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!

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

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.

food · life curation

Free Online Courses for Improved Wellness

One of the pleasant side effects of our current crisis is the increased interest in improving our health through natural methods. If we can employ safe, effective natural remedies to complement conventional (Western) medical treatment, then maybe we can promote better health, improved vitality and increased longevity.

In my desire to learn more about natural remedies (as you know, I’ve been studying The Women’s Herbal Apothecary by JJ Pursell), I took to the Web to see what complimentary courses I could find to deepen my knowledge. I was delighted by what I found!

Untitled design (2)

Coursera is currently offering a five-part specialization program in Integrative Health and Medicine. Each of the five courses in this program covers a different aspect of using alternative medicine to support overall wellness. I’ve signed up for a couple of the courses because I’m very interested in what will be taught! The course will be taught by University of Minnesota professors, so you can be assured that what you will learn is akin to what may be taught in a course on campus. You can either sign up for a paid subscription to Coursera or you can audit the courses, which allows you to view the instructional material for free but does not offer a certification if you complete the assignments in a timely fashion.

Another fantastic course that I found while searching for free online alternative medicine courses is this free Introduction to Aromatherapy course offered by Aromahead. I really like the fact that this is a self-paced course, so you can complete it as you have the time available to do so. I have a small collection of essential oils so I’m excited to learn more about tapping into their power and harnessing the maximum benefit.

Finally, the American Herbalist Guild has generously provided a library of archived webinar materials for free. This may be great for you if you don’t want to commit to a full-fledged course but still want to learn more about herbs and natural remedies. I like that these concentrated teaching sessions can help you get targeted information about a specific topics. 

There are many more free online herbal and alternative medicine courses that you can find by simply doing a Google search, but these were my favorites that I wanted to share with you.

I hope you all are having a great day! Take care, and I’ll be back tomorrow.

 

 

(This post contains affiliate links)