“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…”

As we begin a new year, many of us try to set goals.  The question is whether we can keep them or not.

I’ve had to set many goals as I was faced with the fact that my condition needed to be approached with a multi-disciplinary treatment plan in able to be successful in my healing journey.

It hasn’t been easy to say the least!  Through trial and error, I’ve been able to get back up each time I’ve fallen and continue to remind myself it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.

So with that said, I may have fallen many times but by God’s grace and mercy each time I get back up this Fibro Mom is more resolved to keep moving forward!  Fibro does not identify me.  Christ does!

Ready to tackle 2015!

Stab In the Back

Simply put.  It’s been 2 years since I no longer feel a stabbing pain on my left scapula. EVERY SINGLE DAY I felt like someone was stabbing my back since 2007.  Talk about having someone really stab me in the back!

Also, my high blood pressure eventually normalized as I noticed even taking Felodipine and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I continued to have fluctuating high blood pressure and a shooting pain on my left eye that felt like it would explode any minute.  So my head also felt like exploding.  And, yes, I felt these symptoms everyday as well. Eventually, more symptoms disappeared.

I was so excited to scream it to the whole world the first time I no longer felt it on a chronic basis as I’ve felt hostage for so MANY years!  But I’ve learned to wait for my symptoms to go away as it takes time for my condition to be reversed.

These resulted sometime after my amalgams and permanent retainer were removed as I felt another level of healing.  And this was done in a series of visits as my body would not have been able to handle toxic removal all at the same time.  I later learned it’s because amalgams has mercury in them and a permanent retainer has nickel in it.  Both VERY LETHAL to the human body.  As I mentioned in another post, they were acting like a battery in my mouth!

I haven’t even mentioned that I still had root canals in my mouth at the time I had the mercury and nickel removed!  As I didn’t learn until later that my root canals had moderate acute and chronic inflammation and fragments of viable reactive bone.  My Bio-Dentist was emphatic on the removal of “root cadaver canal” teeth (as he referred to them) due to its potential and actual impact for some on general systemic health. Which I obviously exhibited with my Fibromyalgia condition.

An excerpt from an article written by The Center for Natural Dentistry says, “We have found that fatigue, regardless of the underlying disease, is primarily associated with hypersensitivity to inorganic mercury and nickel.”

Mercury and Nickel Allergy: Risk Factors in Fatigue and Autoimmunity

Now, I don’t know if having root canals alone can cause so much health problems.  And it’s true that there are others who have root canals and seem to be doing okay.  So, with that said, this is a personal decision.  I agreed to get all this dental work done because my body was already failing me.  Fibromyalgia is also a systemic issue, so that alone convinced me that it needed immediate attention.

So this past Thanksgiving, Christmas and as 2014 almost comes to a close, I couldn’t help but reflect and be sooo THANKFUL my body continues to heal as each layer is addressed.  I feel like a soldier no longer dodging bullets and stepping on land mines but I am bruised and injured and needing time to continue to heal.

Humbled and grateful I can be a wife and a mother again as I was truly losing my identity.  And getting a second chance in life.  I am slowly getting my life back even if it’s one year at a time.

How In the World Did I Survive?

I had no idea God would use my chronic condition to help me see how He can work in the biggest storms in my life. I had the hardest time trying to explain to people what I was feeling as my Fibro symptoms grew each year and kept attacking my body 24/7. It grew chronic and happened everyday. I really just wanted to die.

When someone has Fibro and related conditions, it’s not just musculoskeletal. It is neuromuscular, musculoskeletal and systemic symptoms. It is a dysfunction of the nervous system. And it attacks the body at the cellular level. Your body just gets pounded by huge turbulent waves one after another. It doesn’t stop.

And when it stops, you don’t know how long of a break you have. Then it starts all over again. And gets stronger in frequency and intensity. You begin to lose your identity. As it takes over your life. How in the world did I survive?

Psalm 69.1-3 “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.”

But Christ doesn’t fail! As He, even in the middle of a great tempest, can be at peace as He was asleep in the middle of it as mentioned in Matthew 8. He didn’t take away my chronic pain sooner as I wanted Him to…but He did give me peace, comfort and grace to go through it.

Today, I feel like I just left the battlefield where I am no longer in the front lines getting shot at and stepping on mine fields everyday. But I am now on a ship with my comrades injured, bruised but healing. I am not out of the woods. But thankful my nervous system has quieted down A LOT! And I will continue to wait for God to do His work in me. Because I have learned to trust in Him as He continues to prove Himself to be real, faithful and true. He is full of mercy and grace. As at the end of the day, it is all about Christ who lives in me.

My One and Only

PicCollage I am so thankful to slowly but surely be able to get back to my role as a Mom.  I soooo miss it!  Fibro took over for many years and I feel like I missed out on so much. Including being a Mom.

So, as my condition is being reversed and I am getting my quality of life back, I am able to do MORE including Mommy stuff.  I was able to help out my daughter prepare for her prom night and it was so much FUN!

But how in the world did she get to be so much taller than me?  Even without her heels?  She has grown to be such a beautiful young lady.  Am thankful for the opportunity to nurture and raise my little girl who is now taller than me.

Love her to the moon and back!  And even beyond! ❤

The Shadow of Your Smile

As I was going about my morning today, I stumbled upon this song and reminded me how much I love it so much!

Tony Bennet reminds me of my Dad. I remember how he often listened to his music and would pretend he was Tony Bennet as he would sing to my Mom. I’m thankful for good memories as my Dad has not been the same since his stroke in Feb 2002. Our entire family had to adjust to the new norm. Having these good memories also helps me remember of who I used to be before getting so sick with Fibromyalgia. As I really lost a sense of who I am.

Talking to long time friends recently brought me back to my darkest days with Fibro and helped me remember how far I’ve come! When I have my quiet moments, He helps me see how my suffering and hardship all these years happened for a reason. His divine reason. Once I stopped denying and fighting this nasty disease, I became more at peace and felt content despite the onslaught of daily pain. The kind of contentment that it’s okay if I don’t heal right away. Or be cured. Once I did this, I became more focused in my journey of healing.

It was then I realized my ULTIMATE healing was not going to come from food, exercise, etc.  It has helped me heal and is continuing to help me heal.  But God is the one who put me on the road to healing.  I was again reminded I am not my own!  And though I lost a sense of who I am, I was pointed back to the reality that my true identity is in Christ alone.

As much as I wanted to take control of my healing, I was reminded God is in control and He will heal me in His time. My creator is my ultimate healer. He is the SOURCE OF EVERYTHING I’ve been able to find to help me heal. And He still continues to provide as I walk this journey.

Just Do It!

Fibro Exercise Image

I’ve been pushing myself to getting back on a CONSISTENT workout regimen as I continue to heal.  It’s tough cause once I focus on my diet and sleep, exercise gets put in the back burner.

And when one has Fibro, it is a MUST to be on a consistent exercise plan.  A multi-disciplinary approach has worked for me in the past.  But it takes a lot of discipline which I must confess I sometimes lack.

Working in the kitchen has replaced my workout regimen.  Not to mention how FUN it is to make the grawnola!  Okay, I admit, I geek out over the whole process.  The science behind it is just so fascinating and intriguing to me!  My ADD just kicked in.  Hahaha!  Back to the exercise  😉 Although I move around a lot in the kitchen, it is not enough.  So returning to a disciplined workout regimen I go!

In an ideal world, I would call my Personal Trainer and she would keep me accountable and we’d work together.  But that ain’t happening anytime soon as it’s not in my budget.  Thankfully, there are support groups out there that I can benefit from as they give tips on safe exercise for those with Fibromyalgia.  One website I trust is livingsmarterwithfibromyalgia.com.  She gives safe and proven techniques that she has actually used on herself because she also has Fibromyalgia so I totally trust her recommendations!

Check out her Summary Fitness Protocol page on http://www.living-smarter-with-fibromyalgia.com/fibromyalgia-exercises.html

How RAW/Live Foods Are Saving My Life!

I walked around feeling hopeless for several years before being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  As I visited one doctor and specialist after another, I was helped to a certain extent.  But knew something else was causing my body to deteriorate!  My symptoms continued to grow and everyday I felt like it was just a matter of time I would end up in the hospital or on my deathbed.  Which I actually did end up in the Emergency Room in August of 2007!

Fast forward to today, as I look back at everything that has happened to my body and all I’ve learned, I could’ve been treated earlier if I would’ve learned my oral health was connected to my debilitating condition.  I was basically being poisoned.  In fact, I am seriously wondering if it is the root cause!  But that is neither here nor there…I have actually learned to accept my condition and move forward.  I’m learning to see the positive side of Fibromyalgia and focusing on helping my body to heal!  God has blessed me by directing me to doctors, specialists and resources who are familiar with my health issues.

I started a detox program back in the Fall of 2008 by eating 100% RAW/Live foods for almost 3 months.  It was VERY challenging to all of a sudden switch to a different way of eating.  But it was my life!  And I knew I needed help IMMEDIATELY!  This was sometime after Dr. Yee, D.O. of Kaiser recommended me to give it a try as she’s heard successful stories from her other patients.  And she also encouraged me to eat “clean.”  Eating clean simply means organic and non-GMO whole foods.  Not knowing everything about raw foods at the time, I went ahead and picked up books on it to do some research and read like crazy!

It was amazing how while I was on it for almost 3 months, I didn’t feel the Fibro symptoms. It was as if I didn’t have it!  I was still weak but my body felt the surge of energy and life that I didn’t have for a very long time!  Midway through the third month, I slowly weaned myself off of raw foods and went back to eating the conventional way or the SAD way (Standard American Diet), thinking I was doing better and just needed to focus on other aspects of my treatment plan.  By end of December, Fibromyalgia came back with a vengeance!  And this time, more symptoms.  VERY confusing!

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I eventually went back to eating raw in 2009 and learned so much about it.  Today, I continue to eat raw foods (about 35% – 50%) but have learned to soak, rinse and sprout nuts and seeds.  To help improve my digestion.  And ferment and culture vegetables.   And incorporate it into my clean diet (w/a small percentage of animal protein and fruits).  All the doctors in my healing team have encouraged me to continue eating clean, organic, non-GMO and whole foods.  I’ve also read a variety of books and follow experts such as Dr. Mercola, Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions, Donna Gates, Natalia Rose, Weston A. Price, etc.  As you can see, I’ve tried all kinds of approach to healing as I was desperate.  It was difficult to make sense of what was happening to my body!  What I have learned is the importance of considering each individual’s unique biochemistry rather than making a one-size-fits-all diet for everyone.  But all these experts do encourage and are in agreement to eat CLEAN whole foods!

And later in the treatment, it did become clear that toxicity was one of my issues which I will be blogging more on later in detail.  As I found out a couple of my health issues, or possibly the root cause, were Heavy Metal Toxicity (HMT) and failed root canals.  And I realized I needed to keep detoxing for awhile.  I learned raw foods was one BIG way I can keep my body clean. Basically, it is saving my life and has become my “new” norm!  It wasn’t a choice or an interest anymore.  It is SURVIVAL!

DISCLAIMER:  Information found on this site is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment. Individual articles and information on other websites are based upon the opinions of the respective authors, who retain copyright as marked.

Resources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/13/david-wolfe-interview.aspx

http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/cmasterjohn/2010/09/11/the-biochemical-magic-of-raw-milk-and-other-raw-foods-glutathione/

http://bodyecology.com/aboutbed.php

http://www.westonaprice.org/thumbs-up-reviews/nourishing-traditions

Good Bugs vs Bad Bugs

What an eye-opener to find out the immune system is linked to the widespread pain of Fibromyalgia!  I’ve learned our gut is the first line of defense when it comes to our immune system.  Well, guess what’s in our gut?  BINGO!  BILLIONS of good bacteria!  And they are there to keep us healthy!  Our gut has also been called the “second brain” as the lining has network of neurons.  I don’t want get too scientific here but it is amazing to me that our gut actually holds more serotonin (the “feel-good” neurotransmitters) than our brain does!

Fibromyalgia is a multi-faceted disease so it needs a multi-disciplinary approach.  And when one has had Fibromyalgia for a VERY long time (which is usually the case), one soon figures this out!  As the multitude of pain drives one to find a solution!  If you’re going to have chronic pain, everyday and comes and goes (in frequency and intensity), you might as well tackle it head on.  And that is exactly what I learned to do!  Believe me, it is NOT EASY!

I eventually learned how to reestablish and feed my inner ecosystem by supplementing probiotics into my treatment plan back in 2008.  And later, my Naturopathic Doctor confirmed it and even increased my dosage to 100 billion CFUs (colony forming unit) at one point!  After more research, I later learned I can eventually transition to getting my good bacteria through cultured foods and drinks.

I have been making my own young coconut kefir for about 3 years now.  And this year, I learned how to make yogurt.  And to my surprise I had no idea how EASY it is to make both!  

Because I want to keep this short and sweet, I will only post a sample recipe today for a dairy yogurt.   I’ve used Custom Probiotics.  Body Ecology’s (BE) Kefir Starter is also another excellent choice (although I have yet to make dairy yogurt with it).  I’ve used BE’s starter to make young coconut kefir.

The following is a recipe by Custom Probiotics.

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Dairy Yogurt Recipe:

– Half scoop of yogurt culture

– 2 to 4 quarts of organic milk.

 

Add half scoop ( 0.4 gm) of yogurt culture, per 2-4 quarts of milk at 100 Deg F (38 Deg C). Mix thoroughly and ferment for 9 hours or longer on your kitchen counter or pantry. Find a cool, dry place.  Then refrigerate the yogurt made.  Keep the yogurt culture in the refrigerator.  This slows down the fementation process.  

Scoop size = 0.8 gram. 

I was amazed to see the milk transform from liquid into a more yogurt texture-like form! I left my first batch out longer than 9 hours as it gives you the choice to do so.  The good bacteria just continues to grow and I wanted to see if it would get thicker.

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And these are a few samples of what you can do with your dairy yogurt.  Make Acai bowls, smoothies, yogurt parfait and more!  And don’t forget, it is EXTRA delicious and nutritious topping it off with island RAW granola!

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If you are not able to handle dairy at this point, an option would be to try using young coconut water to make elixirs or coconut to make dairy-free yogurt.  I will be posting the recipes on these next.  See you then!  😉

Credits:  To my good friend, Diana Hirsch!  She introduced me to both starters.  And I am FOREVER grateful!   🙂

24-Hour Fitness Healthy Living Fair!

There was a great turnout at last Saturday’s Healthy Living Fair!  So many 24-Hr members came by to check out what RAW granola is all about.  And eager to learn!

A big reason I decided to go forward with my start-up company is to bring awareness to Fibromyalgia and related conditions.  And how adopting a healthier lifestyle CAN reverse one’s medical condition or give one’s quality of life back again!  One way to live a healthier lifestyle is through adopting a clean, wholesome, living way of eating.  What we put in our bodies DO affect the way we function!  Maybe not right away if one is healthy.  But a lifestyle of eating “junk foods” will catch up!  Especially if one already has health issues.  And I can personally attest to this as there were many times I was tempted to eat the way I used to and my body would simply reject it.  Every single time I go back to eating clean, my body would just continue to heal!  [DISCLAIMER:  I am NOT a doctor or a nutritionist.  What I have shared here is based on my personal experience and research over the years of dealing with fibromyalgia.  If you have a medical condition, please ALWAYS consult with your physician.]     

I met so many men and women who are suffering from a chronic condition or other illnesses.  Or just simply want to improve their health.  I remember being there!  I am NOT completely out of the woods.  And I am NOT cured.  But the quality of my life is returning. My hope is to use my start-up as a vehicle to help others.

Thank you so much Cari for the opportunity!  And I couldn’t have done this event without the help of my team.  My son, Sam, for set-up; my hubby Ray for teardown (and my biggest cheerleader 😉 and Rachael my niece for assisting me the entire time!  And many more help behind the scenes (my daughter Marjory & Chona; Brandon, my oldest son, for his moral support which is HUGE! And Jay & Angeli for their canopy).

Come and join us again next month, August 24th, Saturday, from 7 am – 11 am,  as 24-Hour Fitness presents another Healthy Living Fair!   Please save the date! And help us promote healthy living!

ALOHA!  😉

Snap shots w/Cari and my team!  ;-)
Snap shots w/Cari and my team! 😉