health · international · life curation · travel

Fibro Friday – Travel-Sized Flare Kits

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! We made it through another week, and I’m excited that I get to share with you some tips that served me well when I traveled several weeks ago.

Because I was traveling for a few weeks out of the country, I had to be mindful that my normal conveniences *may* not be available. The reality of traveling anywhere is that, if you have chronic illness, it’s imperative to have things you need, in case your symptoms flare up.

I was fortunate that I didn’t have any flares while traveling (yay!) though I did feel ill upon returning to the States. To my credit, I prepared well and that probably created enough energetic “relief” that I was avoid a flare due to stress. Part of my preparation included packing a travel-sized flare kit.

I mentioned my self-care kit a while ago, and I added things to the kit to make it suitable for treating my emotional as well as my physical health. I took an abbreviated version of this kit with me on the road. The contents of my travel kit were as follows:

  • ginger mints and ginger tea
  • journal and pen
  • resistance band and stress ball
  • pain relievers
  • dream water
  • room spray
  • aromatherapeutic oil

I discuss the kit a bit more in this video:

Have you ever prepared a mini flare kit when traveling? What items do you recommend that I add? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

health

Fibro Friday – Addressing My Wrist Pain

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Fibro Friday post, though I’ve been posting fibro videos over on my YouTube. Last month, I started physical therapy for my wrist pain that I’ve suffered from since 2018(!). I recall when I first had pain in my wrist, which was so intense that I went to the emergency room. The pain made it impossible to write more than a page in my journal at a time. Being unable to write with the same fervor that I used to was a heartbreaking experience and, while I wanted to get relief for the pain, I had far more pressing issues to address (like my other fibro issues). So I shelved the wrist treatment until recently.

So I started physical therapy. I posted this video on June 10th, and I’ve done some therapy sessions after filming this video. In fact, I’ve completed my series of sessions, and now I get to do the work on my own to continue rehabilitating my wrist. So I’ve seen even more progress since I filmed originally. Here’s the video discussing my physical therapy:

Now that I’ve completed physical therapy, I have a much better understanding of what my wrist needs to be its healthiest and strongest. I need exercises that both relieve stress as well as strengthen the muscles. The strengthening is the key point for me: the pain kept me from moving my wrist in a normal way, and due to this, I lost a lot of my original strength. Restoring my wrist strength is crucial to my healing journey. That, along with exercises to help with the flexibility and grip function, will help me to get back to my former glory.

I’m looking forward to giving you all updates in the months to come, as I progress in my healing journey. I’m excited to see how things go!

Anyhoo, that’s it for today. I hope you all have a great weekend. Talk to you all soon!

Uncategorized

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 – 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

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.

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 PainFreeKitchen Protocol

Hey friends! My apologies for the premature posting of this blog post: last week was far busier than I anticipated. However, this topic was far too important to skip, so here it is, a week later!

As part of my review of different fibromyalgia treatment approaches, I want to make sure that I am exposed to a variety of perspectives. I want to ensure that I go beyond the points of view of medical doctors and naturopaths, and also put a spotlight on the regimens that are promoted by laypeople that actually have fibromyalgia. Besides Dr. Liptan (whose protocol was among one of the first that I reviewed), all of the other doctors and health professionals that I’ve reviewed have not been diagnosed with fibro. I value their opinions and research, but I find myself more motivated to try a recommendation from someone that has experimented on themselves to find a solution, as opposed to someone whose work is limited to theory or results as reported by their clients.

That being said, today’s protocol is not from a medical doctor or naturopath. Rachel of PainFreeKitchen successfully minimized her fibromyalgia symptoms to the point of complete elimination. In fact, her doctor confirmed to her that she was in “remission”, since she no longer showed any of the symptoms of fibro.

So, what is Rachel’s secret? Here’s a video, describing exactly how Rachel cured her fibromyalgia.

I highly recommend that you watch the video in full, especially since Rachel is very direct with her answer, and the video is less than 10 minutes long. But, for your convenience, here is a summary of the PainFreeKitchen Protocol:

  • Try a gluten-free and dairy-free diet (Rachel recommends The Whole 30 diet)
  • Prioritize rest (she offers a few recommendations for improving rest, like purchasing blackout curtains or taking sedatives to assist with obtaining deep sleep)
  • Reduce stress levels dramatically
  • Begin a yoga routine and weightlifting (or, for that matter, any other exercise that feels manageable)

The PainFreeKitchen Protocol does have points that are seen in some of the other protocols. However, she is the only person that I’ve reviewed so far that specifically recommended The Whole 30 diet and weightlifting.I think that her recommendations are reasonable and certainly worth a try. Prior to my diagnosis, I loved doing fitness classes, especially ones that involved the use of kettlebells. Now, I find myself really “pushed” by even gentle yoga routines. It would be nice to eventually return to working out with weights, but I will be patient and gradually strengthen myself until I’m back to full health.

As far as my personal opinion goes, I think that the PainFreeKitchen Protocol could be an excellent starting point for wellness, especially in the cases of people that are newly diagnosed and unsure about where to start with rebuilding the body. However, I can also see where this would be great advice for someone that has been treating fibromyalgia for many years or decades.

That’s all for today! I hope you all have a great and safe weekend, and I’ll talk to you all soon. Take care!

food · health

Fibro Friday – The Berry Protocol

Happy Friday! We made it through another week, and boy, what a week it’s been! I entertained a few of my younger relatives for four days, and those little ones WORE ME OUT! I loved having them around, so, despite being exhausted, I will certainly have them visit again very soon!

Anyhoo, today is Fibro Friday, so we’ll be discussing another protocol that may offer some fibromyalgia relief. Today’s post looks at the protocol promoted by Dr. Ken Berry. I first mentioned Dr. Berry a few weeks ago, in the Fibro Friday post discussing some of the latest fibromyalgia research. I’ve been following Dr. Berry for a few years now, and I enjoy his practical wisdom about healthcare and living optimal lifestyles. Dr. Berry has been practicing medicine for over 20 years, and he encourages his audience to adjust their diets and daily habits in order to reduce or eliminate symptoms from chronic illnesses.

Dr. Berry has multiple videos addressing his approach when it comes to fibromyalgia treatment. He recommends a ketogenic diet, as well as going through the steps of determining whether you actually have fibromyalgia (requesting specific lab work to ensure that you haven’t been misdiagnosed). Here is Dr. Berry’s protocol, explained by the doctor himself:

Some of the key takeaways for me were:

  • Focus on rebuilding health cells and healthy myelin sheaths
  • Remove as much processed carbohydrates from the diet as possible
  • Pay attention to “sneaky” carbohydrates that spike blood sugar, such as honey, agave nectar, tubers and other starchy vegetables
  • Eat lots of healthy fatty options, like high-quality meats and seafood
  • Determine if you have other underlying issues, such as hypothyroidism or depression, that may have symptoms that can be confused with fibromyalgia
  • Check both your A1c and C-Peptide levels, to determine if you are experiencing symptoms related to elevated levels

Dr. Berry’s recommendations are worth a try, especially if you are curious about reducing your fibromyalgia pain without relying upon prescription medication. I appreciate the fact that Dr. Berry doesn’t promise a “cure”, but he advises his viewers that starting with his recommendations may provide significant relief for fibro symptoms.

Have you heard of Dr. Berry before? Have tried any of the tips that he outlines in his video? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

Have a fantastic weekend, friends! I’ll talk to you all soon.

health

Fibro Friday: Recent Research

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m taking a quick break from reviewing different health protocols to share some exciting news that crossed my newsfeed a few days ago.

Several weeks ago, Dr. Ken Berry, a respected internist that focuses on improving health through food, exercise and lifestyle choices, shared the details on a study that was published, then mysterious retracted.

Dr. Berry mentions how this article was published but was soon followed by a retraction. After reviewing the retraction points, I have to agree with Dr. Berry and lead researcher, Dr. Pappolla, who both assert that the reason for retraction is likely due to pressure from influential organizations (think Big Pharma or Big Ag [Big Agriculture]). The reason provided for the retraction doesn’t appear to be valid, but you can read the reason as published on NIH’s website and determine for yourself whether you want to accept the research findings.

The research done by Dr. Pappolla and the other researchers establishes a connection between fibromyalgia and insulin resistance markers. Dr. Berry has recommended something similar in previous videos. However, this research goes a step further, by experimenting with the use of metformin (brand name Glucophage) and observing whether this drug can reduce fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms.

Dr. Pappolla’s research makes a connection between being insulin resistant (also known as pre-diabetic) and fibromyalgia. Reduction of sugar and management of insulin in the body (via metformin) both resulted in lower levels of pain in fibromyalgia patients. If you want more information, watch the video below:

This research exposes a possible (likely) connection between fibro and insulin resistance, and Dr. Berry recommends a ketogenic or other low carbohydrate diet to help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. I won’t go too deep in Dr. Berry’s recommendations this week, since I’ll be featuring his fibromyalgia protocol in a future week. But if you want all of the info on this new research, the video above is a good place to start.

I hope this information helps my fellow fibro warriors! Please let me know how you all are doing in the comments. Have a great rest of your day, and I’ll talk to you all on Monday!