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 Fridays – Things I Wish I Knew (After Diagnosis)

I’m taking a little break from protocols (again) to talk about some other things I discovered on my fibromyalgia journey.

Did you all know that getting a diagnosis is just the beginning of the journey? Fibromyalgia is unique in the fact that diagnosis doesn’t automatically result in a clear-cut recovery path. Most of us that have been diagnosed find that there are many things that we still don’t understand about the condition, and most medical professionals are woefully under-exposed/unknowledgeable about fibro. So even after getting a diagnosis, there are a ton of things that we don’t know, and we have to search just to get close to having some answers.

I made a video of the top five things I wish I knew after my fibromyalgia diagnosis. To sum it up briefly, I wish I knew that:

  • Most medicines are largely ineffective.
  • Lifestyle is the key to managing symptoms.
  • This is a problem within the nervous system, not the musculoskeletal system.
  • It may be more beneficial to work with a neurologist than a rheumatologist.
  • Working with a psychologist as soon as you’re diagnosed can be tremendously helpful.

Here’s the video, where I explain these points more in depth:

Is there anything you all wish you knew when you were first diagnosed with fibro? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll talk to you all next week!

health

Fibro Friday – The Lyon Protocol

Happy Friday, friends! We’re back to protocols, after taking a break for the past few Fibro Fridays. As with the other protocol reviews, I’ll be pointing out the philosophy of the healthcare professional/coach/holistic health practitioner, highlights of the protocol, and my thoughts about the protocol.

This week I’m diving into the work of Irene Lyon. Lyon is a nervous system expert that uses somatic neuroplasticity principles to help her clients “rewire” their brains to eliminate the effects of various types of trauma. She has a website with free resources to help people attempting to get to the root of their pain disorders. Also, she has a YouTube channel where she goes into depth with discussing healing principles and techniques. Lyon has degrees in exercise science and biomedical science, as well as 20+ years of practice related to healing the body through somatic experiencing, or how to correct nervous system dysregulation in order to resolve physical and psychological illnesses.

Because Lyon’s work is designed to treat a multitude of illnesses, she doesn’t have a specific protocol for fibromyalgia. However, she has a video where she shares how one of her viewers was able to utilize resources available through Lyon’s website, as well as her video library, to start and progress on her healing journey.

Some of the healing principles promoted by Lyon are as follows:

  • Healthy emotional expression is central to healing physical pain.
  • Understanding the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and responses are crucial to managing pain.
  • Physical pain is almost invariably rooted in trauma.
  • It’s possible to rewire the brain in order to train it to have a more regulated response to stressors.

I think there are a lot of solid points to Lyon’s protocol, though I feel it would work best when combined with another treatment plan. For anyone that has tried the more traditional healing protocols (with minimal success), this may be a great option to explore.

Are any of you familiar with Irene Lyon’s work? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! Have a great weekend, and I’ll talk to you all soon.

business · goals · health · life curation · luxury · travel · writing

October Goal Updates

It’s that time again: I’m going to do a quick round-up of my 2021 goals and tell you all how things are going.

Here are the goals I had for the year:

  • Publish 5 books – done!
  • Lose 15 lbs – working on it …
  • Manifest 3 international trips – finalized the details for my next 3 trips!
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases from Black-owned companies
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

As you all probably recall, my publishing goal was reached (and exceeded, as of yesterday’s post). I’m going to still try to get a few more books published before the end of the year, and then I will try to embark upon a nice little campaign to promote my books and hopefully connect with my ideal customers.

As far as weight loss goes, I put that on hold temporarily. I am transitioning off of my fibromyalgia medication (more about that in a future Fibro Friday post, I promise!) because I concluded that those medicines were contributing significantly to my current weight. However, it still takes some time for the body to adjust to this change, and I still have to figure out how to manage my symptoms outside of using medication. So I have my work cut out for me, but this process will likely help me to meet my goal of “curing” my fibromyalgia. My hope is that transitioning off of medicine will result in major weight loss (hopefully exceeding 15 lbs) before the end of the year.

I didn’t yet manifest 3 international trips this year (I remain hopeful!), however, I did manifest a free dinner cruise (all expenses paid) and I also have started making my 2022 travel plans. I already have selected a few trips, and now I’m putting my money aside to pay for them. I’m still open to more trips manifested in this year, but for now, I’m satisfied with what I’ve already received as well as what’s on its way to me.

My business hasn’t yet reached 6 figures, but I can state confidently that, between my regular job, passive income streams, and my tutoring business, I did hit my highest earning year! Everything from this point on is simply setting the momentum for next year. Also, because I can see where I dropped the ball in 2021, I’m better prepared to exceed my performance in 2022! I’ll still keep an eye on how my businesses perform in these next two months, because I’m amping up my marketing and I anticipate that this will improve my bottom line tremendously.

I’m still reading my books, and I expect to hit 100 books read before the end of the year. However, I need to stay focused: it’s easy for me to get sidetracked with work, writing, and life in general. I’m increasing my reading during the next few weeks, just to ensure that I hit my goal (I wrote all about it in this post).

I put my luxury purchasing on hold because I had some major repairs to complete in my house. I may not be able to purchase a lot of luxury goods during the next couple of months, but I’m still relishing my luxury purchase from earlier this year (my Sophia Webster shoes that I won’t be able to wear until the weather heats up again!)

I’m still working on “curing” my fibro, and I’m feeling confident about the fact that I’m getting closer to a solution. I’ve been experimenting with dietary changes and herbal supplements to see how these support my health. It’s a bit of a long-term project, but the more I experiment, the more I learn, and the closer I get to finding the perfect combination of routine, supplements, and personal practices to help eliminate my symptoms.

That’s it for my October goal updates. I’m looking forward to seeing how things shape up over the next couple of months and finishing the year strong!

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!

health

Fibro Fridays – The Latest on My Health Journey

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I hope you all have had a great, pain-free week. And, if you experienced any pain at all, I hope you were able to get relief quickly.

I’m taking another (mini) break from reviewing the various fibromyalgia protocols (the last one I reviewed was Dr. Wylde’s protocol) to talk about a different fibro topic; namely, I’ll be discussing what’s been happening with me and my health journey.

For starters, I’ve been feeling pretty good overall. I tend to experience a lot less pain during the warmer months, and that’s due to the temperature (I am more uncomfortable in cooler temps), the increased vitamin D (since I spend a lot more time in the sunshine), or some combination of the two. I’ve been taking advantage of those low-pain days and getting as much done as I can.

I have also been making changes to my diet and medication. I’m incorporating a lot more raw fruits and vegetables into my meals, usually opting for whole fruits for breakfast as opposed to eating a lot of grain or processed foods, salads for lunch, and protein and veggies for dinner. I have been tapering my medication in the hopes that I’ll be able to eventually fully transition off of them. So far, so good: I haven’t had any major pain or flares since I started the tapering process.

Another thing that has been helping with my health is doing yoga more frequently. I do it for the fitness aspect but one of the bonuses of yoga is being mindful of my breathing. I often forget to take deeper breaths, so it’s nice to have a reminder. Yoga is amazing for fibromyalgia, since it gently stretches the muscles while simultaneously encouraging the release of stress. It’s one of the most frequently recommended exercises for people dealing with fibro.

Part of the plan over the next few months involves experimenting with some plant-based eating plans, progress in my yoga practice, and find more natural pain relief options. I’ve been working on some products and supplements to help with fibro pain but it’s still early in my experimentation. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to create something amazing that I’ll be able to share with you all soon!

That’s my brief rundown of how I’ve been feeling lately, as well as where I am in my health journey. I’m looking forward to hearing from you all in the comments. Take care, and have a great weekend!

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!