By Edith Bouvier
Thank you to ProHealth for their interest in my two articles that first appeared on Health Rising in 2015.
As there are so many similarities between myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, I hope this information will be of benefit to all who suffer from either or both of these extremely debilitating illnesses.
There is still so much misinformation and mistrust about alternative / complementary care that it’s my hope that you will come away with a better understanding and appreciation of this more functional type of medicine. Twenty years ago, I knew nothing about Natural Medicine except that there might be some advice there on vitamins and how to eat properly; that’s it!
Did I get a surprise when I walked through the door of my naturopath doctor’s (ND) office? I was about to get mega help for the myriad of medical problems that Fibromyalgia presented. This “Functional Medicine,” which searches for the root of all particular health issues and treats at the source, has been extremely important to the quality of life I have today, despite still having Fibromyalgia. These health professionals also have the expertise to lead us into preventative care, which is so badly needed within our present day medical system.
I never thought of myself as a pro-active person, so it was a big surprise to me that I became a bit of a researcher and guinea pig to boot! ProHealth has asked me for an update on the last year and it’s my pleasure to do that as there have been a few new developments.
In the last couple of years, I started having blood pooling at the bottom of my legs. I was told by my MD that wearing compression hose would help with the problem. I knew that they would drive me crazy, so I chose to try other strategies first. Riding my recumbent bike has been really helpful.
CALCIUM DEPOSITS AND MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY
Recently, an eye specialist told me he could see calcium deposits in my eyes, and a few years back they also showed up in a mammogram. The nurse told me that “it was just calcium deposits,” so I thought that was normal, but when the eye specialist mentioned it also, I took note! Researching on the internet, I read that they could be due to a deficiency in magnesium and if you don’t have enough vitamin D3 as well, the calcium will be deposited in body tissue.
Would that be another reason why we are feeling pain like someone had spread crushed glass throughout all our muscles and tissue? So, what can we do to change this situation? I asked my ND and he put me on a better magnesium preparation. Unfortunately, I cannot tolerate much magnesium anymore because it brings on the diarrhea scourge.
I had the good fortune of signing up for Summits on ME/CFS and FM this past winter and learned about an absorbable magnesium product that does not cause loose stools. Another possible good side effect is that the eczema on my fingers has been reduced by 2/3rd and I can have sugar once in a while without it burning my stomach.
I wondered if there is a way to dissolve these calcium deposits. So, back to the internet, and I see that apple cider vinegar may just do that. Something else to discuss with my ND.
DRUG MISHAP #1
I had two successful cataract eye surgeries last spring. One of the eye drops that I had to use for four weeks, however, caused my health to plummet. At the time, I felt a bit uneasy about the prednisone drops, but neglected to phone my naturopath doctor for his opinion on the new drugs I was prescribed. I learned the hard way to listen to that “little voice in your head” when it’s trying to warn you about something. My energy dropped sharply and I started reacting to various foods. I arrived at my allergy practitioner with a bag full of items I thought might be the culprits. Sure enough, I had to be treated for six of them which required six different visits. Luckily, I had also put my pain medication in the bag and it ended up as one of the things that was causing me problems. It was actually the biggest thing that was causing my leg cramps at night. I still have some mild cramping, which I hope the new magnesium I’m on will eliminate.
DRUG MISHAP #2
I was still feeling dragged out even after my allergies had been eliminated, so I started to think there might also be a problem with my thyroid. At first I thought it was just the flu, but I decided to record my body temperature during the day, every 3 hours. It was averaging 36.6 Celsius when normal should be 37. I added one more BMR thyroid booster that my ND had told me awhile back that I could increase if needed. On the third day, the flu symptoms had subsided and I felt well again and my temperature was averaging 37.1 Celsius. On my next visit with my naturopath doctor, he confirmed that it most likely was the Prednisone that had been the cause of all the problems. The next time I was tested with the Prednisone in my hand, it definitely showed my body’s extreme weakness to it.
A hard lesson learned!
THYROID AND DIGESTION
Why can’t I digest my food? Why is my body not producing any more enzymes? It’s only in the past year that I started finding answers to these questions. My TSH & T4 are showing normal on my thyroid tests, but the T3 is rock bottom. My Google research led me to many helpful articles stating that low thyroid hormone leads to poor digestion, including low digestive enzymes and low dopamine levels. I was also surprised to learn that my high cholesterol could be caused by low T3 despite my eating very healthy. When thyroid hormone levels drop, the liver no longer functions properly and produces excess cholesterol. Hypothyroidism slows the ability to process cholesterol.
Amino acids are still working great for my sleep, my brain function and definitely for my dramatically better condition. If there are others out there that are not able to digest and synthesize protein especially, the test and compounded prescription is worth every penny towards recovering a half decent life again! I just cannot recommend this Natural treatment enough. It is a prescription, so your health insurance may cover it. Recent research has confirmed low Amino Acids in ME/CFS as they are being used up to provide Anaerobic energy.
About 15 years ago, I was still suffering terribly from a spinal injury that initiated my FM journey. Despite consultations with several neurologists and scans of the T3, T4, T5 area of my spine, nothing appeared to be abnormal. When they touched that area though, I’d hit the roof in pain. When visiting Cathedral City, California, I needed an adjustment and decided to see a chiropractor near where I was staying. I like to believe it was ‘Divine Intervention’ that led me to a chiropractor who gave me an adjustment that loosened that bad spot in my spine which I think had been pressing on a nerve. He also used ultrasound and microcurrent therapy to eliminate all the deep trigger points in my upper and lower back which neither massage therapy or physiotherapy had resolved. I was then able to move again normally with very little discomfort.
HOW DOES MICROCURRENT THERAPY WORK?
At the cellular level, this therapy stimulates a dramatic increase in ATP, the energy that fuels all biochemical functions in the body. It also bumps up protein synthesis, which is necessary for tissue repair. The ensuing enhancement in blood flow and decrease in inflammation translates into reduction in pain and muscle spasms, as well as increase range in motion.
TACKLING PAIN FLARE UPS
I can get a body wide flare up of pain if my spine is out of alignment, so a visit to my Chiropractor is essential to my wellbeing. Also, instead of increasing my prescription pain meds in a flare up, I add 2 more capsules of my natural arthritis supplement, which seems to break the cycle in its track.
It has been quite a journey living the last 21 years with this difficult illness and trying to deal with the countless symptoms.
Doing my own research and trying what I thought might help has paid off big time. I can’t thank my naturopath doctor enough for his excellent care and guidance throughout the years.
I sincerely hope that something I’ve shared in my story will be of some help to those who suffer from FM & ME/CFS, especially those who are too ill to be able to do the research themselves.
DON’T GIVE UP
Although we still lack a cure, there are many therapies available that can be combined together to give us a better quality of life. It’s heartwarming and encouraging to see new researchers extremely interested in tackling the baffling mysteries of our complex illnesses. We also remain so indebted to those first doctors who always stood by us and tried to help us in any way they could. Just believing us gave us hope. They are our true Heroes!