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On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Monday, July 24, 2006  

FIBROMYALGIA - what the heck is this thing?

last night i worked a shift in the hospital, admitting patients from the ER to the floor. a 55 yo woman came in with concerning symptoms of stroke. right sided facial, arm and leg numbness. her motor exam was normal and a CT of her head was normal, it didn't show any stroke, but CT's can be normal with a stroke so the standard of care is to admit these patients, watch them overnight, get an MRI, an ultrasound of the heart and an ultrasound of the legs to make sure everything is working okay. that's about a $10,000 work up.

i've dealt alot with chronic pain. upon taking a history of the patient, she revealed that she had fibromyaligia, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety/panic disorder, depression, hypothyroidism and had a hysterectomy for fibroids, and most recently, her gall bladder removed for gall stones and pancreatities. she had tried a vast number of alternative medicines including acupuncture, herbs and remarkably, was not yet on chronic pain medications. she felt hopeless.

she had had a panic attack, one of her worst, the night her symptoms started and got scared because the numbness on her right side didn't go away.

what the heck is going on? what kind of illness is this? i don't believe she had a stroke. it was more like a peripheral nerve palsy. we got to talking, spent a good hour together. she had great family support, with about five really caring people in the room during the whole time. no easily identifiable stressors but then we got to NUTRITION. BINGO!. the woman is a coke fiend, not cocaine, soda. she eats mostly fried foods, still cooks in lard (manteca) an eats tons of sweets.

you don't learn nutrition in medical school. we are basically taught that food is calories, fairly interchangeable (carbs, fats, protein) and vitamins. we learn that study after study shows minimal benefit or harm with all kinds of combinations and permutations of these different entities. it's a mess from a physicians perspective. hard to advise on anything. even with diabetes, once the person has it we can safely say to avoid carbs but noone really counsels their patients at high risk that sugar might CAUSE diabetes.

i take a stronger stance. from my experience and lots of reading, this woman's chronic pain and fatigue make sense. and the failure of alternative therapies makes sense as well. teh most basic element in life, to sustain it and to promote health, is FOOD and WATER, followed closely by exercise. if someone is malnourished, you can give them all the drugs you want, it won't make them healthy, even if it makes their numbers look better.

this woman is profoundly malnourished. she has fed her cells on a diet of sugar and heavy, saturated fats for 45 years. it's simply the wrong fuel. i owe my education on nutrition not to medical school or residency training but to the many naturopaths, midwives and acupuncturinsts who have taught me how to see past the puree of processed research that compared plastic oranges to vinyl apples and sees no difference in outcomes.

by the end of our time together this woman was prepared to try changing her diet with the energetic and sustained support of her family. break the sugar addiction, remove the heavy fats, add in fiber and vegetables, clean out the liver and intestines (detox) and slowly begin to heal. perhaps i'm wrong, but for sure, that woman had hope, she had a pathway that she could follow, and one that didn't prey on her wallet or force her into a dependency role taking medications for the rest of her painful life.

Fibromyaligia, to me, is a combination of dietary disaster, sedentary life and complex stressors (emotional, financial, familial, work) that are unique to the United States of America at this point in history with our wealth, processed, non-nutritive foods, and car/TV/computer culture. speaking of which, i'm outa here. i need to go stretch and walk. before my chronic back pain gets any worse.


posted by andru | 7/24/2006 11:35:00 AM | |


hey andru, just got to this directly from technorati. you guys have a good blog! i do want to say, though, that cfs is real. r-e-a-l (dunno anything about fibromylgia). looks like your patient could use a change of diet, though! good for you for spotting that.

# posted by Blogger jonie v. : 7/24/2006 2:11 PM  

oh, i should have signed with my real name. i thought you didn't allow it. here it is. ciao.

# posted by Anonymous giovanna : 7/24/2006 2:13 PM  

to be clear on my end, i do not doubt the realness of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue or psychosomatic illnesses or anxiety or depression or any dis-ease. it's my job to find and offer solutions to people's symptoms of discomfort.

what i question is the core cause, the contributing factors, the potential remediating therapies that will help people regain their health.

my apology if my language implied otherwise.


# posted by Blogger andru : 7/30/2006 9:21 AM  

thank, andru. i wouldn't group chronic faitigue and fibromyalgia, which, as even the cdc (gasp!) admits, are physiological syndromes, with psychosomatic or psychological illness. but i'm being picky and i know you are on top of this. good luck in giving succor to people with cfs, though. i wish diet did it, you know. there's plenty people with excellent dieting habits who still manage to be desperately sick.

# posted by Anonymous giovanna : 8/06/2006 12:09 AM  

In addition to that,here's helpful information for all fibromyalgia sufferers.

Fibromyalgia is a condition where you feel chronic pain in certain parts of your body; it is a muscular pain especially around the joints. There can also be centralized pain felt in the spinal chord, brain, neck shoulders etc. People with fibromyalgia generally complain of pain in the joints, but it actually is the muscles and the tendons around it that cause the pain, it can be excruciating sometimes and can be a continuous throbbing pain. People suffering from Fibromyalgia also show symptoms of depression, sleeplessness, irritable bowel syndrome, stress and many others, which are caused due to the pain.

Rid Fibromyalgia provides a simple process to helps you eliminate all your symptoms of fibromyalgia and enjoy living your life again. This will provides us the best and most effective solutions on how to rid ourselves from pain.

The Rid Fibromyalgia provides an eBook entitled “Heal the Body” that will teach you the best diet that will allow you to eat your way to wellness, it will also document which vitamins and supplements will target and reverse the illness, how to achieve pain relief through acupuncture, what exercises are safe and will work, and what type of medications may make you sicker, and what will work. This eBook takes a step by step approach in showing you how to rid yourself of the pain naturally so that you can take back your life.

We must know the symptoms of this illness. For us to know what would be the approach we will going to apply. Here's Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and steps to treat it naturally.

We must also be responsible and aware to the things to gain and cope up with this kind of illness. Eating nutritious food with regular exercise would be result to a better life. Here's Basic Tips in Coping Fibromyalgia.

If we say Fibromyalgia Diet, there is no specific recommended diet for fibromyalgia. But a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can certainly help in coping with the illness. Magnesium rich vegetables are recommended for patient's suffering from fibromyalgia. Here's some information for you to help in Fibromyalgia Diet.

We must also think that vitamins are important for Fibromyalgia sufferers. This will give us additional energy and strength to kept a healthy living. But of course, you must be aware that not all vitamins are effective or directly gives you a good result. Find the best vitamins that would easily give a good response if your taking it. The best thing is your healed and keep your body healthy as possible. Here's The Benefit of Vitamins for us to know why vitamins are important for fibromyalgia sufferers.

Also feel free to view this video Fibromyalgia Help. It really gives good information for those who have Fibromyalgia and encourage not to give up because in every pain your getting through has a good solution in the end.

Here's Rid Fibromyalgia, For free info and helpful articles on fighting fibromyalgia.

# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 5/20/2008 1:17 PM  

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