Fibromyalgia...Ways to balance the body and bring relief

By CORALIE DARSEY-MALLOY

Of one thing I am certain…
The body
is not the measure of healin…
peace is the measure.


--GEORGE MELTON

"Does this hurt? How about here -- and here?"
"Ouch! It hurts all over."
"That fits with the syndrome all right. Get dressed and I'll be right back."

After the examination, the rheumatologist told me I had a chronic muscle
disorder, fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), which is as common as rheumatoid
arthritis and can be even more painful.

The term fibromyalgia comes from fibro, for fibrous tissues such as tendons and ligaments: my,
indicating muscle: and algia, meaning pain. Symptoms include chronic
fatigue, varying degrees of anxiety, depression, irritable bowel, vision
problems, tension and migraine headaches. Fibromyalgia may also involve
difficulty concentrating, light and environmental sensitivities,
irritability, mood swings and insomnia. It has been referred to as the
"hurt-all-over" syndrome because of the widespread body pain and
stiffness.

My doctor went on to explain that there is no cure but she offered me a course of treatment including muscle relaxants,
low-dose antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain pills, sleeping
pills and physiotherapy. I said I needed time to consider my options. I
left with a firm commitment to finding a more natural way than taking
all these drugs.

Taking Charge of my Recovery

In my work as a life coach, I encouraged others to look for causes rather
than just make symptoms with drugs. Looking at my health challenge from
this perspective made it difficult for me to believe that fibromyalgia
could not be cured. It became my next research project.

At first, I joined a fibromyalgia support group and gathered some useful
information, but left after a short time. Most of the participants were
more interested in managing rather than curing their disorder.

Members of the group seemed to define themselves by their fibromyalgia. They
bought into their diagnosis and were resigned to a life of chronic pain
and debilitating fatigue that would only get worse with age! I had no
intention of allowing myself to be influenced by that belief system. I
severed my association with them and carried on with an even stronger
resolve.

Individuals with fibromyalgia frequently have a type-A personality. They are perfectionists, neat, compulsive, organized,
time-oriented, tense and precise. I frequently overdid things and found
myself feeling discouraged when flare-ups occurred. I world experience
painfully tight muscles, lack of mobility, chr9onic insomnia, irritable
bowel syndrome, mood swings and extreme fatigue. However, I knew that
one's attitude toward pain makes a difference. So rather than mask
symptoms or lapse into feeling sorry for myself, I decided to allow this
condition to become my teacher.

Lessons in Balanced Living

I resumed yoga classes and found the gentle stretching and breathing
helped me to relax. I made prayer and meditation a higher priority in my
life and explored my emotions and attitudes in greater detail. As an
incest survivor, I knew childhood problems were likely contributing to
my disorder. My husband David provided useful feedback about cause and
effect of my behavior on my symptoms. Through time, we both concluded
that fibromyalgia is a pacing disorder. This realization was a major
breakthrough. It finally became obvious that I had a lifelong pattern of
overdoing things. My growth process had already proven that awareness,
accountability and action had improved my life in other areas. Why not
apply these same principles to this disorder and expect the same
positive outcome?

My next effort was to start Reiki, a powerful, non-invasive healing art that facilitates the energy flow to body
tissues and promotes body/mind awareness. The sessions helped so much
that I decided to become a practitioner so I could work on myself daily.
To support my body between treatments, I used magnets which open
capillaries and attract blood to weak or injured areas. Hot soaks in the
bathtub with Epsom salts helped pull out toxins from my body.

Learning to Sleep

Facing the next phase of my journey involved overcoming a lifelong pattern of insomnia which exacerbated the pain and stiffness.

A naturopath gave me Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, a herbal relaxant and a
sleep-enhancing tea. He also recommended a calcium-magnesium formula
with vitamin D and emphasized the importance of stress reduction. It was
obvious that I had to apply the Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the
serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the
things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

Training my over-active brain to be quiet has been quite a challenge. I no longer
allow myself to get trapped in a "busy-ness syndrome."

It is difficult to pinpoint one specific thing that changed my condition, but
if I had to pick one -- deep restful sleep would be it. Being able to
sleep gave me more energy and I was able to add other dimensions to my
exercise program like light weights, a strength training program and
freeform dance.

Supplements and Diet

When I discovered that antioxidants help fibromyalgia, I increased the
amount of vitamin E and C and included grape seed extract as well. A
combination of ginkgo balboa and hawthorn helped clear the fibro-fog and
improved my concentration. The herbs eyebright and bilberry improved my
vision. MSN, glucosamine (GLH) and chondroitin have all but eliminated
pain and inflammation, and improved the strength and flexibility of my
muscles and ligaments.

Dietary changes included the elimination of all nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and peppers).
Tomatoes, especially, have high levels of glutamates which can cause
muscle pain in sensitive people. I learned that yeast overgrowth and
parasites cause joint pain, difficulty concentrating and fatigue so I
worked to keep yeast and parasites out of my body.

I discovered the cleansing properties of liquid chlorophyll, acidophilus and sage tea
with clove and added them to my regimen. I omitted all hydrolyzed
protein, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame from my diet.

Imagine the joy of being pain-free after years of suffering! Seventeen years
after my initial diagnosis, I can confirm that fibromyalgia can indeed
be cured. As long as I respect my body, keep life in balance and watch
what I eat, I can lead an energetic, zestful and pain-free lift. Health
is the state
about which medicine…
has nothing to say.


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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you for your feedback about the article. I know when I was diagnosed and told there wasn't any "cure" I felt really discouraged. Given that I generate my income as a life coach, group, leader, public speaker and writer I launched into a campaign to discover root causes of the fibro rather than focusing on the symptoms.

I was mentored by a Naturopath and he always said that we need to strive to bring our body, mind, spirit, emotional and energetic aspects into balance. In that we create an environment where the body can heal itself. In our life coaching sessions that is the approach we take.

I have written a book about my healing journey so others can read my testimony of hope. I agree with your perspective that those who have overcome and transformed challenges have a moral responsibility to share what they learned with others.

If you would like more information about my book the website is www.ibtbook.com. The website for our personal development company is Fresh Beginnings is www.fresh-beginnings.com and my contact information is there. If there is ever anything I can do to assist our support you on your healing journey please do not hesitate to contact me. I have great empathy for you and others with fibromyalgia. It is a complex disorder with many layers.

Warm, caring regards,
Coralie

Thank you for sharing your experience of overcoming fibromyalgia, Coralie. I appreciate your balanced approach and am grateful for your sharing of the details of many things that you found helpful. As someone who has dealt with the same issue on and off over the years, I am still learning, and healing. Maybe that is the purpose of having a dis-ease that can be so debilitating and disconcerting - so we can learn, then heal, and then help others, just as you are. Thank you, Coralie! :)

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