Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Friday, May 27, 2011

28-day Cleanse: Day 12

I am so sick of berry-flavored protein shakes that I can barely gag it down any more. It doesn't taste bad, but it doesn't taste great either. No matter what I mix it with - almond milk, fruit juice, bananas, berries, peaches - it still tastes the same! Three shakes a day, same chalky flavor, same gritty consistency. Between that and the 90 ounces of water (I never seem to be able to drink quite that much) I'm running to the bathroom all day long. And the worse part is that I don't feel any different nor have I lost any weight - with nothing but protein shakes, fruits and veggies for the past week. My dinner tonight was steamed broccoli and cauliflower and of course, a berry-flavored protein shake. Ugh!

My family is downstairs eating Chinese take-out, but I couldn't trust myself around steamed dumplings and boneless spareribs. So, I'm upstairs writing this stupid blog instead. Okay, it's not a stupid blog, but come on - pork fried rice in the house while I'm eating steamed rabbit food? It's torture. At least tomorrow night I'm going to a graduation party hosted by my friend who's a vegan. I should be able to find something to eat and not feel like the leper at a royal banquet. Tomorrow is my last day on shakes, fruit and veggies only. Maybe I won't be so cranky when I can start adding whole food categories back into my diet. And let's hope this cleanse is doing it's job of detoxing my system. After all, that's why I'm putting myself through this berry-flavored torture in the first place!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Health Alert from Johns Hopkins: Exercise Helps Fibromyalgia and Depresssion

My friend shared this with me, so I'm passing it on to all of you. It's no surprise that exercise helps both with fibromyalgia pain and with depression. Read on for more information:

Johns Hopkins Health Alerts

Treating Fibromyalgia Syndrome with Exercise
Getting up and moving is one of the keys to improving fibromyalgia syndrome. A lack of physical activity worsens symptoms because unconditioned muscles are more sensitive to pain. In addition, being sedentary often saps people of energy and can compromise their overall health.

* This Health Alert was mailed to people who signed up for our Arthritis Health Alert. If you would like to receive your own free Johns Hopkins Arthritis Health Alerts, go to this link and follow the directions.


Move Your Way to a Better Mood
The last thing you might feel motivated to do when you're depressed is to run around the park or head to the gym for a workout. But research has repeatedly shown that exercise has significant mood-boosting effects in those suffering from depression and can be an important part of treatment.

* This Health Alert was mailed to people who signed up for our Depression and Anxiety Health Alert. If you would like to receive your own free Johns Hopkins Depression and Anxiety Health Alerts, go to
this link and follow the directions.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"The Faces of Fibromyalgia" Initiative

Lynne Matallana
National Fibromyalgia Association
In honor of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, the National Fibromyalgia Association launched a new educational initiative in collaboration with the American Pain Foundation (APF), called "The Faces of Fibromyalgia." They conducted a survey in March of people living with diagnosed or undiagnosed fibromyalgia or another chronic pain conditions, which revealed the significant impact of pain on daily activities including work, personal relationships and pivotal life decisions. More than 3,000 people participated in the survey of which 2,559 have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Almost 9 in 10 feel they are no longer the person they were before they started living with chronic pain

Here are the words of Lynne Matallana, President & Founder National Fibromyalgia Association:
While we have come a long way since the NFA was founded in 1997, these results show that we still have a long way to go in improving the quality of life for those suffering from fibromyalgia.

I am one of the spokespeople for the "The Faces of Fibromyalgia" initiative and will be participating in media interviews today and in the coming weeks to help increase the understanding of fibromyalgia. 

The survey, which highlights the effect of pain on those living with diagnosed or undiagnosed fibromyalgia or another chronic pain condition, was developed through a collaboration among the NFA, APF and Pfizer Inc. You can see the complete survey results and tips for living with fibromyalgia at Note: is a Pfizer-sponsored, unbranded educational site.

Don't forget to check out our website to access a wide array of fibromyalgia resources, programs and support. Also, remember to work with your healthcare provider to find a management plan that works for you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

28-day Cleanse: Day 1

Body mass index. Graphics is made language ind...Image via Wikipedia
Body Mass Index Chart

After Dr. Rothfeld put me on a low starch diet, he suggested that I meet with Dr. Sarika Arora at the Rothfeld Center. I met with her today and she put me on a 28-day cleanse with even more restrictions - no dairy, meat or soy. I also have to drink half my body weght in water from a PBA-free bottle (no more Poland Spring Water bottles). Without revealing the actual number, let's just say that half my body weight is a lot of water every day!!!

Dr. Arora started with a Bioimpedance Anaysis (BIA) which measured "body composition" including body mass index (BMI), the integrity of muscle cell walls and the amount of water in my cells (you want more water in muscle cells compared to fat cells). The procedure was easy and painless. The analyzer uses an imperceptible electric current through pads stuck onto my hands and feet. A software program translates the data into real numbers which are compared to standards based on my age.

Dr. Arora's recommendation was based on my elevated CRP levels, which indicate inflammation in my system; my high blood sugar and triglycerides; being overweight; as well as my symptoms of sleep disturbances, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain (oh, my aching knees!). I need to detoxify my system, support my liver and eliminate any foods that trigger any kind of sensitivity (like dairy and wheat).

The program I'm following is from Metagenics and includes a "medical food" called UltraClear Plus, which is a berry-flavored powder I mix in water. The UltraClear Plus provides protein and multi-vitamins. A patient guide booklet gives step-by-step instructions and recipes - very important! The cleanse is comprised of three stages:
  • Step 1 (days 1-6) is the initial clearing. Potentially allergenic foods are eliminated and the amount of UltraClear Plus is gradually increased
  • Step 2 (days 7-13) is the detoxification. Select number of low-allergy foods with three servings a day of the medical food, UltraClear Plus.
  • Step 3 (days 14-28) is the reintroduction phase. Foods previously eliminated are slowly reintroduced to the diet.
This is only the first day, so I have no idea of how this will go. Some people have headaches, muscle aches and/or problems eliminating (if you know what I mean) as the body starts to detox and/or withdraw from caffeine or sugar. I'll keep you posted as I go through the detox stages.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, May 12, 2011

It's Fibromyalgia Awareness Day!

I am joining with my fellow bloggers on Bloggers Unite to promote Fibromyalgia Awareness Day today, May 12th:

National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day aims to increase awareness of FM and provide support to those coping with the illness.
May 12 is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, a time to increase awareness of this chronic and life-altering disorder by educating the general public, healthcare professionals, government officials, and legislative bodies.

About Fibromyalgia:
Fibromyalgia syndrome affects the muscles and soft tissue. Fibromyalgia symptoms include chronic pain in the muscles, fatigue, sleep problems, and painful tender points or trigger points at certain parts of the body. Fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms can be sometimes be relieved or eased through medications, lifestyle changes, stress management, and other fibromyalgia treatment.

A Fibromyalgia Conference in My Hometown (O.P., KS) this Weekend:

Register for Conference 

Just a reminder - the 11th Annual Fibro and CFS Conference is this week! It is time to sign up if you haven't done so already.

This is your rare opportunity! This Fibromyalgia Coalition Conference is like no other. We have the combined clinical experience of six Fibromyalgia/CFS experts (two who have recovered from fibro and fatigue) to create a conference that is unique.

Speakers include Doctors Gloria Gilbère, Steven Hines, Jane Murray, Nancy Russell, Alain Salas and Lori Blankinship.

Suffer In Silence No More is designed to bring you the latest research
information and treatment options. For further details, a list of topics that will be covered, and how this life-changing conference can help you, click here.
 Top Five Reasons to Attend FCI's 11th Annual Conference

1. You're sick and tired of being sick and tired.
2. You want to better understand the root cause of chronic illness.
3. After receiving a diagnosis you wonder, "Now what?"
4. You're looking for information on how to rebuild your health.
5. You're looking for information to help a patient, friend, or loved one deal with chronic illness.

Don't miss this exciting conference packed with great speakers and life changing information! Register NOW  to assure your seating at this exciting event! 

Comments from Previous FCI Conference Attendees
"This conference was amazing! I learn something new every year. Thank you for all your hard work." ~ Connie P.

"Thanks so much for the conference and access to all the information provided through speakers and sponsors. I truly appreciate all the support, kindness, and willingness to share. I also appreciate all the time, work and effort of your organization. God's blessings!" ~ Loleta D. 

"I learned more here [at the confrence] than from my doctor or the Mayo Clinic.... I want to bring my son and daughter next time. Thank you somuch for all the information!" ~ Judith S.  

We hope to see you there!
Yvonne Keeny 
FCI Founder & Executive Director
P.S. Remember - as a former FM/CFS sufferer I can assure you there is hope of feeling well again. Do whatever you have to do - just be at this conference!

Click here for more information or call 913-384-HOPE (4673)

Partial and full scholarship are available to those who qualify.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day May 12, 2011

The Walk to Cure FM: National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2011

CURE FMCampaign for Understanding, Research, and Education of FM.

Every May 12 is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Traditionally it has been sponsored by the National Fibromyalgia Association:
Since its inception in 1997, the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) has been the organization leading the call for increased recognition of fibromyalgia. In honor of National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day commemorated each May 12th, the NFA has staged groundbreaking national and international events in an effort to increase awareness of chronic pain illnesses including fibromyalgia. Awareness Day seeks to help patients and organizations educate the general public, healthcare professionals, government officials, and legislative bodies.
 However, with the shake-up between two national Fibromyalgia organizations the campaign has been taken over by National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association:
For 2011, the NFA is proud to support the Awareness Day campaign efforts of the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association. Their inaugural theme is ‘WALK TO CURE FM.” For more information on how you may get involved, please visit their website at

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mindfulness Matters: Dr. Ellen J. Langer

Dr. Ellen Langer signs copies
of her new book, Counterclockwise
I was told that Dr. Ellen Langer was a powerful speaker, and she didn't disappoint. She was dynamic, funny and engaging. She didn't stand behind the podium and lecture at the audience. Dr. Langer paced back and forth on the stage, regaling us with anecdotes and examples from her lifetime's study of the positive and measurable effect of mindfulness on one's health, happiness and longevity. In fact, Dr. Langer is so dynamic that her life will be portrayed by Jennifer Anniston in an upcoming Hollywood movie! Her study on the effect of mindfulness on elderly men back in the 1980's and the subject of her new book, Counterclockwise, is being made into a BBC television series. Not to mention that her artwork has been accepted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dr. Langer's presentation was part of the 10th Anniversary Celebration for The Healing Garden, a peaceful place offering integrative therapies for women with breast cancer in Harvard, MA. My friend, a breast cancer survivor and volunteer at The Healing Garden, said that the minute she walks through the door she is transformed. I haven't been there, but I plan to go this spring to see for myself.

Mindful Health and The Power of Possibility:
Ellen J. Langer, PhD., Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Dr. Langer's studies have shown that living in a mindful way actually improves health and well-being. In a nursing home study, residents given a plant to take care of were actually more cheerful, active, alert and healthier than their counterparts. A year and a half later, less than half as many of the residents who took care of the plant had died than those in the control group. The study outlined in Langer's new book, Counterclockwise, showed that elderly men who lived as if it were twenty years earlier had improved vision, improved hearing, improved grip and looked noticeably younger than the control group.

Mindfulness is an active state of mind characterized by novel distinction.

The Psychology of Possibility is what might be rather than a description of what is.

Mindfulness made easy: all you have to do is notice new things - that's it! Noticing things puts you in the present moment. The more you notice, the more you  like something because you are fully engaged. Active noticing is literally enlivening because the neurons are firing. Even if you are unsuccessful, the journey itself is good for your health and well-being because it makes you feel engaged.

I was a little anxious this morning so I decided to notice five things on my way to QiGong class and it did lessen the anxiety. Here are the things I noticed:
  • there were more parking spots than usual - I didn't have to park all the way on the top level
  • birds were chirping - it sounded like Spring
  • the lilacs had blossomed - a beautiful lavender color.
  • less gas, more mileage: when an elderly student asked the QiGong instructor what to take for high blood pressure, he said "nothing." It's about energy (chi) and water. Drink just water one day a week.
  • root stress to the earth: if you stand rooted to the ground with strength in your legs, all the stress will flow out of your neck and shoulders and go into the earth.
Mindlessness keeps you caught in the past, insensitive to context, trapped in a single perspective and governed by routine. Social conventions and conventional wisdom were decisions someone made at a certain point in time that may or may not be relevant for your life today. For instance, someone in the medical community decided that cancer that has been in remission is suddenly cured after five years.Who says that the patients weren't cured all along? Dr. Langer said that women who lived as if they were cured were happier and healthier than those who considered their cancer in remission. Same thing for "chronic" versus "acute." Nothing stays the same, so make use of variability. Dr. Langer gave the example of having a cold, getting better and then catching another cold. It doesn't mean that the first cold has come back, but instead it is a new round of cold symptoms. Applying this concept to my life: if the fibromyalgia symptoms are gone and then comes back, that doesn't mean it's chronic. It's just a new round of fibromyalgia symptoms. Becoming our diseases is not in our best interest.

One plus one isn't always two - if you add a wad of chewing gum to another wad of chewing gum you get one bigger wad. To prevent mindlessness, learn conditionally. What may be true in a certain context might not always be true. Mindfulness is visible in the products of our labor: art, music and the written word. People actually prefer music played mindfully or artwork created with intention.

The Eye Chart: The conventional eye chart has letters going from larger to smaller, which implies that soon you will not be able to see. Dr. Langer reversed the eye chart with letters going from smaller to larger, creating the assumption that soon you can see.  Subjects vision actually improved with the new eye chart!

Great Quotes from Dr. Ellen Langer:
  • We mindlessly accept what we're told. We're taught in an absolute way.
  • When you're mindless, you're not there to know you're not there.
  • Mindfulness is energy begetting not fatiguing.
  • No matter what we're doing, we're doing it either mindlessly or mindfully
  • Most suffering is an direct or indirect result of mindlessness
  • Mindfully created pieces are more fun to create and preferred by others.
  • Mistakes make things we're doing more interesting
  • Mindfulness is no cost with no side effects
  • Behavior makes sense from the actor’s perspective or else he wouldn’t have done it, which leads us to be less evaluative of others and ourselves
  • Put the mind and body back together
  • Solutions are usually right in front of us but we have to look for them.
  • If it doesn't work for you, change it!
  • If we remove our negative mindsets regarding health and presumed limits we may create all sorts of possibilities for ourselves.
For more information about Dr. Ellen Langer and her work check these out: