My Fibromyalgia Journey
Hi! I’m Dana.
I come from a family of musicians and have no musical talent whatsoever! My dad is a jazz musician in New Orleans and my brother is the bass guitarist for a popular New Orleans band. I LOVE crawfish, beignets, turtle soup, and muffulettas! I definitely have to pace myself on trips back home. My absolute favorite thing to do is to sit around a big table with my entire family talking, laughing and playing games all night. There is nothing better than that! When I was little I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could wear high heels, make-up and dressy dresses. Let’s just say I’m thrilled to be all grown up! But ponytails and sweats is my second favorite outfit… with make-up of course.
I am 100% Italian and family get-togethers are everything you would imagine. I make homemade spaghetti sauce from a recipe that has been handed down for years and I am extremely particular about what kind of romano cheese that I buy. I don’t like to be alone although I understand the importance of quiet times…..just not long ones. I like to challenge myself. My oldest daughter and I studied together for our black belts in Tae Kwon Do. I broke several boards AND my big toe at the test. I injure myself daily in my own home and get no sympathy from my family 🙂 Personal development books are my favorite read and helping people change their lives through fitness and nutrition is my passion.
I battled fibromyalgia for several years and beat it with nutrition and exercise.
Yes, BEAT IT! I have learned SO much about exercise and nutrition but most importantly I learned a lot about myself. I obtained perseverance, determination, commitment, drive, and strength of mind that flows into every aspect of my life. It’s my mission to help others realize these things in their own lives!
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas. This is my story from diagnosis to victory!
1997– I was sitting next to a girl in my church’s small group one Sunday and listened to her talk about this condition that she had – fibromyalgia. She described the chronic pain and the way it had changed her life. My heart went out to her. She told me about all the different things she had tried. Some of them relieved the symptoms occasionally and others didn’t help at all. She was taking certain foods out of her diet, experimenting with different cleaning products, trying natural toothpastes and deodorants, etc. I was amazed at all the work she put into this and how hopeless it seemed. When I left that conversation I told my husband that I could not imagine living with what she had.
1998– I was 24 yrs old and just had my second child. She was only a few months old when I started to notice a dull soreness in a certain spot on both of my legs. I would constantly rub and massage it but it was always there. I was feeling very tired all the time but I did have a 4 yr old and a baby so that made sense. My body was always achy and I had a constant mild headache. But not the kind that Advil could take care of. It was different. My forehead and temples were sore to touch. My brow bone was the most painful. I found myself constantly massaging different sore spots all over my body. But it wasn’t only muscles…it went deeper than that. I couldn’t really explain it. My upper back, the soft spot between my neck and collar bone, my forearms, the base of my neck, my underarms…these were all very tender spots on my body. I just felt sick all of the time. The only way to describe it was that I felt like I had the flu every single day. I lived like this for a couple of years. I couldn’t fall asleep sometimes because of the pain and I wouldn’t want to get out of bed in the morning because of the pain. But you don’t look sick to people. You just go about your life living with this pain and nobody really knows it. I started to get very depressed. I would lie in bed crying in pain. Nothing would stop it. I finally went to a doctor and that is when I was officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The very same disease that I said I could never imagine having.
I was put on a medication called amitriptyline. It is an anti-depressent, but in small doses it is used as a sleeping aid. When you have fibromyalgia you don’t get into the fourth stage of sleep, which is where all of your muscles and deep tissues repair. It’s a vicious cycle….you can’t sleep because you don’t feel good and you don’t feel good because you can’t sleep. The medication worked and I was definitely feeling better. Some days were good and some were bad. But I was thrilled to have the good days! After being on the medication for several years I noticed a little flutter in my chest. It felt more like it was in my throat. I just ignored it. But then it was happening all the time. I felt my pulse one day and my heartbeat was off. It felt like it was skipping a beat. So I went back to my doctor and he said that the medication was “poisoning” my heart and I needed to stop using it. I dealt with heart palpitations for a couple of years. I was on a heart monitor for a whole month. That was one of the most troubling times of this whole ordeal. I thought I was going to die. The palpitations made me lightheaded sometimes and I would get anxiety attacks. My cardiologist was able to explain to me exactly what was going on and there was nothing to worry about. The palpitations were benign and may go away one day or it would be something that I would live with. He said I could go on medication to block the palpitations if they were that annoying. I chose to just live with it. I am happy to report that I haven’t had to deal with palpitations for several years now!
That brings us to my journey of healing my body from fibromyalgia.
I started by eliminating four things from my diet:
- Hydrogenated oils
- Refined sugar
- Refined flour
- Processed foods
I started researching healthy foods and drastically changing my diet. I also started exercising consistently. Even though I didn’t have any energy and my body was so sore I knew that exercise was going to be a key factor. Eventually exercise became so important to how I felt that I wouldn’t miss a workout. I was just feeling better and better. I learned more and more about the effects of food and exercise on our bodies. The change happened over the course of several years. I used to tell people that I am symptom-free of fibromyalgia. But now I say that I no longer have fibromyalgia. It was a lot of work doing it on my own. All of the research and trial and errors took time but it was well worth it.
In the beginning of May 2012 my husband and I started a 21-Day Cleanse. It is called the Ultimate Reset. What is so different about this cleanse and detox is that it doesn’t just cleanse your body of toxins but it teaches a whole new lifestyle. All the research I did to heal my body is now packaged in one program. You don’t have to figure out what foods to eat and what foods not to eat. This program teaches that. It is not a starvation cleanse. You eat amazingly delicious fresh foods everyday while taking all natural supplements. For 21 days you have each meal planned out with the recipe. 80% of diseases are lifestyle related. It is my opinion and experience that nutrition and exercise is the key to beating fibromyalgia.
If you are someone you know suffers from fibromyalgia please contact me and let me help you get started on the road to healing. I understand the journey and I want you to know that there is hope.