November News

It’s been a while since I last wrote, and happily, the summer flares that plagued me throughout July and August have subsided, and I’ve had a pretty calm Autumn.

Just after I wrote my last post, I saw a rheumatologist who ordered a whole raft of blood tests – five vials full! I got the results through my GP surgery, but they couldn’t make head nor tail of them as they hadn’t ordered them (!). My vitamin D levels seem pretty low – which given I take supplements AND I had been outdoors a lot in the summer, seems worrying to me. Neither the GP nor the rheumatologist thought it was worth taking any action on. Other levels are mostly normal, except for one marker that the rheumatologist said was consistent with inflammatory arthritis. Clearly, if he isn’t worried, then I shouldn’t be.

The main thing that came out of that appointment was a diagnosis of something new. Fibromyalgia. It was quite upsetting at first – getting a label of another chronic condition on top of the one I already have. Particularly as Fibromyalgia appears to be little understood and some medical professionals don’t even believe in it. But as my mum said, I’m already living with the symptoms, so getting the diagnosis shouldn’t really make much difference, particularly as there aren’t really any decent treatment options that seem to be appropriate for me.

The diagnosis has helped in some ways. It explains why my neck and back can be incredibly painful, despite the amount of physio I’ve had, and regular pilates and yoga that I do. It also explains why, when I don’t do any exercise, I feel like I have fewer spoons (and less energy) than when I do. My funny symptoms – the ones like my skin feeling sunburned or super sensitive, could also be down to fibro. So it’s good to finally get an explanation for that.

Since my last blog, I’ve had gluten twice. Both were small amounts and on both occasions, I was convinced that it would be fine, and it was too little to make a difference. After the first time, I had a three day flare that was pretty bad and painful – more so than anything I’d had for a long while. The day after the second occasion, I felt totally out of spoons and full of brain fog.

Coincidence or caused by the gluten? It’s difficult to know, but both incidences are enough to persuade me that it’s worth staying off gluten. I do feel as if I have more energy without it and I’m still eating healthier.

Since September, I’ve also been doing a daily morning yoga practice (just 15 minutes if I’m short of time, 30 if I’m not) on top of my meditation. The yoga is helping with general stiffness and pain, and is good for my energy levels too. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up, and it’s a great way to start the day. I’ve got a bunch of asanas that I like, but before I felt confident in self-practice, I used some online videos, including some from a website called Do Yoga With Me and the  30-day yoga challenge by Erin Motz

As far as my diet goes, I’ve got even stricter with what I eat and don’t eat. So, as well as totally avoiding gluten, I’m mostly avoiding dairy (mainly having goat’s or sheep’s dairy if I’m going to have any), still largely avoiding refined sugar, – (refined anything actually), avoiding additives and processed food and making as much food from scratch as I can. I don’t eat meat – but that’s not a new thing.

I’ve mainly been following recipes from Honestly Healthy  which recommends an ‘alkaline’ diet (which I guess is what I’m following). I have two Honestly Healthy cookbooks, which are great. I’ve also got a few nice recipes from Deliciously Ella.  Both are good sources of vegetarian, dairy free, gluten and sugar free recipes.

I also went back on a detox retreat, run by Olive in Spain. It was the second time I’d been and was as wonderful as the first time, which I reviewed for Queen of Retreats. I came back bouncing with energy (as I had done the time before).

The retreat reinforced the path I’m currently taking, and so I want to be as disciplined as possible, as far as I can. Hence the ‘mostly’ and the ‘largely’ when it comes to dairy and sugar. It goes without saying that I’m not drinking a lot of alcohol, and I’ve even cut down on coffee. So far, I’m pretty positive. I still get flares but they seem to be shorter lived, and I’m still having long periods of no pain (two weeks and counting currently).  My energy remains pretty good overall too.

The biggest challenge to the whole diet thing remains (as it was in August), eating out. That, and occasions where everyone brings in cake that I can’t eat.  This means that I imagine that the upcoming festive season is going to pose the biggest challenge yet. But I plan on making lots of lovely GF/Vegan/sugar free treats so that I don’t feel too left out.

If you want to know more about the types of food I’m cooking and eating, you can follow me on Instagram where I’ll post occasional photos.

Thanks for reading. : )

Some of the delicious meals served at Olive Retreat

Some of the delicious meals served at Olive Retreat

desserts at Olive Retreat - all sugar, gluten and dairy free.

Desserts at Olive Retreat: Sugar, gluten, dairy free.

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3 responses to “November News

  1. If you’d like to comment with links to some of your favourite recipes (gluten, meat-free, sugar free and dairy free only!), then please do, and I’ll add them to my list to try out. 🙂

  2. So happy to hear you are feeling better ….myself as well. Just in June I began taking injections of Methotraxacate (spelling always lol ) but since July I have really noticed a differenc in my PR…..thank goodness. My attacks have lessoned to almost (fingers crossed) to non existant. I have only had maybe 5 since July and WOW I use to get 5 a week easily 🙂 My fybromyalgia is the one thing that is still keeping me down…it is the burning of the body and just the pain when it flares. I have pretty much removed milk and milk products from my diet and just watching what I eat. I have my moments I pay for but I am aware when I am induldging. I go back to my Specialist in January and he will surely be tickled pink cause he is absolutly in it with me . So on that note I am out of “bed” and back on my feet…..one day at a time still applies however each day is not being faced with misery :)) Smiles and have a great day !!!!

  3. just finished reading with interest your news and following replies. I too have been diagnosed with fybromyalgia and PR and on vit D supplements. Luckily I went for over a year without flareup of PR then just had 5 in 3 weeks, mainly in my hands, but a mystery one in my knee? not as painful as in the past but debilitating. Have had to cut my hours down at work because of the fybro fatigue, and the burning and stiffness has reduced. also piled on a stone due to vit d deficiency, my levels were 8! so joined slimming world and because its basically healthy eating lots of veg, fruit etc i wonder if that has reduced alot of fybro symptoms. only been takin 20mg of amatriptyline at night and no painkillers during the day. also am only using unsweetened almond milk in tea and on cereal. Suppose its trial and error and probably wishful thinking but felt pretty normal for the first time in a couple of years. Its a case of pacing myself and knowing when I need to rest. am on Naproxen for the PR, GP sent me for more blood tests and my hand started to swell whilst I was sat waiting but nothing as usual showed up. very frustrating. by the way GP said some drs dont believe fybro exists, felt like saying ” they used to think the earth was Flat and look where that got em” so I said what is all the burning and pain then, he had no answer, as usual. we,l just keep battling on and find our own ways of living with these nonexistent ailments, lol. bye for now, Caroline, Derbyshire!

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