Fibromyalgia. The Pain is Real. (A Personal Perspective)
If you suffer with fibromyalgia I can honestly say that I know exactly how you feel. In 1999 I myself was diagnosed with it at the age of 45. It started with muscle pain in my calves and over a period of one week the pain worked its way up until one morning my whole body was enveloped in excruciating pain. For the next 6 years I endured relentless pain throughout my body. I was prescribed medication and then more medication for the side effects of the medication. I was informed by the many doctors I saw that there was no cure and I would need to learn how to accept the existence of my life as it were.
So, what is fibromyalgia? Merriam-Webster Definition of fibromyalgia
: a chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, tenderness, and stiffness of muscles and associated connective tissue structures that is typically accompanied by fatigue, headache, and sleep disturbances
I would say that pretty much defines my experience. My entire body was screaming every moment of every minute of every day. There was no pill that ever stopped it entirely, just a numbing down of it. It was always there, always.
So, what causes it? Oh, and here is where the depression of it all sets in. Not one doctor could tell me. Not one doctor could explain why my body seemed to be so dang mad at me. There was a lot of speculation, which of course included the newest, latest and greatest drug but no one ever took the time to find out why?! Why was my body reacting in this way? What caused my body to react this way? Aren’t doctors supposed to ask those questions and find out why? It truly felt like I was in the Twilight Zone’s Black Hole from Hell.
It took me 5 years to finally reach the bottom physically, emotionally and spiritually. I was literally done and had all I could take. I was 50 years old, lonely, depressed and not worth much to anyone. I was ready to give in, give up and let go. I didn’t have the energy or the passion for this kind of life anymore. Then somewhere from inside, deep, deep down inside there came a surge of strength and rebellion. I made a promise that I would surrender, listen take responsibility and allow myself to be guided to the answers.
I sought out a holistic chiropractor and I began to uncover my illness layer by layer. What I learned on my personal journey led me to a bigger purpose as I went back to school and became a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner.
My personal journey along with my education and the opportunity to work with clients these past few years has given me a better insight as to what I believe is the underlying cause of fibromyalgia. I believe it is the result of a body engulfed in inflammation due to physical/emotional stress, toxic chemical overload and candida.
Simply put, when something is introduced into the body, it is processed by the body as either nutrition or not nutrition. If it is not nutrition, the body must decide as what to do with it. Our bodies are created to naturally detoxify through different organs and systems but what happens if there is a constant tsunami of toxins? What happens if those organs and systems cannot keep up and become overwhelmed?
The constant barrage of chemicals in our; food, water, air, personal care products, cleaning products, OTC, medications, begins to irritate and overwhelm the body’s systems creating inflammation and the perfect environment for Candida to begin to grow. Eventually the body can’t keep up with the toxins, the Candida has taken over, and the toxins keep coming. The body is now in full blown toxin overload stress mode. It is unable process anymore toxins at this point, so it begins to store these them in the muscles and tissue until eventually they can’t take anymore and now they have become inflamed, hence the pain of fibromyalgia.
Once diagnosed the chemical barrage continues and is now intensified even more by prescribed medications which only address the symptoms; alleviate pain, depression, insomnia, etc. It is now layer upon layer upon layer of multiple causes to the single diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
I will be honest with you, healing from fibromyalgia takes determination. You must want it and literally fight for it. There are days you wonder if it’s worth it and if you will ever feel normal again. I had to get mad at it. It was my enemy and I was not going to let it take my life away from me! I had to outsmart it, starve the monster and not give it what it wanted. I had to take control and not let anything, or anyone deter me. I was fortunate to have a support system within my family who allowed me to be selfish with my self-care. For 6 months it was all about me and what I needed to do, be and have to heal myself.
I highly recommend you find a doctor, holistic practitioner, chiropractor or other health professional to help support you, not to dictate but support! If you are on medications, you must never try to withdraw or stop taking them abruptly. You must have the professional guidance of the doctor who prescribed them or if that doctor will not work with you on this, find one who will!
Below are the lessons learned on my journey.
- 1.TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR OWN HEALTH! CHANGE YOUR MINDSET! It’s time to stop giving your health over to someone else to fix. Only YOU can do that! Find that inner voice, your inner strength and get mad! You deserve a healthy, pain free life! Stop believing that this is a chronic life long disease. It’s NOT! I believe you can change your health but first you must change your belief!
- I had let everyone tell ME what was wrong. It was a constant barrage of negativity every time I saw a doctor. My blood pressure was up, my weight was up, my attitude was bad………I was beaten down with every visit. I listened, and I claimed every single word that was said to me until I became it. I was told there was no cure and there was nothing I could do to get better. Just accept it and take these pills. When you Believe it, You Become it!
- 2. DE-STRESS! What is stressing you? Is it your job? Your personal life? Your belief system? Identify what is stressing you in your life.
- Stress is more than likely what started this cascade of symptoms that resulted in your diagnosis and yes, there were other symptoms before the pain. Maybe digestive troubles, headaches, insomnia, exhaustion? Remember, there will always be stress, life happens, but it’s how you respond to that stress that will determine your body’s reaction. Learn how to diffuse it through meditation, prayer, exercise, positive thinking. Learn to let go. Learn how to detach. This is not negotiable!
- 3. BREAK OLD HABITS NOW! Are you feeding your body or using it for a garbage disposal? Stop eating processed foods! If it comes in a box or a bag, it’s full of chemicals which are adding to your overburdened body! Eat fresh foods cooked at home, organic if possible, just do the best your can to avoid chemical preservatives. No Diet foods or drinks. Learn to read labels! Aspartame and MSG (monosodium glutamate) can be an underlying cause of toxic overload.
- I didn’t realize that I was highly sensitive to Aspartame and MSG. Once I excluded those from my diet my migraines completely went away. I was a junk food junkie because it was easy and that was what busy people do. No time to cook nutritious meals for myself. I also drank a 12 pack, yes that’s right, a 12 pack of Diet Pepsi a day. I also loved Ranch Dressing and used it on everything. I was poisoning my body with Aspartame and MSG and I didn’t have a clue!
- 4. DETOX CANDIDA! Candida equals inflammation. It is an overgrowth of yeast in the body. What feeds yeast? SUGAR! Get sugar out of your diet and stop feeding and perpetuating your inflammation. Once you make that decision, you can begin a detox diet and the process of killing it off. Once step at a time!
- Detoxing Candida too quickly can cause the Candida to re-absorb which is not a pleasant experience at all. It can cause headaches, nausea, and overall sick feeling. I did regular detox footbaths and learned to love drinking lots of water to keep my system flushed to remove it as it died off. Giving up sugar was probably the most difficult for me. The Candida will make your body crave it and you will have a battle with yourself but don’t give in to it. When you crave it and don’t give in, just envision you are starving that nasty monster and one step closer to healing! Just one cookie or piece of bread or cracker and the whole process must start
- 5. CHIROPRACTIC CARE! Get to a chiropractor! Those toxins need to be released from connective tissues that hold your skeletal system together. Build a relationship with a chiropractor so they know your situation. Sometimes adjustments will release toxins and make you feel lousy. Drink water, water, water. Keeping the spine in alignment will also help with the detoxification process. The Spine is related to every organ in the body so keep those lines of communication open!
- My chiropractor was a huge support and educated me on so many things on my journey. Having a healthy adjusted spine will help your body heal more quickly and give the body’s systems the ability to function properly. I urge you to include this in your journey, not alone but in addition.
- 6. THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE! Find a qualified therapeutic massage therapist that has knowledge of how to massage someone with a toxic overload. Massage can be helpful to remove toxins but too much too soon can be disheartening.
- I was not educated about massage and just went to one I found. They were not educated at all in toxic overload and gave me a deep tissue massage which forced way too many toxins into my body and made me deathly ill. The muscles are storage areas for toxins and that one massage set me back about 2 weeks.
- 7. DETOX FOOTBATH/SAUNA THERAPY! As your body kills off the Candida you want to get it and the other toxins out of your body. You can support your body’s efforts by having a detox footbath and/or using an infra-red sauna. Again, be sure you have guidance from your health provider on either of these two therapies. Too much of either too soon can cause rapid detox symptoms.
- Be sure you seek a qualified person and I highly recommend someone who has an Ioncleanse detox footbath. The Ioncleanse can be regulated and most others cannot. I learned the hard way and did a session for too long at too high a setting which pulled too much out at one time. The toxins that were pulled out of my tissue were then reabsorbed and again, the consequences were not pleasant. If the footbath can’t be regulated a shorter session is recommended. Also, if you take a prescription medication for another health challenge, take it after the footbath as it’s benefits can be compromised during the session.
- 8. ACUPUNCTURE THERAPY! Acupuncture can be beneficial for your emotional/mental state. It can help with relaxation, depression, your energy level and more. It is also good to boost the immune system, and this is especially important during detoxification. Yes, detoxing is good, but it is also a stress on the body so remember, slow and steady, don’t rush the journey!
- I used acupuncture when my Candida die off seemed to be peaking. There would be a die off and I would feel pretty crappy and then I would feel pretty good until the next one. It was a roller coaster ride for a while and the acupuncture seemed to help me get over those die off hurdles. It took about 6 months of being dedicated to my diet and therapies for the Candida to finally be gone.
- 9. HYDRATION! YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DRINK WATER! NOT TEA, NOT SODA, NOT JUICE! You would not get into the shower and try to get clean with anything, but water and the inside of your body is no different! Think of it as taking a shower on the inside to clean all the toxins away! It is preferable if you can drink filtered water instead of tap. Water needs to become your best friend! Even if you think you drink plenty of water, you will want to drink more during this process!!
- I admit, I hated water. I never drank it. I drank anything but water. Sad but true. I had to learn to love it and now I drink it without thinking. For me it was mind over matter. I just envisioned flushing out the pain with every drink! It was my ammunition against the enemy and with every glass I was winning the battle!
10. INVENTORY TOXINS IN YOUR HOME! Start replacing toxins in your home! Find healthier cleaning options. You truly don’t need bleach and other harsh chemicals to clean and sanitize your home. Also, check out those personal care products. Your soaps, toothpaste, makeup, deodorant, detergents, spot cleaner, fabric softener, lotions, perfumes, they all contain harmful chemicals. Do your research and read labels. Trust me, you only want to take this journey once, get rid of those things that can lead you back in the wrong direction.
- This was a process for me. My home was full of the usual products that you see advertised. I took it a step at a time and eventually I replaced all of it. One of the hardest habits to break early on was my perfume addiction. I loved my White Diamonds and so did my husband. I kind of felt less attractive not having my “scent” but I managed to find a healthier replacement for that as well. Trust me, you don’t have to compromise if you find the right products. You and your house can be clean and healthy without the chemicals.
- 11. SLEEP! YES SLEEP! This was another lesson I had to learn. The body needs it’s time to heal and the only time it can use its energy to heal is when we are sleeping. Healing is stressful, it takes a lot of energy to repair the damage we have caused our bodies. Force yourself to be on a schedule. Get up at the same time every morning no matter how bad you feel and go to bed at the same time every night no matter what! You must stick to this, so your body can get into a rhythm of knowing when healing time can begin.
- Yes, this was a challenge especially at first but as I did all the things I mention in combination with each other, it did get easier. I set my bedtime at 9pm and up at 7am and I stuck to that regiment for a very long time. I would start winding down at least 30 minutes beforehand. Sometimes I would read or take a warm bath, get a foot rub from hubby but always with the mindset that it was bedtime and no mind cluttering worries of what didn’t get done or needed to get done or what tomorrow would bring. Eventually it became a habit. I still look at sleep as my healing time!
- My fibromyalgia journey has ended but it gave me a renewed passion and purpose in life. I have learned to listen to my body and be aware of the slightest symptom of disharmony and I know the appropriate action to take whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. I continue to educate myself and others on how to find balance, how to identify imbalance and most important how to be in gratitude and joy!
- I don’t wish such a journey on anyone, but I do look back on it as a blessing. You never know how bright the light can be until you have experienced such darkness and despair!
- You can email me here email@example.com