Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression, and anxiety.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is Fibromyalgia Cause by Emotional Stress?

A while back I posted about my thoughts on the causes of Fibromyalgia. To date, there still isn't a bonafide reason or cause for this chronic illness and after thinking about this for some time I have decided to try and accumulate some information and I could use your help.

This is not something that will be published or renowned as "the cause", but I am just very curious to dig a little deeper.

To repeat my thoughts on this, I still believe that fibromyalgia is the breaking down of the body due to an overtaxed brain that can no longer keep it's signals in order. We all know that fibromyalgia is due to a mixed signal in the brain that is telling our minds and bodies that we are experiencing exaggerated pain in our muscles. It is a very real pain and has affected some people so severely that it has completely changed their lifestyle.

OK, so if a person who is a nurturer by nature, is a possible people pleasing personality, is a dweller on certain situations trying to remedy them, is highly stressed emotionally, has learned to stuff many of their emotions rather than face confrontation or reaction, etc, then they are a prime target for a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia even if they have changed their behavior.

It takes years of emotional stress to start coming out in a physical way because the body isn't designed to hold it all in. It may come out in other ways such a low immune system, rashes, hair loss, allergies, sensitivities and so on, but it will come out eventually. I am wondering if fibromyalgia is the direct result of living a life such as I mention above as everyone I know who has this chronic problem also exhibits this type of personality.

For the most part, fibromyalgia primarily affects women and we have always been considered the emotional hub of the family. We are geared differently than most men and strive to keep the peace and harmony in our relationships and family and adding a career to the mix only compounds the problem.

Here are my questions to you:

1. Can you relate to any of these characteristics I mentioned? (it could be a behavior you have overcome, but had most of your life)

2. When did your fibromyalgia symptoms start? And did you experience other physical problems before?

3 Do you find that your fibro flares up when an emotionally taxing situation occurs?

4. Do you feel guilt about having this illness? (partially because no one really knows why we have it and many believe it doesn't really exist; partially because we can't function like we used to and it affects what we can and can't do.)

I would love to know if you or someone you know who has fibromyalgia has any of these traits. I would also love to hear from a man who has this illness and see what his take on it is.

If you are uncomfortable answering any of this on my blog, please feel free to email me your answers. This is not about specific names, but more of a compilation of information for me to better understand the origins of fibromyalgia.

I hope that you will take the time to comment as I would like to get back to you with my results.

Until next time :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Just pucker up and deal with it.

I know, not a very nice thing to say, but this week has not been one of my better ones. My fibromyalgia seems to be in high gear so the sleeping is so, so, but I was doing some promoting on my computer and evidentally sat for too long as my foot fell asleep and when I got up I took one giant step and fell right onto the tiled floor. My foot went sideways under me and I banged my knee up pretty good so now I have a sprained foot.

I always sit with my feet tucked up underneath myself so that is why my foot went to sleep, but I have never had my entire leg give out from under me like that. Whew, scary.

It will get better so I will be back to posting on a regular basis again soon.
I miss my nightly walks around the neighborhood and am hopeful I will be able to get back to that soon. In the meantime I am still doing my exercises for the muscles as I just know that is what keeps me from getting really bad. Whenever I start to feel like my body is holding together with safety pins I know it's time to get back to regular exercising.

I don't know if you experience this or not, but to me, it feels like my tendons are loose and my body creaks in weird places and if I move too suddenly it's all going to be over. My best description for this is "being held together with safety pins".

Hope all of you are having a better week than me.

Until next time :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Are There Blood Test to Determine Fibromyalgia?

I am on the docket for having a physical in April so I am scheduling for my blood tests now so that I will have the results in plenty of time to show my doctor.

I was reading the different ones she put a check by and noticed there was one marked "Fibromyalgia". I thought that was odd as to my knowledge there is no blood test.
Sure enough, I was researching it on the web and did not see anything about an actual fibro blood test, only tests to rule out other illnesses. So why does my lab test sheet have a place for the doctor to check for fibroymyalgia. I do not know, but you can bet I will be asking both the lab tech and my doctor.

This is what I found about blood testing on the web. I have a tendency to gravitate to the Mayo Clinic site, but all the ones I read basically say the same thing.

"Blood tests: While there is no lab test to confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, your doctor may want to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms". Blood tests may include:
Complete blood count
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Thyroid function tests

Now, if you lived inside my brain your first thought would be: "What if fibromyalgia doesn't come up positive on the blood results? Does that mean she will take my meds away?"
I know that is my negative bent coming out, but when waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, it generally has so I have become somewhat cynical. I truly hate to even admit that as I am a Christian woman who believes all things are possible with God, but after many years of very stressful events it's been difficult to stay positive.

My appointment isn't until the latter half of March, but I will post what I find out. If any of you have had a Fibromyalgia blood test, please enlighten me.

On another note, I have been listening to Joel Osteen's newest cd, "It's Your Time", and it has really helped me to stay postive about so many parts of my life. This particular cd is geared to audiences who may be having difficult times in this recession, but he is such an encouraging person that it can work for any area of your life. I highly recommend it for anyone who has been seriously affected by our economic times and may be fearful of what's to come.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sugar Award

Thanks so much to Nancy of Chronic Connection for giving me the "Sugar Doll" Award.
I so enjoy reading your blog and appreciate your openess about your life and your struggles. I truly feel we have a "connection".

As a part of receiving this award I am to list 10 things about myself, so here we go:

1. I love Jane Austen Books and Films.

2. I don't have a favorite color.

3. I don't have a middle name.

4. I love romance movies because there is usually a happy ending.

5. I love history museums.

6. My husband was once my son's "Big Brother" from the Big Bros./Big Sisters Foundation.

7. I have 32 year old twins.

8. I collect "Gone With the Wind" memorabilia as well as the "Titanic".

9. I read 2-3 books a week.

10. I cry at sentimental movies; even a Hallmark Card commercial.

Now I am to pass this on to others, and I can think of many who are very deserving, but I have asked them to participate with other things through Chris' Comments and many just don't have the time anymore, so I would like to save it until I meet some new bloggers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What Causes Fibromyalgia

I have been researching the web again this morning looking for the very first diagnosed case of fibromyalgia. Of course, it leads you to website after website of non-related information so I thought I would throw this out there for you to see.

I came across one site that states several possible causes of this chronic illness. Everything from relationship troubles to consuming too many pesticides, hormones, and by-products of prescription drugs.

I have my own theory based on my own case and I would love to get your take on what you think brought about your fibromyalgia or CFS.

Here's my thoughts:

I think living a highly stressed life (especially one that you feel you can't control the outcome) combined with certain personality types (the nurturers, the people pleasers, the empathetic, the fearful, etc) along with the man made chemicals such as pesticides, hormones, food enhancers causes a breakdown in the body that comes on very gradually. Each crisis that comes along in your life sets you further back and eventually comes out in a physical way from overload.
I learned the hard way that each time something traumatic happened in my life that my neck and back got considerably worse. I never really related this because I was never stress free and it didn't always happen right away. I believe the body reacts to the mental stress and eventually you feel it physically.

Too much stress will deplete your adrenal glands which leaves you vulnerable to many other problems such as insomnia, fatigue, depression, cravings for sweets and low blood pressure or low blood sugar.

Our adrenal glands are essential to our lives as they secrete the hormones necessary to help the body deal with stress. The adrenal hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, activate the body's "fight or flight" response. If overused it can get stuck. Think of a pendulum that swings back and forth and suddenly gets stuck to one side. That is what happens when you experience panic attacks. Your body senses danger and is reacting, but your mind doesn't understand as there is no eminent danger and it can be scary and confusing. You hyperventilate and feel like you might die as you have no control over what is happening.

Excessive stress, an important cause of adrenal burnout, can be from many sources. Chemical toxicity(over the counter and prescription drugs, for one) and nutritional depletion are among the physical causes. Mental, emotional or spiritual stress may be a major factor. Financial, family or other stress may also contribute to burnout. Any excessive stress can deplete the adrenals, especially when weakened by poor nutrition. Working too much or emotional stress are two common causes. Excessive stimulation, especially for children, is another cause. Fast-paced, high-stress, fear-based lifestyles are a sure prescription for adrenal burnout.

I truly believe that it takes time and determination to put your mind and body back together. It takes eating the right foods, regular exercise, a deeper spiritual life, a forgiving attitude (this is a tough one and takes time) ridding your life of bad relationships, taking daily "time" for yourself,
adequate sleep, and a mindset that "you can do it".

This is not an easy task and could take a lifetime of working on it, but at least we will be heading in the right direction.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Phantom and Fibro

My husband bought tickets to see "The Phantom of the Opera" in Orlando for our 21st wedding anniversary and I was very excited to go, but knew that all that sitting (the drive to Orlando and the show itself) had to be done in doses. It's really the pits to have to always plan your life around your pain, but that is what it has come to for me and I am sure for many others.

We went up the morning of the show and planned to stay overnight, mostly because we didn't want to drive home at 11pm, not so much because of the sitting, however, it did help to have the hotel 10 minutes away.

Anyway, I planned in advance to take my pain meds with me so that I could take them at the intermission. I asked my husband to remind me to take them and then I put them in my pill box that I carry at all times in my purse (I have one in each of my two everyday purses).
Well, Ralph reminded me at the break and we worked our way through the crowd to find the drinking fountain and sure enough I forgot to transfer them to my evening bag.

That is what is so crazy. I took the pill box out of the regular purse and put my pills in it and had my evening bag right there on the hotel table and spaced it out or something and ended up putting them back in my regular bag.

So about 15 minutes into the second half of the show I started aching in my hips and had to keep readjusting my position in the chair. It always makes me feel like a fidgety little kid, but I honestly cannot sit still when my hips and legs start aching. I enjoyed seeing the play very much but it would have been better if I could have gotten through it without the distraction.

What is scary is how much of this is the fibro fog and how much of it is getting older??

Here's another story about getting older. Humorous, but a little scary.

I think I told everyone on Chris' Comments about the time my husband left the car running with the keys in the car and the doors unlocked while we and our friends had dinner in a restaurant nearby.
He was so distracted by the conversation with our neighbors that he literally spaced the fact that he didn't take the keys out of the ignition and on top of that he left the car running!!
It was announced in the restaurant that a blue car was left running in the parking lot and it NEVER occurred to us that it was our car. In fact we were all laughing about how could anyone do something like that.

Well, he did this again the other day when we stopped to go grocery shopping. We were talking about something as he parked and he wasn't paying attention.

Now, don't ask me how he could do this not once, but twice because I am having a hard time imaging ever doing that at all, but you never know.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Are You a Morning Person?

Most of my life I would say I was a morning person. Still am to some degree as I do most of my serious thinking and creating early in the day. It's just my husband and me now, but when I had all the kids home I got in the habit of getting up early.

Since fibromyalgia has come into my life I find that I am not much of a morning person until the drugs have started working (which is anywhere from 30-45 minutes). Most of the time it is some sort of ache or pain that wakes me up in the first place. All these years I thought I just couldn't sleep in like regular people. Now I know it's because I was hurting and uncomfortable and had gotten so used to it that I didn't even realize that the pain was waking me up.

I still have days where I can't sleep past 6am no matter what time I went to bed the night before. If I have overdone something or have additional stresses added to my life it will not only keep me up at night but wake me up in the morning. I guess sometimes you just can't win.

I have to tell you though, I do thank God every day that I am still upright and able to walk even with the pain because I certainly know it could be a lot worse..

I would love to know what your mornings are like. Do you wake up stiff and sore or do you feel rested and ready to go? I find it hard to believe anyone with fibromyalgia wakes up pain free, truthfully, but maybe I am wrong.

I honestly do not know what I would do if I had to get up and out to a full time job everyday. I really feel for those of you who do. Not just the getting up and moving right away, but the sitting or standing around that many jobs require would kill me. A trip to the coffee machine or copier is not enough for me if I have been sitting for several hours.

So, tell me what you are like in the mornings. Do you have a full time job? How do you handle it with this chronic illness?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Are Your PH Levels Normal?

PH Balance Chart

Acidic ( Healthy Range) Alkaline
5.8-6.0-6.2-6.4-6.6 (6.8-7.0-7.2-7.4) 7.67.8-8.0-8.2-8.4

Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline . Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. Acidic pH can occur from, an acid forming diet, emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals. If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate, a build up of acids in the cells will occur.
An acidic balance will: decrease the body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients, decrease the energy production in the cells, decrease it's ability to repair damaged cells, decrease it's ability to detoxify heavy metals, make tumor cells thrive, and make it more susceptible to fatigue and illness.

Some signs of extended acidic ph levels are:

Weakening of the skin, hair, nails, teeth, bones
Deterioration of the digestive tract, leaky gut syndrome
Excitability of the nervous system, sciatica
Tendency to depressive illness, anxiety, panic disorders
Muscular spasms and cramps
Enhances susceptibility to infections (bacterial, viral, etc.)
Chronic fatigue
Blockage of certain minerals which become unavailable
Increased risk of cancerous cells proliferating

Fibromyalgia patients already have a weakened immunity and keeping track of your ph levels is just one way to stay on top of your diet and what's going on internally.

I am listing the most common foods that are acidic and alkaline. Knowing these may help you determine what you can change when planning your meals if you find you are acidic since most fibromyalgia sufferers are usually on the "more acidic" side of the scale.


Corn, Lentils, Olives, Winter Squash

Blueberries,Canned or Glazed Fruits,Cranberries,Currants,Plums**Prunes**

Amaranth, Barley, Bran, oat Bran, wheat Bread, Corn, Cornstarch, Crackers, soda Flour, wheat Flour, white Hemp, Seed Flour, Kamut, Macaroni, Noodles, Oatmeal, Oats (rolled)Quinoa, Rice (all)Rice Cakes, Rye, Spaghetti, Spelt Wheat, Germ Wheat

Almond Milk, Black Beans,Chick Peas,Green Peas, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Pinto Beans, Red Beans, Rice Milk, Soy Beans, Soy Milk,White Beans

Butter, Cheese, Processed Ice Cream, Ice Milk

Cashews,Legumes,Peanut Butter,Peanuts,Pecans,Tahini,Walnuts

Bacon,Beef,Carp,Clams,Cod,Corned Beef,Fish,Haddock,Lamb,Lobster,Mussels,Organ Meats,Oyster,Pike,Pork,Rabbit,Salmon,Sardines,Sausage,Scallops,Shellfish,Shrimp,Tuna,Turkey,Veal,Venison

Avocado Oil, Butter, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Flax Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Lard, Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil, Sunflower Oil

Carob Corn Syrup, Sugar

Beer, Hard Liquor, Spirits, Wine

Catsup,Cocoa,Coffee,Mustard,Pepper,Soft Drinks,Vinegar

Aspirin,Chemicals, Drugs, Medicinal Drugs, Herbicides,Pesticides,Tobacco

Beer: pH 2.5Coca-Cola: pH 2


Alfalfa, Barley Grass, Beet Greens, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery,Chard Greens, Chlorella, Collard Greens, Cucumber, Dandelions, Dulce, Edible Flowers, Eggplant, Fermented Veggies,Garlic,Green beans, Green Peas,Kale,Kohlrabi,Lettuce,Mushrooms,Mustard Greens,Nightshade Veggies,Onions,Parsnips (high glycemic)Peas,Peppers,Pumpkin,Radishes,Rutabaga,Sea Veggies, Spinach, green Spirulina,Sprouts,Sweet Potatoes,Tomatoes,Watercress,Wheat Grass,Wild Greens

Daikon,Dandelion Root, Maitake, Nori Reishi Shitake Umeboshi, Wakame


Apple, Apricot,Avocado,Banana (high glycemic)Berries,Blackberries,Cantaloupe,Cherries, fresh Currants, Dates, dried Figs, dried Grapes, Grapefruit,Honeydew Melon, Lemon, Lime, Muskmelons, Nectarine, Orange, Peach Pear, Pineapple, Raisins, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tangerine, Tomato, Tropical Fruits, Umeboshi , Plums, Watermelon

ALKALIZING DAIRY-soured milk such as yogurt, buttermilk, whey

Almonds,Chestnuts,Millet, Tempeh (fermented)Tofu (fermented)Whey Protein Powder


Chili Pepper, Cinnamon, Curry,Ginger, Herbs (all)Miso, Mustard, Sea Salt, Tamari

Alkaline, Antioxidant, Water,Apple Cider,Vinegar,Bee Pollen,Fresh Fruit, Juice,Green Juices,Lecithin Granules, Mineral Water,Molasses, veggie Juices

Calcium: pH 12,Cesium: pH 14,Magnesium: pH 9,Potassium: pH 14,Sodium: pH 14

Wonderful Alkaline Apple Salad

1 large delicious apple
1 stalk celery
1 small box raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 80z. container vanilla yogurt

Wash and cut apple into small chunks. Wash and dice celery.
Place in a small bowl and add raisins, walnuts and yogurt. Toss to coat with yogurt and chill. Makes 2 servings.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Received the "Happy Award"

I have been given the "Happy Award" from Michele of Do Beautiful Things. I first met Michele when she started to follow my blog. She frequently leaves very nice comments and I want her to know how much I appreciate that. It keeps me going.

The Happy comes with a few conditions, which I repeat for you here:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. List who gave the award to you and link to his/her blog.
3. List 10 things that make you happy.
4.Pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blogs to let them know!

The 10 things that make me the happiest would be...

1. The early morning time before anyone else is up. It's when I think.
2. Hugs from my grandchildren.
3. Time alone with my thoughts and God.
4. Knowing that I may have helped make someone's life better.
5. Listening to the waves of the ocean.
6. The passion that stirs when I get a great idea for a mosaic.
7. Taking long walks with my husband because we have time to talk uninterupted.
8. Walking through history museums. I just love to read about people from other periods and how they lived.
9. Listening to Enya
10.Long, meaningful conversations with my daughter.

I would like to give the "Happy"award to:
Natalie of Tins and Treasures as she is one of the nicest people I have met online and her blog is heartwarming and always a delight to read.
Felicia of Another Bright Idea as she always has fun things going on with her blog that make me smile.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I have been researching what a diet might look like for someone suffering from fibromyalgia if they were to eat all the right foods. Unfortunately there are more lists of what not to eat than what you should be eating and I list many of them here. I am sure this will not be at all surprising to you as just about anyone who has ever looked into healthier eating can tell you this.

I will say there is a surprising amount of information regarding high acidity in the body and the roll it plays in how you feel. People with fibromyalgia generally have too much acid and not enough alkaline in their system so I will post a list of the foods for each at a later time. You will be surprised to find what's on the lists.

One thing you can do for yourself is to get some of those ph tester strips to find out whether you have too much acid in your system. This might be what is contributing to your symptoms.

Foods and Substance to Eliminate :

Alcohol and Tobacco

The Chinese believe these substances are very hot and drying. The significance of this is that most fibromyalgia patients have too much heat (yang) and not enough fluids (yin). These two substances are considered very drying to the body which can make you stiff and sore. Moisture is needed in the body especially in the muscle tissues and joints to work properly.

Some other foods that are considered taboo, not only for fibromyalgia suffers, are chocolate, carbonated beverages, and coffee.
There will always be contradictions to this so I would say to either eliminate them or try to cut down on your consumption.

I won't even pretend that I am not going to eat chocolate again, but I do not keep it readily available in my home. I will by one candy bar or something like that, eat it, and be done with it.

When you make a batch of cookies or brownies or buy a bag of chocolate kisses you will be pulled toward them if you don't have a lot of willpower. People who are already fatigued and worn out have a harder time with willpower than someone who is fit and healthy.

Generally fibromyalgia sufferers already have a depleted digestive and immune system so anything you can change for the better is a good idea.

Foods to avoid when possible:

High fat dairy foods
White sugar and white flour
Fried foods
Preservatives, junk food, and salt
Red meat (especially salt cured, cured bacon, smoked)
Coffee and caffeinated teas
Colas, soda pop, and carbonated beverages
Liquid with your meals
Nutrasweet and saccharine

If you subject your body to highly refined, over-processed foods, sugar, caffeine, pork, junk food, highly processed starches, additives and preservatives, and highly acid foods, it is possible that your body will suffer because of an already compromised immune system that may be found in many Fibromyalgia sufferers.

When you live a high stressed life and/or are battling symptoms of chronic illness you can deplete your adrenal glands. Here are some signs to look for:

Reliance on stimulants like caffeine
Cravings for carbohydrates or sugars
Cravings for salt
Poor immune function/lots of colds, flu, sickness
Intolerance to cold
serious weight gain around stomach area

I will be posting more on the acidic and alkaline foods as well as some good substitutes for the foods we crave.

Each person is different so it is up to you to determine if some of the above mentioned foods are creating havoc on your system. I would suggest writing down what you eat for one week (that means even the stick of gum you chew). Keep track of how you feel each day and cross reference it with your food list and maybe you can find out which foods trigger your symptoms.
Fibromyalgia does not have a cure but we can help to control it with good wholesome food, exercise, a positive attitude, medications (if needed), and lots of support.