by Mare Ball at ADVENTURES IN THE BALLPARK
I've had a puzzling, interesting, disappointing, and then hopeful few weeks. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a week ago.
I suspected it, but didn't want to hear it. For seven months, I've been dealing with joint pain, muscle aches, serious fatigue and no energy. I kept pushing through it, which, I learned later, made things worse. Since the diagnosis, I've been reading this book and learning things that give me hope.
1. Fibro is an extension of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS.) Being deprived of good, restorative sleep (REM sleep) for a long period of time sets the groundwork for fibromyalgia. (I've not slept well since I had children, thirty years ago!)
2. One aggravating factor in fribro is inflammation. Sugar is an inflammatory agent. AUGH!! I have to start viewing sugar as a toxin to me. No more cupcakes.
3. Other factors in fibro are hormonal imbalances. Thyroid and adrenal glands, in particular. The standard blood tests for thyroid are not effective in determining thyroid malfunction.
4. Stress is a factor. (Stress is a factor in everything nowadays.) Not sure I can do much about this one.
5. Exercise is important, even if painful. UGH. I have slacked off on the gym these past few months because, who wants to use muscles that hurt? It also wears me out, which feeds into the fatigue piece.
6. The root problem is the hypothalamus, which Dr. Teitelbaum writes, "has blown a fuse." It's exhausted and depleted and is no longer managing the body's systems correctly. By the time the aches and pains manifest, the system has been offline for awhile.
7. The good news is that restorative REM sleep can help heal the hypothalamus and get it back to running properly.
I'm only a week into this, but I'm optimistic that there is recovery for fibromyalgia, even though sufferers are always susceptible to flare-ups. I'm working on finding natural sleep aids; I'm cutting my sugar intake; I'm trying natural supplements for pain. At a July doctor's appointment, I'm going to request more extensive thyroid testing.
I've not felt well for the past seven months, and there is some relief in finally getting an answer. But, it's discouraging too, knowing I have to make many changes in my lifestyle. I'm too old to start over!
I know God is bigger than fibromyalgia, and I know He's beside me with this challenge, but I have to say, I look forward to the day when this body no longer dictates how I must live. I'm glad this "EARTH SUIT" is temporary.
Do you know anyone with fibro? This book would be a great gift to them.