By Josh Low
After being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome some 30 years ago, Fr Ted Miller has gone through great struggles to overcome the medical condition.
Earlier this year, Fr Ted won gold medals for the 60 and 100 metre sprints in the M70 category (70 years and older) at the W.A. Masters Athletics State Championships, even recording a faster time in the 100m event than some competitors, up to 30 years his junior, in the M45 category. (45 years and older)
He recently spoke to The eRecord about his battle with chronic fatigue syndrome, wanting to pay tribute to God for his health and healing.
30 years ago, Fr Ted was told that he was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, which led to the development of multiple allergies preventing the absorption of nutrients and resulted in malnutrition, which he says left him ‘like a dying old man’.
Fr Ted said the chronic fatigue syndrome he experienced was linked to glandular fever he contracted in his twenties, which – when linked to a virus like the Epstein-Barr virus that causes glandular fever, can go on forever.
He said he automatically accepted it as God’s will and tried to do the best in the situation he was in.
After re-establishing a reasonable level of minerals and vitamins, the doctor started him on a gentle exercise program.
“He prescribed walking out to my front letter box once a day but I could not do it,” Fr Ted said.
“The slightest exertion, even to talk or eat, required two hours rest for recovery.
“Social events, even family weddings and going to church was impossible, with incense being particularly traumatic,” he said.
However after remaining focused on recovery with a strict diet and exercise regimen, Fr Ted said things started to get better.
He added that he was especially thankful to his late parents who supported him throughout his struggles.
“My father gave sound advice on nutrients and my mother nursed me for 20 years without one complaint and never once told me to ‘pull my socks up’.
“Very gradually things began to improve but it was a very slow process,” he said.
“Walking a short distance each day became important and was steadily increased, until after 20 years, two hours of walking was the norm.”
After reaching the stage of extended walking, Fr Ted said he was suddenly struck with an idea.
“I was on an oval one day and the thought came to me: ‘Wouldn’t it be great to do what you thought you would never do again; skip and run.’
“I actually told myself not to be silly. Then I took a couple of running steps and a few more and then stopped.
“The next day I took a few more. Careful not to overdo it and have a relapse (relapses were always happening), I very carefully increased the running exercise with great control,” he said.
Gradually over five years he built up his strength and stamina to join the Master’s Athletics with Athletics Western Australia.
After winning gold medals in two categories for his age group this year, Fr Ted said it is only through God that this has become possible.
“I want to pay tribute to God’s healing power. I can only talk about this success in the context of giving glory to God for healing.
“I now enjoy doing something I have always loved,” he said.
“There is still a way to go and healing continues to take place but rejoicing in what the Lord is doing is such a delight. It is good to be alive again.”
For anyone suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome, Fr Ted says that having a good medical professional in charge and ‘following their instructions to the letter’ is important, along with prayer and a belief that all things are possible with God.
“Be patient and realistic but ignore anything negative in your own thinking that would hold you back unreasonably.
“Identify with Our Lord’s weakness and suffering and rely on Him,” he concluded.