My Journey

If you are considering changing your diet based on my blog, please read this first, so you can have more of an idea of what the diet is and what to expect.
Dr. St. Amand wrote a book called What Your Doctor May NOT Have Told You About Fibromyalgia. Most of it is about a guaifenisen protocol (see link about my experience with that). I'm still not convinced about that part of the book, but the part that explains what foods cause pain is dead-on accurate. Most of it is avoiding carbs (which isn't what I wanted to hear either).
Let me tell you about me and how I ended up doing this blog. I'm pretty sure I've had fibro since I was about 12, but I wasn't diagnosed until 2007 at age 34; I was in graduate school and could barely think or move, and I was in a tremendous amount of pain (stress exacerbates symptoms). Two years later, I finished my degree (a literal miracle), got divorced, moved across the country with my daughter for my first full-time university teaching job, after being a full-time mom for 10 years and then a full-time student for 3. At this point, I had also gained a lot of weight- I weighed 178 (I'm only 5'00”).
A couple of months after moving, though, I was so fatigued and in so much pain that I couldn't change the lightbulb on our front porch. I had to cancel my classes so often that I thought I was going to lose my job. When I was there, I had a perpetual fever (that lasted two months) and I usually slept on the bench in my office when I wasn't teaching. My pain meds were barely touching the pain; the mattress even hurt (and I have a soft mattress). In fact, I hadn't put my new bed together yet; I couldn't do it. Two months later, my sister-in-law saw that and mercifully put it together for me. I almost never could get up to take my daughter to school, so she had to walk in really cold weather most of the winter. All my energy had to go into getting to work and doing my job, so we could live. Grocery shopping or any other errand would knock me out for the rest of the day. I had to put a lot of undo pressure on my daughter (who was trying to navigate her own new life and was a new teenager on top of that) to compensate for me, because I had no choice.
I had studied a lot about fibro; there is no cure, but I'd heard some people claim foods made a difference. I had now become desperate enough to change how I was eating. I had avoided it before because: 1. I hadn't believed it would work. 2. It was my one comfort! 3. It took mental and physical energy to plan for what I was going eat, and I didn't have any. But, I had to do something different. I was on a good pain prescription and one so I could stay in REM sleep (a common fibro issue), but I wasn't functioning well, or much of the time, at all.
So, I started the strict diet in the book. During the first weeks, the cravings for carbs were awful. I was going through withdrawals. It made my pain worse. It took 2-3 weeks before the increase in pain started to ease up. (I promise, it will ease up, though, and it will be worth it). After a while, I got used to eating this way. It's actually not that hard after a while, and I don't have this strong emotional connection to food that I once did. It's 14 months later that I'm starting this blog (May 2011), and I weigh 124! And that was just the side benefit. I almost never cancel class; I rarely need my handicapped tag for my car; I take my daughter to school every single morning (not that I'm a morning person suddenly- I still don't teach earlier than 10 am!); I can go hiking again sometimes (I still have to pay for that the next day or two). I can run errands after work- sometimes a few at a time and still go home and clean something or grade papers. My mind is a lot clearer, and I am off the heavy-duty meds; I take Aleve once in a awhile, but that's it.
Don't get me wrong, I still hurt quite often, but it's nothing like it was before. I still can push too hard and crash, but the major crashes only happen maybe once or twice a month now. (Of course, I've learned what my limits are, too, physically, so that helps.) And I cheat sometimes, but I hurt when I do, so it's not all that often that I'm willing to pay that price.
I wanted to start this blog so that those of you just starting out will have a little easier time when your brain just won't function enough to figure out what to eat and a little more hope to know that it does work. And it's so worth it. -Joy