Fatigue can affect any of us.

Fatigue affects many of us. It can be caused by overwork, poor sleep, worry, boredom, or lack of exercise. It might even be caused by illness, medicine, anxiety, lack of exercise, or depression.

Fatigue can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, stronger pain medications, CPAP machines to address sleep apnea, dietary changes, antibiotics to treat infection, and specific medications to treat thyroid, blood pressure, or other suspected cause. Untreated fatigue can lead to thyroid disorder, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, and more.

Dr. Terry Wahls developed multiple sclerosis late in life. She followed her doctors’ treatments and never improved. Eventually, she ended up in a wheelchair – for four years. Dr. Wahls is a physician. She published a book recently called, The Wahls Protocol.

Dr. Wahls studied autoimmune disease in animals and, over time, concluded that a balanced diet, plus a few other things, might really be what she needed to have a normal life again. She adopted her protocol, based on her research, and within three months was walking using a walker. A month later, she was walking with a cane. Within the year, she was bicycling 18 miles.

She developed a nutrition plan in which 31 key nutrients were supplied at levels two to ten times the recommended dietary allowance. Dr. Wahls has four pillars of her protocol. They are nutrition, exercise, stress relief, and toxin reduction.

Let me address only the dietary portion at this time. Her protocol calls for three meals each day – all the same. Each meal will have one cup of leafy green vegetables, one cup of colored fruits and vegetables, one cup of sulfur-laden vegetables and 3-4 ounces of high-quality protein (beef, pork, chicken, and/or fish). These three meals provide balanced nutrition for 31 key nutrients in our bodies.

Western philosophy says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eastern philosophy says that breakfast is not important at all – eat it if you desire. I do intermittent fasts daily (fasting eighteen hours on the average between meals). I rarely have breakfast. I do follow the Wahls Protocol for my eating regimen.

Nearly six years ago, my wife had breast cancer surgery. Her post-surgery treatments included six months of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiation therapy. Fatigue was present every day before and after surgery. It got worse during chemotherapy. She took one to two two-hour naps daily. The radiologist told us that her fatigue would probably get worse during and after radiation therapy.

As a caregiver, I tried a lot of home remedies to help treat the side effects of chemo drugs. My wife had no energy nor interest to do anything. Near the end of her chemotherapy treatments, I read Dr. Wahls’s book, The Wahls Protocol. I suggested to my wife that we should try her protocol starting on Day 1 of radiation therapy.

My rationale was that if Dr. Wahls protocol could help her significantly improve her life after years of mediations and treatments, it should give some relief to my wife. The protocol involves nutrition, exercise, stress management, and toxin removal.

Exercise was out of the question to attempt. We have been label readers for a long time of food and personal care products that we buy. We have been very good at eliminating toxins. Stress management, like exercise, wasn’t something to start on Day 1. We did start the dietary protocol on her first day of radiation therapy.

By the morning of her third radiation treatment (Day 3), she was no longer taking any naps. After seven days, she rejoined her church’s volunteer organization. We left town on the last day of her radiation treatments and drove to Jacksonville, Florida from Houston, Texas. It is about 1,000 miles. This trip started on the day (Wednesday) before Thanksgiving.

On Friday morning, I rented a U-Haul to bring some estate items back to our home. My wife followed me as we returned home on that Friday and Saturday, driving by herself. We arrived home three days after her last radiation treatment. No fatigue noted along the way.

Nutrient deficiencies cause many health problems. In addition to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, nutrient deficiencies contributed to her severe fatigue. Treating the nutrient issue alone corrected the months of chemotherapy drugs and weeks of radiation treatments. Will this work for everyone? I don’t know. However, it can’t hurt.

My wife and I buy organic foods as much as possible. Mixed greens are easy to find. Colored fruits and vegetables are also plentiful. The color of the outside of the fruit or vegetable must go completely through the fruit or vegetable. Think blueberry, not eggplant.

The sulfur-laden vegetables are the cruciferous (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, onions, mushroom, etc.). One half-cup of sautéed vegetables is equivalent to one cup of raw vegetables. I prefer onions and mushrooms and my wife prefers the cruciferous vegetables. All berries are acceptable.

I suggest that proteins be changed out every 48 hours. Don’t eat the same protein two days in a row. If I have beef and chicken on one day, the next day I might have fish and eggs. We found out early on that we could not eat three meals a day. We will have two smaller portions or one portion that is roughly one and a half times the one cup for each component.

My wife recovered completely from her cancer and was able to walk the Camino de Santiago two years after surgery. The Camino de Santiago is a 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain. We walked the five-hundred miles in thirty days without any problems. We practiced walking for nearly a year before going so that we would not have any physical problems along the way.

My wife has completed her post-five-year monitoring with her oncologist and surgeon and has received a clean bill of health with only an annual check-up from now on.

Nutrition is key to having a good life. Nutritional balance is the cornerstone of having great health. Choose organic foods as much as possible and read labels to avoid toxins. Develop a daily program of stress management (even if you don’t feel stressed). Exercise, even walking, five days a week.

Live Long and Enjoy Life! Red O’Laughlin

One Response

  1. Perhaps I should read Dr Wahl’s book. I had some surgeries in 2017 and 18 and just can’t seem to get going again. I’m glad I read this and that you wrote it. Thanks. also I’m so glad your wife is doing well. I know you love to be on the move.

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