Today I feel like is the day where I write about things that has helped my fibromyalgia greatly over the years to be non-existent. I do still have some days where it will bother me, but not to the point I was back in 2009.
Let me fill you in on where I came from to lead you where I am now in my health.
I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia back in 2003, I was only 23 years old. All the doctors and specialists I went to said that I was very young to have to deal with something like I had. On top of the fibromyalgia I also had an unspecified spodylitis, meaning my spine was fusing together, a high anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) count, which is your body fighting itself on a daily basis, and endometriosis which was debilitating pain the first day of my cycle. Lots of fatigue, widespread pain, brain fog, and basically my youth taken away in a very short time.
How I functioned was taking pain pills on a daily basis and sometimes half a muscle relaxer and then a pain pill later to be able to make it thru the long days…and the days were LONG! I even was on Methotrexate for the spodylitis, an anti-malaria for who knows what, and Relafen as a daily anti-inflammatory. I was also living in Alaska at the time, so it was always cold, which is not good for fibromyalgia. Lugging around all the cold weather gear, a space heater at my desk 24-7 and constant tea and coffee to try and stay warm.
I also couldn’t stop my life for my condition, so I had to work a full time (high stress) job for a thriving engineering company, and after work I had a lot of functions with the church I was affiliated with Tuesday thru Sunday. I was living off of 4-5 hours of sleep a day, and I felt like I was dying. Plus I don’t think anyone really cared, or believed how much pain I was in daily because I had to hide it so people wouldn’t think I was complaining for attention. Really I just wanted someone to understand…
I tried going to naturopaths, but that was getting expensive with little results. The only doctor I didn’t quit going to was my chiropractor, which was actually the one who helped me start finding answers. (So not all cracks are quacks). I have been very fortunate to find some awesome chiropractors! They kept on me to clean up my diet and made me feel bad for the horrible foods and energy drinks I consumed, which I thank them now.
The only bad thing about chiropractors is, if you don’t drill them for questions, they will just keep you coming back and adjusting you. But that is only a band-aid for a underlying condition.
When I moved from Alaska to Portland, Oregon I felt like I was free from the cold… But that was only the beginning of my healing journey, because it rains A LOT here! I am a walking barometer… the day before it rains, I feel it. So not only internally, but environmentally I had triggers.
I also was starting to realize that everything that I put in my mouth was making me have pain. Like I was digesting knives type of pain. That was when I went gluten free, and within one month the endometriosis pain went from a 20 on the pain scale to a 5! I was amazed! There was one instance the month before where I had a pain attack as I was driving home, which was a 40 minute drive…I really should have either pulled over or gone to the ER. But I made it home and felt like I was dying.
I had to learn how to read labels, how to decode all the chemical language in packaged food, and to learn how to cook all over again. I was a really good cook…before I went gluten free… I subscribed to a lot of gluten free blogs, tried a lot of failed recipes, learned which restaurants I could get around the whole gluten issue.
Then six months later I tried going dairy free because I had horrible acne. I figured there were enough dairy subs out there so I could survive. A lot of my recipes on my blog were actually not bad for being desperate for something tasty to eat. My acne went down a little bit, but now that I had eliminated dairy from my diet I realize I was actually lactose intolerant.
When you eliminate something from your diet and later re-introduce it, the symptoms come back 10 times as strong. At least if it was something your body was fighting.
Then a year later, and I’m still dealing with the pain, my chiropractor mentions to try going off grains because they have been shown to loosen the ligaments and cause the bones to slip out of joint, (a term called ligament laxity). So I give it a shot. I used to eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast, so that sure wasn’t helping me. I did notice the pain getting better, but I didn’t really know what to eat, so I made a lot of bean soups for protein. That was when I realized that legumes were the main trigger for my fibromyalgia flare-ups!
Over the last 12 years I had to learn by trial and error because the medical industry is not interesting in healing you, but masking the symptoms. When I read 10 years ago that people were able to put their fibromyalgia into remission it would bring me to tears, because I never thought that would be me EVER! But today I do not take pharmaceutical medicines. I really can’t find any that don’t have gluten, dairy, or grain products in them. There are some, and I do have them as a backup if I REALLY need something, but that has not happened in a while.
So what did I do besides eliminate foods that triggered pain? I eat organic! The pesticides, herbicides, and GMO foods are HORRIBLE for a compromised immune system! I shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and just about everything that I buy has to be cooked. I don’t own a microwave (they are just as bad and kill the nutrients in your food).
I also take a combo of supplements and essential oils to help maintain my overall health. Three key supplements are Vanadyl Sulfate also known as vanadium, which helps insulin production. With me being hypoglycemic, this was key! Because when I was feeling like I was hungry I found my body hurt the most, but vanadium helped. Not everyone believes they have blood sugar issues, but try vanadium which is a natural source from mushrooms and shellfish, and see how your body feels. It won’t hurt you if you don’t have insulin problems.
Another supplement which is a trace mineral is Chromium Picolinate, which helps keep blood sugar at normal levels by improving the way your body uses insulin. So think of Vanadium as the car, and Chromium as the driver which takes your food and delivers it to the right places for you to utilize nutrients. It works really well to balance blood sugar spikes if you tend to eat a lot of sugary foods such as fruit, dried fruit, or juices.
The last key supplement is an amino acid called L-Glutamine. This supplement helps heal a leaky gut, improves brain function, and helps in cell hydration to recover faster from injuries. I take this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (which is key), and wait about an hour before eating breakfast. This should be taken EVERY morning for best results. I get the powdered form and put a teaspoon scoopful in my mouth and wash it down with some water, that way I know I’m getting every last drop. It has no taste, so that’s even better!
This has become quite lengthy, so I will cut it short here and will write a part two on essential oils I take for different symptoms, and ingredients to look out for to minimize flare ups.
If you have any questions or tips that has helped you in healing fibromyalgia please leave a comment below, I would love to hear about it! I have included links to the three supplement brands I use that are free of bad ingredients and paleo safe. I do not get paid for recommending these products, I am honestly just offering tips that has helped me.
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