Friday, April 22, 2011

Fibromyalgia and My New Friends: Pills and Exercise.

These are some of my new friends.

 Dr. Ballew, my naturopathic doctor, is working with me toward better health. As mentioned in my previous post, "Fibromyalgia and Spitting for Health," we had tested for hormonal imbalances. And by "we" I mean she prescribed the test and I provided the spit.

She started me on Magnesium Citramate (a clever word for Citrate-Malate), a Basic B Complex and a good brand of fish oil, based on our initial hour and a half appointment in which I blabbed a full history of *Me*. And she never once glazed over or drooled. (A very good skill for a healthcare professional.)

Most Fibromyalgia patients are low in magnesium, B vitamins are supposed to be good for energy, and Omega 3s, well, EVERYbody knows THOSE are good! (What are they good for again? Anybody??)

The newer addition to the Pill Arsenal is the Adrenal Stress End, the one mentioned in the previous post that's made of "porcine adrenal." Is the word "porcine" calculated to sound more scientificky than "pig"? I mean, aren't we still talking about the same thing? No matter what we call it, somebody is going to be thinking "Oh poor Wilbur, and Charlotte worked so hard to save him!" But I am willing (and even happy) to eat bacon, so I suppose I can ingest this part of the pig as well, at least in capsule form.

Also new, the addition of the progesterone cream. Apparently progesterone can aid in the balancing of hormones even when the estrogen is in correct range (and since mine is in pill form, it is.)

Things I've noticed. I'm about 2 months into the first group of pills and 1 month into Wilbur's cousin. I'm also about 2 months into my time back at the gym (it only seems like longer...) and 2 months into an often weak attempt to eat less processed carbohydrates and sugar. I am beginning to sleep a bit better, and wake up a bit earlier. I'm still aware of the general ache of FM, but it's a bit quieter.

I am cautiously optimistic--since there is a spectrum in which my Fibro affected energy moves, I still tell myself, "Well, you have felt this good other times in the past 6 years." Hubby says I am much improved, so maybe there is more than I am able to see in myself. Time will tell.

Of course, in the Fibromyalgic world there are always surprises. The past couple of days have also brought a resurgence of weird sensations in my legs and feet--the feeling of bubbling under the skin, a kind of cold or hot sensation. Maybe Restless Legs Syndrome? I dunno. But this is just the dubious beauty of Fibro, our nervous systems do some strange stuff!

Skimmer's Recap: julie doesn't anticipate turning into a ball of energy any time soon, but at least her pill and gym regime keeps her off the street and out of trouble.

Fibromyalgia and Spitting for Health.

 If i were a guy, the whole day would have gone smoother.

The test recommended by my new Naturopathic doctor required spit, lots of it. Four vile vials, in fact.

i think spitting is gross. But spit i did.

The point of the test was to check hormonal balances, one of which is cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. Cortisol is related to stress, something we all deal with daily. Here's a great article on on the Cortisol-Stress connection that explains what cortisol is responsible for and how stress affects it.

But why saliva? Why spitting instead of the pee-all-day-and-save-it-in-an-embarrassingly-large-jug, like my Kaiser health care had me do? According to Dr. Ballew, my Doctor of Naturopathic Sciences and new friend in healthcare, the urine test only measures the overall cortisol level, when what is needed to see how the adrenals are functioning is to see the various levels throughout the day. Like Dr. Ballew explained to me, and the article also explains, the way the hormone should work is to be highest after you have just slept, since you have (allegedly) just awakened from refreshing, restorative sleep. There is a natural downward curve throughout the day in its production, leading at last to the lowest levels at bedtime, when we need to be relaxed and ready for that (alleged) refreshing sleep.

BUT, what are some of the most common complaints with Fibromyalgia? A lack of restorative, refreshing sleep, waking up tired, and general fatigue. Then there's that chronic pain issue, the generalized aching, burning pain. Studies have shown sleep deprivation can cause--guess what--pain. The brain needs good sleep to repair itself or it becomes impaired.

My cortisol level seems to be on its own special little curve--below normal when i wake, then leveling out about 4 pm. But no dropping slowly till bedtime, just full speed ahead at the 4 pm. level. Could this explain the poor sleep i experience? Maybe the difficulty waking up? (Never having been a morning person you can only imagine how Fibro has taken that to new depths of un-morningness.)

If this ends up having a large impact on my health, but how many other Fibromyalgia sufferers are slogging along with the same problem, but they don't have a lovely Dr. Ballew, Naturopath, on their team? I do wonder. Symptoms are many and varied in FM (Fibromyalgia) with some similarities, but could this be one of the big causes? Stress=stressed adrenals that perform poorly=bad mornings and bad nights. Hmm.

My new supplement is made from pig adrenals. Sounds gross, but if i can get a better night's sleep and have a better morning, i'll pig 'em down.

Skimmer's recap: Turns out that spitting can be our friend, but aren't you glad i didn't put an illustration of it up there at the top of the page?

Monday, April 18, 2011

julie's Gym Mathematics.

I suppose this could also be titled, "why julie doesn't get very far ahead."

Fibromyalgia and Just Blogging Along.

I don't know which is more embarrassing: that my blog shows only 3 followers OR that I'm not sure even they read it anymore. And then every once in a while I get a comment like this one, posted on my most recent post, "Fibromyalgia and My Baby Steps Toward Physical Health."

Nancy said...

I mentioned on Facebook tonight that I'm going for my first appointment to a Pain Management Clinic tomorrow and a friend told me about your blog. It has been a blessing to me. I was diagnosed about 7 years ago and honestly have forgotten what it's like to feel good. I've tried just about everything, have prayed for healing, and prayed for contentment. It feels like a rollercoaster between hope and acceptance. Thank you for sharing so honestly about your own struggle.

Redemption! Suddenly there is a purpose for my awkwardly unseen disorder--and my unceasing need to talk about it. So thank you, Nancy! I struggle, I write, I share on this blog (which gives my hubby a much appreciated break from me sharing with him) and how great is it to find out it's helped somebody!

Happy *sigh*.