Thursday, March 5, 2009

Know Thyself.

One of the biggest problems we, as Fibro Patients, have is our lacking in knowledge of ourselves and often our condition. Okay so our condition isn't even known to the medical community really, so granted we're at a severe disadvantage. But there is a lot we can do without the scientific knowledge.

We have to work on instinct and personal observation. If no one else is equipped to help us we MUST help ourselves.

For the energy quiz, the tally was as follows---Well it doesn't matter because we all had it wrong! Myself included. Haha! I was disturbed, however, by the 17% that said they never pay attention to the circumstances of their energy.

Because of Fibro, we have to know everything about our body. We're all different. We all experience different symptoms at different stages. We can't just read blogs and message boards and support groups to relate to others so that we feel secure in a symptom. (Although that's a HUGE plus.)

We have to know ourselves. Every symptom, every day, should be documented. At least every day that you experience new or rare symptoms. We have to try to find a pattern within ourselves so that we can sense when we're lacking or when we need the most help.

It's really...really hard to do and to maintain. A pain journal or symptom journal or food journal...etc. But it can be done. And in that journal you need to realize what is sapping your energy the most.

Write down the routine for your morning and rate your energy as it slips and as it rises. See what helps you and what hinders you and make even slight adjustments.

I used to wake up okay.. and try to squeeze everything I needed to do for the day before I ate because I knew that once I ate...the digestion process would slow me down to a crawl. There were times when my first meal was at 6-7 p.m.

That habit made it to where I was squeezing in three meals in one or worse, staying up until 5 a.m. Thus my horrid circle went for 20 years...and it's not much different right now. However... I changed a bit.

I started eating such small "meals" that my digestion didn't sap me. I just ate more of them. My energy increased. I also added some D-Ribose and some Acai Berry powder...took some probiotics to help regulate my bowel and of course.. take vitamins daily. Especially B-12. It's the boost we all need. Make sure you're taking it!

Energy is the most important part of Fibro, because without it we lay around a lot. Our muscles get worse without exercise, our pain creeps up because of lack of movement and depression and the vicious cycle continues over and over.

Power naps are also a very helpful way of re energizing. Don't fight your body, make peace with it by compromising when you can. 45 minute naps that you make yourself rise from!

It takes very little to sap our energy so we have to actively fight to keep it. It is why you will often hear me snarl when I hear of Lyrica. Not because I think it doesn't work at all. People swear it helps them even though it doesn't cure them and whatever helps...I wouldn't begrudge anyone. HOWEVER, it also promotes weight gain. When we weigh more we're less likely to move around as much as we need to, to produce energy. Weight gain also means... more depression, which of course Lyrica helps to disguise until one day, you wake up and catch a glimpse in the mirror or hear a snide "fat" comment from some wench behind a Rite Aid counter!! (lol... okay bitter memories now.)

You have no idea how many women I hear who are crushed by the drug. ("I weigh so much now. I can't exercise and I can't get any energy from the added weight to get up and exercise. Help!") It makes me so angry! I've suggested topamax instead of Lyrica sometimes but it's hard for me to do that since Topamax and I did not get along. It does, however, make you lose weight and can help with migraine headaches. (Topamax is a sister med to Lyrica that makes you lose on average 30-40 lbs) Others swear by diets I like to call the "diarrhea diets" because lose weight by giving yourself IBS. (Cabbage soup diet... Acai Berry mixed with a colon cleanse. etc)

Bottom line for me is this...we make energy in the bowel, therefore, the bowel must be healthy and producing the energy we need. Change comfort foods that you know are bad to mostly healthy. I say mostly because cutting out everything can lead to horrible junk food cravings that have you snapping off and purging. One step at a time is all we can do.


Make a symptom journal. Know when and where your body suffers so you can counter-attack. Perhaps even preemptively.

Make an energy journal. Notice what times of the day your energy is lacking. Time your B-12 ingestion around that.

Give a little...take a lot. Power naps can help. You might feel like crap right after, but once you get moving you'll notice a little perk. We live for those little perks. Take advantage.

Take care of your bowel. It is the energy maker. Treat it well and it will do more for you. During bad bouts of IBS this is a bit more of a challenge but push through it. Find what binds! lol

Plenty of good rest, exercise, healthy digestion, Vitamin B-12 or B complex, D-Ribose, Acai berry (used carefully)...these things have worked for me. Let me know if you have found something else that has worked for you!

And as always,
Keep fighting the good fight,
All my best,


  1. Hi, Gin. I started paying more attention to the food consumption and energy drop you described. Fortunately I usually eat fairly lightly throughout the day, but my doctor reviewed my food journal and noted that I pratically consumed no protein during the day--maybe some peanut butter or milk. All carbs, which of course are for my lack of energy. But by throwing in some protein I was able to complement the CHOs and make them last longer.
    One thing I wanted to pass on is that my dtr. found on line a recipe for a protein bar that has tofu, soy powder, peanut butter, fruit etc. Would you like for me to post the link? They are super easy to make and very yummy.

  2. A yummy recipe that can give you energy?? Are you kidding? Post away! BTW... good job on keeping a food journal!