Back when I was in my 30’s, after having three beautiful children, the only health concerns I had were the unexplained pain and fatigue I was experiencing. It didn’t feel normal as all of my peers were still living hard, active lives doing a multitude of activities with their kids and not complaining of pain or fatigue. I thought it was my diet, lack of exercise, stress of being a mom of three, lazy, whatever-fill-in-the-blank reason I could think of. I tried everything from doctors’ tests, to diet, to exercise, to supplements, to anti-depressants, to find no relief and no answers. Funny how I had a friend back in ’96 tell me she had Fibromyalgia and I thought it was just a cop-out excuse for her wanting ailments, and I was experiencing the beginning stages of my road to deterioration. Those days of thinking are over! Who wants to be sick and tired all the time!
But it wasn’t until 2008 when another friend gave me a book about Fibromyalgia written by Dr. St. Amand that I had that AHA moment. I wasn’t just suffering from pain and fatigue! I was also suffering from a myriad of symptoms that he explained were all related to Fibromyalgia. I want to share with you my experiences with these symptoms and how they have slowly but steadily disappeared.
Fibromyalgia has this funny tendency to come and go, manifest in various annoying ways, and have no reasons for developing in the first place. I have heard a variety of suppositions as to what causes it: major traumatic events like pregnancy or car accidents; extreme amounts of stress; depression and weakness of mind; lack of motivation and exercise; poor health habits; apnea and not enough restful sleep; imagination and hypochondria; really???? Are these truly the reasons we are suffering? Do we really want to be sick and tired all the time? No, a resounding no!
Amazingly, Dr. St. Amand made perfect sense to me. I could feel the nodules on my body that he wrote about. I could feel them going away as I worked the protocol, even though I wasn’t perfect at it. My symptoms started to become debilitating, though, because of using fast acting guai and going on and off the protocol, so that’s when I contacted Becky Johnson to coach me on the protocol. I knew I needed her to guide me in following it correctly to get the results I was looking for. That was only found in the extended release guaifenesin, at the right dose for me, 1200mg twice a day.
So, what are these symptoms? Here’s a ‘brief’ summary:
*Affecting the Central Nervous System: fatigue, irritability, nervousness, depression, apathy, listlessness, impaired memory and concentration, anxieties and suicidal thoughts, insomnia and frequent awakening due to pain.
*Musculoskeletal Symptoms: pain and generalized morning stiffness arising from muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia of the shoulders, neck, entire back, hips, thighs, knees, ankles, feet, inner and outer elbows, wrists, fingers, and chest, also commonly affected are injured or old operative sites. Joint pains with or without swelling, redness and heat are frequent, including foot or calf cramps, numbness and
tingling of the face or extremities. “Growing Pains” as a child.
*Digestive Irritations: Often called leaky gut, spastic colon, mucous colitis or irritable bowl, symptoms include nausea in brief and repetitive waves, indigestion, gas, bloating, pain, cramps, constipation alternating with diarrhea and sometimes mucous stools.
*Genitourinary: Pungent urine, frequent urination, bladder spasms, burning urination with or without repeated bladder infections and interstitial cystitis, vulvar pain syndrome, vaginal spasms, irritation of the vaginal lips or opening, painful intercourse, mimicking a yeast infection but without the white discharge, intense PMS and uterine cramping, worsened Fibromyalgia symptoms at the onset of menstruation.
*Dermatological: Various rashes with or without itching, hives, red blotches, itchy bumps or blisters, eczema. Seborrheic or neurodermitis, rosacea, nails are often brittle and of poor quality, hair falls out prematurely, strange sensations common such as cold, heat, crawling itch, electric vibrations, prickling, super-sensitivity to touch, and flushing accompanied by sweating.
*The Infamous Ear, Nose, Throat: Headaches, migraines, dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, dry itchy eyes, blurred vision, nasal congestions, post-nasal drip, painful burning tongue, mouth and abnormal tastes, ringing in the ears or lower pitched sounds, ear and eyeball pain, sensitivity to light, sounds and odors.
*Extras: Weight gain, low grade fever, lowered immunity to infections, morning eyelid and hand swelling from fluid retention, restless leg.
*Hypoglycemia Syndrome: Sugar craving with tremors, sweating, anxiety, panic attacks, heart pounding, faintness, and frontal headaches.
Wow, what a list! And yes, I suffered from most of these, much since childhood, and some as Fibromyalgia progressed over time. Now most symptoms are now cleared since starting the protocol training with Becky in 2015. What I have discovered is that the symptoms I have had since childhood are still present to some degree, but the symptoms that I developed over the last 5-10 years have disappeared.
Have you read his book? Here is a link to it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/What-Your-Doctor-About-Fibromyalgia/dp/B001Q3M66G
I hope you experience relief from your symptoms soon. If you have any questions, call Becky at
719.351.7066 and come to her support groups every second Saturday and fourth Monday of each month. You can find out more by visiting our Calendar page:
We have often heard doctors, professionals, friends and family tell us all the benefits of exercise. Benefits that we simply don’t seem to experience due to Fibromyalgia. We are told we are supposed to feel better, get stronger, think more clearly, enrich our moods, lose weight, increase metabolism, the list goes on. What we end up discovering is that we feel more tired, don’t seem to get improvements on strength or endurance, we get injured easily, we struggle to lose weight, and what metabolism?
Why the struggles? Why are we not improving? Do we not get serotonin and endorphins after exercise like everyone else? Do our muscles not strengthen, are we not working hard enough? Are we doing something wrong? I will offer you three challenges to help you get back on track to helpful exercise that are appropriate for patients with Fibromyalgia.
One of the first things I noticed about exercise, and you probably did too…. we need sufficient amounts of energy to exercise to get the benefits of the activities. Without the energy output, our bodies will not gain or benefit from exercise, or work hard enough for gain or benefits.
So, how do we get energy? ATP(Adenosine Triphosphate) production is key. The body uses the food we eat to create ATP, but if the body is not utilizing food efficiently, ATP will not be produced at the right amounts.
( See article on ATP production)
One of the ATP inhibitors is glucose irregularity. If the body is unable to utilize glucose effectively, ATP production slows down. Too much sugar in our diet can create glucose irregularity if our body is not able to handle it, thus slowing down ATP production. This is true for both Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia, conditions that are caused by the body’s inability to process sugar.
(Affects of Hypoglycemia) (Affects of Hyperglycemia)
Since ATP is dependent on oxygen, you will feel winded walking across the room or climbing a few stairs if you are not utilizing glucose efficiently. This could be a sign of Hypoglycemia. Feeling weak can be a sign of Hyperglycemia, which also interrupts the body’s regulation of glucose. Studies have shown that many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from Hypo- or Hyperglycemia, which is not to say those conditions are the cause of our fatigue, but are really symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Therefore, Dr. St. Amand suggests all patients start off with following the Hypoglycemia Diet for Fibromyalgia for about a month to three months, to see if energy production improves. Protein helps the body to regulate glucose levels more effectively and enables the body to produce energy more effectively. Whether you are experiencing symptoms of Hyperglycemia or Hypoglycemia, limit your intake of sugar if you want to see your energy increase.
As for me, I can attest to the fact that I feel my best when I avoid sugar, increase my protein, and avoid grains altogether. The diet for Fibromyalgia does not eliminate grains, but does limit it to whole grains and a small serving daily. Your first challenge is to follow this diet for the first three months and note any changes or improvements that occur. You can find more information on the diet following this link: http://www.fibromyalgiatreatment.com/hypoglycemia.html
Your next challenge is to gradually increase your exercise routine. It is common and normal for Fibromyalgia patients to struggle with exercise. If we do too much, it causes setbacks. That is why it is so important to start slowly and increase activity as your body allows. Beneficial exercises include Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, and other essentric-type activities where you are strengthening muscles at the same time and stretching and lengthening them. My personal favorite routines are led by Miranda Esmonde White and her platform, Classical Stretch. http://classicalstretch.com/
She believes pain is not an indicator that you are doing something right, (no pain no gain fallacy) but that it’s an indicator that you should back off. Starting off with 5 minutes a day is a great way to build up routine, strengthen posture and increase energy. As you gain mobility over time you can increase your activity by 5 minute increments. Remember, if you do too much at once, you might get an injury that will set you back a few weeks or more. I’ve done that many times before and I do not recommend too much exercise. I appreciate her coaching as it helps to encourage me to take it easy when I need to.
The last challenge: following the protocol will help improve your ability to move, exercise and do the activities you loved before Fibromyalgia made it difficult for you. We are here to help you, support you in times of challenges that come up, questions and answers, discouragement over symptoms, and encourage you to keep moving forward. Read through our website for more answers about the protocol (Guaifenesin Protocol), send Becky an email with any questions you may have (Contact Becky Johnson), and join any one of these groups on Facebook for support and knowledge:
Exercise doesn’t have to be a daunting experience, it can be managed well for Fibromyalgia patients, and you can have your life back. Accept the challenges: adhearing to the Hypoglycemic Diet for Fibromyalgia, gradual Essentric exercises, and following the Guaifenesin Protocol. Your experiences with pain and fatigue are real, and we are here to help encourage you on your road to recovery.
I want to take a minute to introduce myself: Deanne Garman, long time sufferer of fibromyalgia, (childhood) short time recoveree on the guaifenesin protocol (2 years). I have known Becky for about 9 years, and I was struggling with the protocol by myself. About 2 years ago, I asked Becky to help coach me with the protocol. Recently, she has asked me to write some blog entries for her on her site, and this was the first subject she asked me to address. How do we respond to support or lack thereof from our spouses or significant friends and family? Why don't they understand? What can we do if we feel alone in this?
When dealing with any disease, the people in your life who love and support you are there for you as best they can. Sometimes, support comes from encouragement, being there, a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes, it comes with awkwardness, not knowing what to say or do. This is especially true with a debilitating disease that leads to unwanted circumstances and learning how to say goodbye to someone before their time.
But in the case of Fibromyalgia, what we often face is: “Did the doctor give you anything for it?”, “ Oh wow, ya, I have a lot of pain, too.”, or my favorite, “This is what I do for my pain, it really helps.”
It’s not that I don’t appreciate their attempts at trying to understand or help, it’s just that I am following a protocol for Fibromyalgia that is not as well-known as say, herbs, or medication. I have experienced great results at reversing my symptoms, and I want everyone to know! It’s not a pain killer, it’s not a psychiatric drug, it’s a new way of thinking and a new way to live out my life.
Getting support for this from significant people in my life is a great challenge. I have come to the conclusion that people generally do not understand because they are not living my life, and I am okay with that. I don’t talk too much about my Fibromyalgia, only except to tell them about Guaifenesin, and have realized that I don’t need to talk about it, dump or unload my problems or issues with life, because I’m living my life again! Yay!
In my previous marriage, I was not supported, was blamed for not getting better, and abandoned. I really don’t need to get into details about how difficult this made things emotionally, but when that relationship ended, I found myself free from the blame and indignation that I faced. It was ultimately a good thing, as it led to me meeting my current husband, Dwyane, and my recovery has improved much since then.
Dwyane is a completely amazing person. He found out I was not supposed to eat lots of sugar, he immediately worked on a menu for me. He makes sure that I remember to take my Guaifenesin. He tries to help me out in any way he can. He tells me lots of good and positive things and tries to make each day fun. He is understanding when I have my flare-ups, and steps in to help me whenever I am too weak to do things myself. He listens if I complain, and he never blames me nor expects me to do more than I should. It truly is a great help to have someone be here for me. But I don't completely rely on him for support. I must rely heavily on myself first.
Regardless of what kind of support we receive, it is very important come up with our own understanding of how to handle the disappointments and joys of living with Fibromyalgia. Not everyone is going to understand and help. Not everyone is going to reject or abandon. So here are three things to start off with that we can do whether we have the support we need or not:
Have a beautiful day and wonderful week!
When I first started the protocol, I was unaware that what I really needed to do was to follow a special diet as well. I had followed many diets over my lifetime unaware of how badly sugar and starches overlapped my symptoms of fibromyalgia. Although many of my symptoms started improving when I started the guaifenesin, I still was not functioning as well as I could had I started this diet from the very beginning. Sure, I would feel pretty good, at first, but then I would fluctuate from well to worse. It wasn’t until it was made clear to me the importance of the hypoglycemic diet that I started working on avoiding those high sugar foods and starches, and then consistently started feeling better again. In my case, I do have to follow the diet strictly, otherwise, I will feel symptoms of illness, such as a headache, dizziness or drowsines...then I would have disturbed sleep that night. This proves to be a challenge, not only to give up many treats that I love, but to remember the details of the diet.
I have made up a list of helpful tips that I learned through the process, either from Dr. St. Amand's website, various other sites and then my personal experience. These ideas have helped me to stay on track. I hope that you find this helpful as well. You will want to keep a thorough journal, notice how you feel emotionally and physically, and work through each day to the best of your ability. If you get off track, just begin again. I plan to have some webinars that you can jump onto. Look for upcoming events. Most cravings can be resolved by eating cheese, which has fat and sodium, and can be very filling. When this doesn’t work out for you, you may try these ideas:
1) Find a high fat treat that you can enjoy and still maintain the diet. Favorites are: cheese, bacon, hard boiled eggs, salami and other dried meats (look for added sugar), decaf coffee with cream, whole grain toast and butter, tuna and sugarless mayonnaise (perhaps homemade), nuts and nut butter (almond or tahini are great, but in small amounts like a teaspoonful, add unsweetened coconut chips or flour, unsweetened carob powder, and make nutbutter balls!)
2) Download a copy of the diet to have on your smartphone so that you always have it available to refer to. Go to http://www.fibromyalgiatreatment.com/hypoglycemia.html to find a copy to download.
3) Eat regularly and often, many small meals and snacks in the day, about every 2-3 hours. This way you are sure to keep your blood sugar from going too high or too low, and your brain functioning at its best. You will be able to extend those times later.
4) Drink plenty of water. Sometimes we confuse hunger with thirst, and after drinking about 8oz of water, your hunger may subside. Wait about 5 minutes, then if you still feel hungry, grab a low-carb high-protein snack.
5) Check online for meals to prepare that are high protein. Keep the list of foods that we can eat handy. I will be posting some of my favorite finds that I hope will make your life a little easier.
6) Create and pack quick convenience snacks that are always ready on the go, such as baggies of cut veggies, small containers with cottage cheese and fresh fruit, leftover meatballs or meat loaf, canned tuna and salmon, cut cheese cubes and salami slices, hard boiled eggs, you get the picture. This will help alleviate the pressure and frustration you may feel if you waited too long to eat, just open up the fridge, and voila, there’s a quick snack ready and available for you to enjoy.
7) If you are really in love with potatoes, then finding a good substitute that doesn’t make you feel like you are missing out on something can really help. Baked kale chips made with oil, salt and pepper, mashed cooked cauliflower with feta cheese, butter and salt and pepper, cooked and mashed Jerusalem artichokes with all of your favorite add-ons, and have you ever tried dried seaweed???? Yum! :)
8) Instantly feel good! Sprinkle Bragg Nutritional Yeast on Everything! This yellowy, buttery powder adds B-vitamins, zinc and selenium, a sure-fire way to get rid of the blues and blahs.
9) Pasta lovers, fret no more! Use cooked veggies for your sauces. You have heard of spaghetti squash, but you can also use greens like broccoli or spinach, smother them with your favorite homemade cheese sauce made with milk and butter (no flour or starches) or fancy marinara sauces with meats and spices.
10) Restaurants can be really challenging! Most will accommodate any need you may have. Be prepared to give them the list of forbidden ingredients on a small sheet of paper. They can check, list in hand. You don’t just have to eat salads anymore, but you can substitute veggies for pastas and potatoes, ask for grilled meats with no sugary glazes, and order sandwiches or burgers with sourdough bread (not the sugar-added Hawaiian sourdough though) or have it wrapped in lettuce. Take that food list with you wherever you go! My friend Deanne's favorite Asian grill is HuHots, they have all ingredients separated for you to choose from for them to grill, and specify which sauces have sugar for you to avoid, and all happen to be gluten free!
11) Always plan ahead if you are meeting friends out for meals. Take the time to know the menu of the place you will meet, and don’t be shy to bring your diet friendly healthy snacks with you wherever you go. Having a stock of to-go snacks in your purse or backpack will be helpful during those moments you run out of time to stop somewhere to eat, too.
12) Take a brisk walk and do deep breathing exercises. I thought I would add something non-food related. It is actually a fact that exercise staves off the false hunger pangs and boosts energy. In the case of fibromyalgia, we certainly do not want to overdo it, however, even a small amount of aerobic exercise, can build your ATP production. Getting out into fresh air and sunshine are also great pick-me-ups that cannot be substituted. Get outside and enjoy the day!
As always, if you need any support or help in following the protocol and the hypoglycemic diet, please contact me and I will do my best to help you out! Look for and sign up for my upcoming webinars. Email me in the mean time.
Fibromyalgia is one of those conditions that doctors and patients avoid diagnosing too quickly. They run a battery of tests to rule out other factors contributing to the pain and fatigue that patients experience. Then at the end of months of trying to find answers, regretfully the doctors will determine their patients have fibromyalgia. The problem in their minds is that there are no cures, no solutions, only medication to throw at the problem, never improving the symptoms or the patients’ lives.
My journey with fibromyalgia was very similar to this. I didn’t want to agree that I had it, and I attempted to do everything possible to change it. But what I didn’t realize is that there was a way to change it, just not the way I thought.
My doctor was very aware of the protocol and tested me for fibromyalgia in a very peculiar way, running his hands down my arms, legs, and shoulders, and drawing marks on a diagram of a body. He concluded right away that I had fibromyalgia and showed me the step to following the protocol. Eventually I did see things clearly, and followed the protocol, but it did take me awhile to agree to it.
So you are wondering how to know that you have fibromyalgia. Recently, Dr. Congdon and Dr. St. Amand decided to clarify the description of fibromyalgia so that patients would know that this is what they have: unexplained pain and unrefreshed rest.
Yes, it’s that simple.
No need for a battery of tests. If you are waking up unrefreshed, and/or you have pain that comes and goes, unexplainable, then you can conclude that you have fibromyalgia. These are the two most prominent symptoms of fibromyalgia, but there are so many more. I have a document of symptoms that you can download yourself and go through, circling the symptoms that you experience and see for yourself.
Since the kidney is the primary function that determines whether or not your body can eliminate excess phosphates, then if it is not functioning properly, your body’s cells will deposit the excess phosphates in other parts of the body, causing the undue stress on normal bodily functions, including the nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, and ATP/muscle memory. All of these functions can gradually improve following the protocol.
If you have any questions about following the protocol for fibromyalgia, please do not hesitate to call me or email me. I am here to help!
Welcome to Fibro180! On this website I hope to offer you the support, information, and details on reversing your symptoms of fibromyalgia and getting your life back. Just like a 180 degree turn, the Guaifenesin Protocol will help you to turn your life around from the pain and fatigue you are experiencing, to a life of freedom and relief. I discovered the guaifenesin protocol through a local doctor, and have been clearing my symptoms ever since.....with a few setbacks that I will blog about. I have felt the calling to get get the word out.
The amazing thing is that there are no known side effects for using guaifenesin, and when working the protocol correctly, many patients are finding great relief of their symptoms. There are hundreds of ways of doing this protocol wrong, but only one way to do it right. I'm here to help patients and healthcare providers alike to understand the right way.
You may have noticed the purple butterfly on our site and I want to share with you its meaning. It was chosen by the Fibromyalgia community, along with the purple ribbon, as a symbol of awareness of the impact of Fibromyalgia on the lives of many sufferers. The slightest touch, such as the stroke of the wings of a butterfly, can cause pain. What I have found, though, while being on the protocol, is that my body has gone through a type of metamorphosis, where my pain and fatigue has subsided, and my other symptoms have gone away, and I am a new me, broken free from a chrysalis of pain. To me, the purple butterfly represents the freedom I now have to live and enjoy life.
Currently, I have pages describing what fibromyalgia and the protocol are, answering frequently asked questions, and providing local resources. As time goes on, I will continue to add to the list of guaifenesin protocol friendly healthcare providers and products safe to use. If you know of a provider that would be interested in learning more, have them contact me.
Look around the website. Email me if you would like more information on our meetings, help on understanding the protocol, or just need someone to support you through this journey.