I was sure I'd have some kind of fibromyalgia flare-up after the stress of Hurricane Newton, which hit the Baja California peninsula and the state of Sonora, Mexico on September 6 and 7 this year.
The Bad News
The bad news is that I have nothing to report. My experience over the fifteen years since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia told me to expect a big flare-up after all the physical preparations, the mad late-night packing of belongings and cats and leaving the boat for the safer nearby Hotel Tripui, the watching of the hurricane and the concern for Ingenium and how she was faring on her mooring ball in the middle of Hidden Harbour. My full blog post about the experience is here.
The Good News
The good news is that I have nothing to report! I was tired, of course. But my husband John was tired, too. Anybody would be tired after going through the boat prep and stress of a hurricane, wouldn’t you say? I had no discernible increase in pain, no need to spend a day in bed due to overwhelming fatigue, and I must say I’m pretty pleased with all of that.
It’s been two weeks, which is much longer than I’ve ever had to wait for the fibromyalgia back foot to kick me in the butt after over-exertion, so I know I’m past that little hurdle. No fibromyalgia flare-up today.
I think my new anti-fibro recipe is definitely working!
No More Amitriptyline
I’ve written about the reasons I stopped amitriptyline in this guest post on Julie Ryan’s Counting My Spoons blog. For fifteen years I faithfully took between 10 and 20mg just before bed. It was a big help to my sleep and that is why it took me so long to decide to ditch the drug. But the side effects – the morning hangover, the weight gain, my concern about trying to reduce inflammation and looking in all corners – along with some encouragement from a friend who had also successfully stopped taking it finally convinced me to stop. I’ve not taken any since June 25 – thirteen weeks ago as of this writing. I was not very happy after five weeks, but by week eight I was feeling much better.
No More Wheat
For me it’s not the gluten that’s the problem: I can eat oats without ill effects. But wheat, for some reason, really exacerbates my fatigue. It’s a cumulative thing: one indulgent cinnamon bun hot and fresh from the bakery won’t slay my energy. But the next week there will be some other little wheat treat – I love a piece of homemade-style whole grain toast with organic just-peanuts peanut butter and banana, and my husband’s favourite meal is spaghetti, which he’s an expert at making – and before I realize it I’ve let wheat slip back into my regular diet. And BAM, it takes me awhile to realize that it’s causing a lot of fatigue. The kind that seriously interferes with my productivity. Since I’m the breadwinner (no pun intended) at the moment, we suffer when I can’t work.
No More Caffeine
I love my sleep. I need my sleep. So much so that I relied on amitriptyline for fifteen years to help me get a good one. But the first week or two that I stopped the amitriptyline, I was beside myself with bad sleep and was pretty motivated to do whatever I could to normalize my ZZZ’s (however much sleep can be normal for those of us with fibromyalgia). So my morning java is now decaf only and I’m just fine with that.
[I do still enjoy a little dark chocolate each evening, and I’ve reconciled the little caffeine in the chocolate because of the high anti-oxidants it contains. So yes, chocolate consumption is an important part of my fibromyalgia management too. ☺]
I think you can take heart from this. After fifteen years with fibromyalgia, I felt I’d tried everything possible from diet changes to exercise regimes and medications. All I had to do was change my mind about being stuck with the status quo, and I was able to change three key things I’d been doing for awhile. And it worked!