Or not so quick as the case may be…
This is a copy of an email that I recently sent out in response to one of the many emails I get about what I do/have done to reverse the Fibromyalgia:
I so know the broken feeling. I declared myself cured in the summer of 2008 and since then have been pushing the boundaries trying to figure out exactly what I can and cannot do… exactly what equals a life of physical freedom, what I can get away with a little bit, and what adds up to leave me feeling broken and scared.
I’ve recently landed myself at broken and scared and am now going back to what I must finally admit is ultimately necessary… difficult, but worth more than getting away with anything. I expect (based on three years of trial and error) that it will take me 4-6 weeks to be completely free of pain and fatigue again. If I had not abused the rules so much it would be less. If I don’t get really serious about following “the rules” I will continue to suffer to some degree until I do. It takes about 5 months of sticking completely by the rules before I can have a slip up without suffering immediately. When I live inside of these restrictions I live a life free of pain, fatigue, depression, stiffness and “brain fog”. It seems like a no-brainer, but as a mother, a woman of the age and culture, and a lover of food and overdoing it. I seem to require a painful reminder that it may be a choice, but that my choices can lead to a world of hurt.
Before I go any further, legally, I have to tell you that I’m not a doctor, I have no legal right, certification or degree that allows me to give you medical advice. 😉
I know this:
I cannot tolerate gluten. Even small amounts seem to get stored and build up until I feel like a painful toxic dump. I start getting tired. Then I start feeling a little stiff… followed by mini “flare ups” of pain, general achy-ness and eventually devastating, deep, widespread pain, exhaustion, inability to concentrate, etc. etc.
Other things that go the exact same way are corn, “natural flavors”, any derivatives of MSG
“binders”, preservatives, additives, dyes, sweeteners or anti-caking agents.
I have a low tolerance for potatoes, gluten-free flour products, and any salt that isn’t pure, air dried sea salt – such as Real Salt or Celtic Salt.
One of the things that brings me to my knees quickest is drinking much less than a gallon of water every day. If I lived in a relatively cool, humid area this would likely be more like 3/4 gallon minimum.
Things that make my life easier and decrease my sensitivity are: quality probiotics like Code Raw Probiotics, Fermented Cod Liver Oil and high-fat organic butter, organic, whole milk yogurt (plain with honey or maple syrup), regular epsom salt baths with exfoliation, followed by oiling my skin (the skin is the largest organ of detoxification for the body), and whenever possible a cup of homemade bone broth.
Sleep is paramount. I absolutely hate it. I’m terrible at sticking to it, but I have to go to sleep at the same time every day, get up in the morning and take a nap if it feels necessary. I know that as a mother you know that this seems impossible. When I struggle with it the most I have to take steps to help myself. I got rid of my TV years ago. I turn the internet off at 8pm and I take a dose of Skullcap (4-8 drops) and Motherwort (10-15 drops) to help me fall asleep (and stay in a good quality sleep) while a guided relaxation plays on the computer next to my bed. Sometimes the pain can make sleep so difficult. When it does I add in a super hot bath, 5 extra drops of Skullcap and I replay the relaxation until I either fall asleep or I can listen to the whole thing. By the time I have achieved either one of them the pain has lessened and I have a chance of waking up without pain.
I drink Nettle and Red Raspberry leaf tea every day, all day. This helps with the energy and pain.
Herbal tinctures that I depend upon are as follows:
Skullcap (3-5 drops) as often as every 4 hours during the day. Up to 10 drops when I’m ready to sleep.
St. Johns Wort (25-30 drops) every 4 hours, 4-5 times per day, every day. No matter what.
If the pain is really bad during the day I will add a dropper full of California Poppy tincture to the 3 drops of Skullcap (and usual dose of St. Johns) Until I got used to it the combination of California Poppy and Skullcap made e very drowsy. If it’s at all possible I lay down until I at least feel a little better.
16 years of doctors and prescriptions proved to me that any prescription has the potential to lift some symptoms temporarily, but that they will usually return in a couple of weeks and they will be worse than before the prescription. Sleeping drugs where particularly detrimental to my well being, and created a truly devastating cycle of pain and exhaustion after a few weeks. Prescriptions for depression or anxiety wrecked everything, created new symptoms, and always, always led to additional prescriptions.
I make many sacrifices to eat a completely organic, whole food ingredient diet. It took me years to learn how to manage it with children, fatigue and serious budget constraints, but it is possible and it feels like a key ingredient. I recently managed to feed said diet to a family of 5 for less than $400 per month, out of uncomfortable necessity.
If I could not eat a totally organic diet I would check out the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, eliminate any food that comes in a package with an ingredient list, and add in a whole foods based multi-vitamin such as Raw Code, Rainbow Light or New Chapter.
I have found acupuncture (at least once per week for 8 weeks) to be a huge help in getting over the initial hump of pain and fatigue. There are many places that will work on a sliding scale or that offer “group sessions” at a steep discount. Some people find relief in massage, but I have found it to be a mine-field of RMTs unqualified to deal with Fibromyalgia. Cleanses and detoxes always help.
While I would have felt relieved to have received an email outlining all the changes I needed to make I’m sure an email such as this would have left my head spinning and me feeling a bit hopeless and utterly overwhelmed.
I hope that you might accept my deepest wishes that you find the peace and health that every mother needs to care for the most important thing(s) in her world. If you need anything… If you have any questions… someone to complain to… a shoulder to cry on… or are needing a gentle reminder… you can always reach me at this address.
I am opening up my online journal of recovery, Healing Rebel.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the energy to put all these ideas together and think about the pain they’re based on if there isn’t someone holding you accountable. I’m always grateful for the women who email me. They give me the push or reminder that I need.
Books that have helped me to understand what I’m dealing with: Gut & Psychology Syndrome, Nourishing Traditions, Cleanse and Purify Thyself, and readings of Dr. Christopher’s Cure for the Incurables. If you are of Christian faith, the last two will likely resonate with you on that level. The first two are more scientific and helpful for learning how to live a new way. Susun Weed, though totally eccentric, has the best grasp on herbs as nourishing tonics; especially for women. Eckhart Tolle’s discussion of what he calls “the pain body” in The Power of Now has been immensely helpful to me when all else falls short of the pain.
All the best,