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Fibro Friday – Make A Fuss For Your Health

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all are doing well! I apologize for the premature postings this week: I’ve been concentrating on Vlog-A-Day-In-May and hadn’t gotten a chance to do much writing over here. Rest assured, the prematurely posted blog will be fleshed out and reposted soon.

Today, I’m sharing a vlog that I posted several weeks ago. In this video, I discussed why it’s important to “speak up” when it comes to your health, especially those that are dealing with fibromyalgia. So many times, our voices are silenced because many medical professionals misunderstand or minimize our experiences. Also, when you suffer from chronic pain, it can be difficult to accurately relay your experiences to medical professionals, which makes it challenging to get diagnoses and treatments.

However, we should always continue to “make a fuss”, sharing how we feel with our care providers and the specialists that we work with. We must persist until our concerns are heard, and we get the treatment that we need.

health

Fibro Fridays: Morning Routine for Relief

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m glad that we’ve completed another beautiful week, and I’m hoping that all of you are feeling refreshed and relaxed.

On this fibro journey, one thing that I’d been resistant to was routine. I enjoy doing things at the spur of the moment, and I used to feel that routines kept me from living a fun and spontaneous life. As it turns out, routine has been a saving grace for me. Between getting into the regular habit of taking certain prescription medications, having regularly scheduled visits to physical therapists, and creating better sleep hygiene, I can see where routine is critical to my pain management strategy.

I noticed that I had morning, mid-day, and evening routines that have helped a lot with minimizing my pain and discomfort. So, I took note of my current practices and decided to film my lists. For this week, I filmed my morning routine. You can watch the video here:

The four things I’m currently doing are as follows:

1) Drink 8-16 oz of room temperature water upon waking. I’m always so thirsty when I first wake up, so this is crucial to helping me gently start my day.

2) Complete 5-10 minutes of bed yoga and stretching. Again, starting my day gently is vital: part of keeping my nervous system calm is to avoid overstimulating routines, such as hopping right out of bed and throwing myself directly into the activities of the day. Gentle stretches warm my body up and get me mentally prepared for the day.

3) Moisturize my skin thoroughly. For me, a hyper-sensitive nervous system has meant more sensitive skin. Fabric that was once fine is now uncomfortable against my skin, but I notice that this discomfort is minimized if I’m well moisturized. I use a body butter formulated by one of my friends, but prior to that, I used a light layer of petroleum jelly. It works great and it keeps my skin from getting dry throughout my day.

4) Consume mostly liquid supplements. When I start my day, I’m not usually in the mood for solid or heavy foods. Likewise, I am almost never in the mood for pills or other supplements that cannot be sipped or added into beverages. I try to make most of my morning supplements some sort of liquid: I find these easier to digest and much more effective for me.

This additional point is something that I’d like to try in the upcoming weeks. I have noticed a little more tooth sensitivity than normal, so I’m going to try using a desensitizing toothpaste (like Sensodyne) to help with that. I’ll try it for a few weeks and I’ll follow up to let you all know whether it’s something I’m going to keep in my rotation.

So that’s my morning routine in a nutshell. I find that these steps help me to have a smooth, gentle and effective start to my day.

That’s all for today! Have a great day and a fantastic weekend, and I’ll talk to you all next week. Take care!

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – Let’s Talk About Soursop

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all have had a great week. I’m recovering from a mild flare and I’m finally coming out of it, which makes me happy. This is one of those unavoidable things that comes with fibro: even when you’ve done your best to manage your symptoms, you may still have occasional flares. My flare was triggered by inconsistent weather patterns, because when the air goes from hot to cool to warm to cold, my body goes haywire.

Part of what really helps with my flare is getting enough rest, but, as you all know, rest can be challenging when you have fibro. One of the things I use to help get deeper, more restorative sleep is soursop leaf tea. There are a lot of benefits that you can reap from drinking soursop leaf tea, because it’s a highly nutritious plant. The fruit of the soursop plant is delicious and there is a strong case for it being antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anticarcinogenic. But we’re not talking about the fruit: the leaves are what interest me most (when it comes to fibro).

I first learned about soursop leaf tea from Debbie over at The Jamaican Cooking Journey. I’m inserting her video about soursop tea for your convenience:

When she mentioned that soursop tea is good for your nerves, I knew I had to try it! So I did, and I’m so glad that I took a chance on it. It helps me to sleep like a baby! Remeber, fibromyalgia is a neurological issue, not a musculoskeletal one, so by address nerve dysfunction, you can reduce or eliminate most of your symptoms.

Because I love science, here are some articles about soursop (graviola) that are worth checking out: WebMD article; Anti-microbial Efficacy of Soursop Leaf Extract (Annona muricata) on Oral Pathogens: An In-vitro Study; Anticancer Properties of Graviola (Annona muricata): A Comprehensive Mechanistic Review. I believe in doing due diligence and seeing what the science says, and I encourage you all to do the same.

I am posting my video that I did on this topic, and in that video, I share my results from consuming soursop leaf tea:

Please note, I am not a doctor and I’m not offering medical advice or solutions. That being said, I’ve enjoyed using soursop leaf tea as part of my regimen to encourage deeper and more restorative sleep. Try it and let me know your results!

health

Fibro Fridays – My FluRona Experience

Happy Fibro Friday! A few weeks ago, I published two videos over on my YouTube channel, discussing how I had both flu and COVID simultaneously, and all of the shenanigans involved with that experience. I figured I’d share the videos over here, because you all may have missed my story.

So, let me tell you all how it started. I fell ill right after New Year’s Day, and it took several days for me to get tested (there was a huge demand for COVID testing post-holidays), and I couldn’t get examined for nearly a week after I first started showing symptoms. When I was finally able to get tested, it was confirmed that yes, I had COVID, but I also had the flu (yay me). More about that story, as well as my symptoms are in the video below.

A couple of weeks later, I went back to the doctor’s office to make sure that I was not contagious. I received a rapid test and a flu test, which confirmed that I was no longer sick with COVID, BUT I was still showing as positive for the flu. I was so confused: I should have been done with both viruses at this point. But, the fact that I was still showing as flu-positive opened the door to considering some additional things that were specific to fibromyalgia. Here’s the video discussing that, and I have a few takeaways that I’m going to mentioned after the break.

Here’s the thing: having any chronic health condition means that all of our internal systems are compromised, even on a minute level. But, as we all know, small leaks sink ships. Little “glitches” in our bodies, such as being in a slightly immunocompromised state, often mean that we get unusual results when we’re sick. Unusual outcomes include extended illness, unexpected side effects/symptoms, and biological/physiological damage that cannot be reasonably explained. Sadly, a lack of compassion when sharing our experiences with others is also something that we have to face when we’re recovering from sickness.

So, that’s the sum of my FluRona experience. I’m glad that I’m *finally* over it and feeling great. And I’m really happy that I get to share my experiences and, hopefully, give a little insight to someone else.

That’s it for today: I hope you all are doing great! Have a great weekend.

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – Looking Forward

Happy final Fibro Friday! What a year this has been! I’m so glad that you all were able to join me on this 2021 health journey.

I assess quite a few different protocols (such as this one, this one, this one, this one and this one, and several others) and gleaned many tips that I can incorporate into my wellness routine going forward. I also vlogged my health revelations over on my YouTube channel (you can see an overview of my fibro videos in last week’s Fibro Friday post).

Photo by Ju00c9SHOOTS on Pexels.com

Now, as I say goodbye to 2021, I look forward to 2022 and how my health will continue to uplevel with the knowledge that I have. You’ll remember how my recent post about what you can expect from Bronze Butterfly mentions the value of implementation over the mere accumulation of facts. And in 2022, using the tips that I learned, seeing how my body reacts, and adjusting accordingly are my priority. I’m temporarily retiring my fact-hunting stance in favor of an action-oriented one. That doesn’t mean that I will refuse all types of knowledge accumulation; after all, I will still need to make observations about my health progress in order to know what kind of adjustments I need to make. But unless I hit a wall with what I know, I don’t think I need to prolong my stay in the research and learning phase.

So, onward and upward to good health and elimination of fibromyalgia symptoms! And I am wishing all of you a healthy, happy 2022, especially those that may be dealing with chronic pain and chronic illness. Take care, and I’ll “see” you all in 2022!

goals · health

Fibro Friday – A Reflection On My 2021 Health Journey

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all are doing well and feeling great as we wind down the year.

I’m reflecting on my 2021 health journey as respects my fibromyalgia, and BOY has this been a ride! I’m thankful that I filmed some of my experiences, and I’m sharing those videos here, with you all, as a kind of log of my journey. Here’s some of the Fibro Friday videos I’ve shared in 2021!

I started off the year by outlining some of the unexpected things that happened when you have chronic illness:

Next, I discussed a massage roller tool that I found gave me some relief:

Then, I shared a recipe for a body balm that helps tremendously with nerve and muscle pain (I love this stuff!)

Next, I discussed an action plan for improving my overall wellness.

I talked about things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed (or, that I wish someone had told me about the process of getting diagnosed:

Finally, I talked about my transition off of prescription medication and how I’ve been dealing with my symptoms:

Those are some of my favorite fibro videos for this year, and so excited to see what 2022 has for me! Next week, I’ll be sharing my health goals for the upcoming year and some ideas on how I will reach them.

Did any of you have a favorite video or topic related to fibromyalgia? I’d love for you to tell me about it in the comments below!

Have a great holiday weekend, and I’ll talk to you all on Monday. Take care!

health

Fibro Fridays – Is It Possible to be “Cured”?

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! My apologies for the premature earlier posting: I was still typing when it posted LOL!

We made it through another week. Here in Virginia, we’ve enjoyed some warmer temperatures this week, and for that, I’m thankful! I hope you all are doing well and feeling great.

As I’ve been watching various fibromyalgia-related videos, I keep coming back to the question of whether this condition can be “cured”. It has been my goal, since I was first diagnosed, to be “cured” and completely free of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. As I understand it, a “cure” is not about managing the symptoms, but actually being completely rid of them.

Many of the experts I’ve watched have indicated that this is a lifelong, chronic condition. But I’ve also seen a handful of experts that believe fibromyalgia can be reversed, or cured. Here are some of the factors that contribute to whether an individual experincing fibro can reverse his or her symptoms?

  • The unshakable belief that fibro is a reversible condition.
  • A willingness to do a deep-dive into teh factors that created a fibromyalgia condition.
  • An openness to try a variety of treatments that go beyond simply using prescription medication.
  • The decision to live a life that supports continued wellness (no more self-sabotage)
  • An understanding that there may be a significant time investment involved

Anyone attempting to get close to a “cure” for this condition cannot delude themselves into thinking this will be easy or quick. Just as this condition can be rooted in a myriad of different factors, the solution can come from any number of adjustments or re-directions. If the solution was easy to figure out and implement, more people would do it, and there would be no need for me to analyze all these different protocols weekly, just to see if I can piece together a workable plan.

And even once you get a “cure”, there are often things that need to occur in order to maintain a state of wellness. So even the notion of a “cure” isn’t quite accurate: it’s a fix for a problem that can reappear if you aren’t careful. But, even a temporary “cure” is preferable to living with this condition daily.

In conclusion, “cure” is a bit of a misnomer, but the effects of a possible “cure” are worth the effort. It isn’t an easy path, but I’m committed to seeing it through.

That’s all for today, friends! I hope you all have a safe and comfortable weekend. I’ll talk to you all on Monday!

health

Fibro Friday – Parenting When Chronically Ill

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope that you all had a healthy, restful and restorative week. As I briefly mentioned in a previous post, this time of year can be difficult for fibro warriors because of the temperature changes. For that reason, as well as others, I hope you all are continuing to take good care of yourselves.

Recently, I was asked a question that I’d been asked before, but this time, I thought more carefully about my response. The question referred to how I manage being a parent as a chronically ill person. When I’d been asked this question in the past, I simply mentioned that I do the best I can, and I rely heavily on my support team. This is still true, but it’s not a full explanation of what it’s like to be a parent (and, in my case, a divorced mother that is not supported in any way by my former spouse) when your health is less than stellar on a daily basis.

To put it bluntly, my parenting experience has been tremendously frustrating and, on many days, heartbreaking. I feel frustrated with myself because I want to have more energy to do all of the things that my child enjoys. I also get angry with myself because I can’t always remember everything that needs to be done, so I end up having to scramble to take care of the things that I need to do for her. I’ve cried countless times over how overwhelming this entire experience has been, and how I could be a much better mother if I simply wasn’t so sleepy, or achy, or forgetful, or overwhelmed. There are a lot of moments that leave me feeling like a failure.

I have to constantly remind myself that I’m doing the best that I can, and I don’t believe myself 75% of the time, because my “best” isn’t as good as it could be if my health was better. Many days, I check in with my support system (family and friends) who assure me that I’m doing a good job. But, I still don’t believe it. It’s hard to believe these things when comparing yourself to others who have demanding schedules yet still seem to always have the time and energy that their children require.

It’s key to remember that comparison is the thief of joy. So when the comparisons come to mind, I try to remember what I’m doing right. On many days, the list is disappointingly brief. Sometimes, the only thing I may have done right during a day is give a hug in the morning. But even that is worth noting. I communicate with my child and ask plainly what I should improve to become a better mom, but “nothing” is always the answer I receive.

I’m already a better mom, even when I don’t feel like I am.

I took some time to recall how my own mother suffered from chronic migraines while I was growing up, and even when I couldn’t talk to her (during those moments when she needed to lay down in a quiet, dark, cool room until she felt better), I never thought that she was failing at being a parent. I always knew that she loved me, regardless of how unavailable she was when she was unwell. So during those times when I can’t believe myself, I choose to believe my child, and I also choose to believe my younger self, who never felt that her mom was a failure simply because she was sick.

So to answer the question, parenting as a chronically ill person is the worst thing I could ever have experienced. It’s also one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had, and it forced me to appreciate those moments when I get it right. It’s a difficult path but it’s been amazing for me to learn that the role of parent isn’t about metrics or checking off all of the tasks on a to-do list. Sometimes, it’s just a hug, or texting a funny GIF, or putting on a song and dancing together (before the exhaustion takes over). It’s showing your child how to do a chore for themselves, or allowing your child to help you with the things that you have to do around the home so that you have help and good company. It’s not about doing all of the things, but how you do the things.

It’s complicated, but it’s my life. And my only choice is to work with it as best as I can, just as I’ve done with everything else I’ve experienced this life.

That’s it for today. If this post wasn’t as informative or cheery as my Fibro Friday posts usually are, just be assured that I’ll be back to the normal scheduled topics next week. But this was on my mind, and I felt like I needed to share it. Also, I hope that this post can offer a little encouragement to the other fibro parents out there, that are trying to convince themselves that they are doing a good job. You are, even when you don’t feel like it.

Take care, and have a great weekend.

health

Fibro Fridays – Why So Many Symptoms?

Happy Fibro Friday! To all of my fibro family out there, I hope that you all are having a pain-free day, full of energy and zero fibro fog. And, if you are having a not so great day, I hope you’re able to rest a bit and give yourself what you need to feel better <sending hugs>

As the seasons change, I know that many people diagnosed with chronic pain conditions notice an uptick in their discomfort. While not every fibro warrior experiences discomfort from the same weather stimuli (some difficulty when the weather gets hotter, while others struggle with cooler temps), it should be noted that weather changes are generally hard on everyone, but the effect is amplified even more so when you have a chronic pain condition like fibromyalgia.

I am one of those people that doesn’t enjoy the cooler weather for various reasons, with increased fibro symptoms being my main reason for disliking autumn and winter. As I reflected on ways to make the seasonal transition a little less shocking on my body, I thought about the many symptoms that I need to consider when coming up with a game plan for the cold months. I thought about how I need to increase my iron intake, so that any fibro symptoms wouldn’t be worsened by being anemic. I pondered what my morning routine need to include, in order to help properly warm up my muscles upon waking, without overexerting myself. I considered the textures of certain clothing and linen, and how some of them felt painful against my hypersensitive skin and how these needed to be given to a thrift store instead of staying in my wardrobe and linen closet. I thought about warming essential oils that I could add to my muscle balm, so that it’s more comfortable to apply.

These thoughts are what led me to the topic of this post. Thinking about all of the symptoms that needed to be managed during the fall and winter brought to mind how all of my fibro family have to make adjustments with each seasonal change, that go beyond putting new pillows on the couch and changing out the floral arrangements in the house. I mean, I understand having fibromyalgia symptoms, but why are there so many symptoms? According to one YouTuber that I follow, fibromyalgia has been attributed to around 200 distinct symptoms that fibro warriors experience.

Let that number sink in.

200 symptoms is literally one symptom each day for more than half of the year. Just think of having one distinct, random, uncomfortable thing happen to you daily for the first 6 months of the year, then for another 3 weeks, just for good measure. Those are the possibilities that exist when you have fibromyalgia.

Thankfully, the average fibro warrior experiences the main, classical symptoms of the condition, and only a few of the “extra” symptoms in the average day. Altogether, these total less than 20 symptoms on average. However, the potential to experience all of the symptoms over the duration of the condition (which, for the majority of us, is the remainder of our lives) is there. The good news is that you probably won’t ever have more than 50 symptoms in any given day. The bad news is that you’ll probably live long enough to have a brush with most of the 200 or so symptoms that have been documented as possibly being attributable to fibromyalgia.

There is a good reason why fibromyalgia can be linked to so many symptoms. Fibromyalgia isn’t a muscle condition: it’s a neurological issues that shows up as musculoskeletal pain, cognitive dysfunction, and extreme fatigue (along with a slew of other things). The nervous system, which includes our brains and spines, affect every other system within the body. A little nerve dysfunction can make an entire body system go off of the rails, so it’s not a huge stretch to understand that fibromyalgia could mean haywire internal temperature regulation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety and depression, irrational pain, skin sensitivity, headaches, etc.,.

In short, a fibromyalgia diagnosis could mean a grab bag of assorted symptoms that don’t make much sense when considered individually, but make perfect sense when set against the backdrop of fibromyalgia. Fibro is the tie that binds all of these symptoms together.

That’s all for Fibro Friday! I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable weekend. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all on Monday!

goals · health

Fibro Friday – The Wylde Protocol

Happy Fibro Friday! I’ve been working on a few things behind the scenes, but I couldn’t end this week without sharing another protocol that I saw recently on YouTube.

I know that you all may be a bit weary of Fibro Friday protocols by now (I’ve reviewed 6 so far), but I have a few more to share, then I’ll be doing this far less frequently. I’m really focused on providing as much information as possible, so that there is a consolidated list of ideas for effectively treating fibromyalgia.

Also, as you all know, curing my fibromyalgia is one of my goals for the year. I want to get as much information as possible so that I can create a plan that eliminates my symptoms and helps me return to good health. So I’m doing my research so that I can craft a plan that really helps me to feel my best and finally get my symptoms under control.

Today’s protocol is the Wylde Protocol, as promoted by Dr. Bryce Wylde. Dr. Wylde is a Canadian alternative medicine expert who take a functional medicine approach to treating fibromyalgia. While Dr. Wylde has spoken extensively on a range of health conditions, I could only find one video where he specifically addresses fibromyalgia. I’m linking the video below.

Some of Dr. Wylde’s recommendations are:

  • Avoid sugar, gluten, nitrates, nitrites, aspartame, and nightshades (such as tomatoes and potatoes)
  • Try elimination then reintroduction to determine if there is a food allergy or inflammation at the root of the pain
  • Supplement with d-ribose, chlorella, fatty acids, and magnesium
  • Seek out functional medical practitioners to determine the root of the fibromyalgia

I find that Dr. Wylde’s recommendations are in line with some of the other protocols that I’ve reviewed (particularly, the PainFreeKitchen Protocol and the Mandell Protocol). Elimination diets are always a good idea, especially since these offer a way of determining whether there are food sensitivities that may aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms. Also, supplements are really good for ensuring that the body is getting the raw materials it needs to function better on the cellular level.

That’s it for today. I hope you all are having a great, pain-free day, and I wish you a fantastic weekend. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all soon!