Testimonials from the Rowan Centre
“No pain !”
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia last year at age 41 after seven years of wondering what on earth was wrong with me.
I have arthritis in my lower back which, for a long time, confused the issue. Whenever I saw my Rheumatologist I told him also of my fatigue and pain in my hands and feet. I didn’t tell him about the sleeplessness or sensitivity to light and noise, and lack of concentration as I thought they were “just me” as I had had them for so long. After many x-rays, MRI scans, blood tests etc, I was told that I had Fibromyalgia and when I was shown the list of symptoms I was staggered because I had almost everything on the list. At last! A diagnosis!
This finally explained why I could not function like other people. I could only manage to work part-time at first but when the symptoms got worse, I had to give up work completely.
I was constantly fatigued and felt like I had a hangover every day. I could not concentrate for long and my memory was dull. I started to get unexplained pain in my feet and knees. My fingers would swell up. I have spent most of the last seven years lying down – and didn’t have the energy to care
Shortly after my diagnosis, my sister, an Alexander Technique teacher, told me of one her clients who had been on the training programme at The Rowan Centre and had recovered. I did some research and then immediately signed up to the next course with Kate and Steve. Wow! What a turnaround. It’s amazing that this very simple technique cleared away my head fuzziness, fatigue, and pain instantly, and gave me a completely new lease of life!
It’s almost starting to become a cliche on the website but my husband “got his wife back”. He says I am like a different person – the old me but more patient! I am galvanised and have energy and have had NO pain in my hands, feet and knees. I use the techniques to work on the arthritis in my back and this helps immensely. I just don’t worry about it anymore. My head is clear and my memory is better. At first I used the skills a lot but now I use them only when I need to – mainly in times of stress. I have used it for other things too, especially when I feel overwhelmed by certain situations. And it works – every time.
Now be warned, if you go on the programme you have to be prepared for a complete change of life! You start to think about things you never could before. It started with little things like being able to meet friends for a coffee or going shopping (but be careful not to overdo it when you feel so great unless you have the bank balance to withstand the new you!). We had a big Christmas party at our house for all our friends which is something I have always dreamed about. Now we have our house on the market and are looking to move. That is something I simply could not have even contemplated before. I am looking for a new job and am filled with excitement at the endless possibilities that are open to me now. But its not just me – my whole family has benefitted from me being well.
I just wish that everyone who suffers with Fibromyalgia gets to hear about the Rowan Centre.
Sally S. 2010
“I have taken control of the MS”
I heard about the programme a few years ago and thought that those who had done it to get a new start in their life were very lucky.
After 10 years with MS I was open to anything that could make my life better. When a doctor told me about Kate’s experiences with MS patients there was no doubt. I had to see her as soon as possible.
Now, three months later, my life has totally changed. I have started my studies again, and I’m thinking about going away to study for a year, and I am making plans that I wouldn’t have dared to consider three months ago.
If I’m getting any symptoms or if I’m having any negative thoughts I use the techniques. The MS doesn’t control me anymore. I have taken control of the MS!
“I thought it was a load of rubbish”
Firstly, the biggest thanks and gratitude to Steve and Kate.
I have had a life which has been very stressful and not very easy – I have had more than my fair share of difficulties. I had three children before the age of 21 and brought them up as a single parent for 4 years. I met a guy who wanted to marry me and adopt the three children I had, my life changed for the better, we had another child between us. In 2000 my husband was brutally attacked and left for dead with massive head injuries. I was advised to turn off his life support which I refused as my children were not happy for me to do this. He did start to wake up but the hospital he was in was not caring for him very well. His best mate and I decided we would take him home and get him back to health which we did with a lot of hard work and determination; sadly in 2006 his best mate who had been our rock was killed in a road traffic accident and died of head injuries.
In January 2007 I was taken into hospital with pleurisy and pneumonia and was quite poorly. This left me with lots of health issues that no one was able to diagnose. One doctor told me to start smoking again as it was just withdrawal from nicotine so sadly I did. I was put on a cocktail of different drugs and the doctors ran lots of tests from simple blood tests to MRI and CAT scans, still no true diagnoses was to be had. In September 2007 my husband took me to a private specialist as I had deteriorated a lot more. I was still trying to hold down a full time job in the health care sector as a senior carer which was hard. The diagnoses was M.E I did not agree with this as I was under the impression that such an illness did not exist. In January 2008 I had to leave my job. I managed to get a part time job as a cleaner but this only lasted a few months. A friend of mine gave me a leaflet for the Rowan Centre and I was very sceptical. I thought it was a load of rubbish but she herself had made a full recovery from ME on this programme.
I went on the training programme in December. Now two months later my family cannot believe the difference in me. My daughter said “ I had a ‘mem’, now I have a mum again” which sums it up,
I have been getting better every day by using the techniques and feel good about the life I now have. I have been applying for jobs since the beginning of January and next week I start as a nursing auxiliary which is the job
I have always wanted. My life is back on track and the future is looking excellent now I have this fantastic tool that I have been taught to use. My thanks go out to Steve and Kate for helping me to get my life back on track and getting the life I love and achieving my goals.
Thank you, Julie
My recovery from Fibromyalgia
Before getting ill, I was a young professional woman who had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was married, happy and ready to begin the new venture of motherhood. Four weeks after my labour, I developed a very painful shoulder.
My symptoms cascaded into painful joints. I suffered with excruciating pain in my shoulders, knees, elbows and hips. At its very worst the pain developed in my face and buttocks, and I couldn’t name a part of my body which didn’t hurt. I suffered with a constant burning, aching, tingling pain, struggled with extreme fatigue, and was awake for around two hours a day.
My life took on a whole new narrative, which I found indescribably difficult to cope with. All of my dreams of motherhood had been shattered and I was told I would never work again in a career I loved as primary school teacher, and that I would always need support to care for my baby. I was virtually housebound and my husband was forced to give up work and care for me and our daughter. I cannot use words to exemplify how desperate the whole situation had become.
I had what seemed like hundreds of appointments with my GP, a plethora of tests and an MRI scan which all concluded negative. I remember feeling extremely alone and vulnerable and I even began to loose trust in my own integrity. I felt as if I was walking in treacle and it just got harder each day.
I was referred to a neurologist and a rheumatologist and threemonths later I was diagnosed with severe Fibromyalgia by the neurologist who suggested I would need a wheelchair in time, and to apply for disability benefits. I remember believing if I knew what was wrong with me the professionals would be able to fix me. This belief couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was told to pace and live with it and of course take the medication. I tried this course of action and became even further detached from life, due to the strength of the medication and the lack of hope. I didn’t have a life, so how could I pace?
With the support of my husband we began to look at alternative therapies and I had courses of treatments including physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic treatment, nutritional advice, kinesiology, reflexology and acupuncture.
My last hope was a nutritional advisor and physiotherapist who offered a programme for people with Fibromyalgia. She had recovered successfully from FMS and had helped many other people. After 6 months I had made little progress and she suggested the Lightning Process. I spoke to over 20 practitioners and I was extremely cynical about the training. Then I spoke to Kate and latterly Steve on several occasions. They were able to answer a whole host of questions with credibility and eloquence and I knew I’d found the right people to help to get me well again.
I learnt so much on the training programme and I very gradually began to re-build my life. One of my happiest and most treasured memories was when my husband collected me from the Rowan Centre with our daughter. I carried her around the garden, singing and dancing
(I had been unable to lift my daughter until this point).
When I got home I took full advantage of the top up coaching and I made steady progress with the support of Kate. It was challenging sometimes, to keep going with the techniques, but gradually I started to take my daughter out for walks, went on a holiday, socialised with friends and joined a choir.
It took a huge amount of perseverance and determination to get well and my journey was a very steady one. At times it did feel like my recovery didn’t come as soon as I had hoped, but then everything just seemed to fall into place.
The most significant element of my recovery was my husband returning to work as I was able to take on the full care of our daughter. The second was that I was able to do a phased return to the job I loved as a primary school teacher in just two months and for the first time in a very long time I felt ‘normal’ again.
I find it difficult to remember how difficult those desperate days were. I lead a fun and fulfilling life and I am so happy and full of energy. My husband has his wife back and my daughter can be proud of her Mum.
I’ve been back at work for a year now and without a day off sick! I am a very well respected teacher and I am able to manage stress in the workplace really effectively now.
So for me the programme at the Rowan Centre was definitely my ‘happily ever after’. I will be forever grateful to Kate and Steve for the training and follow up support I have received and to my wonderful husband who travelled this journey with me. I’m definitely out of the treacle now.
“I have my health, happiness and love”
I was a bubbly bright energetic teenager, till the age of 16 when I was hit by a bad dose of Glandular Fever and related Hepatitis A. Following a stay in hospital, I was unable to enjoy life with my friends but left at home too weak and in pain to do simple tasks such as dressing or brushing my hair. I lost over two stone in weight and struggled on a daily basis. Years later I learnt this is where my M.E/CFS originated from. After several months of rest, I returned to college where I could manage classes only. No socialising with friends in the evenings and most days I even had to come home for a nap at lunchtimes.
Fortunately through ’pacing’ techniques and perseverance I was able to go to university where I studied Tourism and travelled across Europe, and worked and studied abroad. Later I did an MA in Human Rights. Whilst I was lucky to be able to do these things, life was still hard at times and every few weeks I was forced into spending a week in bed, exhausted and simply feeling ill with severe flu like symptoms.
Three years ago, my health took a massive drop. I had recently started working as a trainee social worker and living in a new area when I caught mumps followed by a kidney infection. I never seemed to get better. Over the coming months, I was forced to remain in my bed. Some days I had no energy even to clean my teeth and my words slurred when I tried to talk. Living was hard work both mentally and physically. My body ached all over, my mind was in a spin unable to think or feel anything. Why me? What had I done to deserve this?
Initially the doctors diagnosed me as having depression, which was frustrating as I knew this wasn’t the case. Eventually, nearly 11 years after I was first unwell, I was diagnosed at St James Paget hospital in Great Yarmouth as having M.E/CFS. Over the next two years I learnt to adjust to a new way of life, living
with my parents again, unable to work and reliant on a wheelchair for trips out. Days consisted of sleeping and the odd TV show! What would I have done without the lovely ladies on Loose Women for company! I felt like a little child again and totally dependent on my family for help and assistance.
Slowly, in the last year I started to improve and could manage more activities, I even joined a social club to meet new people and have some fun again…but still I wasn’t being me and living life how I had hoped.
Things all changed 3 months ago. I had heard bits and bobs about this new training programme for people with M.E that changes your life and after chatting to people that had done it, I knew it was for me. In the weeks waiting to do the course my excitement grew and grew and was worse than when I was 3, waiting for Santa to come on Christmas Day! Naturally I had a few worries, what was involved, could I do it and would it really make me well? There was no need for worries though, Kate and her partner Steve welcomed me into their home and along with 5 other remarkable women we began our journey into wellness together
On the course we were taught simple techniques that create new pathways in the brain and hand on heart I can say it’s the best thing I have ever learnt.
The evening of the first day of the course, I went for a walk along the beach and drove my car for the first time in years. By the end of the course I felt like a teenager again. I went in as a caterpillar and emerged as a butterfly ready to experience life. The first few days I was waking up at 5 am and bouncing out of bed, going for walks, swimming and shopping trips with my mum were brilliant.
For the first time in years I was waking up and feeling fantastic.
In the last 3 months that have followed my life has changed dramatically. I have recently moved to Bath to be with my new partner Steve. I am volunteering at the library, reading stories to little children and hope to start work again in the new year. I have even joined a gym, go swimming and to aerobic classes each week. But it is the simple day to day living that I love the most. I can now do the washing, cook dinner, do the housework and go shopping like everyone else. I can wake up and see the sunrise and go to bed after midnight! I can go dancing and drink wine, go for walks in the country, talk to people, read a book and simply be me again! I strongly recommend the programme to anyone who has M.E/CFS, without it I wouldn’t have a future, now all my dreams have come true – I have my health, happiness and love.
“My MS story”
I was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting MS when I was 25. Before that I used to lead a very active life riding horses, competing and earning my living as an international groom. I also used to supply speciality saddles. However, after being diagnosed in 2003 I was unable to do much work as I had too many attacks and relapses – some severe enough to blind me or to keep me on crutches for a year. I only partially recovered after attacks and felt I was battling different symptoms daily with stress and tiredness making them worse. I also had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Before doing the training programme we talked through my goals. I desperately wanted to feel happy, stay well, and enjoy life. I also wanted to get back into horse riding and competing again, and to work again, or retrain. In terms of sports, I wanted to play tennis and hockey and go to the gym. I also wanted to enjoy interests like photography, shopping and the internet. Lastly, I was hoping to start a family.
During the course I found I was able to enjoy a bath (without the usual pain), drink and eat things I had not been able to eat at all, like potatoes, baked beans, coffee and toast, without the anxiety or IBS repercussions I would have previously suffered. Kate said that I looked very much better in 24 hours, with pinker cheeks, sparkly eyes and I was told by others on the course that I looked very happy, energised and smiled a lot.
It’s true I was happy. I felt able to do so much more than usual. For instance after a full day of training I went out for a drive, enjoyed the pier at Southwold in Suffolk, came back, made myself a meal and socialised with others on the course. I also had a massage, enjoyed catching up with a friend who came to visit and went to bed much later than usual, all without the usual anxiety. I decided to stop taking the Amtriptyline I had been taking for 6 years because I felt so well. (NOTE: We always advise stopping any drugs only with the advice from a doctor as some may need to be reduced gradually). After a good nights sleep I was able to get up promptly and do another whole day of the training course. For the first time in seven years I slept well and even when I woke briefly, I did not feel the usual anxiety and was able to drift off again easily.
One week after the course I was able to get up at 6am one morning to go to the supermarket. I found I was generally doing lots more than I had been able to do before and I was noticing no MS symptoms at all. Seven months after the programme I raised money for ‘Sport Relief’ by doing a run! I find that incredible as a short time ago I was unable to run anywhere. I now have a part time job and hope to start a family soon!
“20 years of ME”
I attended the programme in November 2006 and immediately began my healing journey after 20 years of M.E symptoms. Along the way, Kate has given me a very supportive helping hand – she was at the end of the phone whenever I felt the need for further guidance, patiently enabling me to gain greater understanding of how to use this wonderful technique in my everyday life. Infinitely kind, and with a very deep understanding, Kate explained in a simple, straightforward way, the finer details, which enhanced my ability to practice the skills with great success.”
Carolyn, Sept 2007.
“I rarely have pain anymore”
In March 2003 I was involved in car accident resulting in severe pain and shock. Worst effected were my neck, ribs and lower back. My symptoms worsened over the next two years. I struggled with balance problems, anxiety/confusion and terrible brain fog, IBS, insomnia, tinnitus, muscle pains, vertigo, temperature control problems and sensitivities to light, noise, chemicals and some foods. I was unable to drive much, could hardly walk and found it difficult to take part in my family’s life. I lost confidence too as many days I could hardly move and just sat all day, too ill and exhausted to do anything mentally or physically.
I sought help from numerous consultants and complimentary health practitioners and was diagnosed with many different things. I had a slipped disc, as well as whiplash, fibromyalgia, ME, depression, Lymes disease and PTSD as diagnoses too.
About two years after the accident I was admitted to hospital to have an emergency op for partial removal of the slipped disc. I also had some success using EMDR to help the PTSD symptoms, but I was still in a lot of pain, and plagued by the other symptoms, and had lost my life completely.
I heard from a friend that the programme had helped someone we knew who was very severely ill,
so I decided to try it myself. Kate was the 40th person I sought help from, and so I was not at all convinced
it would work!
I did the course in the summer of 2008. I doubted that I would be able to tolerate it – I was in too much pain and much too tired. But somehow I did, and on the first evening I even went for a big walk – something I hadn’t achieved for a long time. My self confidence was cripplingly low and the thought of doing the course in a group was horrendous, but somehow Kate coaxed me through it. On the third day I went to see Mamma Mia – I couldn’t even remember when I last went to the cinema.
Things changed dramatically. An unexpected side effect was that I found I was “happy” but initially the greatest change was the control of my pain, which reduced by about 90% in the first few weeks. (It has now almost completely gone – I have very few episodes of pain – and I can quickly control them). I started living life again and taking part in things with my family and friends who I had been isolated from for so long.
I have been very busy and active since doing the programme, and have benefitted greatly from the excellent aftercare – something I was not expecting. Kate has been a wonderful support.
It is taking time to rebuild my life again. My children have grown up and the world has changed, and I also had a huge stress with a long-running court case (because of the car crash) that made it harder to move on. But now that is over I am almost back to ‘normal’. I have had to start from scratch really, as I lost many friends as well as my health, and I am now making new decisions about who I am and what I want to do.
I have a wonderful new challenge to get my new business up and running and am really enjoying getting my independence back again.
I was thrilled that there was no “counselling” approach. I have had so much therapy in the previous 5 years I am practically an American! I still have improvements I want to make to my energy and confidence, but I rarely have any pain anymore and the other symptoms are in the past. I have a tool for life, and that is an empowering feeling!”
“Bedbound with ME”
From being bed bound to now living a healthy and full life. Kate has been an inspiring guide and amazing support throughout and has helped me realise my full potential. Kate has a very kind, friendly, caring and calm nature and her approach is thoughtful and intuitive. I really can’t thank her enough and would recommended her to anyone.
Both Kate and Steve provide a very warm atmosphere at their lovely home and I always find it such healing place just to be there – set in beautiful Suffolk Countryside. Helen P.
“I had finally succeeded in being ‘normal’!!”
I used to love travel and was a very active, sporty person, but in my first year at university I got a virus and then was diagnosed with ME, and could no longer play sport or travel, and what I could do was limited enormously. I managed to finish university and got a job. I could not work full time but I thought I was managing. Then a year ago things just got worse and worse.
I had to reduce my hours and I was still exhausted all the time. That was when I finally realised I was not coping, I had difficulty with symptoms everyday which included pain in my neck and shoulders, tension headaches, joint pain, muscle pain, brain fog, sore throats and laryngitis, upset stomachs, blurry vision, acute pain in my face, and I was just exhausted all the time.
When I learnt the skills I had a massive improvement, but then got flu soon after unfortunately! When I realised I could use the LP then too, I went up another level and something really clicked in me…up to that point I’d been doing the LP and it was helping me do so much more, and have more energy, but I was still feeling tired too much.
Then the weekend after the flu, I was really busy – it wasn’t planned, just one of those weekends when everything seems to happen at once…and then in work on the Monday, I was running down the four flights
of stairs after work, when it suddenly dawned on me (and I have a very clear memory of that moment!) that despite the hectic weekend, I’d just done an entire day in the office when I hadn’t even thought about the symptoms and I realised that I had finally succeeded in being “normal”!! That was really a turning point,
and I haven’t looked back since.
So thank you again! Life is good, I am certainly not the same person that I was one year ago – my diary looks very very different! I know what a difference I have made, and I really want everyone else who struggles, to know they could do it too.
“MS, what MS?”
Having read about Kate’s work in our local newspaper and how it had helped people get well from ME, I just had to find out more about it. I telephoned Kate whom I bonded with immediately. She spent as long as was necessary on the telephone to ensure I was ready to undertake the training programme.
I was so excited at the opportunity to get my normal life back, it sounded unbelievable but somehow after talking to Kate and others that had undertaken the training, I was convinced I could be well again.
On day 1, I was a little nervous but so excited and keen to get going. I was totally committed to making this work and put everything into it. By the end of the first day, I had done things I had not done for years.
On day 2, I could not wait to get there and continue the work. That evening, I was determined to put in to practice what I had learnt, so my husband & I went for a walk. I was able to walk and stand, unaided for about 30 minutes.
On day 3, I had learnt how to clear the tiredness and felt fantastic, normal again. I found myself rushing around in the kitchen helping out just the way I always did before I was ill.
Having attended the programme in July 2008, I have been continually improving. Even my close friends do not recognise me and are amazed by my current capabilities. I have now walked 5 holes of our golf course, something I would not have even have considered I was capable of before attending the programme.
I can only see me going from strength to strength as I continue to practice the techniques. I received the usual MS (multiple sclerosis) advice of do what you can, rest when you are tired and generally pace yourself through the day. I now know from my experience at the Rowan Centre that life can be normal and not lived under these restrictions which is totally wonderful!
A big thank you to Kate, Sue (USA)
“My husband had never known me well”
After pushing myself too hard at work I managed to contract two viruses one after the other that left me with chronic fatigue syndrome. At it’s worst my 86-year-old Grandfather was lapping me around our local country park.
The illness dictated my career, my social life and everything revolved around energy levels.
Fast-forward five years and although much improved there were relapses
and life still wasn’t my own. After finding a leaflet I called Steve. His knowledge and understanding of CFS gave me the confidence to book myself on the programme.
He suggested that I contact previous participants and their recovery stories sounded remarkable.
My family were encouraging so in August 2008 I attended the seminar. The three-day course with Kate was a dream. Kate and Steve are so welcoming and the atmosphere so relaxed that although there was work to do it felt like a holiday. On day one I was still up and doing at 11pm, on day two I paddled in the sea and day three I cycled over for the session. Normally scared cycling on roads I used the technique and surprised myself.
After the course my family couldn’t believe that the me they had only glimpsed over the last five years was back. My husband had never known me well and is getting used to a full of beans me and the changes it’s making to how far we can walk, where we can go on holiday etc.
With a recent house move I used the skills I learn to remain confident that it would run smoothly and keep focused when challenges arose. For me its all the extra uses I have for them that makes it special. My life is back and so I’m making the most of it. The move has given me the perfect opportunity to look at my career and decide what I would really like to do rather than what my illness would have let me do in the past. I can’t speak highly enough of the programme and how it has helped me change my life. I’m so glad I picked up that leaflet.
“It helped me to be more confident”
I caught glandular fever when I started my A levels which made me quite ill. After that I never fully recovered and would get ill all the time and spend a lot of time in bed. At this time I was competing at a high level in sailing which I suddenly couldn’t do anymore, It also stopped me going out and having fun with my friends.
I was advised that I would have to plan and take into account being ill.
I was told about the programme in the summer of 2008 and thought that it would be worth trying. I found Steve and Kate on the internet and applied. When I arrived I was welcomed in, which helped as I was nervous. I was amazed at how much these new skills helped me just on the first day, when I went home I was able to do some things that I hadn’t done in ages, like reading my book before I went to bed. By the end of the course I felt a lot better and I have acquired some skills that have not only helped me get over being ill but have helped me to be more confident. It worked for me but throughout the course it became obvious that you have to believe in yourself and it takes work to keep well.
I found Steve and Kate very helpful not only during the course in answering questions but afterwards keeping in touch so I always feel like help is there if I need it. I am now in my second year at university studying Mechanical Engineering and I run all the ladies sailing for the university. I have also found that I can do lots of other things like running again which I feel is a real achievement.
“Support and Inspiration”
Kate has been a valuable source of support and inspiration whilst I’ve been going through the process of getting my life back on track – to talk to somebody who’s been through similar things and got to the other side is a big help. Kate has a very calm and reassuring way about her, she’s patient and understanding, full of encouragement and great advice and I’d have no hesitation in recommending her. She’s great!”
“CFS is a thing of the past”
I was labelled with CFS in 2003, after failing to recover from a series of glandular fever type viruses and having suffered several bereavements.
I learned a great deal from the illness, and after a year and half off work, pushed on through my PhD in spite of it, reaching a point where I was ‘managing’ it through a quiet lifestyle and balanced diet. However, I always remained sensitive and subject to sporadic relapses. After a bad relapse in Spring 2008 I suddenly felt that I had had enough and was ready to be rid of this awful this illness. I learned about the progranne from my GP, who has seen several of her CFS/ME patients get well after doing the course. After doing some research on the web I came to understand that I could get well again if I wanted to. I was struck by Kate Simpson and Steve Fawdry’s understanding attitude and professionalism, and excitedly booked myself on the course with Kate in May 2008!
The course involved several days at Kate and Steve’s wonderful country house, where I stayed in their cosy accommodation. As an eager group of four we learned how negative thought patterns can affect physiology and suppress our body’s functioning, and then learned how to ‘re-program’ more life-enhancing patterns. It was astonishing and an incredible joy to see others in the group get better, and especially one lady who couldn’t walk at the start, but left her wheelchair behind after day one and did handstands in the garden on day three! By the end of the course I knew that for me, CFS was a thing of the past. I practiced the process for some weeks afterwards to reinforce my renewed wellness, and I still continue to use it for various things in my life, such as getting over colds and developing a more positive attitude to winter, which I used to dread.
These days I am working in research, running a life coaching business on the side, enjoying my social life and experimenting with exercise (e.g. cycling, dancing, roller blading) now that I am fitter. I strongly recommend the training course to anyone who wants to leave CFS/ME or related illnesses behind, and would especially recommend Kate and Steve as excellent teachers and generous hosts!
Dr Chloe C-K.
“Physical symptoms stopped me living a normal life”
I became ill three and a half years ago and my busy life completely changed. I had a good career ahead of me, but I could not sustain going to work. My body just shut down and the onset was as typically described by Dr Melvin Ramsay. After 5 months a consultant diagnosed ME and this was confirmed by a second consultant who I was then referred to for further tests. An MRI scan showed an excessive number of lesions but I had a lumber puncture which ruled out MS. So back to my original diagnoses of ME and a vitamin B12 deficiency. The medical profession was unable to help other than suggesting ‘rest and you will get better’.
I was given advice on pacing and left to manage it myself the best I could.
During that first five months, getting up the stairs was like attempting Everest. The daily symptoms were severe joint and muscle pain and stabbing pains in my joints, hands, elbows and ankles. Then there was the fatigue, cognitive problems and difficulty concentrating, dizziness and loss of balance and visual problems.
I had constant visual disturbances for five months, my face was grey and I just felt so ill. I was sensitive to noise and light and would pass out when subjected to certain lighting and even had a blackout where I collapsed and was just found on the floor. All kinds of symptoms were scary. The easy way to describe it is my body felt like it had been hit by a truck at 40 mph. Any activity was followed by severe relapses, paying the price for it with pain and symptoms.
I heard about the neuro-linguistic programme at The Rowan Centre. I could not understand at first how it worked and I was sceptical, but despite the day to day suffering, I did not have anxiety or depression and have always remained positive about possibilities. Now I have done it, I am so encouraged by what I have learnt from them. It has helped me immensely. It was the physical symptoms that stopped me living a normal life. So by learning to apply the techniques, I was amazed that these methods taught me how to control the symptoms. I never thought I could improve my balance, but they taught me how and on day one of the course, I got my balance back!
On day two of the programme I applied the same methods to other symptoms and the joint pain stopped
the following night! I was so thrilled as only two weeks before were the worst I had been in ages and I could barely get out of bed, but the improvements have continued to this day. My first attempt to get up the stairs at The Rowan Centre was a painful one. As I made my way up to my bedroom, the pain in my knees was horrendous. But also by the second day, I was laughing as I went up those two flights of stairs like it was nothing. No pain and the energy to do it!
I know there are so many other people out there who need help. Please know this is neuro- linguistic programming, not CBT or graded exercise therapy. At the Rowan Centre they have the skill to help you get your life back. The NHS can refer people (doctors and consultants do already) and unnecessary suffering can be stopped. Some people may be sceptical because its private and you have to pay, but we already pay to go to the dentist, to the opticians and to take our pet to the vet. You have to get results to get recognition and doctors are seeing the results from the good work being done at The Rowan Centre.
Some sceptics may say if this has helped me, I did not really have ME. But I would say, no matter what badge they place on you, whether it be ME, MS, or some other undiagnosed illness, what really matters is you. If you want to improve your life you can make the choice to do that. You cannot knock it until you have tried it. The important thing is, are you ready to start living again. I certainly was. I had had enough of the rollercoaster of symptoms.
I am doing things now that did not seem possible two weeks ago. Yesterday I did a three mile bike ride with one of my dogs, a walk around the park with my other dog, then a four mile walk in the evening. I have gradually increased my activity and have not suffered any relapse for the first time in three and a half years.
Suddenly my plans for the future have changed. It is no longer a case of surviving each day, it’s my dream come true. I am living again and sharing things with my partner I thought were not possible. I am enjoying walks together, living as a couple, and not having to opt out of life. Now I am healing, I can think about work again, holidays, loving my life again, catching up on lost time and adventures. I can think about the future now and smile.
“I jumped back into life”
Before I went to the Rowan Centre I suffered with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had the illness for nearly three years and went through a range of different symptoms. The illness affected my life in many ways. It stopped me from going to school, left me with a non-existent social life, caused me physical, emotional and mental pain, it basically put my life on hold for three years.
I decided to do the programme in December 2008 as I was determined that 2009 was not going to be another year full of tiredness, pain and longing to be better. I filled in the application forms, sent them off and Kate called me at the beginning of January. I told her I wanted to it as quickly as possible, to which she told me there was a training course in two weeks time.
A week later my mum and I went to meet Kate; we talked for what seemed like ages. Kate explained to us what would happen in the three days and that my mum could sit in with me as I was under eighteen. There and then I decided to do the training course a week later, to me there was no other option; it had to work.
A week later and everything had changed; the experience is hard to explain. It was like a light could be seen in this tiny black room I had lived in for the last three years and I could see my way out. Finally I started to feel the best I had in ages, I had a few problems with getting rid of one symptom and then having a new one but I battled through.
I was lucky to be with a wonderful group of people taking part in the training and we all helped each other through. We drew strength from one another and could identify with each others problems. It was quite funny really that on the second day we all had stomach aches. From what we worked out, it was our digestion systems working properly for the first time in ages. It was nice to know we were all going through similar things after so many years of feeling so different.
After the training I just jumped straight back into life and haven’t stopped since. I’ve just got back from three weeks in Cyprus which were amazing, I finally felt like a normal seventeen year old girl.
I am currently deciding what I am going to do in September about colleges and sixth forms and also working towards getting my driving licence. I am determined not to waste one more minute of life.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kate and Steve and to tell you if you’re reading this trying to work out if you should go for it. All I can tell you is that it worked for me and that miracles really can happen.
“Glandular fever and CFS”
I had glandular fever in 1993 and quickly learnt to manage my energy levels. I suffered from occupational stress in 2007 and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in early 2008. As a result I had become increasingly less effective at home and work. Looking back I was just about surviving life rather than living it. Although during 2008 I built up to playing squash occasionally or go walking, I wasn’t able to live the life I wanted to and invariably ended up doing only 1 thing I loved at the weekends to allow me to work full time.
In late August 2008, I saw a newspaper article and thought ‘Wow, I’ve got to try this!’ I studied the internet and noticed it was based around NLP. I was really encouraged by this fact as I had first hand experience that ‘this stuff works’. I rang Steve and Kate straight away and they explained they could help me sustain that feeling of being ‘well and alert’ which I had previously experienced in June.
I attended the course in November 2008 and I’ve not looked back since. I’ve been full of energy since day 1; tackling all sorts of jobs in the house that I’ve not been able to face doing for years. I had this immediate urge to tidy anything that I noticed was laying around! I play squash, go to the gym and walk whenever I want to. I’m now reading books and playing the piano again. The ‘Life I love’ continues to improve month on month. My work colleagues and family have noticed a big difference too.
“ME since I was 13 years old”
Before the course I had suffered from M.E. for over 10 years – since I was 13. The severity of the illness fluctuated over that time but I was never well enough to go back to school (other than for a couple of hours a week during 6th form) or to get a job. I was often in severe pain and needed a 2 hour sleep in the middle of every day in order to get through to bedtime.
I attended the course 5 months ago and those and the weeks afterwards were actually some of the most difficult times I have ever experienced. Whilst the techniques are incredibly simple, the effort required to put it into practice is huge. A lot of tears were shed and at times I had to deal with both my brain and body screaming at me. It would have been very easy to give up but I am so pleased that I didn’t.
Eventually, with perseverance (and great support from Steve and Kate) things started to improve. It wasn’t always obvious and there were definitely instances of one step forward, two steps back but things were getting better. The improvements snowballed and continue to do so to this day.
I am now looking for my first job – part-time initially, it’s important to take these things a step at a time
and my general fitness is increasing. The past few months have been brilliant: I’ve been sight-seeing around Brussels, joined a gym, gone ice-skating and thrown myself round bouncy castles with abandon! Going through the programme was not easy but it was totally worth it. The results speak for themselves!
“20 years of poor health”
I feel my life is changing and I am now doing so much more than I could, and planning for my future in a positive way.
I have been able to go through the day without a rest and am planning to do some voluntary work.
I no longer feel the fear of yet another relapse after 20 plus years of poor health. I know that I am much more in control of my life now and that is a great place to be!
Staying with you and Kate for the three days training was a lovely breathing space in my life and although I was there to learn, the time also felt like a holiday for me and I thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful home and company. You have continued to be a fabulous support to me since the training and I have felt able to talk freely with you.
I have and will recommend you to anyone I feel would benefit from this excellent and ground breaking training!
“A mother’s view”
Initially I was very apprehensive. My daughter had been suffering horribly with M.E for 18 months and I had been caring for her full-time.
We both read as much as we could . Clare talked to Kate and was encouraged to talk to others who had attended the programme. In the days leading up to the first session I was both nervous and excited at the same time. I tried to remain positive for Clare’s sake but I was also very afraid of the possibility of failure and the effect that would have.
The morning of the first session arrived – a day that will live in my memory forever! The carefully rehearsed journey went fine even though I was feeling anxious and scared. Leaving my fragile daughter was not easy. There then followed a nerve-racking few hours before it was time to pick her up.
I really had no idea what to expect after the first session, but to my surprise Clare didn’t want the wheelchair and instead walked to the car. Once back home, she suggested we walk around the block – not a huge distance but previously a walk to the bathroom was the limit for her. There was more to come. I expected
she would go to her room to rest, but no, she made me a coffee! Was this all too much too soon?
The following sessions were just as amazing and it did seem as if the miracle had happened. However for Clare it was lots of hard work doing the mental and physical exercises required.
I soon realised that the way to support her was to give her space and to be an unobtrusive presence, quietly there for her.
From a carer’s perspective the dramatic and speedy results, although wonderful, did leave me at a bit of a loss and for a while it was a struggle coming to terms with not living as Clare’s full-time carer. For so long that had been my sole focus in life and now very suddenly everything changed and I needed to adapt back to my previous life.
Now 10 months on I am happy to say Clare is leading a very full and happy life. Her determination and emotional strength has been an inspiration and certainly helped me put the bad M.E time in the past and look forward to the future and a normal mother/daughter relationship.
Sue, Clare’s mum
“16 years of ME”
I had M.E for 16 years on and off. I went from walking only a minute or two outside a day to walking for 30 minutes on my second day of the training! When I had M.E my husband did a lot at home, cooking, washing, shopping and only a month on I can do all of these plus I am driving which is a real freedom. I have started tai chi again which I love and can now walk for an hour or more. The other weekend I got on the tube to London, went for lunch and to an art gallery. I was walking around for a long time that day. It is hard work and I still have to work hard at it at times and I still experience some symptoms but I am confident that if I stick at it that these will go in time. My life has changed radically. I have started an art class and am writing poetry and am out 3 times a day (before once a day was an effort and I needed help). It is about so much more than recovering my physical health. It is helping me find the real me and allowing me to do the things I love. If you are truly committed to change and are willing to work hard I highly recommend it.” Frances K. (after 1 month)
Kate Simpson’s own recovery story
This is my story of going through the training programme despite feeling afraid and exhausted. I urge you if you are investigating it, to keep an open mind so that you can grab the opportunity to get well too. It is so worth it! It is five years since I wrote about this experience and I am now running our residential centre in Suffolk. www.therowancentre.com
My young son didn’t sleep through the night for four years and I was also trying to cope with trauma issues from my own childhood, building a house and earning a living. I kept thinking it would all be okay, but eventually collapsed with pneumonia.
I didn’t recover. After nine months of different doctors and lots of tests, I was told it was M.E. I know I wasn’t as severe as many people, but I couldn’t work anymore (I had been a children’s book illustrator) I couldn’t be a proper mum and couldn’t have any kind of ‘normal’ life.
I struggled with the constant fatigue, the head fog and lack of concentration, the memory loss, sensitivity to noise and movement, balance problems, muscle pain (fibromyalgia), crippling migraines and long-term dull headaches, hormonal problems, mood swings and awful periods, panic attacks and hallucinations, insomnia, digestive problems, nausea and vomiting, stomach pains, bloating and diahorrea (IBS), fevers and chills, and a lot of quite severe depression.
My husband did most of the childcare, all the housework and shopping, and held down a part-time job. He kept our lives ticking over brilliantly but was often very stressed. .
The Training Sessions
In the first session I was taught how my mind and body were affected by the illness, and it was no more difficult to understand than a primary school biology lesson. Then I learnt a series of movements and postures (based on osteopathic theory) combined with particular words (NLP) that you learn to say at times that are personal to you. Visualisation techniques are also a part of it, and you learn how to change certain feelings or automatic reactions. All this combined is what changes the neural pathways in your brain and starts the healing process.
I had worried all the way through that I was getting too ill to continue, but after the first day, I walked out feeling strangely OK and quite light-headed. So I went shopping! .
As I used the techniques over and over again, I could feel it was definitely doing something because I hadn’t collapsed. I did some gardening and played with my son and had no big rest and no relapse. I was just using the technique a lot and feeling strangely confident
Session two was learning a bit more about it, refining the techniques and ironing out any problems. Session three dealt with returning back to ‘normal’ life. .
Seven days after starting all the physical symptoms had gone!! I have since met other people who recovered more gradually, and I did take a lot longer to change more long term patterns of low self esteem and shyness. But I have used it for many, many things now and what has become crystal clear is that it’s a job of work – if you do the work you get results, but if you don’t keep doing it, nothing changes, it’s as simple as that.
Life after M.E
I then started getting my life back. After many years of sofa-surfing I had to build up fitness slowly. Being a normal mum was a delight and my son soon spotted that I didn’t live in a dressing-gown anymore.
I found getting more help was invaluable and knew that I couldn’t work a miracle in three days of training. It’s remembering to use the skills when challenges come along that makes all the difference. It took a while to build up confidence again and figure out who I wanted to be, but I very quickly returned to doing normal energetic things with no limitations.
I can now work full time, be a mum, set up our health centre, do the garden, do DIY, walk the dog and still have energy to see friends and family. No-one’s life is perfect and there are always challenges, but I can honestly say my life now is better than I ever imagined possible!
Warmest wishes Kate
The Rowan Centre, North Hall, Beccles Rd, Wrentham, Suffolk, NR34 7NP. Tel 0845 900 5765