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Health Notes: How ME prompted Lucy to transform her life


Now I spent hours over the stove, filling notebooks with different combinations of ingredients.Lucy also changed her lifestyle: ‘I saw a news report on pesticides and hormones in food, milk and tap water, which said that while the body could deal with minute quantities, scientists didn’t know how it would react to the combined effects.Some days I’d wake up feeling as if I hadn’t slept for a week.

Her Cleansing Balm was a finalist, and this year Lucy’s blissful Rose Toner won the Best Organic Facial Skincare Product category.I lost weight and had many fewer infections.He said most of his patients felt 70 per cent better after four years.For more information, tel: 0845 094 2227, lucyrussellorganics.A specialist diagnosed ME, but was unable to suggest a constructive treatment plan.She also cut out sugar, dried fruits, carbs like pasta, and alcohol – ‘one glass of wine gave me a hangover for a week’ – and took fish oil supplements.But I kept getting worse.At this point, Lucy’s sister Claire stepped in.It’s a multipurpose product: as well as using it after cleansing, it’s brilliant for any skin problems, and also for cooling down hot babies or hot flushes…) Nearly seven years after her diagnosis, Lucy still has to be careful how much she does.I just loved it.Lucy Russell, now 33, was diagnosed with ME (myalgic encephalopathy) in 20 At the time she was working for East Sussex social services: ‘I helped a six-year-old boy with special needs in school and started feeling tired and run down.Lucy remembers that ‘it felt as if I’d been poisoned: my head hurt, muscles ached, I had lots of chest and throat infections and I couldn’t think straight.She said I had to make my illness work round my life, not vice versa.My whole body and mind felt heavy.By this stage, Lucy was working part time as a shop assistant at Jo Malone in London’s Bond Street: ‘They were incredibly supportive and it was such a gorgeous place, it lifted my spirits and I felt more positive.I felt wretched.The heavy fatigue definitely lifted.Every day I had to prioritise one thing – it could be quite small, such as shopping – and do it, then sleep the rest of the day if necessary.But she is happily married, with an adored one-year-old son, Thomas, and a thriving business.In 2006, Lucy, now married, turned her hobby into a business, launching Lucy Russell Organics – a small, exquisite range of certified organic skincare products.I’d always made my own candles and salt scrubs as presents.I loved life so much but this tainted every aspect.Within a couple of weeks, the difference was marked: ‘I felt less lethargic and achy.I discovered it last year, when Jo Fairley and I judged the beauty section of the Soil Association Natural and Organic Products industry awards.I thought I’d been overdoing it, and tried to do less.I thought it wouldn’t hurt to cut out these chemicals and switch to mainly organic food and mineral water.It was difficult to do my job properly.With no energy for socialising, she filled her spare time creating her own aromatherapy-based skincare.

She’d had ME herself at 18 after meningitis and recovered.