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.