A Fibromyalgia story with a good ending!!
I was asked to share my Fibromyalgia story, so here it is:
I am a 53 year old woman. I have struggled with pain and discomfort for most of my life. As a child, I hated doing sport at school because it caused so much pain in my arms and legs. I could never understand that others enjoyed sport or physical exercise, while I was forever pulling muscles and experiencing pain for days after. I was told I was just unfit and should exercise more.
My mother took me to see different doctors and specialists. I struggled to explain to them the kind of pain I was experiencing, the fact that I would be fine one day and in agony the next, or how some days it would feel like my legs were jelly and my arms so weak that lifting them required tremendous effort. The doctors told my mother it was just “growing pains” and that it would eventually disappear. It never did. I learned to keep my mouth shut, grit my teeth and get on with my life.
At the age of 19 I joined the Police Force. Six months of hard-core basic training made me regret that decision, but I was determined to see it through, and I survived (barely). This was followed by 32 years of shift work, bad eating habits (junk food, eaten on the go) and extremely high stress levels.
Through all this I hardly ever went to a doctor, but then about 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with chronic major depression and put on all sorts of anti-depressants. I became a zombie. One day I decided I was tired of going through life in this state and I weaned myself off the meds.
Four years later, during a routine check-up, I was diagnosed with skin cancer on my face. I opted for surgery because I had no faith in chemo or radiation therapy. The surgeons removed the cancer and performed reconstructive surgery to my face. Two years later I underwent a spinal fusion in my neck after an MRI showed complete deterioration of the cushion between the 4th and 5th vertebrae. Four months later, I needed surgery again for a frozen shoulder. The following year, the ladies at my station all went for mammograms and mine showed a lump in the right breast. This was also surgically removed, but thankfully proved to be benign.
From this period, my aches and pains reached new levels. I started to really struggle when the “Brain Fog” kicked in, my balance went awry and my joints and muscles locked up as though they were in permanent spasms. I eventually turned to doctors again for help when I reached a stage where I felt I could no longer cope. After exhaustive specialist visits and a brain scan that showed extremely low serotonin levels, I was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia six years ago. The specialist basically gave me a prescription for very strong pain medication and told me to come and see him again when (not if) the pain got worse. He also referred me to a psychiatrist.
I came out of the chemist one day with a large carrier bag full of pain meds, anti-depressants and more meds to cope with all the side-effects of the original meds. I looked at that bag and realised that even with all this stuff they were giving me, I still did not feel any better. To add insult to injury, the meds had caused a lot of weight gain, which just added to my problems.
My Mom had a saying: “God helps those who help themselves”. I decided that it was beyond time to start doing something. I quit my job after 32 years service when they refused to allow me to go on early retirement due to medical reasons. (I was informed that I hadn’t booked off sick enough to qualify!). I was worse off financially, but the fact that I didn’t have to cope with intense stress on a daily basis meant more to me than the money.
Once again, I weaned myself off all the meds, and then I started making lifestyle changes. I quit smoking, stopped eating junk food, sweets and chocolates, stopped drinking sugary coldrinks, stopped using sugar, stopped drinking alcohol and switched from drinking coffee to tea with stevia. I also started using full extract cannabis oil ingested orally at night to control the pain and to help me to sleep.
All of this stabilized my condition, but did not cure it. I did at least start losing some of the weight I had gained while on all the medication, but I felt as though I was in limbo, not getting worse, but not getting better either.
One day, while browsing different sites for people with chronic illnesses on Facebook, I came across the Nutritional Healing site. Since I had seen an improvement in my condition after I had improved my eating habits, I wondered if this could be the way to go. I contacted Jody and made the commitment to the program.
I am now 5 weeks into the Nutrition Protocol and have followed the program meticulously. I have to say, I feel Wonderful!! For the first time in years, I can honestly say my condition has improved.
My pain levels have decreased dramatically. My muscles have relaxed and the leg cramps, restless legs and numbness/tingling in my hands, legs and feet are much improved. I move with ease and my balance is much better. I can tackle stairs, bend and straighten, walk comfortably and lift my arms without discomfort.
The headaches, nausea and dizzy spells have gone and the IBS is getting better. My skin looks amazing and I no longer have any itchiness or rashes.
I sleep well at night and awaken feeling rested and relaxed. The “brain fog” has also improved, my memory is better and I am much more organised and aware.
I have also lost some more weight :)) I feel so much better that I can now start to exercise a little and I’m hoping to become much more active again. It goes without saying that my depression is vastly improved, and I actually enjoy socializing and getting out and about again.
In future, I plan on continuing the healthy eating habits.
I will not be using sugar again – including all the hidden sugars in tinned and packaged foods. In fact, I plan on staying as far away as possible from all the processed, sugar- and preservative-filled stuff they sell in supermarkets.
Yes, the process to get to this point took a little time, effort and money. Was it worth it? A thousand times YES!!