Fibromyalgia and how to beat it…

Disability does not mean incapability…

There is no specific cure for fibromyalgia,  and once it is with you it stays with you for life. It is a non-visible disability that can only be understood by a fellow sufferer.

Lifestyle changes and management though can improve the living conditions of the sufferer. CBT may assist in changing the perception of what can be done. A careful dietary plan and an exercise regime plays an important role in reducing the effects of the disability on the sufferer. 

I was struck down by this terrible affliction in 2012. The signs were there, but I was neither aware of them nor what fibromyalgia was prior to being diagnosed. Back in 2011 I started feeling very tired, moody, and unable to carry out the physical activities that I had managed before.

In February 2012, I collapsed. After extensive tests, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The journey was painful - literally. Strong prescription painkillers, walking sticks, and extensive hours of rest. 

It affected many aspects of my life. I was no longer able to work full-time and had to restrict my hours. I qualified as a rugby referred towards the end of 2011, but found that after running round the pitch for 80 minutes I was unable to do much more for a couple of days after. I had just started reading for a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature, and spent many hours struggling with material on Pugin, the Ptolemaic Cleopatra, and Cézanne when my mind and body wanted to switch off. My weight went up.

By 2013, I had managed to return to work full-time. I was still struggling greatly with life, and feared that I may never be able to do all the things I was able to do. Along the way though I developed my own motto that has become my mantra:

Something achieved
is better 
than nothing tried

In 2014, I changed my lifestyle, when I discovered the connection between fibromyalgia and diet (Medicinenet.com). I gave up gluten, most dairy products, anything processed or tinned food, pasties, pastry which are full of trans fats, and started eating a simple diet. Pasta and bread I regarded as man-made, so my carbohydrates came from rice. Low-fat cottage cheese that contains casein and whey protein, when mixed with (skinned removed) chicken or tuna fed my muscles in a slow release manner. I became well-read on HDLs, LDLs, Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and Leptin (the satiety hormone) to help me along the journey of re-claiming my health. Meditation also helped me deal with negative thoughts about fibromyalgia. 

In May 2014, I started cycling again for the first time in three years, and by October 2014, I would go out on Sunday rides (work permitting) for 40 mile rides. I would be exhausted for the rest of the day and maybe still tired on Monday, but - I did it!!! In November 2014, I also took up running. I now run 2.5 miles nearly everyday, something that I never thought I would be able to do again. 

The result, I have lost 30 kilos (4.5 stone in shillings), my waist has gone from 44” to 30” (cost me a fortune in new clothes), my energy levels are up, and  most days I manage my life, rather than fibromyalgia running the show. 

There are still those dark days of extreme fatigue, when I feel trapped in my body. The days that I can nothing more but feel pain, and complete inability. Those days all I can do is whatever I can do, and remind myself that:

Something achieved
is better 
than nothing tried

So even if I read a page from my book[s], or go and buy some milk - I have achieved. I have beaten fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia DOs and DON’Ts:

DO eat healthy
DO exercise
DO meditate
DO enjoy life
DO give up negative thoughts
DO rest when you need

DON’T eat processed food, sugars, simple carbohydrates 
DON’T give up
DON’T feel sorry for yourself
DON’T associate with negative people
DON’T try to explain 


References:

Cézanne, P., (2002-2014), Paul Cézanne - The Complete Works, on-line at: http://www.paul-cezanne.org [accessed 08 Dec 2014]

Cleopatra (2014), Cleopatra (c.69 BC - 30 BC), on-line at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/cleopatra.shtml [accessed 08 Dec 2014].

Medicinenet.com, (1996-2014), Fibromyalgia: The Diet Connection, on-line at: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=104485 [accessed 08 Dec 2014].

Pugin, A., (1999), Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-52), on-line at: http://www.victorianweb.org/art/design/pugin/bio.html [accessed 08 Dec 2014].





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