Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Au naturale: A health initiative


Take a quick gander at this blog, and it'll be no mystery that I created it to talk about fashion and beauty.  However, every now and then, I like to get a little bit more personal.  Today is one of those days.

I've discussed my struggles with fibromyalgia before, and I'm just one of millions who deal with the illness.  This year marks a decade that I've been officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and I am still as perplexed by it as I was as 13 year-old girl.  It's a complex syndrome, and although new research is starting to give a little insight into it, there's still so little solid knowledge that the medical community has about fibromyalgia.

Despite the lack of any foundational knowledge concerning what causes fibromyalgia and its multitude of symptoms, I have tried just about every possible medicine that is thought to alleviate the pain and discomfort that has become so much a part of my daily life.  In fact, it has been so long since I haven't been on any kind of medicines to "treat" fibromyalgia that I have truly forgotten what it's like to be medicine free.  Yet, none of the medicines I've taken over the years have made me pain free.

This led me to a very important decision: the decision to go medicine free.  Why should I continue experimenting with all different kinds of drugs and treatment plans when I've never really felt like I got a significant amount of benefit from any of the medicines?  Why not try to go about dealing with this illness au naturale, so to speak?  After discussing this with my doctor (a lovely lady who I started seeing last fall after my marriage and move to my current residence), we both decided that it was worth laying off the meds to see what would really happen if I stopped using prescription medicines to treat my fibromyalgia.

After steadily decreasing my dose, Sunday was my first day med free.  Let me be honest - it hasn't been fun (hence my recent absence on my blog).  I've been dealing with vertigo, nausea, dizzy spells, and all sorts of crazy detox experiences.  My doctor warned me that during the time my body was adjusting to being med free and expelling all the remnants of meds that I would be quite uncomfortable, and she didn't lie.

But that got me to thinking...why does something that is supposed to make me feel better make me feel so awful the minute I don't have it in my body?  It seems that my body became so accustomed to having foreign substances put into it that it's not sure how to function without those substances.  I feel out of sync, so to speak.

Despite feeling rather miserable as a result of these detoxing experiences, I am only further reassured that I made the right choice.  Before I ever try another supposed fibromyalgia miracle drug, I really want to give a dedicated go at approaching treatment more naturally and holistically.  I want to put things into my body that I am absolutely positive are good for me and will not cause any harm or have potential risky side effects.  I am going to put only the best things into my body and care for it in the best way possible - no more excuses.  It's time to see if I can do what medicine could not.

So why am I sharing this?  I must admit, I have a couple of agendas.  First off, if you suffer from fibromyalgia or a similar illness, I want you to know that you are not alone.  Fibromyalgia can often feel like a lonely illness because you believe that no one truly knows or understands the pain you are experiencing.  Let me just tell you that I understand, and you are not alone.  Second of all, maybe you've struggled with the same issues with prescription medicine as I have.  Maybe you've tried pill after pill and nothing works.  Maybe you have a doctor that doesn't understand the illness and is unable to treat it properly.  I've been there too, and I would encourage you to, first of all, find a new doctor who is patient and willing to work with you and who you can explore natural alternatives with.  Finding the right treatment plan of action is often difficult (just look at's been 10 years), but I am confident that there is a plan out there for everyone, and with a little patience and a lot of diligence, everyone can find something that works for them.

Whether you have fibromyalgia or not, there are things that we all can do to take care of our bodies and provide it with the things it needs.  Here are some of the things I am going to commit myself to as I try to develop a treatment plan that works for me...

being healthy

1. Drink more water.  Keeping hydrated is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to feel good.
2. Take vitamins DAILY.  I'm notorious for being on and off with my vitamin regimen.  I used to blame it on the fact that I already had to take so many pills that I didn't want to take any more, but this is no longer a valid excuse.
3. Eat a well balanced breakfast.  It's the most important meal of the day, but with all the easy meal options, it's often neglected.
4. Take my dogs on more walks.  They deserve it, and it will get my blood flowing.
5. Stick to a fitness regimen - take full advantage of that gym membership!  No more slacking!
6. Get more sleep.  I'm a night owl by nature, but I think it's important for my internal clock that I start going to bed earlier.
7. Take more Epsom salt baths.  This may seem out of place, but Epsom salt is full of magnesium, which is the only mineral that can be absorbed through the skin, and it's great for soothing sore muscles.
8. Eat less sweets.  I have such a sweet tooth, especially for ice cream, but cutting back on sugar can do great things for the body.
9. Eat more antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies.  I already love all kinds of f&v's, so this isn't too hard, but you can never have too much.
10. Practice yoga and stretching more regularly.  It's great for the body and the mind.

If these things sound overly simplified, that's because they are.  Simple steps means there is no reason I [or you] can't do them.  You have to start somewhere, and sometimes the first step is the biggest step - it gets you going.

I'd love if you'd join me as I try to improve my health!  If you're up for the challenge, comment below and let me know!  Let's keep each other accountable.  :)

3 inclinations:

Jenni @ Engineered Style said...[Reply to comment]

Thanks for such an informative post, Jessica. I have been thinking for awhile that I also wanted to improve my health, so I'll have to come up with my own list as well! I've been using the excuse that I am now driving over an hour each way to work, but let's face it--that's not going to change for awhile, so I need to adapt!

Just Daisy said...[Reply to comment]

I think it was very courageous of you to share your struggle with your illness and I wish you the best of luck!

I am also on my own healthy choice journey, I've been doing pretty well except I keep slacking on vitamins & exercise. I think we can both support each other at this goal :)

With love,

Jessica Marie said...[Reply to comment]

@Just Daisy Definitely! Having people support you and keep you accountable is so important when you're trying to commit to a goal!

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