Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fibromyalgia and Food "Fix"

Years back, when I worked a desk job, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

I had been running regularly, working out, taking aerobic classes, and was very active (but not overly so). Slowly I got to the point where getting out of bed in the morning was painful. I hurt. I was miserable. Sleep was sporadic and I was slugging through the day.

Luckily, being in a management position which gave me fantastic health benefits, I was able to work with my doctor to try and figure out the cause. We did every test imaginable over a long period of time. Finally I ended up with a rheumatoid specialist who came up with Fibromyalgia.

She gave me a whole slew of prescriptions and toldl me to get on the treadmill and walk for ten minutes a day. I laughed, thinking of the races I used to run & thought she was really underestimating my abilities. I couldn't walk for five minutes.

I filled the prescriptions and took them for a few days. I really, really 1) hated the idea of taking all those pills and 2) hated the side-affects. I stopped and went back to being miserable.

However, I didn't give up. I started a search for another answer. I did NOT like the idea of being weak, spiraling into medicine dependence, or being labeled.

I ultimately went to see a nutritionist. Not your typical hospital nutritionist (here's your food pyramid, eat like it says). I went to a private doctor who believed in using food, vitamins, minerals and all that's natural to combat illnesses.

She put me on what she called a shock diet. Nothing white in my diet at all for two weeks. If it was processed with anything white I couldn't eat it. It truly was a shock. I went through withdrawals I suppose. For about three days I walked from refrigerator to pantry to almost banging into walls as I detoxed from all the junk I had been eating (I thought I was a healthy-eater!). By the time the 2 weeks were over I was comfortable with eating whole foods and rather liked the diet.

Long story, but after the shock diet, dumping all the vitamins I thought I needed and narrowing them down to a few select choices, changing my diet, etc. I have never had any of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia... It wasn't an overnight process but it was a fairly quick turnaround. (Note: when I go back to bad eating habits, don't allow myself to get sufficient sleep, I can tell when my body is heading back in the yikes direction. I adjust and get back on track.)

That was my very first real experience with looking at diet and nutrition as a "cure" rather than going with the drugs most doctors automatically prescribe. Since then I've looked for doctors who say diet, exercise, lifestyle before pulling out the prescription pad. They are hard to find.

When my cholesterol started going up my doctor (at the time) told me I just had bad genes, luck of the draw. She "allowed" me two months to try and decrease it before starting me on Lipitor. It went up. I was half-ass about working on it at the time, bought into "gene" thing.

Later I did some research, read how I could lower it naturally with diet and proper exercise. I ditched the Lipitor. My cholesterol is well below the top range and has stayed there for years. My doctor still insists on testing it more often than usual to monitor :-)

I could tell more tales...I have politely argued with many doctors, done it my way and been successful in every instance. Good research and culling through all the hype of the current fads is crucial.

I'm not saying that diet can cure everything, but we really should give it a shot first. Even if it's not "the" cure eating healthy sure will help with fighting whatever you are facing.

I now have an OK doctor. She's not "into" the same things I am but when I walk in and tell her I'm doing this or that she says OK, try it, go for it, we'll do blood tests and see how it works. She has even given me some natural alternatives when I asked. She's still a prescription pad grabber first type, but she's agreeable to trying other things.

I am getting ready to tell her I've gone totally plant based. That's going to be an interesting conversation!