health

Fibro Fridays – All About Fatigue

It’s Fibro Friday, kids! I hope that you’ve had a great week, and a wonderful weekend ahead of you.

Today, I’m going to be discussing the one symptom that is my absolute favorite. And, by absolute favorite, I actually mean my most despised symptom. Fatigue has been the most bothersome symptom of them all during my fibro journey. Well, to be fair, pain is pretty high on my list, too. But overall, even when my pain is minimal, fatigue has been a constant companion.

This symptom has been one of the hardest to manage since being exhausted makes it difficult to do many of the things I enjoy. Before fibro became a part of my life, I regularly took long walks around my favorite city in the world – Washington DC – and I could easily work out in the gym and feel invigorated once I was finished. But in the months leading up to my diagnosis, I found it harder to do all of the things that I enjoyed without feeling completely drained.

The biggest clue that my fatigue was something beyond normal exhaustion was when I went on a cruise in 2018. I slept 10-12 hours every night, and I would sleep longer if my family didn’t wake me up. I literally spent more time in the bed than I did exploring the ship (this is completely unlike me: I usually love exploring!) It didn’t matter if I drank 3-4 cups of coffee each day while onboard: I’d still be exhausted at the end of the day, even if it was a day when I didn’t do much.

I’ve been experimenting with a few things and, even though I still can’t get a good handle on my fatigue, I’ve noticed a few things that really work for me.

For starters, taking ashwaganda and melatonin supplements help me get a deeper sleep, which makes me feel more refreshed the following day. It won’t eliminate the fatigue, but it will certainly help me with getting through the first half of the day without needing a nap. And that’s the other thing: I nap, almost religiously. If my body needs it, I carve out a little time to get a quick snooze. Unfortunately, I will occasionally oversleep. But it’s better than trying to push through the fatigue, since being so tired can literally make me achy. Another thing I do is avoid heavy meals unless I know that I’ll be able to go to sleep not long after. I am pretty catatonic whenever I eat really rich or heavy foods for dinner, so I reserve those meals for days when I know I don’t have to be up late.

The true key to managing fatigue is having excellent sleep hygiene, which is wonderful in theory but not always easy to implement. However, I’ve been attempting to make small changes that I hope will lead to major changes in my energy levels. I’ve started by creating a bit of a nighttime routine and trying my best to avoid doing anything at night that will make it harder for me to go to sleep.

Do you have any tips for dealing with fatigue? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

food · health

Implementing the Barone Diet

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the books that I read in the month of March. In that post, I mentioned that I read two books written by Anne Barone: Chic and Slim and Chic and Slim Encore. Naturally, the title reveals a little bit about the content: the book gives different ways to achieve slimness. But other than that, you may not be sure exactly what the books discuss.

In short, the books explain how the French lifestyle – from food to fashion to relationships – contribute to the ability to remain slim. After a particularly stressful year (most of us have been under tremendous stress this year), I noticed I’d put on a little more weight than I cared to have. So I pulled out Barone’s book and started to remind myself of the techniques I used to slim down a few years ago.

You see, back in 2015, I wanted to slim down, but I wasn’t sure how I could do it without feeling hungry or unsatisfied. I initially got a copy of Chic and Slim Encore for free on Amazon (there was a Kindle special) and, after reading it, I decided to purchase the original “Chic and Slim” ebook. So I started eating like the French and, wouldn’t you know it, I lost weight.

One of the best things about the French method of maintaining a slender physique is that it does not require deprivation. While on this eating and lifestyle plan, I am able to enjoy 4- and 5-course meals. I don’t have to exercise strenuously, and self-care is a priority. This eating plan allows me to lose weight without starving myself or sweating my life away in the gym. It’s perfect for me, because it allows my dining experiences to feel more elegant (and we all know how much I love elegant living!), as well as more intentional. My meals can’t be rushed, so I have a chance to really pace myself and avoid overeating.

So, if you’re interested in this particular diet, check out Anne Barone’s books. You won’t be disappointed!

health · life curation

Fibro Fridays – My Current Favorite Fibro Vloggers

Happy Fibro Friday! We made it to the end of another week, and what a week it’s been! I’m looking forward to a quiet and restful weekend with my family, because I need a little downtime.

But anyhoo, back to Fibro Friday. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite fibro vloggers. These lovely souls have generously shared their fibromyalgia journeys on YouTube, and I’m thankful for the knowledge, encouragement, and inspiration they’ve provided. A few of them have fibromyalgia-centered channels, while others discuss fibro occasionally, while vlogging about the rest of their lives.

If you’ve watched any of these vloggers, then you know that they have great content and are joys to watch. I hope this list of vloggers gives you some great ideas on how to manage your fibromyalgia symptoms and a heaping dose of encouragement.

In no particular order:

Grace at Home – she doesn’t post frequently, but she shares some really sound information on her fibro experience. The symptoms she mentioned are almost identical to mine. She was one of the first Black women fibro vloggers that I found on YouTube. That actually speaks to another issue when it comes to chronic illness (gross underdiagnosis and misdiagnosis of WOC, especially Black women), which I’ll discuss in a future Fibro Friday post. This video describes, in detail, how fibro feels. It’s great information for anyone that doesn’t understand the pain that fibromyalgia patients experience.

Marla Robinson – Marla’s channel has all sorts of lifestyle goodies, and I love the fact that she’s a mature YouTuber. Aside from that, she gives wonderful information on her fibromyalgia and other chronic illness journey, as well as the treatments that have worked for her, as well as what has been ineffective. She does a fabulous job explaining her journey, so for anyone that wants a very thorough explanation, this is a great channel to view.

Chronically Emily – While fibromyalgia is a devastating condition at any age, it’s especially disheartening to see younger people with the condition. There is a particular sadness that I feel when I see young people that are impacted so significantly by chronic illness, because I know that they won’t get to experience a pain-free young adulthood. However, dear Emily seems to take it all in stride and is living a wonderful, full life in spite of her pain. I enjoy hearing how she’s doing (she has multiple chronic conditions) and seeing her embrace new chapters and experiences in her life.

Olga Chronics – This charming channel centers around Olga’s chronic illnesses (mainly, fibromyalgia and IBS) but she also shares her other interests, such as reading books and spending time with her adorable pup. She goes into some of the ways that she is personally impacted by fibro, and she goes to great lengths to offer possible solutions to her subscribers. I also love that she gives her viewers a peek into how Portugal and its health system treats fibromyalgia patients.

Adventures with Fibro – Deena embodies living an active life while still taking care of herself and managing her fibromyalgia. She is an avid hiker and gives wonderful tips based on her 17(!) years of fibor experience. Deena does a great job of discussing some of the mental health aspects that can be affected by fibro (many people diagnosed with this condition also have to deal with anxiety and depression).

Lord and Lordettes – Nicola splits her channel between fibromyalgia-related content and family/lifestyle vlogging. She has a fibro-related post every Wednesday, and she takes her time to discuss a singular specific symptom in these videos. I also appreciate hearing how fibromyalgia is treated in the UK (as a US-based fibro patient, I’m always curious about which countries have better/more innovative care for invisible illnesses. US treatment approaches are mediocre in many ways, and absolutely nonexistent in other ways.)

A Life I Choose – This channel focuses on overall wellness, but the hostess, Emma, also discusses how she mitigated her fibromyalgia. I think that one key advantage that Emma has is a background as a psychotherapist, so she has extensive knowledge on how to condition the brain in a way that promotes healing and (possibly) minimizes pain. She has (if I recall correctly) successfully transitioned herself off of fibromyalgia medications and lives a normal life with minimal pain.

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!

culture · fitness · goals · health · life curation

March Goal Updates – Finally!

Happy first day of April, friends!

I know that you all saw some post notifications yesterday, but those posts aren’t ready just yet. Bear with me: the past few weeks have been busy. Between my job, my side job, my family, and my school coursework, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. I will be getting a much needed break this weekend, but that’s a couple of days away. In any case, I am ready to chat about my March goal update.

So, my goal list for 2021 is as follows:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

I always discuss my book reading goal in a separate post, so I won’t talk about that until next week. However, I’m really excited to confirm that I’ve made progress on several of my goals for the year!

  • Publish 5 books

In the midst of the tragic shootings in Atlanta several days ago, I was moved to do my part in supporting the Stop Asian Hate movement. I stayed up late several nights, and I ended up writing and publishing two books to inspire children to learn more about Asian countries. I believe that hate is rooted in ignorance, and the cure for ignorance is knowledge. I plan to eventually write books on each of the countries of the world, but I decided to start with China and Vietnam, in hopes that what I publish will help educate children on the many ways that we are wonderfully different and surprisingly alike. My books are Let’s Go to China and Let’s Go to Vietnam, and they are filled with beautiful pictures and fun facts about these two Asian countries.

Now, these books were not planned at all, but I believe in working with inspiration as it strikes. Inspiration led me to write them, and I’ve done this sort of thing enough to know that I should never ignore a hunch. These two books bring my closer to my publishing goals for the year and, as a plus, I’m on target to meet this goal before summer begins!

  • Lose 15 lbs

A recent trip to the doctor confirmed that I have gained weight (more about this in tomorrow’s post). So I’m amping up my physical activity and revising my diet. I feel pretty good about the changes I’m making, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to shed the weight easily – so long as I stick to my plan. I’ll spill more of those details tomorrow.

  • Manifest 3 international trips

Part of manifesting my three international trips including allowing inspiration to point me in the direction of the right trips for me. Well, with some inspired conversations with my friends, as well as some fantastic evidence from the Universe, I’ve decided on one of the countries that I will visit this year! I’ll share more about this as I plan my trip, but I’m really excited that one of those international trips is in the works.

  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses

I’ve gotten several opportunities to earn additional money doing the things that I already do (like vlogging). I also have been selling some of my books (so exciting!) and having several people interested in a few of my little businesses. I’m not sure how much money I’ve made so far in my businesses, but I think I’ll calculate it next month and share it in my April goal update post.

  • Read 100+ books

This will be in a separate post, but I’m excited to let you all know that I read more books in March than I did in January or February. I’m so happy that I’m making progress toward my goal!

  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo

I’m still floating off of the happiness of my Sophia Webster purchase. I haven’t recently checked the Hermes, Louboutin, or Ralph & Russo websites to decide on what items I want, but I’m sure I’ll have made some more progress toward this before I do my April update.

  • Cure my fibromyalgia

I’ve been feeling great recently! My medication seems to be at an optimal dosage, which makes me really happy. I’ve been dealing with fatigue, but other than that, everything has been good. I’ll discuss this more in tomorrow’s post, too.

So that’s it for my updates. I’ll be back tomorrow with my Fibro Friday post. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

*This post contains affiliate links.

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.

Untitled design

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.

health

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!

beauty · culture · life curation · luxury

Five Easy Ways to Be More Like Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Happy Monday, friends! I hope the beginning of your week is pleasant and everything that you need it to be.

Recently, I reviewed Archewell Audio, the podcast project started by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. I’ve been fascinated with Meghan for quite some time: I love that she is graceful, elegant and intelligent, and she uses her influence to create positive changes in society.

As part of learning more about this brilliant woman, I read a bit about her and found that there are many things that she’s done to position herself as a woman of status and influence. I made a video highlighting five of those qualities.

The qualities I discussed are as follows:

  • Learn a foreign language
  • Take up a luxurious hobby
  • Eliminate or reduce meat from your diet
  • Wear blush
  • Start a blog

By engaging in one or more of these activities, you can live a little more like Meghan.

Do you have any Duchess-worthy tips? Let me hear about it in the comments below!

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!