how Jackie got her groove back

how Jackie got her groove back

Things have been very up-and-down this past year with my fatigue.

In spring, I was doing great! I was gardening up a storm, plus doing yard work, 4-5 hours a day. I even mowed about a quarter acre one day with a push mower. I started job hunting, thinking I could handle something at least part-time. Meanwhile, I cooked up a storm and got over 100 home-cooked meals in the freezer.

I was doing better than I had since the heart attack. I was so excited as I could barely even consider myself disabled anymore.

And then... it stopped. The fatigue came back.

It's very hard to describe to someone what it is like to live with this.

I have a home health aid (HHA), who shows up daily and fixes me breakfast and assists me in dressing after I shower. Lately, she has also been doing the dishes and all the prep work for cooking dinner also.

All I have been doing is cooking dinner daily, about 15-20 minutes, and not even that every day because of that freezer full of meals.

But between that and the daily shower, I was wiped. I couldn't feed the chickens, Steve was doing that after work most days. Heck, I couldn't even get up and get a drink - I got dehydrated because I sat for so many hours thirsty before I'd get up and get a drink.

It was very frustrating to be back with the severe fatigue. It came on gradually, but it's been several months now, I could basically barely do anything.

Most days after my HHA left, I napped. If I did stay up for a few hours, then I napped before Steve got home. I was sleeping about 16 hours a day and that wouldn't have been so bad if I could do anything when up. But really, all I did was sit.

It is so boring being disabled.

It's just amazingly hard too. One day, I napped and left all the lights on because I knew it would be too hard to turn them all back on when I awoke. Meanwhile, Steve came home from work, ate and went to bed, and before he went to bed, he turned off all the lights. When I woke, I just sat here crying, cause I couldn't do all the walking around in 2 rooms to turn them on again.

Yeah, it was that bad. I was thinking I was pretty close to being bedridden again.

what I tried to help

As a general rule, I have more faith in food than either supplements or medications. Beta-blockers and ace-inhibitors did not lower my blood pressure for years; raw milk did.

The more I learn about nutrition, the more I am convinced we don't know anything, that there is much still to be discovered.

Furthermore, supplements offend my sense of frugality. I have to eat anyway, so eating things that help, like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, dark chocolate and apple cider vinegar makes more sense than taking those things in pill form at a high price.

However, I also believe the longer-term an illness is, the more help you might need to recover. Food would probably get you there eventually, but supplements and medications can speed things along. My pancreas does not make enough insulin to overcome my insulin resistance, so I take insulin. My adrenals make almost no cortisol, so I take hydrocortisone. And the raw milk only got me halfway to where my bp needed to be, so I took high-dose potassium to get it down the rest of the way (and still take it when I have edema).

So while real food is my primary focus, I'm not above wanting fast answers either. Especially when too tired to do anything useful at all and half-bored out of my skull.

adrenal and thyroid checks

When I had severe adrenal insufficiency and reverse T3 problems, I was literally bedridden most of the time for almost 2 years. So it's always the first thing that makes me suspicious.

I'm currently on 30 mg hydrocortisone, so obviously cortisol testing wouldn't tell me anything. However, I checked temperatures three times daily for a week as per the standard method for tracking treatment. I repeated this several times during the past few months, and definitely had enough cortisol.

Over the past few months, twice I tried weaning down to 25 mg, but both times got sick. So I assume the 30 mg is both necessary and sufficient.

When I had the reverse T3 issues previously, my temperature never rose above 97 for over a year. While checking adrenals via temperature, I was seeing daily highs of 98.2-98.4, so it didn't seem likely that rT3 was a problem again.

gluten-free trial

In search of an answer, I went gluten-free for a month. Due to the diabetes, I've been low-carbing for decades, and I figured there were probably long periods where I was very low-gluten if not, gluten-free, and since the fatigue has been variable, it seemed worth a shot.

So I went strictly gluten-free for a month. I thought I noted some small improvements, but it was up-and-down, and the difference was too small for me to tell if it were a real improvement versus a placebo effect. My reading of gluten-free forums indicated that I could expect exposure to gluten to make me pretty sick if that were my problem. After a month, I had a submarine sandwich and noted no effects at all.

So I am relatively certain that gluten is not at the bottom of my fatigue.

B vitamins

A Facebook friend from one of the gluten-free groups pointed out that metformin depletes B vitamins, and that if I were not a good converter, I'd need the bioactive forms of all the B vitamins.

I read up on this a bit and was convinced. I've never had the genetic testing so don't know that I have issues with folate, but taking folic acid made sense anyways. Why WOULDN'T you prefer the bioidentical form of vitamins instead of ones the body has to convert?

So I ordered a different B-supplement. About a month on that, I noticed no difference at all. I've continued with them as they aren't much more expensive than the B I was taking before, especially on Amazon's subscribe-and-save program.


I had vaguely been wondering if I might have Candida again, but with no specific symptoms, I didn't do much except double up on my normal probiotics (I've been taking GutPro since GAPS).

I don't consider the spit test reliable, but oral thrush is pretty obvious. So when it became obvious yeast was a problem, I ordered some ThreeLac.

ThreeLac apparently contains a particular strain of Enterococcus faecalis that kills yeast. Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics is the only one besides ThreeLac with that strain, and it is only available in capsules. I try to minimize the pills I have to swallow and also think swirling the powder in my mouth before swallowing will help fix the gunk on my tongue, so thought ThreeLac was a better choice.

Saccharomyces boulardii is also supposed to be quite good for combating Candida, and is much, much cheaper than ThreeLac. If it were my first time, I'd probably try it.

But the thing with ThreeLac is it worked for me before. I wrote about how it increased my energy, decreased my chest pain and caused a huge weight loss previously.

I started on ThreeLac and my mouth cleared up in about 2 days.


As a general rule, I don't believe in starting two changes close together, as you can't know what helped. Usually, if I start a new dietary change or supplement, I give it at least a month to gauge what it is doing for me.

But as I was waiting for my ThreeLac to arrive, I was poking around on the Heal Yourself! website and ran across an article on low magnesium in diabetics. I've been aware of this for some time, magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. In addition, I've also been aware of Dr. MyHill's work, magnesium supplementation being almost her first line if attack in treating chronic fatigue.

And it occurred to me that this was something that had changed since spring/early summer. We had a big wading pool in our yard, as we do most summers, and I put Epsom salts in it with each refill, as it's an easy, painless way to supplement magnesium. But our pool this year developed a leak mid-summer and we didn't replace it.

When not doing Epsom salt baths regularly, I use homemade magnesium oil, which is just magnesium chloride dissolved in water in a spray bottle, with a few drops of peppermint oil just to make it nice. Mixing my own is much cheaper than buying magnesium oil. But I had forgotten to start this back up when the pool broke, so had really not been supplementing magnesium in some time.

And given that our well water is pretty much saturated with limestone, my calcium:magnesium balance was probably way off (calcium and magnesium have to be balanced much as sodium and potassium do).

My reading reminded me and I started drenching myself 3-4 times a week with the oil. Basically covering about a third of my body, heavily enough to leave a salty crust (like from swimming in the ocean).


Because I started the ThreeLac and magnesium oil simultaneously, I've no idea which affected my fatigue or if both had an effect.

However, within a couple days, I was feeling better, letting the chickens out to free range during the day, feeding them and tucking them in at night, then coming in and fixing dinner.

One of the things I greatly miss when fatigued is music. For me, because both singing and moving my body occurs when music occurs, it takes a good bit of energy to listen to music. About a week into the heavy-duty use of magnesium oil and the light use of ThreeLac, I spent 6 hours jamming!

A few days ago, I worked in the garden. I probably did 3-4 hours of work, over the course of about 8 hours, lots of breaks. Still, it's more than I'd done in a month.

I went to bed tired after that, but woke up feeling good and planning to get back out there in the yard - with my headset!

So... I'm not giving up ThreeLac or magnesium oil for a long time.

Do you think it was the ThreeLac, magnesium or just coincidence?
Disclosure: Affiliate