1 February 2006

Your Success Stories

Leigh Hatcher has been an Australian TV and radio journalist and newsreader for 32 years. One day in the summer of 1998 his life turned upside down. A simple virus took him into the wilderness of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for more than two years—until he found low GI. Here he tells his story.
"It began simply and suddenly. I was in the middle of our annual holiday at a great Aussie beach and after a marvellous morning in the surf, I laid down for my daily 10-15 minute ‘power nap’. For once I woke up 2 hours later, feeling as if I’d been run over by a truck.

By the end of that week, still feeling below par, I was sent off for some blood tests which showed I’d contracted a viral hepatitis. I was told to take two weeks off work and I’d be fine.

However, I kept returning to the doctor for weeks – months, struggling to describe a body and brain that were both running on empty. It seemed like something toxic was flowing through my veins. I was overwhelmed by crushing fatigue and weakness.

Within six months, I lost my high profile job as a frontline TV reporter and news reader. After a year of increasingly rarefied tests which came back ‘normal’ – (normal was the last thing I was feeling!) – I was diagnosed as suffering ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’.

I remained in this ‘wilderness’ for another year until a doctor friend discovered some research which said that for a proportion of CFS sufferers, it’s worth looking at their metabolism. I went for a 5 hour glucose tolerance test, where both glucose and insulin were tested and just for once ‘abnormal’ readings came back – in the ‘pre-diabetic’ range.

A dietitian put me on a low GI diet, with graded activity, then graded exercise, with a prediction that I’d notice an improvement in my health in two weeks! A fortnight later I returned to see her and announced – ‘You’ve given me a life again!’

Today, five years later, I’m still on the low GI diet, swimming 5 kilometres a week again and continue to revel in good health. I’m not back to 100% - probably 90-95%.

Low GI is not the ‘key’ for every CFS sufferer, but it has transformed my life and the lives of numbers of sufferers I’ve known. Coupled with exercise and a decent amount of sleep – it’s given me a life again."

Leigh Hatcher

—Leigh Hatcher has written about his journey through the wilderness of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just A Little Unwell. See his website at www.notcrazy.net


Anonymous said...

I also have CFS (for 20 years) and while I have unfortunately not had the recovery that Leigh has had,the discovery in 2005 of the separation version of the GI diet has benefited me threefold: 1. For the first time in years i have been able to stop the steadily-upward-creeping weight gain caused by the illness; i have actually been able to lose weight safely and without getting sicker 2. I have less insomnia due to blood sugar swings; 3. The CFS-related Irritable bowel Syndrome is 80% better, since starting the diet. Low GI eating without the separation diet (see John Ratcliffe) does not confer these benefits. Not sure why.