Monday, December 23, 2013

A Gulp Of My Truth

A telling sequence of events unfolded recently. It clearly revealed how far onto the health-nut bandwagon I have climbed. For my bedtime snack I would eat a few dollops of yogurt with a small handful of granola. Long ago I learned most store-sweetened yogurt was full of sugar and/or chemicals. Mixing stevia, vanilla, cinnamon, and a drop of honey into plain, low-fat yogurt, makes a pretty healthy tasting concoction. But the granola was either super expensive, or full of sugar and/or it's evil twin, high-fructose corn syrup. So one day I found myself on the internet researching home-made granola recipes, and decided I'd positively lost it. When the final verdict of my recipe search was to improve the health of my midnight mastication by scratching granola altogether, and instead throw a handful of raw trail mix into the mildly sweet and relatively spicy yogurt, I knew I'd entered an entirely new realm of neurotic.  

For that reason it is vitally important I clarify the gaping juxtaposition straddling my life. In no way, shape or form, do I believe diet cures Fibromyalgia. Nor does exercise, pushing through, magical thinking or the Tooth Fairy. It is not an illness somebody gives themselves because they don't know how to handle life correctly. Most assuredly, Fibromyalgia is not a manifestation of depression, or some mind-body connection that can be overcome by determination. I'm going on my ninth year of living with this beast of burden beating on my back. It is a very real illness with a disabling set of symptoms, so varied and inconsistent the irregularity alone made me think I was going loony-bin crazy. But I wasn't. I was sick. The irony is, once I got enough of my health back to gain a bit of perspective, it erased every last bit of lingering self-doubt from my mind. Fibromyalgia is as real as the oxygen I breathe.

In the eight years I have been sick, I've done just about anything a person can do to get better. For many years nothing mattered, I was too sick for incremental changes to make a difference. No amount of removing aspartame from my diet, or mediating, or stuffing epic portions of supplements down my throat, "cured" me. If any one thing even made a small difference, it was horribly hard to tell, because everything else was so wrong I couldn't tell my ass from a hole in the ground. Through the years I've either lost, given up, changed or surrendered everything I thought mattered. I kept trying, trying, trying, to find a way to live life that wasn't more accurately described as living hell. Whatever combination of things I've done, mingled with my specific disease profile, mixed up with a million other unknowns, and luck I believe only comes from the good Lord above, life is worth living again. But that is just me, my story.      

Whatever this "thing" they call Fibromyalgia turns out to be, scientifically, it's certainly complex. Something is twisting immune suppression, central nervous system damage, and thermostat dis-regulation, along with who knows what else, into a very "custom" chronic illness. I don't know one single person who experiences it the same way I do. Sure, some symptoms overlap, but the way we respond to treatment is as unique as the way we ache. So while I run around crediting juicing and a positive attitude with a truly miraculous turnabout in my life, it is important to note this is not the first time I have tried either of them. Just the first time it's made enough of a difference to keep talking about. 

Thanks for joining,