I’m very glad to have you with me. And, I probably know much about you because I know a lot about the fibromyalgia you suffer with. I know the feeling of isolation when friends and family say “you don’t look sick” and the frustration that comes when you try to explain how fibro feels but they don’t “get it”; the feeling of “being defective” or different from everyone else; and if you have a severe case of fibro, the despair and eventually the thought that if the rest of my life is going to be like this, I don’t want to live it!
We didn’t just wake up one day and have fibromyalgia. We had a propensity for developing fibromyalgia, and when enough of the right factors coincide, we have this complex condition that is still widely misunderstood, poorly depicted and often mistreated. Yet fibro is more unique and complex than most of our modern day illnesses, and that is why doctors have a difficult time understanding and treating fibromyalgia. Without a “silver bulllet” cure, we have to take a different approach.
Living smarter with fibromyalgia is about not only creating a stronger “foundation”, but also treating the more specific symptoms that are unique to fibromyalgia.
But not just a treatment for fibro, a “smarter” approach. Instead of continuing to de-condition, you will re-condition your body and mind using the techniques I include in my protocol.
Only through consistency, can we achieve greater levels of mastery over our fibro symptoms and strengthen our core health against related illness, including the auto immune illnesses that many of us also live with. And only then can we also prevent the progression of symptoms and other illness that may be “lurking around” that corner.
My “Living Smarter” approach is based on my experience of living with severe fibromyalgia for 25-years; my training and certification as an instructor in Body Ecology Diet, an advanced level Colon Hydrotherapy practitioner, and a Certified Personal Trainer; and the “Toolbox” I’ve developed (sometimes painfully) to deal with the symptoms of this complex disease.
The protocol that I present here works for myself and others, even living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain since a very young age. Knowing that, I also consider that we are all in a different place; maybe you are new to fibro, maybe you are just sick and tired. I hope you will approach this website as a “study”. If you do, you will understand your disease much better, and it will help you to choose the appropriate path in my protocol. I also try to point out how to approach any of my protocol elements. At any rate, you should definitely consult with your healthcare providers, especially regarding dosage for supplements and any fitness program you undertake. Also, make sure you add any supplements to the list of “medications” in your doctor’s records. Pages in this website do offer suggestions about your choice of doctors. You will be well ahead in your recovery if your physician is familiar with the symptoms of fibro and the “trial and error” process that is often required for any success with a minimum of side-effects. We have links to support groups that may suggest an experienced doctor in your area.
Though I certainly don’t claim a cure, I have worked with fibromyalgia from various angles as both practitioner and patient and have moved from the depths of despair and acute fibro flares to a more balanced life despite all of the complexities of fibromyalgia. Much trial and error in ALL activities of daily living including my love of running, a passion of mine since a young age even when chronic migraine and fibro were becoming increasingly apparent in my young life.
Yet, don’t be misled, you surely do not have to be a runner. That just happens to be one of my own passions since a young age. The point here is to ask yourself, “What is possible for me?”. And, it helps to remember that faith in one’s own healing trumps skeptcism of other’s healing every time. Never let skepticism keep you down. I know, I have done that myself when I assumed that nobody had it as bad as me.
My success has fueled my passion to share accurate awareness about fibromyalgia and the “tools” for living a better quality of life with all those who suffer from this debilitating, often invisible disease. Join me here on Living-Smarter-with-Fibromyalgia.com as I open that toolbox.
Eating The Fibromyalgia “Elephant” One Symptom At A Time
My turning point in dealing with fibro and auto immune illness came when I finally (2006) realized there was no “silver bullet” cure. Still, I was unwilling to let it define my life. So, I decided I would “eat the fibro elephant one bite at a time” or really “one symptom at a time!” That’s the path I’ve been on since that time; looking at potential remedies for the “symptoms” of fibro including mind-body conditioning, toxin-free environment, low impact exercises for fibro people, and the best fibro nutrition (both diet and supplements).
Even before my “turning point”, I had applied my education and experience with clients to my own struggle with fibro. And, I had already noticed that an anti-inflammatory diet had a noticeable effect (symptom reduction) on my fibromyalgia. Also, I had tried many supplements and was using a number that seemed to help. So I had good momentum in the area of nutrition as I started down my new path to develop a comprehensive protocol for managing fibro.
But, I redoubled my efforts to self-test various diet additions/changes, many brands of packaged foods, supplements, therapies and every remedy for fibro that was available. Testing them out on myself, evaluating the required amounts and effectiveness, discarding some, adopting some, identifying manufacturers that I trusted, etc.
Remember, I’m not looking for a cure; I’ve put together a diet, supplement and lifestyle protocol that consists of many elements….actually a lifestyle change. You can learn more of the details of each of these first two components of my protocol by clicking on Fibro Diet or Fibro Supplements. When you’ve finished checking out those pages, simply close them and you’ll return here.
By the way, I don’t care if you spell fibromyalgia as fibromialgia or fibromyalgie or just call it fibro as most of us do..
Like A Canary In A Coal Mine
Many years ago, before the proliferation of digital technology, the only way coal miners had to detect the buildup of dangerous toxic gases was to take a canary down into the mine. If the canary got sick or died, the miners would clear out because they knew there was toxic gas present. After suffering since I was 9-years old with hyper-sensitivity to environmental toxins, I’ve come to the belief that I and others with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) are like those canaries.
The only effective recourse is to create “safe havens” in our homes by removing all sources of toxins. And, that is only effective in that location, and then, only if your family and friends are willing to be free of fragrances, and finally, only if a neighbor is not burning yard debris or drying clothes with “dryer sheets”. The important point I want everyone to really understand is that MCS people react to many different toxins in the environment, and the toxins to which we do react are also unhealthy for non mcs people; and, I believe, especially for those suffering from fibro. Consider two known facts:
- Fibromyalgia onset is fairly often preceded by a physical or emotional trauma to the body
- Fibro flares can be and often are triggered by “soft” traumas such as bright lights, loud noise, crowds, weather change, etc.
Doesn’t it then follow that we shouldn’t be surprised that environmental toxins can, and I believe do, constantly trigger our fibro symptoms. So, the third component of my protocol is Environmental Toxins. A more detailed discussion can be found by clicking on Environmental Toxins. When you’ve finished reading that page, just close it to return here.
The Mind Body Connection
How one person operates their mind and body can be vastly different from how another person operates their mind and body. It became even clearer to me when I flew across the country several years ago to attend three weeks of inpatient treatment for chronic fibro pain. During my 3-weeks as an inpatient, I was shown a video, “The MINDBODY Prescription” about Dr. John Sarno’s work in this area. This ultimately led me to a book, “Freedom from Fibromyalgia” by Dr. Nancy Selfridge and Franklynn Peterson. Her book really hit home with me since she had severe fibro and had a lifelong love of running like myself. It was thru her that I finally came to understand the key role that mind body conditioning played in a workable fibromyalgia recovery protocol. You can learn more by clicking on Mind Body Connection. Again, when finished, close the page to return here.
My understanding of the Mind Body Connection was further enhanced when I studied the science that explains it. This happened when I read the book, “Molecules of Emotion“, by Candace Pert, PhD, who was an internationally known laboratory (bench) scientist. She was the first to find a key molecule, called a receptor, that is attached to every cell in our bodies and together with neurochemicals generated by our bodies, control 80% of our life processes. These discoveries at the cellular level of our bodies in the last twenty years or so have been truly remarkable and opened our eyes to a new model of how our body and mind operate.
The old model of our brain sitting atop the rest of our body and controlling it thru a system of nerve impulses has gone by the wayside. There’s more of equality between mind and body through this neurochemical communication network. The mind deals mainly with the conscious thought process although influenced by the body, and it generates many of the neurochemicals associated with our emotions; the body, we now know, is the unconscious mind, storing past powerful trauma and emotions in its memory, although it can be accessed consciously by intention. This turns out to be a key in fibromyalgia recovery and therefore the Mind Body Connection becomes the fourth element of my fibro recovery protocol. You can learn much more about the science underlying the Mind-Body Connection by clicking on Mind Body Science. I’d suggest you do that later, however, if you are one who loves the details of how our bodies work and the basis of the mind body connection to fibromyalgia.
A few years back when my fibro was especially severe, I felt I was “stuck”.
The pain I experienced from what we call “the activities of daily living” (ADLs) had caused me to question my exercise routine for fear of a fibro flare; that is intuitive to all of us who suffer with fibro.
I then had a non-intuitive, out of the box thought. What would happen if I re-evaluated my fear of fibro flares, found ways to work with it, pushed on through, and made my workouts more of a priority within my wellness plan ?
After all, what I became more acutely aware of was the fact that it wasn’t the structured exercise that caused flares; it was the environment, ADL’s and other things that are so often out of our control. I had to take back as much control as possible.
However, it wasn’t merely about “pushing through”. I had to figure out the right exercises not only for my body, but for other fibro bodies as well. Range of motion, cardio, muscle activation, and light stretching are all individuality important as is consistency, the key element to fibro fitness. I eventually learned that by starting slowly, with patience, and a positive focus, my flares due to exercise could be minimized.
More importantly, in a short while as I remained positive and focused on any small success, I began to experience endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever and one of the neurochemicals I mentioned previously! (Did you know there is a ‘myth’ out there that people with fibromyalgia cannot produce endorphins? Surely do not buy into that one my friends!)
My fibro pain began to subside. I began to have more “good” days than bad ones. And, a very important point is that I learned that the pain from ADLs did not predict the pain of exercise.
I then studied and became a Certified Personal Trainer and set about to develop my own fibro-tolerant, range of motion routines which I now include as the fifth and last major component of my recovery protocol that I’m sharing with you on this website. You can read more by clicking on Fibromyalgia Exercise. Close the page when finished to return here.
The protocol elements on Diet, Supplements, and Environmental Toxins are aimed at establishing a baseline healthy body thru nutrition and the elimination of allergens and toxins which can exacerbate a fibromyalgia condition. These steps in my protocol are based both on my experience of 25-years with severe fibro and multiple chemical sensitivity and my certified knowledge thru training in Body Ecology, Personal Training, and Colon Therapy. These steps should not be overlooked; however, two steps in my protocol are the most CRITICAL for your success:
- Mind Body Connection
- Fibro Exercise
You should study these sections carefully (starting with mind body connection) which you can do by clicking on them.
I’m certain of the importance of all the steps of my protocol in the process of my ongoing recovery from fibromyalgia. I’ve developed them thru much trial and error (and pain) and years of study. My certainty comes from the huge turnaround in my own life with fibro. I hope you decide to trust me and make a commitment to follow my protocol to a “new you“…..a member of FibroFitPeople.