After the last post I was feeling dramatically better; expecting that if the improvements continued at that speed that I would be Fibro free again in no time. Unfortunately, the improvements didn’t continue as such. I have not gone back on “the rules”, but quite suddenly I started to get symptoms flaring up; pain, serious fatigue, itching, etc.
Looking at what I was doing, fearfully because of the rise in pain, I noticed a few important things.
One: the fear that rises up when I feel the beginning of the pain, if someone asks me how I feel, or if I accidentally leave home without anything for a pain flare up, the fear causes the minor beginnings to flare like blowing on a fire. Fear/stress = pain when at this delicate stage. When I am stronger and more sound this is not the case, but at this level of weakness and sensitivity to all triggers, it is a real problem. It was actually my 8 year old son that helped me work through this. Taught him well, I did 🙂 He just said, “Well, mama, sometimes I feel afraid and then I get all of those ‘afraid feelings’ like sweating, and tummy ache, but then you tell me that there isn’t anything to be afraid about and you help me feel okay about whatever is happening and all of those things go away so that being afraid isn’t bad anymore. Then it isn’t even there anymore. That’s what you have to do.”
He was right. I closed my eyes, and forcibly relaxed my whole body starting from my scalp and working my way down and up again. Then I made sure that I was breathing deeply and slowly, and starting visualizing things that made me feel happy or excited like a walk on a tropical beach (so different from the high desert where we live), a picnic by the lake with cake (it’s a dream, there can be cake!), warm coffee – cup hot on my palms, etc. After about 5 minutes I realized that the flare had subsided back to a minor sensation that couldn’t really qualify as pain. Without the fearful response to what this feeling means, it would likely have stayed there. It made me wonder how much of my suffering is skyrocketed to severe pain because of the fear that it will progress to that. I’ve been keeping a close eye on this and am finding a lot of truth in it. In more stressful situations, it can be hard for me to keep a handle on how deep and firey the pain gets. I have been working to tell myself, It’s OKAY. This is what it feels like. You know this feeling. Maybe it will get worse, maybe it will disappear… either way, the only thing to do is relax as deeply as possible. Accept. Know that it will pass. Breathe, and don’t tense up! It’s been helping a lot.
Two: Water. Water is the next key point. I have come to understand that it is at least as important as staying away from gluten and preservatives. Any degree of low hydration will result in pain for me. And it will result in the most stubborn, deep, widespread variety. For me this means a gallon of water every single day. One day of poor intake, say a quart or two, will result in pain before the day is out (usually around dinner time) and if I don’t remedy the situation I will wake up achy and at a difficult deficit in the morning. Sadly I do this at least twice per week. Living in the high desert I have to consider that missing some of the water I need is only going to add to the battle that I deal with everyday with the high, gusting winds, 8,200 ft elevation, desert arid air, sun exposure, and year round wood-stove heating (mountain temperatures). I think of it like this: I pretend that I am trying to keep a garden alive in the desert. This requires constant watering, and reduction of anything that will dehydrate me, such as excess sodium, and certain foods. When I’m dealing with a real dehydration situation, I help myself out and add some coconut water to the mix. This increases the rate at which I can rehydrate without increasing the inevitable trips to the bathroom.
Sleep. Oh, my, sleep! It is so very important. Quality, undisturbed, delta-wave sleep is necessary. Without it I might feel okay for a few days or weeks, but I will be tired, and I will be ever so much more susceptible to all environmental triggers. A thing to understand: nearly every single sleep drug, antideppressant, anti-anxiety drug, and alcohol will dramatically reduce ability to achieve delta wave sleep or completion of a full sleep cycle. Most will prevent it entirely. Sleep is such a deeply, widely complicated issue I’m going to have to cover it over a series of posts. I spent years and years battling this issue. I first became aware that I did not sleep easily or deeply when I was about 5 years old. I struggled with it until I was 27 and it rises up again and again when I don’t stick to the “sleep rules”. I will have to cover those in another post. The last five years have been overlapping issues of pregnancy, breastfeeding and nightwaking/teething babies. It is possible to overcome a block as big as a waking baby to get the kind of sleep necessary, but it takes real dedication and a sacrifice or two. It’s worth it though. Nothing will change your outlook on life and your strength against pain like quality sleep.
I’d like to touch quickly on detoxing/die-off symptoms before leaving you. I realized about a week into the rising of symptoms that I was dealing with detox/die-off symptoms. After making dramatic changes in my diet, like cold-turkey removal of all grains and sugar, I should have expected it, but somehow didn’t. Depending upon how long I have been abusing my body with things like gluten, sugar, carageenan, etc. I will experience a whole slew of symptoms ranging from mildly irritating to two days of feeling like I may be dying of cancer, unable to move, hardly speak, etc. I had been abusing it pretty badly for a long time, so I got two days of the latter. The pain was too severe to mask, even with pharmaceutical opiates and herbs combined, my stomach ached, the fatigue was deep enough to make it difficult to speak and remember to keep my eyes open. My heart palpitated, my skin itched, my bones burned and I suffered breakouts all over my face and a few other enjoyable issues. The thing to know: given the opportunity, your body will heal itself. This will include a forceful removal of toxins through every avenue possible: kidneys, liver, skin, bladder, bowels… It usually doesn’t feel great, but proper support of your systems while it is happening can reduce the length of severe suffering to a day or two. Watering your body like you have the flu, REST, vitamins, probiotics and essential fatty acids like those found in fish, (freshly ground) flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and especially fermentd cod liver oil will go a looong way to helping you recover more quickly. Gently scrubbing your skin in a warm bath at least once per day and then oiling your skin with a quality, unscented oil like olive oil or coconut oil will help prevent rashes, breakouts, dry or rough patches, redness, itching and swelling. Your skin is the largest organ of detoxification and your body’s preferred first route.
I’ll leave it there for now, and follow up with more detailed posts on all of these topics.
To our health, Rebels. We can level this thing.