Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year

I really do hope that everyone had a blessed 2009 and I wish only the best for everyone in 2010.
This past year has had it's ups & downs for me, but I'm still here.
I have grown in so many ways and have finally accepted that I am a new person physically due to my fibromyalgia, so I've kind of been able to get a "new beginning" as the "new" Sara. I'm still the same on the inside, and if you look at me, I still look the same on the outside. I am the only one who really knows my physical capabilities although you still may not notice.
I am so grateful for my family & friends, both old & new, and look forward to the new friendships to come.
I wish you all health, happiness, peace, love, joy, financial stability, tolerance, laughter, I could go on & on....
Big HUGS to all of you ♥

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fibromyalgia Awareness 5

Here is a video made by one of my fibro friends, Catherine

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Infection as One Possible Cause of Fibromyalgia

Infection as One Possible Cause of Fibromyalgia

by Dr. Mark J Pellegrino, MD
October 4, 2009

Excerpted from Chapter 10 of Dr. Pellegrino’s very popular book, Fibromyalgia: Up Close and Personal.* Dr. Pellegrino has seen more than 20,000 FM patients in his practice at the Ohio Rehab Center, and has been a fibromyalgia patient himself since childhood. Though Dr. Pellegrino published these observations before discovery of the XMRV virus, the questions they raise are if anything more relevant today.

All of us involved with Fibromyalgia, either by treating it or having it, have come to appreciate how complicated this condition is.

Fibromyalgia has different types and subsets.(1) More than one factor may be involved in causing it. Causes may be recognized, but the exact mechanism of how Fibromyalgia develops from this cause is not fully known. Most importantly, there is more than one way to get Fibromyalgia; it is an “end point” condition with multiple ways leading to it.

I have compiled a list of probable causes of fibromyalgia. This list is based on my experiences and understanding of the current literature. My opinions on these probable causes may not be shared by everyone. My list of probable causes is as follows:

1. Genetics,
2. Trauma(2),
3. Connective tissue disease,
4. Infection,
5. Catastrophic stress,
6. Chemical exposure.

Like trauma, infection is one of those causes of fibromyalgia that just screams for common sense.

I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of people whose basic story goes like this: “I was fine, I got a virus, I developed fatigue and pain, and I’ve never been the same since.”

The logical thinking in this scenario is that fibromyalgia was not present before the viral infection. There may have been a hereditary predisposition or a vulnerability, but fibromyalgia was not present. The virus caused the condition to develop and it has been present since the virus and continues to be present. This is a straightforward infectious cause.

Not all infections are as straightforward.

Many people who have fibromyalgia get a viral infection and find it worsens the fibromyalgia. People with active viral infections are at risk for additional infections, particularly bacterial infections which can create additional problems.

Some people with fibromyalgia are more vulnerable to any type of infection because the fibromyalgia renders them more immunocompromised or more at risk for infection. The physician needs to sort out the various possibilities to determine whether an infection is the cause, a consequence, or an aggravator of the fibromyalgia.

The mechanism by which an infection leads to fibromyalgia is probably related to inflammatory or autoimmune changes caused by the infection that starts the fibromyalgia cascade. The actual clinical infection resolves and is long gone, yet fibromyalgia symptoms continue.

• Sometimes, the infecting virus or bacteria may hang around and create a persistent low grade infection which activates the autoimmune responses, thereby “triggering” the fibromyalgia.

• Many times, though, the infection has long disappeared, but permanent changes occurred in the body, and these changes caused fibromyalgia to develop.

Various viral infections can cause fibromyalgia.

• The Epstein-Barr virus which causes infectious mononucleosis is one.

• Cytomegalovirus causes a syndrome similar to infectious mononucleosis.

• Different strains of the influenza virus can also result in fibromyalglia.

• The adenoviruses, especially Type II, cause common colds, bronchitis, and various upper respiratory infections, and may lead to fibromyalgia.

• Human Herpes Virus 6 has also been implicated.

• Reactive fibromyalgia has been described in patients with AIDS and hepatitis.

Sometimes viral titers can be directly measured to demonstrate that an acute infection has occurred. This concentration can be correlated with the clinical development of fibromyalgia. Many times, though, the exact offending virus is not known, but we can still categorize the fibromyalgia as one that was caused by an infection, probably a viral infection, if it fits clinically.

Bacterial infections can also cause fibromyalgia.

I have seen patients who have developed fibromyalgia after sepsis (blood infection) and salmonella infections, and one who, I felt, has gotten it from a Listeria infection. Some research studies found Mycoplasma incognitos and Chlamydia pneumoniae(3) in patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.(4) These infectious organisms may be causing some of the symptoms.

Indeed, some of the patients improve with antibiotic therapy. Gulf War Syndrome, in part, may have been related to infections from one of these bacteria. Symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome include fatigue, headaches, depression, joint and muscle pain, sleep disorders, and poor memory (sound familiar?). [Note: As of November 2008, a research panel reported their finding that Gulf War illness is real, and “is the result of neurotoxic exposures,” as discussed in Chapter 10 under Chemical Exposure as a probable cause of FM.]

Fibromyalgia can be caused by yeast and parasite infections.

I have seen some patients who developed it following a severe Candida yeast infection, and others following parasite infections such as Giardia. Most of the time, yeast or parasite infections occur in patients after the fibromyalgia has already developed. These infections may aggravate the preexisting fibromyalgia or cause it to flare up.

Fibromyalgia may predispose us to these infections by interfering with our immune function. On the other hand, these infections can sometimes cause the fibromyalgia by “triggering” the fibromyalgia cascade. Many of the symptoms of a chronic Candida yeast infection(5) - such as fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, allergies, altered immune response, and skin conditions - overlap with fibromyalgia symptoms. This can make it difficult to “separate” the two conditions and determine cause and effect relationships.

As I’ve mentioned, some infections come in, do their damage and disappear. The infectious agent is no longer present in the body and thus can’t be detected at a later point in time. Other infectious agents may hang around in the body and establish a chronic infection; one that perhaps can be detected with blood tests.

What remains to be seen is whether these chronic infections can be eradicated with antibiotic treatment and, if so, will the fibromyalgia symptoms disappear? Or has the fibromyalgia already established itself as a separate entity which does not disappear with the antibiotic treatment?

Hopefully we will have these answers in the near future. [But]… one thing is certain: We will continue to learn more about fibromyalgia and understand it better.

1. See also Dr. Pellegrino’s articles on: “The Fibromyalgia Spectrum – Part of the Big Picture in Understanding Fibromyalgia” and “Fibromyalgia – Ultimately a Disease of Amplified Pain.”

2. See also Dr. Pellegrino’s article on: “Fibromyalgia as a Complication of Injuries”

3. For more on this subject, see “Chlamydia Pneumoniae in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia – An Opinion,” by Patient Advocate James Kepner, from the Chlamydia pneumoniae Help website.

4. See “Evidence for bacterial (mycoplasma, Chlamydia) and viral (HHV-6) co-infections in chronic fatigue syndrome patients,” by Dr. Garth Nicolson and Dr. Darryl See.

5. See also Dr. Pellegrino's article on: "Candidiasis - Yeast Infection and Nutritional Repair."

* This article is excerpted with kind permission from Dr. Pellegrino’s very popular book Fibromyalgia: Up Close & Personal, © Anadem Publishing, Inc. and Mark Pellegrino, MD, 2005, all rights reserved. This book may be ordered in the ProHealth.com store (see new products).

Note: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. It is generic and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any illness, condition, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lying Down Helps with Fibromyalgia Pain, Fatigue and Anxiety

Here is an article written by my friend Christine, describing an excerpt from the book The Patient's Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, which is an awesome book that has really helped me to learn how to manage my fibromyalgia. Pacing is definitely one of the most important things in changing your lifestyle. This was very hard for me to do at first, but you finally get to a point where you have no choice but to take a break and learn your limitations if you want to be able to function.

Lying Down Helps with Fibromyalgia Pain, Fatigue and Anxiety

Finding the right balance of activity and rest is one of the biggest challenges for people managing Fibromyalgia (FM) and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The good news is that you can increase your control over your condition by consistently practicing what is often referred to as “pacing”. This means understanding the limitations imposed by your FM/CFS and learning to adjust your activity levels for increased comfort. By using pacing strategies you can bring greater stability to your life and prevent or greatly reduce flares.

Bruce Campbell, Ph.D., a recovered CFS patient, created and directs a CFIDS and FM Self-Help program. This program can be found at www.cfidsselfhelp.org along with a textbook called, “The Patient’s Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia”. In my opinion, this is the best self-management approach I’ve found to date.

In his chapter on pacing, Dr. Campbell defines rest as “lying down with your eyes closed in a quiet place”. He uses the term “pre-emptive rest” which means resting daily according to a planned schedule that works best for each individual with FM/CFS.

One of the best ways to manage FM/CFS successfully with pacing is to alternate activity with rest breaks. Lying down is the most restorative way to take a rest break for people with FM/CFS. When taking a rest break, lie down on a bed, the floor, a couch, a recliner or similar place that allows you to be as comfortable as possible.

Lying down for a rest break should be tailored to what works best for you. It should be a time of complete stillness and quiet with no distractions or activity (i.e., no reading, watching TV, talking to someone, etc.). Your eyes are closed and you are “letting go” of the activities you need to do until you have completed your rest break.

This is your time to just “be”. You might take a nap, listen to soothing music, meditate or listen to a guided relaxation, or just lie still and gently allow your thoughts to “settle down”. The length of your break depends on your individual needs and other activities you have planned. Experiment to see what works best and is most restorative—each day will be a bit different.

For myself, I find lying on the floor (I have a rug covered by a soft blanket) and relaxing for 15 to 30 minutes a few times a day helps me prevent fatigue, pain and anxiety. My breaks always make me feel more calm and tranquil. I enjoy very gentle yoga and stretching before and after my break and find meditation to be the best way for me to restore my energy.

Alternating your daily activities with rest breaks can help you pace your life and avoid crashes and flares. I invite you to send me your suggestions and successes with “lying down” rest breaks and how they help you reduce your FM/CFS symptoms.

Copyright Christine O’Dell, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Understanding Fibro Fog

A Little Something to Help You Get Started Thinking About
Fibro Fog:
(Kitchener-Waterloo Fibromyalgia Newsletter)

You know you have fibrofog when......

You boil the kettle dry three times to get one cup of tea.

You read a note you wrote to yourself to pay a bill, and you wonder who the heck is Bill.

You call the school twice, to let them know your child is at home sick.

You can't disconnect the dishwasher from the kitchen tap, because you didn't turn the water off first to release the pressure.

Many people with Fibromyalgia like to make jokes about Fibro Fog because it's often embarrassing and even frightening. A common scenario: You're having a conversation with someone when suddenly, in the middle of the sentence that's coming out of your mouth, your brain seems to turn itself off. Your mouth hangs open as you desperately search for what you were just saying two seconds ago. But it's no use. Where there once was a clear distinguishable thought in your head, there is nothing left but a vacuous black hole of nothingness. This kind of short-term memory loss is experienced by every Fibromyalgic.

"The wheel is turning, but the hamster left town," as Devin Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland put it in their book, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual, which devotes an entire chapter to Fibro Fog and other cognitive deficits. "You may spend hours every day trying to find various items, like your keys. (After a while, you may feel as though your mind is one of those misplaced items.) You may not recognize things when they are right in front of you but are not in their accustomed place, or when it's in a different package or form."

Research at the University of Michigan has validated the reality of fibro fog. The researchers observed a similarity between neuroendocrine dysfunction in patients with FM and older but otherwise healthy people. They compared three groups of people: First, a group of people with FM. Second, a control group of healthy people who were similar to those with FM in age and educational background. And third, a group of healthy people with similar educational backgrounds as the others, but who were 20 years older than the other two groups. Because cognitive function begins to decrease, even in healthy people, as soon as adulthood is reached, the three groups were given various age-sensitive neuropsychological testing to see the extent to which Fibromyalgia affected cognitive dysfunction as compared to the normal cognitive loss caused by aging.

The researchers found that people with Fibromyalgia do not have the same mental agility as healthy people of the same age. Their verbal fluency, long-term memory, and working memory (how much information you can use, manipulate and store at one time) was at the same level of capability as those in the older group. The people with Fibromyalgia performed even worse, scoring lower than the older group and showing a serious deficit when it came to vocabulary, a cognitive function that doesn't normally decline with age.

The findings of this research is important in two ways: First, it validates cognitive deficits in people with Fibromyalgia. Second, whatever is going on to cause the cognitive deficits in people with FM, it is not the same as that which occurs with natural aging. (See: Starlanyl & Copeland, 17:203)

Another study done in 1999 by Glass, Park and Crofford researched metamemory, which is our ability to accurately assess our own memory skills. The three researchers used a control group and a third older group of people, just as in the reported study above. Not only were the three scientists after how well Fibromyalgics could assess their own memory skills, they also wanted to rule out depression and poor motivation as possible causes of cognitive dysfunction. The FM patients were asked how well they felt they could perform simple tasks, such as dialing a telephone and shopping for a few items without a list. The Fibro patients reported lower memory capacity, less control over their memory function, more cognitive deficits, and greater memory deterioration than the older group. The study found that the people with Fibromyalgia were entirely accurate in their assessments. In fact, the Fibro patients used more memory improvement strategies, like lists and calendars, and were more highly motivated as to the importance of keeping a good memory, and although they had more anxiety about memory function than the other two groups, their cognitive dysfunction was not a result of depression.

"These patients were trying to make the most of what they have in every way they knew how. They reported a greater perception of loss than the older control group did, even though their memory loss was similar," says Starlanyl and Copeland, who also report that the study found "this as an accurate perception, since the cognitive function of the FM patients is not age-appropriate." (See: 17:203).

And let's not forget that on top of this general deficit of cognitive function every Fibromyalgic has, there are also those "attacks" of Fibro Fog. Not only can Fibro Fog vary in severity among people with Fibromyalgia but it also can vary in intensity with each individual from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, month-to-month etc. There's no telling when a particular nasty "attack" of Fibro Fog will hit on top of the every day cognitive problems of someone with FM.

This particularly nasty symptom of Fibromyalgia can range from forgetfulness and being muddled headed, like finding your wallet in the refrigerator, to a state that is quite severe. For instance, someone with an extreme case of Fibro Fog might be returning home from the grocery store they've been going to for the last 10 years. They'll be traveling the same route home they take every single time they go to their grocery store. Suddenly, nothing seems familiar. They don't recognize landmarks and everything looks different. They very easily become lost, traveling round in circles or worse, "coming to" in another town or city entirely.

There are a few theories as to why FM sufferers experience Fibro Fog. John Lowe believes the Fibromyalgic's brain receives an insufficient delivery of oxygen, glucose, and other substances the brain needs to function properly. Inadequate thyroid hormone regulation may be causing the metabolic rate and the flow of blood to the brain cells to be defective as well. (See: Wrutniak-Cabello, C., F. Casas, and G. Cabello. 2001. Thyroid hormone action in mitochondreia. J Mol Endocrinol 26(1): 67-77.)

Research conducted with Single Photon Emission Tomography scans show that people with FM have decreased blood flow in the right caudate nucleus of the brain and also in the left and right thalami. It's speculated that the decreased blood flow could be caused by a neurotransmitter dysfunction or by a problem in the glial cells. Glial cells are crucial to our brains because they're active in brain cell permeability, meaning they allow much needed substances to pass into the brain's cells, such as electrical ions. Without this permeability, brain function deteriorates.

There's also a bioelectric connection between glial cells, ion exchange, and cellular swelling in the brain. Because the glial cells have such an increased permeability in the brain of a Fibromyalgic, far too much fluid is allowed into the brain cells. These swollen cells not only account for migraines (where the menningeal blood vessels become hyperpermeable), a common accompanying illness many Fibromyalgics suffer, but also for a generalized increased pressure, which in turn affects cognitive processes. Therefore, these defective cognitive processes, or Fibro Fog, may be due to this flooding of the brain cells and could account for reports from those suffering with FM that their brains feel swollen. In fact, Starlanyl and Copeland say perhaps the brain is really physically swollen. (See: 17:201) But how does Fibro Fog physically feel to a Fibromyalgic that is suffering from it? The sensation, many patients report, feels like the brain has become very heavy and big and slow in a suddenly too small skull.

With migraines, this sensation of heaviness and largeness can grow and grow, until the brain feels like it is trying to push against the inside of the skull and any minute the head will explode. The pressure inside the skull is enormous and in many will cause actual swelling of facial features, protruding eyes and swollen gums. Obviously this is all excruciatingly painful. In fact, it is not all that uncommon for someone with a migraine to have the urge to or actually physically hit their head against a wall repeatedly in a useless attempt to rid their heads of the pressure from the swollen brain cells. Motor actions degenerate and to move their head even slightly brings monumental amounts of pain cracking through their brain and skull. The swollen, pressured brain cells can also cause sensory malfunctions like double vision, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, halo-like rings around light sources, patches of white or black in the vision field and much more.

Starlanyl and Copeland also report that a Fibromyalgic's chronic pain itself could be affecting their cognitive abilities: "In one study, researchers found that some chronic pain patients performed some tests more poorly than patients with head injuries. This study suggests that pain can disrupt cognitive performances that depend on intact speed and storage capacity for information processing. Processing pain occupies most or all of our thought processing networks, thereby interfering with concurrent cognitive tasks such as thinking, reasoning, and remembering." (See: 17:201)

In other words, if someone with FM suffers an increase in their pain levels, like they commonly do in the morning, tasks like picking out what clothes to wear can become mind boggling and an insurmountable job.

Some people can spend days at a time in a Fibro Fog with their cognitive deficits worsening: Unable to speak correctly. Unable to read or to write a sentence a child could do. Unable to remember familiar things like the names of relatives or how to spell "cat". Unable to turn on the stove not only because they forget the mechanics, but also out of the fear they'll forget they're cooking something and start a fire. Unable to remember things, looking everywhere for their cars keys until they're exhausted and can't go out to do their errands and then finding the keys by accident in the freezer with the ice cream they bought two days ago. Unable to take the same amount of sensory input someone who doesn't suffer from Fibromyalgia can, such as exposure to large crowds, or a lot of noise, or the multitudes of visual and physical actions of driving for hours on end, especially at night when light sensitivity makes it an even more difficult task. Unable to concentrate or socially interact because their intense amounts of pain are interfering with their cognitive skills to the point of distraction. Unable to do all of these things just listed and so much more because their minds function at a cognitive level worse than someone far older than them. And take note that all these many negative and life restricting things listed and described as belonging to someone suffering with Fibromyalgia only focuses on what Fibro Fog does to them. All the other symptoms and difficulties, which descend on someone with Fibromyalgia, like extreme pain and chronic fatigue to name only two of the dozens a Fibromyalgic can suffer from, were not even taken into consideration when describing how a Fibromyalgic lives a limited, constricted and socially isolating life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

4 Treatments for Fibromyalgia By Mehmet Oz, MD

I was just going to provide a link for this article, but decided to copy from O, The Oprah Magazine Website for easier reading. You can also click on the title above and it will take you to the original article on the website.

4 Treatments for Fibromyalgia

Mehmet Oz
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

Dr. Oz will see you now! In his first O column, he analyzes the different treatments for fibromyalgia.

Defining Fibromyalgia: Though classified as a disorder of the musculoskeletal system, the condition is now seen as a central nervous system problem. Symptoms include increased sensitivity to pain, achy and stiff joints, fatigue, and specific tender points on the back, chest, arms, and legs. Migraines, sleep disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome are also common complaints. Up to 3 percent of the population may suffer from fibromyalgia, but with no clear cause, the condition is difficult to diagnose.

Western Medicine Approach: A formal diagnosis for fibromyalgia didn't exist until 1990, but now there are three FDA-approved meds to combat the pain. Still, says Nancy Klimas, MD, director of the Allergy and Immunology Clinic at the University of Miami, "there is much more to treatment than a pill." Strategies are needed to improve sleep, stretch and restore symmetry to muscles that have been shortened by spasm, and raise overall conditioning through exercise.

Energy-Based Approach: Practitioners believe the root of fibromyalgia is a disturbance in nerves that blocks energy. The disturbance, says Devi S. Nambudripad, MD, PhD, and a licensed acupuncturist, is caused by sensitivities to substances ranging from pollen to vaccines to chemical agents in fabrics. Anxiety and depression may also play a part. Practitioners use acupuncture to release energy and allergy testing to identify problem substances.

Psychological Approach: "The pain of fibromyalgia is not caused by depression," says Leonard Jason, PhD, professor of psychology at DePaul University, "but depression can deepen a patient's experience of pain." Mental health professionals may play a complementary role in treatment, but it's a vital one. Cognitive behavioral therapy can relieve depression and help patients identify sources of stress that magnify their symptoms.

Nutrition-Based Approach: Fibromyalgia is a systemwide breakdown, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, medical director of the nationwide Fibromyalgia & Fatigue Centers. After suffering from the disease in the 1970s, he developed his own protocol; in studies, patients improved by as much as 91 percent. He recommends supplements to help sufferers sleep, balance hormones, boost immunity, and improve nutrition. He also prescribes regular exercise. (Try Dr. Oz's 20-minute workout plan)

My Recommendation: Because Western medicine was slow to accept fibromyalgia, it is behind in its work; this is an area where patients will want to take a serious look at alternative approaches. Energy-based medicine could offer some important advances in treatment over the next decade, but since it has yet to be tested by independent research, I think it's premature to base your therapy solely on this approach. I'm more impressed by Teitelbaum's supplement regimen, and not only because he has tested his theories: I've put patients on this program with very good results. I would add counseling, as it should always be a part of fibromyalgia treatment. If after a couple of months you don't see improvement, talk to your doctor about drug therapy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired

So here I am having another FM flare-up. Once again the weather is a contributing factor I'm sure.
This past weekend I went to a baby shower for Susanna (Jennifer's Stepdaughter) and had a very nice time. It was great to see everyone, including, Jennifer & Payton. I knew that this would wear on me because of the drive to Gastonia and just the fact of being somewhere for that long a period of time.
This whole week has been torturous for me and yesterday was the worst day of all. I literally could not move and got into one of my "why me" moments which I do experience every once in a while. Yes I try to think positive but sometime the pain does overpower that and you can't think of anything else. I actually cried myself to sleep last night. Yes even positive people have bad days too. I am human but I have decided not to let it stop me or take over my life.
I woke up today feeling pretty much the same. The old me would have stayed in bed all day, believe me I really wanted to do that today, but I had plans. My friends Brenda & Beth took me to lunch for my birthday and we had a great time. After that I even went and got my Pandora Teapot charm that I have been wanting for a long time with some money that my godmother sent me.
I refuse to let this thing win! Today is Payton's 3rd birthday and I can't believe how fast she is growing. We will be going out to Jennifer's tomorrow to celebrate. I will be there- no matter how bad I feel. I have to live my life and enjoy every minute of it. I know there will be times when I will have to cancel on someone, but I am going to try my best to pace myself, listen to my body, do what I can while I can. I do need to rest though, and I plan to do that starting Monday.
Once again- another confusing blog by "me"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Should an FM or ME/CFS Patient Do About the Swine Flu?

What Should an FM or ME/CFS Patient Do About the Swine Flu?

by Dr. Charles Lapp, MD*, September 8, 2009

From the August issue of Dr. Lapp’s free e-newsletter (www.drlapp.net/news.htm)

In June 2009 the World Health Organization declared that the spread of a novel H1N1 Swine Flu had reached pandemic levels. At the time of this writing, the swine flu has become widespread in the southern United States, especially the Southeast. However, the illness prevalence, the number of doctor visits, and the morbidity is still no worse than the usual seasonal influenza. It is expected that the number of cases will increase as school resumes because H1N1 is rapidly spread by coughing and sneezing, hand-to-hand, or hand-to-body contact.

Many patients have been alarmed by reports of the seriousness and infectivity of this new flu, and have asked if vaccination is advisable. Our usual recommendations on influenza vaccinations are that:

• That they have been known to trigger flares of CFS/ME/FM,

• That many PWCs to do not respond to vaccination anyway,

• And that viral infections are uncommon in most PWCs due to upregulation of the immune system.

Therefore, we would recommend seasonal flu vaccination only if you have tolerated these well in the past and if you are at high risk.

Because the current swine flu is so novel, a new vaccine needs to be produced. This is not expected to be available until late October.

Unlike seasonal influenza, H1N1 mostly attacks younger age groups, particularly under age 24. Vaccine availability will be limited, so it will be offered to specific target groups first. These include:

• Pregnant women,

• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age,

• Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel,

• Persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old,

• And people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

We do NOT consider the immune system in CFS/ME to be compromised to the point of being “high risk” unless there is a history of frequent viral infections and/or pneumonia.

Based on information available at this time, H1N1 immunization may not be available to the majority of our patients until late Fall, perhaps well after the swine flu peak. Therefore, we are recommending that our patients:

• Avoid crowds and sick people (especially coughers and sneezers!),

• Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand cleansers,

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your bare hands.

The symptoms of novel H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, possibly diarrhea and vomiting. If you suspect that you have contracted swine flu:

• Immediately contact your primary care office or Hunter-Hopkins for advice and possibly medication

• Avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after the fever subsides

• Consider wearing a surgical face mask if others are around you

• Recognize these warnings signs and seek medical assistance immediately for difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, increased confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, and flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

In lieu of swine flu vaccination two antiviral medications can be taken to reduce the symptoms and severity of the illness.

These must be started within 48 hours of illness onset, and are not recommended for prevention of the flu. The adult doses of these medications are:

Tamiflu / oseltamivir (75 mg tablets taken twice daily for 5 days) or

Relenza / zanamivir (two inhalations twice daily).

For more information go to the Center for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

* Dr. Charles Lapp, MD
Hunter Hopkins Medical Center
Charlotte, North Carolina
10344 Park Road, Suite 300 - until October, then:
721 Carmel Executive Park Drive, Suite 320
Charlotte, North Carolina 28226
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is general and should not replace the attention and advice of your personal physician. Nor is it meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I know I am not the only one who has ever just wanted to "get away." I'm pretty sure everyone has experienced this.
I tend to get overwhelmed at times and want to escape, just for a while. Not really a Calgon type of thing, but to just go somewhere by myself, away from everyone, with no contact, just my myself. I have been feeling like that for the last few days. No specific reason, but it is definitely not the first time.
In the past, whenever I would get like this, I would just tell everyone, that I wanted to be alone and not to worry and I would book myself a room in the finest hotels in Charlotte (Yes- I did this more than once) and just basically chill. Nothing special about the room. Maybe the fact that it was different or that I could enjoy room service, or that I didn't have to think about anything at all, at least not until check out time.
Some may say, referencing my previous post, that I did not want to face reality. That's fair to say, but like I said before I am realistic and I am not trying to avoid responsibility-- I just needed some "me" time. Yes it is an escape, but it was also a way to renew myself, and take that much needed break that I deserved. I never abandoned any responsibilities when I did this, I did however feel refreshed the next day.
Is this selfish? I don't think so, for I believe that we need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else. I have always been there for everyone and I love it, but sometimes I need a break.
I would love to do this now but of course it is financially impossible and I do realize that it is a waste of money when there are so many other ways to escape. Maybe not for 24 hours, but I have found such comfort in the beauty of nature.
My perfect escape would be to sit on a deserted beach, under a palm tree with a good book, but I don't really need to go that far. Every time I look through our big windows out at our backyard and see the beauty of the trees, and enjoy the company of the birds (& squirrels too), I couldn't ask for more. We had our backyard declared an National Wildlife Habitat because we enjoy taking care of our little friends and provide them with food & water & shelter, so believe me, our visitors are plentiful.
I know....Going off course again....
Some of my other escapes are photography & gardening-Very therapeutic for me.
There are so many ways to escape, even if its just for a while. Everyone has different methods & activities that help them. For me, being one with nature is what truly brings me peace.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life is Great!

Life is great! I refuse to think otherwise. I know there are so many things going on in this world that are bringing people down. I will not be one of them. My husband doesn't think I "get It" and that I need to face reality. Oh I do "get it" and I am certainly very realistic, but just because I choose to think positive and imagine that everything is going to be ok does not mean that I don't see what is going on, and I am not going to let it eat away at me and just assume the worst.
My whole life I have felt financially secure, but right now is the first time in my life where I don't feel as secure. I don't work, John has had to take a huge cut in pay, John's hospital bills (after insurance payments) have finally arrived, and I know that he is freaking out about it. Also the fact that he doesn't even know if his job is secure (his thinking) and what can happen in the future. It's scary and I do "get it."
Here's my thing, instead of thinking the worst, I imagine the best. I know we need to be realistic, but they don't see what I see. I see a great future. I see options. I KNOW everything is going to be ok- call me crazy-I'm not though. How do I know everything is going to be ok? I just do. I've always known certain things. Some of you know that about me, some of you are once again thinking I am crazy.
The bottom line is that you choose how you want to live your life and if you imagine the best, well then how can anything but that positive energy focus on what you want in life. You could also call this the "Law of Attraction" something I truly believe in, for I have been blessed with everything that I ever wanted.
I know I am a terrible blogger because I start with one thing and totally get side tracked and ramble on about something else and my blogs never seem to make sense. Well they do to me, I guess ;-)
It's ok to be realistic and have options available and be prepared, but don't anticipate what hasn't happened yet and imagine the worst, that's just going to surround you with that negative energy and probably give you an ulcer.
Live life to the fullest, enjoy every moment of everyday, savor it as if it were your last, take one day at a time.
Maybe I am living in a fantasy world, but I'm happy, and life is good here. You are always welcome to join me. My door is always unlocked- you just have to turn the knob and open it. You will truly be amazed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Point of View

Three stone masons were at work when a passer-by stopped and asked each one the simple question: What are you doing?
The first replied: Obviously, I am cutting stone.
The second replied: My good man, I am earning a living.
The third lifted his eyes and said with a smile and with pride: I am building a cathedral.
All three were doing the same kind of work but their reactions were a matter of attitude. To one the task was boring, to another it was just a job, but to the third the task was thrilling. All work can become ennobling to the person who can see in it creative purposes and the importance of his own efforts. (from Moments of Meditation by Paul S. McElroy 1961)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Attitude

So I said I might bring fibromyalgia back to the blog once in a while, well here it is. Yes I still have FM, yes I still have pain & fatigue and other symptoms but a lot has changed at the same time.
After not finding a medication that will work for me, just the occasional hydrocodone, which really doesn't relieve the FM pain just the other pains from arthritis, etc., I was partaking in many support groups both online and a local one here in Charlotte. I even started several groups myself, and my blog was solely about FM. I thought this is great to be able to share with other people who actually understand what I am going through and whom I can talk to. I thought this was very therapeutic until I noticed that my symptoms seemed to be getting progressively worse. I just blamed the FM as a progressive disease, which the doctors say is not. Well I decided to take a break from all of my FM groups and I stopped going to my local support group and something amazing happened--- I started feeling better! I have always believed that you take in the energy of what surrounds you, and if I am grouped with a bunch of people that are in constant misery, then I am going to feel it too, also being the somewhat empath that I am, I do feel what others feel. Oh I'm not cured, in fact I am in extreme pain right now as I type this, but yet I feel great! I know this can not make sense, but it does to me. I hate the pain, but I accept it and I have to live with it and I'm ok with that.
I haven't given up on my fibro friends who need my support, for them I will always be here, and I will always advocate for fibromyalgia awareness. I still drop in on my online groups about once a month to check in and say hi because I am still one of them-I just choose not to write about it everyday and about how life sucks and how I wish I would die-- No- I don't feel that way. Life is good! I am happy and fortunate to have what I have in this life and path that has been chosen for me.
The mind is amazing- creative visualization works- you have the power to control how you choose to feel.
BTW- I am also seeing a reflexologist who might have something to do with this change too but I think I need to take the credit for my mindset, because only I can control that.
Always smile, think positive, spread that positive energy to those around you- it is amazing what can happen.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our Big Scare

Well we had a bit of a scare at our house this past week. Wednesday morning John woke up and started having some chest pains that went all the way up his neck into his jaw and to his head. Th episode only last about 3-4 minutes and then he felt fine. I told him we should go to the hospital but he thought it was just anxiety. He ended up having several more of these throughout the day. At around 7pm he had a stronger one and couldn't move so we immediately went to the hospital in Pineville near us where he had another one. They determined, due to abnormal EKG results and a very high enzyme level in his blood, that these were in fact mild heart attacks that he had suffered and that he at least had one artery with more than 80% blockage. He was then transferred to CMC Mercy where they discovered 3 large blockages-2 in the circumflex and one in the right coronary artery (see picture above). They where able to put 3 stents in to repair these. He was very lucky to not have suffered much damage to the heart.
It is so amazing what they can do these days. We were very fortunate to have caught this in time. He is going to have to make a lot of lifestyle changes which he seems to be all for- and I am so thankful for that. He is usually very stubborn about these things but this time he is really taking it seriously and I am supporting him 100%.
He is home now, resting & recovering, and I am thankful for the thoughts and prayers of so many friends that helped us both trough this. The funny thing is my friends kept telling me that I seemed too calm- Well I think that God kept me calm so that I could be strong for John. After I knew everything was going to be ok I did actually lose it completely and bawled for about an hour to release that build up inside of me. It is amazing how someone like me who suffers from panic disorder, can be that strong when I need to be- there is definitely a higher power involved and the power of prayers is definitely effective!!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hectic Week

So I've had kind of a hectic week. 1st of all I am having a major FM flare and so my pain has been excruciating and I have had the usual fatigue as well. Stress also aggravates this. Amongst other things, one of my good friends from high school, Francis, had colon cancer surgery on Tuesday. They took 9 inches of his intestine. He is just waiting on the biopsy results from the lymph nodes which he should have tomorrow or Tuesday. I am praying really hard that everything comes back clean. He also seems to have found someone that makes him really happy, she also went to our high school and I am so happy for both of them. They really deserve happiness.
Anyway, on Wednesday, on of my BFFs, Rockin' Robin, had surgery on her tibia from a fracture that she got in an accident. They had to put a plate in her leg so that she could walk normal. She has to keep weight off of it for 8 weeks. Bless her heart- She is an awesome person with a huge heart of gold. The surgery turned out well. keeping her in my prayers too.
I have also had several things going on this week- I just feel crazy!!
My lack of motivation has really shown itself this week. I have been sending daily quotes to over 200 people every week-day for I don't know how long and this past week I didn't send them. I am using the excuse that it was a holiday week and nobody needed extra junk in their e-mail. I also haven't prepared the ones for this coming week. I don't know what to do.
I had some mailings to get out from the HOA to all the neighbors regarding speed limits, which I did manage to do. I am also supposed to be working on the neighborhood website but I haven't had a chance (or motivation) to do that either. I really need to get on the ball. Maybe if I organized my office some then maybe it would make it easier for me to work. I will try to work on that tomorrow- not procrastinating- it IS 10 pm ;-)
So many people have died this week, both famous and personal acquaintances which is really sad for me.
John took the week off to relax- I hope he was able to get some relaxation before returning to work tomorrow.
This is a boring entry I know, but oh well, I guess it is more for my benefit.
I hope my pain starts to diminish soon so that I can feel active again. Still sucks to be me but that is who I am and I accept it.

Monday, June 22, 2009


So- I just had a club sandwich for lunch- woohoo-thrilling right? I don't know, I am in a rambling mood, which means I should probably get a pen and paper out, for the ideas are somewhat flowing.
So I took my acoustic out last night and boom-string popped-stupid me cannot find any strings in the house. Who doesn't have back-up strings? I do somewhere, but where? I have been in this HAIR (the Musical) playing mood. Used to play and sing it all the time, long, long ago. My mom had the album and she saw it on Broadway with the originals- James Rado & Gerome Ragni. Why HAIR? I have no clue! My mom has really influenced me musically in a lot of ways and I believe that is why I have such musical diversity in my tastes. I have also developed artistic diversity from her as well. Although we have different tastes, mine have changed over the years, when I would go through different phases, but I always come back to my favorites: Kandinsky, Klee, Miro, etc. Do we see a pattern here? Does this mean my mind is hectic? messy? out of order? I don't think so. Or does this explain my panic disorder? Who the hell knows. Psychology is such a fascinating subject- I love to analyze things-maybe too much. Hmmmmm.
So as I said- my rambling mood has caused me to ramble to create a mess of a blog in one paragraph--see? maybe the artists do say something about me. Today's blog makes absolutely no sense.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I Am Drawing a Blank

Ever since I changed my blog, My mind has not been able to come up with anything to blog about. Nothing really new happening in my life and it's been too hot and humid to work out in the yard.
I have been going through some old pictures which bring back a lot of memories, and my poor facebook friends are being tagged without warning.
On another note, as you may know, my mom is a very talented musician. She can play any instrument by ear, which I guess is where I get it from, because I don't read music either. I taught myself guitar chords and went from there. Anyway, getting back to the story, my mom wrote a lot of songs, mainly Boleros when she was young. She has old recordings of them, but now her friends are actually performing them.
A couple of years ago, my mom asked if I wanted to perform one of her songs at an event, which I did want to but declined because it had been so long since I had performed in front of a crowd that it gave me a panic attack just thinking about it.
Anyway, I have finally decided to record her songs at our friend's recording studio, something that means a lot to me and to my mom. My mom told me last night that our friend can get the whole band together but not for a few weeks now, which works for me-more time to practice. I would love to do a duet with my mom as we have always done my whole life, harmonizing to each others tunes.
I too have written many songs, but that was a long time ago and I have no desire to record them professionally. I have old recordings too, but I can just re-record here at home-John's got me hooked up.
Look for me on the Billboard charts-NOT :-)
Meanwhile, our friend will be performing this weekend at a gallery opening, of course I have drawn a blank on the name of the gallery(Fibro Fog)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I've changed my blog

I have decided to change directions with my blog. Instead of concentrating solely on Fibromyalgia which seems to bring me down, to a more up-beat positive place. Don't get me wrong, I may still vent frustrations and complain about FM, but I feel like I need to be thankful for everything I have and spread positivity and make this a place where anyone can share.
I hope to cover a lot of different topics, ideas, etc., anything I think is worth sharing with my wonderful friends.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dealing with Fibro-Fog

Dealing with Fibro-Fog

By Karen Lee Richards

My best friend from Florida came to visit me here in Tennessee so she could take fall leaves back for the children in her Montessori pre-school. In our quest to find the most beautiful leaves, we headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway, well known for its stunning scenery. No sooner had we gotten on the parkway than we found ourselves in the midst of one of the worst fogs I ever experienced. We could literally only see about three feet in front of the car. I was struck by was how similar it felt to being in the midst of a severe bout of fibro-fog!

The cognitive dysfunction so many of us with fibromyalgia deal with daily is aptly described by the term “brain fog,” or by my favorite pet name “fibro-fog.” Our minds feel clouded by a thick fog. We are unable to see (or think) more than a few feet (or minutes) ahead.

See if any of these fibro-fog experiences sound familiar. Do you ever…

…get ready to walk out the door and realize you have no idea where the car keys are?

…put the milk in the cabinet and the cereal in the refrigerator?

…run into an old friend and forget her name?

…find yourself driving down a road unable to remember where you are going?

…buy something, not remembering that you bought the exact same think a week ago?

…try to describe or explain something but you cannot think of the word you want to use?

…stop in the middle of a conversation because you cannot remember what you are talking about?

…forget when you last took your meds?

…bounce a check because you added instead of subtracted?

…show up for your doctor appointment on the wrong day?

The forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and confusion characteristic of fibro-fog is occasionally amusing and often frustrating. But sometimes it can be downright dangerous –– like forgetting that you have chicken frying on the stove or not noticing that a traffic light has turned red. While it is good to be able to laugh at yourself over the little incidents of forgetfulness, it is important to take steps to improve your cognitive functioning so that you do not jeopardize the safety and well-being of yourself or your loved ones.

Increase Blood Flow

Although a clear-cut cause for fibro-fog has yet to be identified, various brain-imaging techniques have clearly shown that the majority of people with fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome have decreased blood flow, and thereby decreased oxygen, to specific areas of the brain. Therefore, the first step in dealing with fibro-fog is to try to increase blood flow and oxygen to the brains. Here are a few tips to get your blood flowing northward:

  • Exercise –– Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Exercising with music doubles the effectiveness. Charles Emery, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, conducted a research project in which participants were tested for mental performance after exercising both with and without music. Participants performed more than twice as well on a verbal fluency test when they exercised with music.
  • Sleep – Getting enough sleep is critical for good brain function. Not coincidently, getting good restorative sleep is one of the major problems for people with FM. The foods you eat can have a significant effect on how well you sleep. Some foods, like milk and turkey, can help you fall asleep. Others, like caffeine-laden drinks, chocolate, excessive sugar, and MSG, can cause agitation and keep you awake. For additional information about improving sleep, go to the National Fibromyalgia Associations website, www.FMaware.org. If you do a search for “sleep,” you will find several helpful articles.
  • Breathe –– While breathing seems like a normal, involuntary action, the fact is that most people with FM actually hold their breath much of the time. Although holding your breath is a natural reaction to pain, it deprives your body of necessary oxygen. Try to make yourself aware of times you are unconsciously holding your breath and make a conscious effort to take two or three deep breaths several times a day.
  • Check medications –– Certain drugs can increase brain fog. Some of the medications that may make your memory worse are: calcium channel blockers (for hypertension), analgesics (for pain), hypnotics (for sleep), and antihistamines (for allergy or sinus problems). If you suspect that one or more of your prescriptions are increasing your fibro-fog, talk with your doctor to see if a lower dosage or a different medication might help.
  • Improve nutrition –– Recent research suggests that getting enough of certain nutrients –– particularly iron, zinc and B vitamins (especially folic acid, B6 and B12) –– may help cognitive functioning…or at least prevent it from getting worse. Iron and zinc are found in meat, poultry, seafood, whole grains and dried beans. The B vitamins are found in whole grains, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, beans, peas and citrus fruits. Additionally, it is important to fight the free radicals seeking to damage our brain cells by eating a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables, especially those with the darkest and brightest colors, like spinach, carrots, tomatoes and red bell peppers.
  • Consider supplements –– If you feel your diet is not supplying adequate amounts of the nutrients mentioned above, you might consider adding one or more vitamin and mineral supplements. Other supplements that some have found helpful in lessening fibro-fog are Coenzyme Q10, Gingko Biloba and NADH (a coenzyme made from vitamin B2). Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplement to make sure there are no dangerous interactions with medications you may be taking.

Mental Exercise

In addition to physical exercise, emerging evidence is showing that mental exercise can also help improve memory, concentration and problem-solving abilities. Mental exercise can be any activity that causes your mind to think logically, focus, strategize, sort, calculate, or create. Choose at least one mental exercise that you enjoy and spend some time each day “working out” your brain. Following are examples of a few brain-exercising activities:

  • Work a challenging crossword puzzle.
  • Solve a word search puzzle.
  • Put together a difficult jigsaw puzzle.
  • Play a game that forces you to think or strategize, like Scrabble, chess or bridge.
  • Make up a fairy tale.
  • Choose a Norman Rockwell painting and create a story about it.
  • Memorize a poem, proverb or Bible verse.
  • Read a book.
  • Play a musical instrument.
  • Learn a new language.
If you find yourself in the midst of a thick mental fog, do not allow yourself to get lost there. You can work your way through it and find some clarity again. It is ironic that for about a month prior to writing this article, I went through one of the worst bouts with fibro-fog I have ever experienced. I felt like I was living in la-la land. But, using many of these tips, I found my way through the fog…and so can you.

Reprinted with permission of the National Fibromyalgia Association from Fibromyalgia AWARE, December 2004 – March 2005.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Checking In

Well it's been a while. I've had good days and I've had bad days.
The weather was nice for a while and I was able to do a little gardening and I was so excited. Something I love to do but can't just do it whenever. My allergies have been killing me though- I am completely miserable.
Easter was so nice here at our house. We had the family over and I actually had a green day that day so that I was able to enjoy it. What a difference that makes.
I think I am still half asleep so if I am not making any sense, that would be one explanation. I am really not in a writing mood but just thought that I would check in.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Article About My Support Group

This article was printed in today's Charlotte Observer about my ME/CFS/FM Support Group. Luckily I am not in the picture but you can see my mom's right arm in the 2nd row on the far right-LOL.
This group has been very helpful to me and Dr. Lapp is an amazing doctor who is internationally recognized as one of the best FM doctors in the world.
Just so you know, the clutter question came from me since I noticed so many people wanted to clean areas, including me-My target was to work on clearing off a table in my office, 3 times a week, for 30 minutes. Well I haven't been able to start that one yet.
Anyway-here is the article:

Sick and tired finds company
By Karen Garlochkgarloch@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Monday, Mar. 30, 2009

Dr. Charles Lapp leads a series of free classes at the Sharon Presbyterian Church in Charlotte for people with chronic fatigue syndrome & Fibromyalgia.

Most of the 15 people gathered for a support group this month did not look sick.
But when they began to talk about their common conditions, the list of symptoms went on and on.
Pain, fatigue, depression. Insomnia, nausea, headaches. Muscle spasms, ringing in the ears and sensitivity to heat, cold or light.
Dr. Charles Lapp has heard all of this before. He's medical director of the Hunter-Hopkins Center, a Charlotte clinic that focuses on patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Many group members are his patients.
But instead of letting the support group descend into gloom and despair, Lapp tries to lead with hope and help.
He's currently offering a new series of free classes that help patients take back some control over their lives and better cope with the main symptoms: pain, fatigue and insomnia.
“They're all related to one another,” Lapp said. “If one gets worse, the others get worse. Conversely, if you treat one and it gets better, the others get better, too.”
Some 9 million U.S. adults suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, but many go undiagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fibromyalgia affects as many as 6 million, says the CDC.
It's often difficult to distinguish between the two medical conditions. Some experts believe they are separate disorders. Others feel they are different facets of the same disorder. Pain is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia; fatigue is the main symptom in chronic fatigue syndrome.
The course Lapp is teaching was developed by Bruce Campbell, a California educator and psychologist who based the curriculum on his own experience in overcoming these often-misunderstood conditions.
Campbell's personal prescription involved “enforced rest” – setting limits and taking short rest periods every day – in addition to regular exercise, emotional support and medicine for symptom control.
“He was able to totally recover in five years,” Lapp said. “He can easily hike 10 to 15 miles, which is the envy of many patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.”
Clutter is common
At the recent support group meeting, Lapp asked the members – mostly women – to identify small, specific tasks they'd like to accomplish. Some mentioned the need to go to bed earlier or exercise regularly. Several wanted to organize their homes and get rid of clutter.
The clutter problem is almost universal with these patients, Lapp said. “They get so distracted that they start multiple projects, and the house ends up … a mess. It's overwhelming.”
As always, the group members offer ideas and support.
“Instead of trying to take on the whole room, maybe you could take on a table,” suggested Maggie Reed, 47, of Fort Mill.
“Or a corner of the table,” said Leslie Vann, 56, also from Fort Mill.
When Lapp asked for ideas on how to prevent fatigue and pain, suggestions included hot showers, massage, deep breathing and petting the dog.
Reed, who has suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia since 2006, said she visualizes a backyard pool and the landscaping she'd like to have around it to get her mind off pain or stress. “I go to what I call my ‘happy place,'” she said.
Kebbie Cannon, 45, of Waxhaw, who has had chronic fatigue syndrome for 22 years, said she tries not to get too cold because that causes her muscles to tense up in pain.
To the contrary, Reed said she works to avoid getting too hot. “I start to feel like I'm suffocating.” Several in the room said they also have trouble with heat.
Reed almost cried for joy when she heard that. Until she made these friends, she felt lonely and misunderstood.
Reed was a data analyst at Transamerica in Charlotte before going on medical disability last summer. “It just got harder and harder for me to continue working,” she said.
Having worked since she was 17, it's hard to be at home, “barely able to do a load of wash” or take care of her 13-year-old daughter. Because she doesn't look sick, she says other people view her skeptically. “I look fine, and I'm a large woman. You're automatically perceived as being fat and lazy. There's tremendous guilt and isolation,” Reed said.
The support group helps. “You can get together and make friends and say ‘I can't do it today,' and they understand,” Reed said. “We've had to create our own community because we're the only ones who understand what we're going through.”

What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
In the mid-1980s, chronic fatigue syndrome was first identified as a cluster of symptoms in clusters of patients in a few spots in the United States. Dr. Charles Lapp, then a family physician in Raleigh, identified one such outbreak among all the members of the N.C. Symphony Orchestra. Seven remained ill with chronic fatigue.
“Patients started coming to me with persistent flu-like symptoms,” said Lapp, now medical director of Hunter-Hopkins Center in Charlotte. “They would
work one day and have to sleep for two. Perfectly well-adjusted people became disabled almost overnight.”
By the time Lapp notified the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about his findings, the agency had heard similar stories from Lake Tahoe and Rochester, N.Y.
At first, because the illness seemed to strike middle-income, well-educated people, it got tagged with the name “Yuppie Flu.” Patients hated that because they thought it made light of their conditions. In time, researchers confirmed the syndrome was real, and it was given more respectful names – chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome, or myalgic encephalopathy.
Experts initially believed the syndrome was caused by a virus or retrovirus. But that proved wrong, and later research looked at immune system abnormalities. The most recent focus is on the central nervous system and the body's metabolic system, Lapp said.
Researchers in Spain and England have shown that certain genes in patients with CFS and fibromyalgia are turned off and on differently than those in healthy people, Lapp said. A blood test was recently patented but is not available commercially, he said.
The cause is unknown, and there's no cure.
About 70 percent of people who have chronic fatigue syndrome also have fibromyalgia, and vice versa. It's often difficult to distinguish between the two. Although fibromyalgia is not a new syndrome, it was officially defined by the American College of
Rheumatology in 1990 as chronic widespread pain (at least three months duration) associated with at least 11 of 18 pressure points on the body. Like CFS, it can be extremely debilitating and interfere with basic daily activities.
Insurance coverage for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia is sporadic, Lapp said. “In our practice, 30 percent of patients get full reimbursement, 30 percent get partial, and the rest get minimal.”
Karen Garloch

Saturday, March 28, 2009

10 Reasons to Try Accupuncture

I have tried accupuncture and unfortunately it did not work for me but I know how accupunture has helped a lot of people and there are so ailments that can by remedied by accupunture so I am posting this for those interested.
Ten Reasons to Try Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a natural therapy that is a form of Chinese medication. It involves inserting hair-thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the body’s healing abilities. Acupuncture can be used to heal and overcome a variety of physical and mental health related problems.
Pain Relief
Acupuncture can aid in relieving pain. This is, in part, due to the fact that acupuncture increases the body’s level of endorphins, which are often referred to as “feel good” chemicals. Acupuncture also helps normalize nerve impulses because acupuncture points and the central nervous system are connected.
The Immune System
Evidence has indicated that acupuncture strengthens the body’s immune system and natural resistance. It has been shown that there is an increase in white blood cells, as well as in the level of Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Globulins after an acupuncture treatment. Alpha and Beta Globulins are thought to help white bloods cells better fight infection, while Gamma Globulins assist in the production of immune
Drug Recovery
Acupuncture assists in the recovery of drug and
alcohol addiction. It does this by helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms, decreasing cravings, relieving tension, and helping people relax. In fact, acupuncture is so successful in drug treatment recovery that many clinics throughout the United States use acupuncture as an integral component of their programs.
Musculoskeletal Disorders
Acupuncture has the ability to release muscle tension, as well as tension in the connective tissues. This allows the lymphatic, nervous, and circulatory systems to function more efficiently. For these reasons, acupuncture is helpful in both prevention and treating musculoskeletal disorders. In fact, sports figures such as Carl Lewis, Charles Barkley, and Jim McMahon are known to use acupuncture in order to improve training and performance, as well as to speed up healing and to manage pain.
Allergies are caused by the
immune system reacting to substances that are harmless to most people. Environmental factors, such as pollen, dust and chemicals are common causes of allergies. Similar, foods such as milk, wheat, and selfish can cause allergic reactions. Allergies can cause watery eyes, stuffy nose and sneezing.
They can also cause more serious problems, such as joint pain, diabetes,
glaucoma, kidney problems, depression, heart palpitations and learning disorders. Through acupuncture, the body can be detoxified and the immune system can be strengthened, thereby causing the body to cease having allergic reactions.
Stress can lead to more serious health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and respiratory problems. According to Chinese medicine, stress causes these problems when the liver energy is out of balance. Therefore, acupuncture helps but this energy back into balance, which relaxes the
muscles and brings about peace of mind.
Diseases and Disorder
Acupuncture can help with more than 50 different internal medical problems. Some diseases that have been effectively treated with acupuncture include: bronchitis,
asthma, diarrhea, ulcers, and hypertension. The exact acupuncture treatment varies depending on the medical condition and may be used in conjunction with other natural therapies, such as herbs and massage.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is often brought on my depression, stress, or an infection. No matter the direct cause, patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have immune system deficiencies and most have a weakness in their internal organs. Acupuncture can be used to improve the body’s immunity and, therefore, eliminate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Typical symptoms associated with menopause include night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, and heart palpitations. In Chinese medicine, these symptoms occur when the Yin is out of balance. Yet other symptoms of menopause can include weight gain, hypertension, indigestion, and water retention, these are caused by an imbalance in the Yang.
If these are left untreated, it results in a Qi deficiency, which causes feelings of fatigue, a dry vagina, decreases sex drive, lower back pain, cold extremities, and incontinence. Acupuncture therapy has been shown to help get the Yin and the Yang back into balance, thereby reducing the symptoms of menopause.
PMS and Menstruation
Many women experience both emotional and physical pain and discomfort before and after menstruation. Emotional difficulties can include sadness, anger outbursts, depression, and irritability. Physical pains can include pain in the lower back and the lower abdomen. Acupuncture can help bring the body back into balance and eliminate or lesson physical and social pain associated with menstruation.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that is quickly gaining acceptance in Western culture for its proven ability to treat emotional and physical problems without the side effects associated with other forms of medication.