August 2, 2016
By Lisa Petrison, Ph.D.
British musical star Michael Crawford attributes his recovery from myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) to moving to a pristine coastal town in New Zealand.
After falling ill with the disease, Crawford felt drawn to move to New Zealand in 2007. He lived in a small house by the beach north of Aukland, and reported going fishing and sailing every day.
Here is an excerpt from a radio interview in which Crawford talked about his illness and recovery:
How did it feel then when you found that you had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Obviously it hit me hard. I was doing a musical called Woman in White, an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical about five years ago. I created for this character what I thought was the most wonderful costume, this great big fat suit. I played this Italian count, Count Fosco. I thought it was just the bee’s knees, being so clever. I used to lose about a pint of water a night in this suit.
Slowly I became more and more unwell — I damaged my immune system. I lost nutrients and things from my body. I got this virus and thought it was flu, and everyone else thought it was flu. Two or three weeks later, I still had the same condition. There was aching, tiredness, fatigue, and I just couldn’t get better.
So I started lots and lots of tests. And to this day, with doctors, there’s not too much understanding of the condition. And thousands and thousands of people have it, thousands of young children have it. It’s quite — it’s so debilitating for a child not to have the strength to go and play with other children or to have a normal life. They’ll offer some medication that will maybe buck you up or something. That didn’t seem like a very good solution to me, because they really didn’t know what they were giving me.
So I decided just to go. I went out of London and to New Zealand. I bought a house there, being fortunate enough to be able to do so. I got a small boat and I changed my lifestyle completely. I took every bit of pressure that I could out of my life. And I sailed, I grew vegetables, I smelled the roses for a couple of years. And by golly, I got better. My life started to change and I got more strength back. I felt well enough 18 months ago to go back and do The Wizard of Oz in London, at the London Palladium. I’ve just finished, and hopefully I’m going to retain this feeling.
New Zealand’s good for you. It’s a beautiful place.
Yes, it is. Good fresh air.
The Telegraph – May 31, 2016
ABC Australia – March 14, 2012
Daily Telegraph – March 12, 2012
Daily Mail – March 11, 2012
Daily Mail – March 4, 2011
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