as the swamp muck obscures their dance with light and we cling to a remembrance of that feltness while the next roll of uncontrollable “nausea” engulfs. but somehow we know we’ll get back to the floating moments of lightness of being. i confess to weeping copiously today, feeling a load not only my own. empathic experience is intense here. and no. it isn’t silly. it is a layer of the story of being human not all people experience. having been in that darkness too many times and not so thoroughly out of it myself these days, all i can say is no…not silly. drowning is exactly how to describe it sometimes. you are birthing something. this is a tough stretch but the sun will rise again. i know how much these times are not of our choosing. trust your need for retreat and trust your soul’s wisdom. but please do feel free to e-mail me. it’s ok if you don’t have it to do that. just know you’re not alone and my heart is with you. big big hugs and love…

  2. GOD bless you Ruth. It’s becoming more and more clear (even to the medical community) that western science hasn’t every answer. Those who pretend they do just end up looking foolish. Those who doubt – or flat out deny – the existance of medical syndromes have such a limited scope, their opinions can hardly matter. From an intuitive stand point, CFS can be exacerbated by energy loss through our failures to establish clear boundaries in our lives. So here’s to strong boundaries and Olive Leaf Extract! Hugs and Love to you Ruth. — Your Soul Sis, Kristy


    1. Hey soul sis…lovely to hear from you. I can give an amen to the pitfalls of western medicine, at least. Allopathic modes of “healing” have become more diseased than ever but I’m hoping some of the exceptions out there will help turn the tide.

      Clear strong boundaries certainly don’t hurt anyone, do they? But I’ve also noticed that CFS doesn’t seem to discriminate. Between clear boundaried folks and those less strongly reinforced there can be a widely vacillating array of energy and lack of energy mucking up the notion of a discernible pattern beyond the physical causal factors. One of the things I found particularly affirming was the identification of a well-established pattern of delayed fatigue. This is where normal daily activities (truly, actually normal and not overdoing it) seem to be ok to do for a time and then blam. Flattened out of “nowhere.” This is the mitochondrial failure that occurs. And it takes a bit of time for it to be evidenced, with fatigue thresholds varying. That one dynamic stumped me until Dr. Myhill’s recognition of this process and the beautiful explanation of the cause. I so appreciate the tenacity in her studies (and her colleagues).

      But you’re right, if you’ve got clear boundaries, everything is that much better. Two semesters, 3 classes each, single-parenting, 3 kids and a delayed divorce create murky boundaries in spite of the best standards!

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