health · Uncategorized

Fibro Friday: Health Updates

Happy Friday, friends! We made it through another week. I’ve been busy, but I feel like I’m finally starting to get over the hump and get to a point where I’m not as overwhelmed. For this, I’m thankful.

So, in yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I had a recent doctor’s visit. During this visit, my doctor confirmed that I had gained some weight. Funny enough, he didn’t mention it, but I saw it when his nurse weighed me. I knew that I’d done some emotional eating over the wintertime, but I had no idea how much it impacted my weight until I saw the numbers on the scale.

Obviously, I’d been soothing myself with food. I thought hard about it, and it occurred to me that 2021, for all of its wins, had walloped me. Losing my grandmother, living with additional family members, not taking any vacations, and having an extraordinary amount of work and other activities have really drained me. I may write more about all of this in an upcoming post, but for now, I’ll say that I’m glad for my newfound awareness. I can make some additional changes to my eating and get back on track to achieving my goal weight.

That aside, I’ve felt pretty good physically. I’ve adjusted some of medication so I’m pain free on most days. My main fibro symptom that I’m contending with now is fatigue. This one is undoubtedly the most difficult to manage, since it slows me down and makes it really hard to function. I’m exploring a few natural options to increase my energy, as well as adjusting my daily routine so that I get more sleep at night.

Overall, I’m making progress, with a minor setback or two. I’m excited to see how things go over the next few weeks, especially when I get adjusted to my new sleep routine. All in all, I have nothing but good news to share!

That’s it for the week. I hope you all have a great weekend. Take care!

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – How I Made Peace With My Diagnosis

Welcome to this week’s Fibro Friday! For those that are curious, I enjoy discussing an aspect of my fibromyalgia experience every week. This condition is more than a diagnosis: it’s a shift in my way of life. But as I continue to learn my “new normal”, I find myself seeing the silver lining every single day. And, if my experience can offer a silver lining for someone else, then I’m delighted that I can make this path easier for another person.

One of the most difficult things about learning that I have fibromyalgia is making peace with my diagnosis. It’s so easy to rebel against the diagnosis and throw myself into a cycle of over-extension, then drastically long recovery periods. I resisted this diagnosis for over a year. I would have one good day, try to do as much as I can, then I’d spend the next week in bed because my body ached terribly and my mental faculties weren’t up to par.

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I resisted the diagnosis because I hated feeling “less than”. I hated the fact that I had limitations. I really despised being face-to-face with my own frailty and, by extension, my mortality. I hated the fact that I wasn’t who I used to be, and there was nothing that I could do about it.

When you hit your lowest lows, that’s the point where you learn to release your death grip on your beliefs and to accept that your own resistance is what’s keeping you in your pain loop. Those lows teach you so much, but, mainly, they teach you to let this moment, and every moment you experience, be enough. When the moment is enough, you no longer obsess over why. You lean into the experience, and, just like magic, the solutions to your problems start to appear.

For me, the moment I started resisting my pain and just allowed it to be so, I felt a measure of relief. After that, the relief increased steadily. I’m not pain-free yet, but being present in the moment and observing my body – its pain, fatigue, mental fog, and inability to perform tasks like it used to – without judgment, freed me up to find solutions to my pain. My medication started feeling more effective, my mind started to clear a bit, and I started taking note of what physical activities felt like “just enough”, and which activities were overdoing it.

Instead of resisting my diagnosis and judging myself, I started approaching my diagnosis like a clinician. I analyzed my symptoms from a neutral standpoint, and, eventually, I started treating myself better than any doctor could. Much of my peace from my diagnosis is centered around the fact that I view it as neutrally as possible, which allows me to accept the symptoms without villainizing them, and to forgive myself for not treating my body as well as I could have over the years. When you know better, you do better. And I’m finally doing better by my body, which only came on the heels of accepting my diagnosis and moving forward.

That’s it for today. I hope this post encourages you and inspires you to make peace with the things that you can’t change, and to allow that peace to open the door for relief and solutions to whatever bothers you. Take care, and I’ll talk to you next week!

health

Fibro Friday – A Tentative Wellness Plan

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m feeling pretty good today, and I’m looking forward to a warmer weekend ahead. I think that most states in the US are anticipating some sunnier, warmer days, and I’m grateful for that. This is a happy Friday for sure!

I recently shared my experience with the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test, as well as my thoughts about at-home tests and their effectiveness. I used the food sensitivity test as a way to gather intel on how my body works. I’m combining the information that I gathered from that test with the results from the myriad other tests I’ve had over the years. I’m thankful for historical data from LabCorp as well as my insurance company: there’s no way I could have kept physical copies of every single test or doctor’s appointment I’ve had over the past three years.

Regardless of where you are on your fibro journey, becoming an expert on your body is a fantastic place to start. I can’t recommend it enough: get to know your own body! It’s crucial for your journey.

Anyhoo, I have formulated a tentative approach to resolving my fibromyalgia pain for good. As evidenced by the food sensitivity test, I’m starting with a diet-based approach, since I believe that this will provide the most immediate relief (as well as other numerous health benefits). I’m starting small, so I don’t get overwhelmed by the process.

I consulted two other sources for information on how to design a “get well” plan. I watched a video from the American Herbalist Guild last year, and I’ve revisited it. This video features a lecture by herbalist K P Khalsa, who has a fantastic herbal/natural approach to treating fibromyalgia. The video also refers to Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum’s approach (one of his most popular books, explaining his program for eliminating fibro symptoms is here). This video is a ton of information to absorb, which is why I’m rewatching in small, 20-30 minute chunks of time.

Additionally, I’ll be implementing dietary changes in line with The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder, CN. Addressing nutritional deficiencies is key to any wellness program, so I’ll integrate some principles from this book and see how it goes. I’ll probably do a review on this book soon, so watch out for that.

I suspect I’ll feel major changes just by implementing the recommendations from the AHG video and the Beauty Detox book. I’m excited to embark on this journey! If you’re interested in seeing my YouTube video on this topic, you can view it here (I’ve also embedded it below).

That’s it for my Fibro Friday post! I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend, and I’ll talk to you all soon. Take care!

*This post contains affiliate links.

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Fibro Fridays – The Latest Fibromyalgia Research

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you’ve had a pleasant week with minimal pain and lots of joy!

There are two things I want to share with this post. First, I decided to spend a little time reviewing the most recent fibromyalgia research. I usually get my fibro updates from mainstream news outlets or medical websites. But this time, I wanted to look at what has been published in medical journals during the past year.

Here’s the problem (*steps onto soap box*): most of the journals will charge you anywhere from $20 to $80 to access a SINGLE article. I understand that the publishers need to be compensated, but none of that money goes to the researchers (if I’m mistaken, please let me know in the comments below). Which is why I believe in contacting the researchers directly to ask for a copy of their research, and offering them some sort of gratuity out of appreciation. Many of them complete their research due to grant funding, and they often live off of stipends. And most researchers are happy to share their work for free, which is why I feel strongly that offering some sort of “love offering” is a good gesture. *steps off of soap box*

Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, let’s get to the articles. There are two that I want to share in this post, and both of them can be accessed for free. The first article is all about T cells, the white blood cells that relate to the body’s immune response and how the body reacts to certain pathogens. This article explores the role of T-cells in the “neurological and inflammatory symptoms of fibromyalgia”. This is a long read, but enlightening if you have the time and interest to learn more.

The second article covers current pharmacotherapy options for fibromyalgia, as well as potential future research opportunities. This article does a great job of explaining how certain commonly prescribed medicines (personally, I take two of the drugs listed in the article) work on fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, insomnia and even depression and anxiety. If you want a thorough primer on how certain fibro medicines work, this article is a fantastic place to start.

Now, onto the second item. Last week, I posted about my Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test experience. I also posted a video about Everlywell on my YT channel. I received a comment that asserted that the food sensitivity test was a bunch of bunk, to put it succinctly. The commenter also provided a link to a doctor’s video, explaining why food sensitivity tests are unreliable. I must thank the commenter for sharing this with me. However, I had a host of other reasons why this test wasn’t a waste of my money. If you want to hear my explanation, you can check out the embedded video below.

That’s all for today’s Fibro Friday! I hope you all have a great weekend and take good care of yourselves. “See” you all on Monday!

health

Fibro Fridays: My Everywell Experience

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope everyone is feeling well and having a great day or evening wherever you are.

As you all recall, one of my goals for 2021 is to minimize or completely eliminate my fibromyalgia symptoms. On this journey, I will do my best to learn as much as I can about my body so that I can formulate an approach that works for me over the long term.

On the quest to gather as much useful information about my body as possible, I purchased the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test. This is not an allergy test: it’s a test that measures how much your body responds to certain foods by testing your body for antibody activity. The science for this is fascinating, which is why I encourage you to check out the website for an in-depth explanation.

When you first receive your test, you have to register it on the Everylywell website. After registration, you can commence with doing the test. My test involved pricking my finger and saturating a blood sample collection card. After saturating the card, I sent it back to the lab in a biohazard envelope.

After waiting a little over a week, the lab sent me an in-depth report, explaining my results. I was moderately sensitive to 3 foods, and minimally sensitive to 7 foods. I’ll be using this information as a starting point for an elimination diet. I will add more details about the elimination diet in a few weeks, but for now, at least I know what I should exclude first.

I filmed a video with a lot more details which I will embed below.

Have you all done a food sensitivity test? How did that go? Let me know all about it in the comments below!

health

Fibro Friday : My Magical Body Balm for Muscle and Nerve Pain Relief

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I sincerely hope that you’ve had a great week, and I hope that your weekend is amazing!

Recently, I shared with one of my favorite vloggers, Deena from Adventures with Fibro, that I make a body balm that helps with both muscular and neurological pain. I also promised her that I would make a video. And yes, I kept my word.

If you have fibromyalgia, you are already intimately aware of the pain that occurs due to the condition. But if you don’t have the condition, I’ll try my best to explain it to you. The pain that comes from fibromyalgia is often diffuse: it’s not usually concentrated into just one spot. And the pain goes beyond just soreness (as if you overused a particular muscle group): the pain can include stinging, burning, prickly, tingly, or throbbing sensations.

Many of the products available for pain address the muscle component exclusively. So the neurological pain (or neuropathy) remains unaddressed. You usually have to use medication prescribed by a neurologist or a rheumatologist to alleviate the nerve pain. Sadly, these medicines do a poor job of offering relief, and can have a range of awful side effects.*

So I opted to create a product that could give me relief for both body systems (musculoskeletal and nervous). In this video, I give a nice, customizable recipe that can offer you some relief and hopefully make your flare days a little more tolerable. I’m writing out the recipe and instructions on this post, to be followed by a link to the video.

Magic Body Balm (makes 4 ounces (120 ml) of product)

  1. A few weeks prior to making this balm, purchase dried arnica and place 1 or 2 ounces of the dried plant into 2-3 ounces of avocado oil. Let it sit for several weeks in a dark, cool spot, gently shaking the oil every couple of days.
  2. Start by placing the nut butter into the glass bowl.
  3. Fill the bottom of the shallow bowl with less than 1 inch of boiling hot water. You only need enough hot water to cover the bottom of the shallow bowl.
  4. Place the glass bowl with the nut butter into the shallow bowl, allowing the hot water to heat the bottom of the glass ramekin and start melting the butter.
  5. THIS IS CRUCIAL – Avoid getting any water into the liquefying nut butter, the oil additives, or any other ingredients. This will prevent bacteria from growing in the balm.
  6. While the nut butter is melting, strain your arnica infused oil. (Skip this step if you’re using pure arnica oil that you purchased).
  7. Once the nut butter is liquefied, combine it with the arnica infused oil (or the pure avocado oil and arnica oil drops), copaiba oil, davana oil, and fragrant oil of your choice (I prefer tangerine, lavender or peppermint oil). Stir well.
  8. Pour the mixture into the container of choice. Place in a refrigerator to let it cool and set (roughly 1-2 hours). Remove and use on achy, sore body parts.

This recipe is mostly relying on eyeballing the measurements, so if it isn’t exact, try adjusting individual ingredients until you get the consistency you prefer. I’m linking the ingredients and tools above, so you can easily get what you need. I hope this helps you! Take care, and enjoy your weekend.

* Disclaimer: I use two medications for neurological symptoms. I weighed the efficacy versus the side effects, and I determined that it was worth the risk. Discuss the options with your doctor to see what is recommended for your condition.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Fibro Fridays – My Current Vitamin and Supplement Regimen

Happy Friday, friends! I’m looking forward to this weekend: I will be getting lots of sleep and doing some additional writing. Here’s hoping I can get a good chunk of writing done!

Since I’ve never shared many details about the medication, vitamins and supplements I take, I thought that would be a good think to discuss on Fibro Friday. I believe wholeheartedly that filling in nutritional gaps can improve fibromyalgia symptoms. It doesn’t mean that fibro is a nutritional condition, but having a properly nourished body can do wonders for us and our pain levels.

Let’s start with medication first. Though these aren’t particularly nourishing, these help with pain management and other symptoms. I currently take 900 mg of gapapentin daily: 300 mg in the morning, and 600 mg in the evening. I also take 10 mg of escitalopram in the morning, and 10 mg of amitriptyline at night. These help with my serotonin levels and the nerve pain and discomfort I feel. When my pain is too intense, I may reach for 10 mg of cyclobenzaprine (a muscle relaxer).

Now, onto vitamins! I take organic prenatal gummies from Smarty Pants. These taste really good and cover a lot of my nutritional needs. I also take a vitamin D3 supplement (I purchase one through Melaleuca’a Vitality brand). I also take chelated magnesium from Country Life, calcium with vitamin D3 from Nature’s Measure, as well as the Super B Complex by Nature’s Measure.

Lastly, I also take supplements. I use the Koala Pals protein shake by Melaleuca company. I also like taking Good Zymes (a digestive enzyme supplement) available through Melaleuca. Also, I really enjoy Pacifica’s beauty powders. After sharing information about my two favorite powders, I realized that Pacifica no longer sells them. However, I did find a seller on Amazon for the Slay All Day powder. I also really like Sambucol Elderberry gummies for immune support.

I also made a video about this, if you prefer to hear about the products as opposed to reading about it:

(This post contains affiliate links)

business · career · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

The First Three Steps: 2021 Goals

A few days ago, I mentioned on a blog post that I would list out my first three steps for each of my big goals for 2021. This will help me to stay focused on completing the little things, which eventually will result in me accomplishing the big things that I have planned for myself.

So, here’s my follow-up, because we all know how important accountability is. My first three steps for each of the goals that I have for 2021:

  • Publish 5 books
    • Step 1 – Set a daily timer to remind myself to work on my writing
    • Step 2 – Make a weekly word goal
    • Step 3 – Select the titles for the books I’m working on this year
  • Lose 15 lbs
    • Step 1 – Figure out my starting weight
    • Step 2 – Confirm what kind of weight loss services are available through my doctor’s office
    • Step 3 – Make an updated yoga playlist on my YouTube
  • Manifest 3 international trips
    • Step 1 – Make a list of ideal trip locations
    • Step 2 – Create a “dream trip” piggy jar
    • Step 3 – Start learning a few key phrases in the languages spoken in the countries I’d like to visit
  • Earn 6 figures from my businesses
    • Step 1 – Review the coaching session that I participated in, that had ideas for increasing my revenue
    • Step 2 – Make a playlist of podcast episodes featuring people in the same industry as me
    • Step 3 – Create a list of potential promotional opportunities
  • Read 100+ books
    • Step 1 – Make a list of the first 33 books I want to read
    • Step 2 – Schedule book review posts for the first 6 months of the year
    • Step 3 – Place my first ten books by my bedside, so I can reach them easily
  • Luxury purchases – an item from Hermes, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a pair of Sophia Webster shoes, and a pair of Ralph & Russo shoes
    • Step 1 – Select the actual items from each company that I want
    • Step 2 – Confirm whether the items can be purchased from local retailers
    • Step 3 – Designate a “Luxe Items” piggy bank/savings account
  • Cure my fibromyalgia (as I mentioned in my last Fibro Friday post)
    • Step 1 – Research the stories of people that were able to reverse their fibromyalgia diagnosis
    • Step 2 – Relisten to herbalism/naturopath podcasts that have recommendations for treating fibro
    • Step 3 – Make a list of local naturopaths that may be able to help me on my journey

I’m keeping my target simple: I’ll only take one or two steps a day. That sets me up to finish my three steps for each goal within 21 days at most. So, in 21 days, I’ll share whether I did all of the steps above (I’m pretty sure I can do it all LOL), as well as my next three steps for each goal. Of course, at some point, outlining the next three steps of a goal may not be applicable, but I’ll do it as long as it is logical and helpful to accomplishing my goals.

Have you tried writing out the next three steps for any of your goals? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Fibro Fridays – Pain Management Tools

Happy Fibro Friday! We made it through another week: let’s celebrate!

I’ve been trying some new pain management tools over the past few weeks. These have helped me with some of the chronic pain symptoms that come along with having fibromyalgia. I really liked these items that I’m sharing today, so if you have fibromyalgia, or if you experience chronic pain, these may be worth a try.

First, I have the Nayoya Acupressure Mat and Neck Pillow set. At just under $40 USD, it’s a great item to try for some pain relief. I was going to review it, but Deena of Adventures with Fibro on YouTube (YT) beat me to it! Her review was great, so I’m going to link it here, but I’m also going to embed it in this post.

Now, there’s another tool that I’ve enjoyed using, and not only is it effective, but it’s reasonably priced, too. This tool is less than $20 USD currently, and I’ve loved using it to relieve some of the nerve pain I experience. It’s the La Vie Lactation Massage Roller.

Before you get any ideas . . . No, I’m not lactating! This massager is gentler than many other massage devices, which is crucial when your chronic pain is intense. Here’s the review of the lactation massage roller that I posted on my YT channel:

If you’re curious about the variety of tools that may be needed for those that live wtih fibromyalgia or chronic pain, you should check out Olga Chronics on YT. She is so thorough, and she’s charming to boot. I really liked her video on mobility aids (which I’m embedding below). I don’t use mobility aids, but it’s good information for anyone that has impacted mobility due to chronic pain or fibromyalgia.

Do you have any tools that you can recommend for pain management? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

*Post contains affiliate links.

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Fibro Friday – Trying St John’s Wort

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m so excited to end this week discussing one of my favorite herbs to help me treat some of my fibromyalgia symptoms. This post is also well timed, considering that January is National Hot Tea Month (I’ve done posts about this in years prior: see here and here).

Enjoying my Winter Wonder Tea

The herb that I’m speaking of is St. John’s wort. St John’s wort is a powerful herb, known for its pain-fighting ability. It works by inhibiting the “protein kinase Cgamma and epsilon activity” through the chemical hypericin (you can find more about that here). It also has the ability to relieve symptoms of depression. That being said, PLEASE don’t try to treat your depression solely with herbal remedies! Make sure to consult your doctor before trying any new regimens.

I’ve been using it as an ingredient in my Winter Wonder tea. I combine it with pau d’arco, cranberry, tangerine and cinnamon. I noticed an improvement in my pain levels as well as a better mood. I am currently taking prescription medication to manage my fibromyalgia symptoms, but I have not achieved complete pain mitigation. So I was excited to see an improvement in how I was feeling and will continue drinking this tea throughout the cold months. I made a video featuring my tea recipe. You can find the video below:

You can purchase St John’s wort here, and if you’re interested in recreating the herbal tea, you can purchase pau d’arco here, and you can purchase freeze-dried tangerines here.