The Gupta Programme… Cure or Cronk? 

The Gupta Programme… Cure or Cronk? 

I have been given this Gupta Programme trial as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

As you may be aware, since my blog has taken off I’ve decided to use my opportunity to trial some products that market themselves as being useful for the disabled community. This is because I often read reviews and wonder if they’re really true? Or if our community is just being used as an easy target audience for various companies. Knowing we are desperate for an improvement are they just taking our money with no real benefit? 

Recently I had the chance to trial The Gupta Programme. I partook in a three month programme which included live weekly seminars, DVD materials, workbooks and a gigantic infographic (the use of which would become clear on taking the course.) This particular course aims itself at people with Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Chemical Sensitivities. I cannot comment on if it helps with Chemical Sensitivities, but having a diagnosis of Fibromialgia and Chronic Fatigue, I can let you in on how it has (or has not) affected those. 

Firstly, a bit of the theory behind the course. Basically it is my understanding that Ashok believes research proves the Amygdala (a part of the brain) is the root cause of these illnesses. The theory goes that this part of the brain, which controls the bodies ‘fight or flight’ response is in a state of hyper arousal. The aim of the course is to re train this part of the brain, essentially calming it down and improving/curing these conditions. Apparently Ashok himself had CFS/ME and is now 100% cured! Something I’m sceptical of, but honestly I’m a sceptical kind of person! 

Image of the brain found on the Gupta Programme website.

Initially I was very sceptical of the course on a whole. It was only a state of complete desperation at my situation that lead me to join in with this trial at all really. In fact I even told Ashok about my reservations. He assured me it didn’t matter. As long as I followed the principles of the course I would still see improvements. I can’t deny, he did start to win me around as I fully took in the seminars. Things sounded much less crazy to me as many of the principals Ashok believes in are echoed by the several medical establishments I’m treated by here in the UK. He just takes them one step further and offers what I feel to be a ‘multidisciplinary’ approach. Where at hospital you would see a dietician, psychologist, pain managements team and sleep clinic all separately. This course addresses all those issues and more under one umbrella. Meaning, if nothing else, it’s definitely a very unified approach. 

Obviously I cannot go into too much detail about the course, it was three months long and included a whole range of information. But I can tell you that for me, it was the seminars that were the most useful part. Particularly when I was able to catch them live as it meant I could ask questions and give feedback. Seminars were at 6pm each week, the link being sent in advance. Though ideally you’d see them all live, you are able to watch at a later date. This can be to refresh, take notes or if you’re too tired to catch the original. Ashok is a huge promoter of pacing, so it’s important not to push yourself to join a seminar if you’ve already pushed yourself to the limit that day. 

Ashok articulating his point during a seminar.

The seminars were both interesting and enjoyable to watch. I certainly didn’t feel bored or zone out throughout any of them. He doesn’t advise taking notes during the original sessions as it’s important to listen and take in what’s being said. So sometimes it’s worth re watching if you think there’s things you want to note down. I even had a few lightbulb moments during the seminars. One being very early on in the course. I asked a question in which I referred to myself as ‘unable to be fixed’. Somewhere along the way I had lost the belief that I would ever get any better. Without that belief I had huge barriers up to improving my health. 

Along with the seminars was the workbooks and little homework tasks. It does sound overwhelming but on the whole it was doable. There’s nobody checking whether you’ve done these things, no qualification at the end. So no pressure. Basically you get out what you put in with this course. If you don’t bother following the principals then you’re not going to see any improvement. However if you give it a fair try, then who knows? 

Personally, I do think I’ve been helped by this course. Have I been cured? No. But I have other illnesses on top of those listed. So I would always have had those. Genuinely though, I do feel I’ve improved. I don’t know if my pain has reduced, or if I’m just coping better with it. But I do feel less burdened by the pain I’m in. Also, I have been managing to get out and about and do more. I took to heart the idea that an idle mind has more time to dwell on pain. So I have taken on some new challenges in my life. Things that I perhaps wouldn’t have done without this course. 

So, is it worth the money? Though it hasn’t been curative for me (at least not yet) I have found this course beneficial enough that I do feel it would be worth the investment. It does need to be understood that it’s not just a financial investment. As I said before, you really do get out what you put in with this Programme. If you’re not willing to work at it, then you won’t see the benefits. Also, it’s not a quick fix. You have to make life long changes. I myself started slipping back into old habits recently, and soon saw a decline in my progress. 

I’m glad I took this opportunity to trial The Gupta Programme. I’ve even recommended it to a few friends. Mentally and emotionally I feel it’s placed me on a much stronger footing to deal with any health trials I may have to deal with in the future. I’ve even recommended it to friends and family! Particularly as there’s a money back guarantee, so even if they don’t have the progress I have had they don’t lose anything. 

So while I cannot personally profess to being cured by this course, I can say it’s been of benefit to my life. I will continue to follow the principals in the future and am hopeful those benefits will continue for my future. 

Advertisements

Medipen, The Big Decision. 

Medipen, The Big Decision. 

Many months ago I wrote a blog about my decision to use a cannabinol vape pen to help with my pain. Cannabinol is an extract of cannabis, which doesn’t get you high. It does however claim to have many health benefits and I was interested to see if these were true, or just yet another money spinning hoax aimed at taking advantage of desperate people. 

Initially I intended to write up my findings within a month or two of trialling the product. But life had other ideas. So here I am, several months and a major surgery later, ready to share my findings…

First off about the pen itself. I found the product very easy to use and nice and light to hold. The width is similar to that of a good ballpoint pen, as is the length, so a great size to carry around. I bought a second USB charger to have in my handbag, this allowed me to have one at home and one for if I ran low when out and about. The second charger was pretty redundant though, these little gadgets hold their charge surprisingly well! Usually I would just pop it on charge in my laptop as I did a little ‘work’ (writing, checking Facebook, photo editing, checking Facebook, networking, checking Facebook) and it filled up in no time. Overall for simplicity and style I was very impressed. 

Contents of the Medipen starter kit.

As a none smoker I was incredibly nervous about using something which reminded me so heavily of a cigarette. Particularly in the way I had to inhale it. I wondered if I would get used to it, or even be able to tolerate it at all? 

Medipen contains no nicotine at all and is in no way addictive. 

I need not have worried. Medipen cartridges are available in many different flavours, more than I would have imagined! I tried the mint, cherry cola, coconut and white grape. They were all pretty good, though the coconut tasted a bit too much like a Piña Colada for me! I was surprised at how much flavour you could pick up just from inhaling vapour, the taste was really enjoyable! My favourite was by far Cherry Cola with White Grape coming a close second. What was also nice was that inhaling the sweet vapour helped me eat less actual sweeties, something I do far too much of when I’m in pain. Plus, the vapour has some of the scent in it from the flavour. I became my own air freshener whilst vaping! 

Not that there is much vapour cloud. Another thing I was worried about was filling my home up with a damp cloud of acrid smelling fog. I’ve been in ecigarette shops before where you can barely see your hand in front of your face. I didn’t want that for my home, and I’m glad to say I didn’t get it. The Medipen uses a wick to draw the vapour up to your mouth, meaning you get a steady amount. You really have to draw hard on the device to form a large cloud, and honestly there’s no need. A gentle inhale for a few seconds gets you plenty of vapour, flavour and cannabinol; without billowing out smokey mist clouds for all to see. The Medipen is discreet. Refined. Classy. 

What I expected vaping to be like on the left, versus what it was actually like on the right.

As far as usage goes it’s really up to you. I found that a few minutes of use on a morning, at lunchtime and before bed suited me. Though occasionally I would use it in between if I was having a bad day. I liked to keep my pen with me as knowing I had the extra help was a comfort in itself. My level of usage meant each cartridge lasted around three weeks, even with my husband stealing some for the occasional headache or general ache or pain. By the end of the experiment he was using the Medipen each evening with me as he found it also benefitted him in some unexpected ways… 

So that’s the basics covered. Now down to the important part. DID IT HELP??

Honestly, I have to say that yes it did. I was completely ready to be disappointed and instead was very pleasantly surprised. Do not get me wrong, the Medipen is not a miracle cure, but it did help me with my multisystemic problems. My pain was decreased to the point that I could function better. I could move without wincing and walk without feeling as stiff. On some days I even managed to reduce my pain relief, something I have not been able to do since I went back on my medication after giving birth to my son. 

The evening ‘dose’ relaxed me and calmed the random cocophany of pains and sensations I usually have cascading through me. I have Dysautonomia which causes my body to always be on high alert. Settling down for rest when your body is tick tick ticking away is never easy. In fact it’s nigh on impossible. But with my Medipen I could feel my body calming and the tension easing from my muscles. Though it could often still take me a while to drop off, the chances I would sleep were higher. Plus, the sleep I did get was much more restorative than usual. A benefit I’d read about, but been highly sceptical of. 

It was due to the help I had with sleeping that my husband decided to try the Medipen one evening. He himself is a restless sleeper and spends many nights tossing and turning. I gladly offered to share, why should I be the only one reaping the benefits of our new little doohickey? Surprisingly he dropped off within minutes. Much faster than I do. I guess that’s the benefit of a properly functioning body, things work better on you! But what was even more surprising was what else happened that night…

If my husband used the Medipen before sleep not only would he rest better, he slept silently!! NO SNORING!!!

Usually my husband not only snores; but talks, moves and sometimes even gets out of bed! To be calm and quiet was not only got for him, it was GREAT for me! My often tired and grumpy husband woke with a spring in his step, and I didn’t consider committing murder each night. Definitely a win win! 

As always I woke on a morning feeling like a dogs dinner. But, I did find that whilst using Medipen that feeling subsided faster. Usually I don’t see mornings at all. During this trial I woke around 9/10 am each day. After an hour or so to come around and allow my heart medication to work I could actually get up and dressed. I had the energy to go out and do things, or cook, play with my children. I could be a ‘real’ mum! 

My main worry was having even less energy whilst using this product, I couldn’t believe I had more! 

Yes I still had to be careful and pace; I couldn’t do as much as ‘normal’ mums could. But I could do enough to give me my smile back. Enough to make my children feel they had more of me. I could be present in my own life. We went on holiday towards the end of my trial, a break at a holiday park in Yorkshire. On every other holiday we’ve been on my husband has taken charge, but not this time. I not only participated, I had fun. I was out doing things with the kids every day. Ok, by ‘doing things with’ I mean I watched them doing activities; but that’s 1000 times better than being stuck in the van whilst they go have adventures without me! 

Having fun with my kids on holiday.

I found that even during the day the Medipen calmed me. Not so as the make me sleepy, just to make things easier to handle. When your body is constantly in pain, and teetering on the edge of ‘fight or flight’ mode, it’s easy to have a meltdown. Me seeming moody or snappy is commonplace in my household. Crying feats and explosions of anger are also not unheard of. During the trial these episodes happened much less often. In fact, when things happened that would usually have my heart racing (more than usual) and adrenaline cursing through my veins, I actually managed to remain calm and carry on. My driving improved, how I coped with others driving improved. I had more patience and could shrug things off better. 

Of course nothing is perfect. At times my pain would still sneak through and bite me on the bum. Also, I did find it hard not to forget that though I was feeling better I wasn’t ACTUALLY better. The Medipen is not medicinal. Whilst it can take away feelings of pain etc, it does not cure the underlying cause. I did end up crashing a couple of times during this trial and ending up back in my bed. It’s easy to do too much when you start to feel human again. But it’s a learning curve. One that I was happy to be on! I’d rather crash from doing too much than not be able to do anything at all! 

But; I hear you asking yourself, why is this blog in past tense if the product is so good? Why is she not using it anymore? Well my friends, that’s where the surgery comes in. As cannabinol is still so new to the medical community, and not yet sanctioned by the NHS, I was advise to stop usage before my operation and for a time after. It’s now a month since my surgery and I realise that now I have to make a decision. 

I thought my big decision was whether to try the Medipen, in fact it’s whether to continue to use it long term. 

The Medipen is by no means a ‘cheap option’. Living on disability benefits the cost per cartridge is arguably quite high. (Though I must point out it’s much cheaper than smoking!) I have to ask myself, are the benefits of the Medipen worth the financial implications? Would I be better spending that money on other things? Am I being selfish? Would my family be better off if I used the money elsewhere? These are all questions I’ve been wrestling with for the last month. As I’ve been pretty much bed bound, struggling to sleep and barely coping with my pain. Can I take money from our family pot and spend it on me?? 

The answer is yes. 

Because when I do better, my family does better. My relationship with my husband improves. My children are happier. Life in general is just easier. Sure, I could use that money on toys, trips out or takeaways. But they hold no real value to my family. What we need is to make memories together. I want to be at the park, feeding the ducks with my husband and baby. Not home watching videos of it on my phone. They want me there too. I’m sick of being backstage in the show that is my family’s life. It’s about time I was up front and centre! I owe it to them, I owe it to myself! 

So tomorrow I order my new cartridges. I restart my Medipen journey; and I hope I see the same results. Then, in the spring, I hope to be writing an article outlining how I’ve found long term use of Medipen. I really hope that, unlike with medications, the benefits do not ware off with time. I’ve got a good feeling that they won’t… 
*Please note that I received my Medipen and cartridges free as a Thankyou for writing about my experiences. All opinions in this blog are honest and my own. 

There is another way…

There is another way…

In the last few months my levels of pain and exhaustion have hit a whole new high. This has left me pretty much bedbound most days. Then awake and restless at night. Alongside all that, my Gastroparesis has flared, meaning I’m nauseous almost all the time. My stomach feels full and bloated and eating, or even drinking, causes severe pain. When everything piles up like this it’s hard to cope. I found myself breaking down and sobbing on an all too regular basis. 

I’m already taking slow release Tramadol, Paracetamol and Codeine for my pain. I also have Gabapentin for nerve pain and other issues. 

Please note, it is not generally advisable to take Tramadol and Codeine together. I have special permission from the pain clinic and have been given clear instructions on safe dosage. Please don’t ever take medication that is not prescribed to you, or at a higher dose than prescribed by your GP. 

I cannot take anything Ibuprofen based due to my IBD, nor can I take many of the anti nausea medications that are on the market. During my last Gastroparesis flare my GP tried me on many of these medications, they either didn’t work, upset my bowel, or worse. What could be worse? Giving me the symptoms of a brain tumour, that’s what. My body reacts to things in very weird and wonderful ways. Waiting for my test results to come back after I’d been told I was displaying all the signs of a prolactinoma was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, one which I do not intend to repeat. 

So, as you can imagine, my options are now pretty limited. Basically there’s only one thing to move up to. Morphine. Be it tablet or patch form, it doesn’t matter. That’s the only thing left. I discussed this with my husband. Yes, I want to feel better. Yes, I want to be up and about more. But Morphine? I’m thirty years old.  Do I really want to put my, already dysfunctional body, through that? I know that Morphine is a strong pain relieving option. But I also know that any pain relief doesn’t seem as effective on me as it is on others, this could be down to my dodgy collagen. Even in hospital when I’ve been given Morphine intravenously, it’s not had a major effect. I never ever get spaced out or super relaxed. It just doesn’t affect me that strongly. So I’d be putting my body through all that stress, for a minimal effect. I don’t think it’s worth it. 

But what other choice did I have? None. Or so I thought. Soon after our conversation my husband saw an article about the Medipen which he sent over to me. Basically the Medipen is a vape machine which uses extracts from the Cannabis plant, combined with coconut oil. The extracts are completely devoid of any of the chemicals which cause the feeling of being ‘high’. They purely contain the chemical which has the most benefits, CBD. I’m not going to lie, I was wary. Very wary. Cannabis has a lot of stigma around it. Then add to this the fact that you inhale it in a vape machine, meaning you look like you’re smoking. That was too much. 

I’m not anti Cannabis. I don’t believe it’s a big evil drug that is bringing it to its knees. Honestly I don’t. Used in the correct way, I can see why it could be popular. However I am anti smoking. I do not smoke, have never smoked, and have no desire to. I’m not going to lecture people about their life choices, but in my opinion my body has enough wrong with it without me adding to the list. When you think of Cannabis that’s what comes to mind. Smoke. Lots and lots of smoke. Spliffs, bongs, hash briwnies. But mostly dingy rooms full of pungent acrid smoke. That’s the stereotype. The stereotype that is widely spread and etched into people’s minds. But that’s not me. I’m a mother. A none smoker. A disabled member of the community just trying to make the best of my life. 

My initial reaction to the Medipen wasn’t great. But I read the article. I researched. I looked on their website. Mostly I checked out the reviews. Page after page after page of people thanking the company. People with Cancer, MS, Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue, Insomnia and bowel complaints, all were seeing results! They were gushing about their great experiences. Better sleep, less pain, more energy. The reviews were astounding. Many even called it life changing. My viewpoint started to shift. Reluctantly I discussed it with my doctor. Terrified by his reaction. What if he thought I was a pot head? I couldn’t believe my ears when he told me to go for it! Recently another patient of his had tried a similar product and had excellent results. He agreed it was time I started thinking outside the box in order to improve my day to day life. Wow! The (unofficial) go ahead from my doctor! 

That night I contacted the company and arranged for my sample. I’ve been anxiously waiting for it ever since. Desperate to try it, but afraid the hype was too much to be true. Honestly, I was afraid to even hope. As for the stigma? I put it out of my mind. I told myself, who cares what other people think?! I need an improvement in my life. I cannot keep going like this, and I don’t want to take opiates. Besides, as with stigma about anything, we just need to raise our voices and educate. Show people they’re wrong. Highlight the true facts of the matter. 

My Medipen arrived this morning. I’m looking forward to seeing how I go with it, and updating you all on my experiences; from my initial reactions (including reactions to it from those around me) to the results of longer term use. Here’s hoping it’s all positive!! I’m just happy I actually have something to place my hope in for once. 

Its arrived!!