UK Man Receives Compensation After Chemical Exposure Gives Him CFS

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Friday, July 26, 2013



A UK report released today says a British man has won "significant compensation"  after proving that workplace exposure to trichloroethylene was the cause of his ME/CFS. Interesting because trichloroethylene was banned in the United States by the FDA in 1977 but is still being used in a variety of ways that could be harmful to our health and this case seems to prove that.

This overview from Toxipedia.org sums up the ways trichloroethylene has been used in the past and where it can be found now. This is only one case but it points in the direction of environmental factors as a potential cause of CFS.

New York Times Ask An Expert Series Answers Readers' Questions on Rheumatoid Arthritis, Part 2

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In the second part of the New York Times Ask an Expert series on rheumatoid arthritis, Dr. Vivian Bykerk, Director of the Inflammatory Arthritis Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery, answers readers' questions regarding natural remedies, second opinions, and why it is more important to treat arthritis early with milder medications than waiting and having to pull out the "big guns" later.

Since arthritis is a progressive disease, the question of using natural remedies in place of prescription drugs is a controversial debate. Dr. Bykerk's response to a readers' question regarding natural remedies is a great example of how your rheumatologist works for you and why a combination approach is best for RA:

"Once damage starts to occur it becomes very difficult to control this disease. Sometimes a short course of a medically recommended therapy to get you into remission quickly with an attempt to wean down the therapy once the disease is in remission (while starting to use natural means) may achieve more than trying natural means alone."

Click here to read the full article.

New York Times Ask An Expert Series Answers Readers' Questions on Rheumatoid Arthritis, Part 1

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New York Times Ask An Expert section spotlights rheumatoid arthritis this week with Dr.Vivian Bykerk, Director of the Inflammatory Arthritis Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. She received so many questions from readers that this article is the first part in a two-part series. Read Part 1 here.

The Revivalist Featured as in Latebloom Lisa's Wellness Wednesday Series!

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Latebloom Lisa interviews me for her Wellness Wednesday - Wellness Warrior series! The best thing about blogging is connecting with awesome bloggers and sharing ideas, a little love, and more ideas.  I connected with Lisa on another awesome blog, yesandyes.org. Lisa's blog focuses on health and wellness, gluten-free living, and all good things healthy and happy.  So if you want to hear my back story and the reasons why I started The Revivalist, check out the interview here.

@latebloomlisaBL
@yesandyes

10 Ways to Be a Proactive Patient by Dr. Lissa Rankin

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Read this article before your next doctor's appointment! MindBodyGreen contributor, Dr. Lissa Rankin, breaks down how you can be your own patient advocate, how to empower yourself as a patient, and how to build a great relationship with your doctor. Helpful advice especially for anyone with a chronic illness or symptoms that are difficult to diagnose.

Sign the Petition: Balancing Act and AFFIRM Act

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Congress is still struggling with current farming subsidies legislation. Pesticides in foods, antibiotics and hormones in meats, and environmental pollution have been proven to play a role in autoimmune illnesses. The Balancing act and Affirm Act are critical to protecting healthy and organic food and family farms. Today's petition would propose the following:

The AFFIRM Act would:
:: Subject crop insurance subsidies to means testing and payment limits
:: Links subsidies to basic environmental protections
:: Cut subsidies to insurance companies
:: Allow USDA to disclose the names of crop insurance subsidies

The Balancing Act would:
:: Fully fund conservation programs
:: Protect drinking water supplies by encouraging farmers to reduce fertilizer and pesticide applications
:: Help family farmers make the transition to organic farming
:: End subsidies for factory farms and reward livestock producers who reduce the use of antibiotics


Sign the petition to encourage your Congressmen to support the Balancing Act and AFFIRM act.

CFS Central Interviews Ryan Prior and Nicole Castillo of The Blue Ribbon Documentary

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Monday, July 8, 2013


CFS Central interviewed Ryan Prior and Nicole Castillo, the directors of the Kickstarter-funded CFS documentary, The Blue Ribbon.  Read their insightful interview here and then head over to their Kickstarter campaign to help fund their inspiring film. Donate $25 and you will receive a download of the movie. The campaign ends tomorrow so take the opportunity today to fund an important project for ME/CFS!

10 Causes of Fibromyalgia Your Doctor Might Not Know About

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Interesting article from Dr. Amy Myers at MindBodyGreen.com on causes of fibromyalgia that your doctor may not reference. This is a great summary of potential causes for autoimmune illnesses and chronic pain as well. Worth looking into if you are struggling with a chronic illness. Check it out here.

Kickstarter: ME/CFS Documentary

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Any teenage girls out there need to start putting posters of this guy on their walls. Ryan Prior is a teenager with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) who decided to make a documentary about his experience to give hope to other out their suffering from the same illness and to create a positive community of support. His work started as a college correspondent for USAToday where he chronicles his personal experience as a teenage with ME/CFS. To read his insightful article, click here.

To learn more about Ryan's documentary and contribute to the documentary fund on Kickstarter, click here.

Sign the Petition: Farm Bill

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Unsafe farming practices lead to chemically polluted waters and produce which lead to disease and dysfunction in the body. Sign the Environmental Working Group's petition here to protect family farmers who use environmentally-conscious farming practices that help to ensure safer water and food supplies.

Tester #1: Essential Oils for Vertigo

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This post is the first in a series where I test out treatments for various symptoms to see what works for me. Some people with chronic fatigue syndrome cannot take prescription drugs because some drugs exacerbate their symptoms. Because of that, I have a growing interest in trying out other treatments to see if any of them can minimize my symptoms.

Over the past week, I've had small bouts of vertigo which is common for people with chronic fatigue syndrome. If you have not experienced vertigo before, it feels as if someone walked up to you, took you by the shoulders, shook you really hard and then walked away. I don't fall over or walk crooked, I just need to stop what I'm doing and regroup. It's really annoying and sometimes scary because it can hit without warning. Fortunately, my bouts with vertigo are mild and resolve within an hour or so,  but many people suffering from vertigo cannot get out of bed due to the severity of the symptoms which can last for days.

I decided to look into any easy over-the-counter solutions.  I chose to try a vial of essential oils that claimed to treat motion sickness and vertigo that I found at the local drugstore for $7. The oil is a mix of lavender, peppermint, frankincense, chamomile, myrrh, ylang ylang, and birch.  The directions are to rub a couple drops behind each ear and your symptoms will resolve within three to five minutes.

I think I bought this oil specifically because I didn't believe it would work and I almost wanted to prove that it didn't. To me, myrrh and frankincense are things that people sing about during Christmas, and birch is just a pretty tree.Within five minutes, my dizziness disappeared and I felt more centered. I had to use more about an hour later but it did provide instant relief that could be helpful when a bout hits while getting from point A to point B. The downside is that I smell like a Christmas tree but the scent fades fairly quickly.

Overall,  I think this is a good, fast treatment for mild bouts of vertigo. I wouldn't consider it a cure or a preventative measure, but something good to have in a pinch. I will keep it in my bag in case I experience a bout unexpectedly, or if one of my friends feels the sudden urge to shake me and walk away.




Drug Trial Expanded for Breakthrough CFS Drug

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Norway has just granted funding to extend testing of rituximab as a possible treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This is a big deal for anyone with CFS because rituximab is already used to treat cancer in the United States, so if it is proven to treat CFS, the drug could quickly become available to patients. Drugs currently approved for use for one illness, but proven to treat another, go through a much faster approval process!  Click here for the full report.

High Energy, Anti-Inflammatory, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Easy Morning Smoothie

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Friday, June 7, 2013



It's a mouthful but this morning smoothie recipe is the simplest way to cut inflammation, raise energy, and get a healthy, delicious start to your day.

High Energy, Anti-Inflammatory, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Easy Morning Smoothie (1 serving)

1 banana or a handful of frozen cherries
1 cup of dairy-free milk  (almond or coconut milk work best)
A small handful of kale or spinach leaves
1 tablespoon of peanut or almond butter
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds
1/2 teaspoon of macca root powder (a little goes a long way)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 a teaspoon of ginger


Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Try this recipe for breakfast over the weekend and see how you feel the rest of the day.

Inspiration: "Blindsight"

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Thursday, June 6, 2013


If you are sick and stuck in bed, having a bad flare-up, or just feeling sorry for yourself and your current situation, watch the documentary, “Blindsight”.  This documentary follows six blind Tibetan teenagers as they prepare to climb Mount Everest. Enough said, right? I guarantee within the first five minutes, you will forget about how you’re feeling, and your eyes will be leaking, as you watch these teenagers go from being treated like outcasts in their community to climbing the highest peak in the world. My eyes leak just thinking about them. Sometimes the best way to deal with a bad situation, physically or emotionally, is to take your mind off it and focus your energy on something else.  These kids are the perfect example of the possibilities that lie within a change of perspective. 

Stream “Blindsight” for free on Hulu here.

Netflix subscribers can stream “Blindsight” here

Sign the Petition: Why Genetically-Engineered Crops Suck, and What You Can Do About It

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Genetically-engineered foods have been linked to autoimmune disorders and allergies for years but the USDA continues to allow the field testing of these toxic crops and the resulting contamination of  our farmlands, and our bodies, in the process. Sign the Greenpeace petition asking the USDA to ban field testing of GE crops here.

To learn more about how genetically-engineered foods lead to long-term illnesses, check out this article from Livestrong.com.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Three Ways to Deal With Brain Fog

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Friday, May 31, 2013



I can't explain what brain fog is or how it happens but I have a lot of stories to describe what it's like to experience it. When my chronic fatigue syndrome was at its worst, my brain fog was off the charts. I would walk into a room in my apartment and completely forget where I was or what I was doing. I would blank out while watching TV and not recognize what I was watching, and it just wouldn't come back to me. That's the difference between brain fog and just being forgetful, there's a part of your thoughts and memories that just don't come back on your own.

I remember people, the places I lived, and general things about my life, but if someone were to ask me to tell them about, for example, that time we went fishing, I wouldn't remember that time we went fishing or anything related to fishing. But if someone started the story, and gave me some cues, then eventually it might come back to me vaguely. It's really noticeable when someone asks me about specifics from the past. Unless I have someone else to jog my memory with parts of a story, that story is long gone from my brain.

Brain fog sounds traumatic, and literally is, but there's another side of it that isn't often talked about. Maybe I had a cocktail and fell down on that fishing trip so maybe the universe is doing me a favor by keeping me from recalling it to other people. The best memories are shared memories so, with the really good ones, there's usually someone around to jog my memory about specifics. For the times when you don't have someone around to jog your memory, here are three ways to get through a blank out:

1. Write everything down, all the time.  Just keep a calendar and make little notes everyday on what you're doing. Have a list for work, home, and especially the grocery store. Listen here to Kevin Pearce describing an amusing trip to the grocery store after suffering from a traumatic brain injury.

2. Fake it.  People without brain fog fake it all the time so why not do it, too. Go ahead and change the subject; ask someone else to tell the story; pretend like you're thinking deeply about all the details you remember; point at something else like it's more interesting than what you're talking about; or just say you don't remember, because eventually you'll forget saying that, too.

3. Embrace it.  It's happening whether you like it or not so stop wanting to control it and just ride it out. Usually, something funny can be found in a total blank out or something better happens when you're forced to switch gears. Getting upset about it won't bring it back. Just take it for what it is, laugh it off, and move on.

Why Gluten May Be Your Immune System's Worst Enemy

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Here's a link to a great article on how gluten acts on your immune system from Dr. Amy Myers, courtesy of MindBodyGreen.com,  How Gluten Wreaks Havoc On Your Gut.  I recently went on a gluten-free diet and have seen great improvement in my symptoms including stiffness, brain fog, and energy levels.  I will go more into how food allergies may be exacerbating your symptoms in future posts as well as add an allergy-friendly recipe page. 

Inspiration: Kevin Pearce

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Kevin Pearce was a world-class snowboarder before suffering a traumatic brain injury during an early morning practice run for the Olympic snowboarding team. Listen to Kevin talk about his road to recovery, and how to find happiness when life throws you curveballs in this great podcast courtesy of The Dirtbag Diaries.  Listen here.

Join the Registry: Help Find New Ways to Treat Arthritis

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Friday, May 24, 2013


Arthritis Foundation (@arthritis_org)
Help find new ways to treat your arthritis. Learn more about the Arthritis Internet Registry (AIR) here bit.ly/HgPWf3



Arthritis Foundation/Mayo Clinic Arthritis Chat Live on Twitter 5/22

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Join the Arthritis Foundation and Mayo Clinic for an Arthritis Chat live on Twitter
Wednesday, May 22nd, 1 pm EST.  #ArthritisChat
For more details, click here.

Talk to Your Doctor: Macca Root

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The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unknown but it is known that the illness throws your hormones and glandular functions out of whack leading to extreme fatigue, insomnia, vertigo, and pain. Some people with CFS have found great relief in fighting the sleep/pain/fatigue cycle by balancing their hormones with adaptogens. Adaptogens naturally balance your thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands allowing your body to produce the correct amount of hormones at the right time for your body.

Macca root has risen through the supplement ranks lately as a great adaptogen to aid with fatigue, boost the immune system, reduce stress, and increase strength, and vitality.  It is high in B vitamins and Vitamin C and aids in the process of converting carbohydrates into energy.  Macca root is a plant similar to a radish that the Incans used for strength before heading into battle.  Today, I throw some macca root powder into my banana smoothie, and just hope I stay awake at my desk.

I bought a bag of macca root powder at Whole Foods for $22.  I would guess the bag would last about six months so it is not a bad deal for the size but you can probably find it cheaper somewhere else. Macca root is also available online in capsules or powder form. The manufacturer recommends starting with a small amount half, no larger than a teaspoon. Larger dosages can upset your stomach if you are just starting to use this supplement.   I used a small teaspoon of macca root powder and just blended into a smoothie with banana, cinnamon, and almond milk. The taste is very subtle almost like vanilla so it is easy to drink.

I have to say after a few days of using macca root, I do feel stronger, more clear-headed, and my energy levels are higher and more consistent throughout the day.  For me, macca root powder is a good investment and a good addition to an easy breakfast a couple times a week.  It is important to discuss macca root with your doctor before trying due to contraindications and possible side effects.  So talk to your doctor about macca root and let me know if you try it!



Top Foods to Fight Arthritis

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Monday, May 20, 2013


Here is a great article from Holly Clegg at Huffington Post on top foods and tips for fighting arthritis. I think it applies to all the autoimmune illnesses and anyone with chronic diseases or pain. In future posts, I will explore the role of diet and inflammation as well as food allergies and how small changes to diet can make a big difference. Click here for Holly's article.


Sign the Petition: Lupus

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Just in time for World Autoimmune Arthritis Awareness Day on May 20th, the Lupus Foundation has launched a petition asking Congress to increase funding and expand medical research into the disease.

Don't know anyone with lupus? Have you heard of Lady Gaga? She has it and now you know someone with lupus. So do them all a favor and sign the petition.

To sign the petition, click here

To view the full letter to Congress, click here

"If you let people in white lab coats design your food, you'll see people in white coats to treat your disease." -Dr. Joel Kahn

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Friday, May 17, 2013



Check out this great MindBodyGreen article on the power of juicing from the perspective of a cardiologist...

Getting Started: Research and Resources

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Thursday, May 16, 2013


 Source: estatevaults.com


World Autoimmune Arthritis Awareness Day is coming up on May 20th and ME/CFS Awareness Day was just on May 12th so now is the time for research, advocacy, and community to take the spotlight. I gathered a list of important resources for patients, families and friends, and advocates. I recommend signing up for their email newsletters and advocacy alerts.  All the sites have information on the latest research and support groups.

In future posts, I will be going deeper into the individual illnesses, the prevalence of each illness, the discrepancies in research (especially for women) and how to advocate for your cause.  The last two links will help you find the contact information for your state representatives and Congressmen which will play a huge role in future advocacy events.  

Think of this as your starter kit.  Take some time to gather all the information and think about how you would like to tell your story and explain your illness.  Start to connect with other people that share the same illness, then when the opportunities arise, we can act together.

American Autoimmune-Related Diseases Association

Arthritis Foundation

Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

National Fibromyalgia Association

PTSD Association

Contact Your Congressmen (search by name, state, or party)

Find Your Representative (search by zip code)



Four Keys to Living with an Autoimmune Illness

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Thursday, May 9, 2013



When you have an autoimmune illness, you spend a lot of time exploring uncharted territory. There are no cures, treatments and testing are not always reliable and sometimes risky, and nobody really knows what to do. Think of yourself as a contestant on "Survivor" (insert your own immunity joke). In order to win, you need to build up alliances, gather information, and make sure you have the right supplies. Here are four keys to living with an autoimmune illness:


1. Accept the challenge.  The first step to living with an autoimmune illness is to accept it.  It is so easy to get down when you're feeling bad and wish you were someone else in a better situation. We all have our fierce fires to fight and this one is yours. You can't control having an autoimmune illness, but you can control how you live with it. Your challenge is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and find the right way to get on with your life. 

2. Break it down and map it out. Leave the finding a cure and treating the disease as a whole to the doctors. Your role is to learn how to manage the side effects and symptoms one day at a time. This area is where alternative therapies and natural remedies shine. Achy joints? Try gentle yoga. Nausea from strong medications? Drink some ginger tea. Insomnia from the stress of having autoimmune issues? High tail it to an acupuncturist and you'll be sleeping like a baby in no time. Listen to your body and take it day by day. A good way to feel in control of your illness is to make a separate list of each symptom or side effect and what you can do to make yourself feel better. 

3. Build it up.   Treat the doctors as your team who are there to help you win.  Research your illness and treatments so you know where you're going and what you're getting into. Seek out support groups full of people who have already gone down that path. Arm yourself with the items that make you feel better. If you're carrying around your medicine, you might as well throw in some ginger tea and an inspiring book. 

4. Never say never. Most importantly, never say never. Today may suck but that doesn't mean tomorrow won't be better. Just because you can't do something now due to pain or stiffness, doesn't mean you will never be able to do it again. There was a time when my rheumatoid arthritis was so bad I could barely hold a pencil. Today, I am working on arm-balancing yoga postures. Give yourself time to adapt to your new environment and then learn how to improve it. Everything can be improved, one day at a time. One day you will be at the top of the mountain, not looking up at it. 

The 2nd World Autoimmune Arthritis Day Virtual Convention will Break Records!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013


The 2nd World Autoimmune Arthritis Day Virtual Convention will start on May 20th!  This 47-hour long virtual convention is set to break records. Check out the full article from The Intelligencer here:

http://www.theintelligencer.com/article_bfc063d0-217f-5f50-90d4-faa18cc90113.html#.UYmFO-J20CI.blogger

Sleep/Pain/Fatigue Cycle in CFS and Fibromyalgia

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Monday, May 6, 2013

photo.JPG

One of the greatest discoveries in my experience with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia was the treatment of the sleep/pain/fatigue cycle. Pain in CFS and fibromyalgia is not the same as the pain you get from stubbing your toe, or even breaking your leg. The pain is not related to a direct injury or accident. CFS and fibromyalgia pain is believed to be caused, at least partially, by the sleep/pain/fatigue cycle. Lack of restorative sleep leads to fatigue which leads to pain, which leads to more lack of sleep. Most doctors treat pain symptoms with painkillers. In CFS and fibromyalgia, by treating the lack of restorative sleep, the pain and fatigue begin to diminish. 

The key here is RESTORATIVE sleep. It is a deep level of sleep that you should be getting naturally and normally, you can't get to with sleeping pills or alcohol, and it is the level at which your body starts to heal itself. 

This is a very important subject to me because this approach towards treating CFS and fibromyalgia is what helped to finally relieve my pain and get me functional again.  I learned about the cycle from my physiatrist . After months of no results from the primary care doctor and rheumatologist, they sent me to the physiatrist. A physiatrist treats pain and various other  medical conditions through physical medicine, meaning exercises, manipulation, acupuncture, etc. 

I went to the physiatrist at my very worst. I could barely get to the first appointment.  He told me about the sleep/pain/fatigue cycle and said he wanted to treat me with rounds of acupuncture to revive the restorative sleep and eventually help the pain and fatigue. I went once every two to three weeks for six months. After the first round, I slept for 12 hours. Over the course of three months, and with the aid of d-Ribose, I was out of the house and going for walks. My pain had decreased substantially and I was starting to come back to life.  By six months, my chronic pain was occasional and my body was functional again.

Now I realize that six months of acupuncture may be too expensive or too long for some people, and that everyone reacts to treatments differently. This is just my short story of how I came across the sleep/pain/fatigue cycle approach. In future posts, I will definitely delve more into acupuncture, sleep, and seek out other, possibly cheaper, ways to treat pain with this approach.

Have you heard of the sleep/fatigue/pain cycle? Have you talked to your doctor about it or tried this approach in treating your CFS or fibromyalgia? Let me know what you think!









Why Meditation Can Make You Feel Better, Even When Nothing Else Does

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

I have been proponent for meditation as a form of alternative therapy since I started mediating five years ago. It is a very effective way to train your mind, alleviate stress, and manage chronic pain. I believe it is a vital tool for anyone suffering from autoimmune illnesses, chronic pain, and especially post-traumatic stress disorder.

I have been practicing meditation for about five years and there is one huge benefit to meditation that is not often discussed in yoga blogs and health and wellness magazines. The fact that meditation can change the way you feel, even when nothing in your life has changed. My first experience with meditation was at an Introduction to Meditation program. Our instructor asked us to meditate for five minutes a day (eventually working up to 20 minutes), for 30 days. During this time period, I was dealing with chronic pain and autoimmune issues, a job that was in the process of being outsourced, and lingering depression. 

After the 30-day meditation challenge, my outlook was much more positive. My reactions to events, large or small, were equally aware and grounded, and my relationships were richer and more connected. I began to feel more in control of my life and thoughts, stopped judging each day as good or bad, and every event as something that affected me and just me.  It brought my internal thoughts to a happy neutral and that happy neutral allowed me to handle my chronic pain in a way that I hadn't experienced before. My pain became secondary and my changed perspective began to take over. Meditation trains the mind to clear your thoughts and focus solely on the present. Just minutes of this practice each day can lead to huge benefits in terms of your mental and physical health.

Let's start at the beginning, try this general meditation method for a few minutes:

1. Start in a seated cross-legged position. If this is too uncomfortable, find a comfortable position that you can        hold for a few minutes, but not too comfortable that you fall asleep. 
2. Close your eyes or fix your stare on one small spot in the room and focus solely on that spot.
3. Start to notice your breath, inhales and exhales. Breath normally and fully.
4. With every breath cycle, count your exhales to yourself. Inhale, then exhale one; inhale, then exhale two. 
5. Clear any other thoughts that come into mind. Imagine your mind as the sky and thoughts just blow through like a light breeze. 
6. If you get distracted, start over at one.
7. Try to get the count up to ten, then start over again.


It is fine if you get distracted and can't make it past three counts, or three minutes. This is not a competition and no one is keeping score. Some days will be tens, others will be twos.  After thirty days, you won't be worrying about it.

What are your experiences with meditation? Did you try the 30-day challenge? Over time, I'll be posting more information about meditation, different guided methods of meditation and the physical and mental benefits of meditation. Let me know what you think!

Cheap and Fast Pain Relief for Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Chronic Pain

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The cheapest and one of the fastest forms of pain relief is an Epsom salt bath.  The salt is great for relieving stiffness, muscle aches, and joint discomfort. An Epsom salt bath is also a popular detox tool as the salts open up your pores and draw toxins from your skin. It also helps insomnia as it relaxes the muscles and mind, try to take the bath a couple hours before going to bed.

It only takes minutes to prepare, just pour a cup or two into your hot bath while the bath water is filling up. Epsom salt can be found in any drugstore or online for under $5.00. 

Pick up a bag and enjoy the spa-like benefits of this all-natural pain reliever. 

Talk to Your Doctor: D-Ribose for CFS and Fibromyalgia

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Monday, April 29, 2013

For those of us suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia, the supplement D-Ribose can be a lifesaver. It is a supplement commonly used by bodybuilders to help repair muscle tissue and aid post-workout recovery. 

When my CFS and fibromyalgia symptoms were are their worst, I talked to my doctor about D-Ribose supplements and I began taking it every morning. Within three days, I was out of bed and walking to my mailbox. It was the difference that got me out of bed and on the track to becoming functional again. It is important to note that, in my experience, it does not help with post-exercise malaise so do not take it and immediately start running around like you're normal, because it will backfire.  It is a good supplement that can complement your treatment program and may provide more energy while you recover.

D-Ribose comes in powder form or tablets and is available at health food stores for typically $10-$30.00 depending upon size and brand.

Talk to your doctor before trying D-Ribose as it can have contraindications, the dosage varies by individual, and it is not meant for long-term use. 

Have you tried it? Let me know your experience.

Dry Brushing

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Sunday, April 28, 2013



Dry brushing sounds like something that's done while renovating a house and, in a way, it is a great way to renovate and rejuvenate your body. Many people with autoimmune illnesses have trouble waking up in the morning and can't turn to their morning cup of coffee because of food sensitivities. Dry brushing is a fast way to wake up your body, boost circulation, and kickstart your body's natural detox process.

A good dry brush can be found in the bath section of any drugstore. The appropriate brushes to use are usually sold next to loofahs, bubble bath. and other bath accessories. The bristles should be relatively soft to the skin and not as hard as a hair brush. (Please do not try this with a hair brush!)  

Dry brushing works best right before a shower. Brush upwards from feet to the head in steady light strokes, using similar motions as if you were shaving. The key is to brush in the direction of your heart so if you're brushing your arms, start at the hands and go up to the shoulder. the top of the chest, shoulders, and neck should be downward strokes.

Just take a few minutes before a shower to dry brush and then notice how you feel after the shower and the rest of the day. This method boosts circulation which jumpstarts your glands, organs, and nervous system processes for the day. Giving your body the boost to get it working on it's own is a huge step in taking back control of your body that has been sapped by medications, inflammation, insomnia and sensitivities. Brushing is also an excellent exfolliant that opens and clear your pores, leaving you with soft, glowing skin. Ready to try this multipurpose, energizing body booster?  Let me know how it makes you feel.  You'll be surprised!


May 12th - International ME/CFS Awareness Day

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Friday, April 26, 2013

May 12,  2013 will be the 21st Annual International ME/CFS Awareness day. Check out http://www.may12th.org/ to find out more about ME/CFS, the events planned for May 12th, and how to get involved.

Ginger

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If you add only one thing to your diet to help your autoimmune issues,  it should be ginger. Ginger has a wide range of health benefits. It soothes the stomach, fights inflammation, calms the nervous system, clears the skin, and helps to ease anxiety.

Most autoimmune medications are very harsh on the digestive system and can inflame the lining of your  stomach. Ginger is a great aid for nausea, indigestion, and stomach pain. Just a small amount of ginger daily can counteract the side effects of harsh prescription drugs. 

New to ginger? Fresh ginger is cheap, easy to find, and even easier to prepare. Just cut off a piece, peel, and grate or dice. Remember a little ginger goes a long way.  Dried ginger is also available but in the time it takes to shake out enough dried ginger, you can peel and grate fresh ginger. Keeping it fresh means it will be more potent and delicious. Ginger tea is a cheap and easy way to get the benefits of ginger that you can take on the go.

Ginger goes great in stir-fry vegetables, smoothies, soups and broths, sauces, and even cookies. Try sprinkling some in a smoothie along with cinnamon, almond milk, and banana.  When consumed regularly, ginger has the power to calm your body from the inside out. 

WTF is ME/CFS

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS, is an umbrella term for a combination of symptoms such as:
  • extreme fatigue that is not remedied with sleep
  • cardiac and respiratory problems
  • vertigo
  • sensitivity to light and noise
  • endocrine imbalances
  • cognitive difficulties
  • extreme muscle pain (also known as fibromyalgia)
The cause of ME/CFS is unknown. The presence and severity of symptoms varies among patients, making diagnosis and treatment very difficult.  Extreme sensitivities to foods, chemicals, and environmental factors also factor into how patients are treated for their various symptoms. Some patients will experience some improvement in their symptoms within a year of diagnosis while others suffer for years with no improvement.

Some people, including physicians, do not recognize ME/CFS as an illness. The illness is often discarded as depression, laziness,or inability to cope with an active lifestyle.   The symptoms of ME/CFS are very real and can lead to disrupted neurological processes, hormonal imbalances, and disorders of the central nervous system. Failure to recognize this disease has resulted in a lack of funding for research into the illness. As more people each day are diagnosed with the disease, the hopes of gaining more funding and finding a cure are increased. Until then, patients are left with managing their symptoms one day at a time.

For more information on ME/CFS, the latest research, and how to help, please visit the CFIDS Association of America website at  www.cfids.org/.






FDA Patient Survey - CFS

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The FDA is looking for CFS patients to complete a survey as part of their Patient-Focused Drug Development Initiative. If you would like to participate in the survey, visit http://www.research1st.com/2013/03/18/spring-series/.

Welcome to The Revivalist!

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Welcome!

The Revivalist offers practical tips on living with autoimmune illnesses and chronic pain. These posts are for people of all degrees of illness (mild, moderate, or severe) and for the newly-diagnosed or long-time patients. Tips may range from basic breakfast recipes to how to stay positive as a bed-ridden patient. All of the posts will be short, simple, cheap, and easy to find.  The tips provided on this website are meant as ideas to discuss with your physician when considering your side effects, symptoms, and treatment plan.

At the age of 13, I developed symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis which took three years to diagnose, and several more years of various drug cocktails to control. Two years ago, after a minor surgical procedure, I started to experience extreme pain radiating throughout my body, vertigo, and extreme fatigue that left me unable to leave my home.  Prescriptions just made me sicker and the doctors could not seem to find a diagnosis. Eventually, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and severe fibromyalgia. I was fortunate enough to find the appropriate treatment that slowly brought me back to life. Once I recovered enough to become active again, I completed a  yoga teacher training program. My future goals are to get a certification in yoga therapy and meditation and share that knowledge with people suffering from autoimmune illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic pain.

As a person who has dealt with chronic illnesses most of my life, I know what a big difference a small change can make. The combination of small changes that I've acquired over the years are what have helped me manage the side effects of prescription drugs, the emotional effects of chronic pain, and have kept me positive and entertained, even when stuck in bed.

I also wanted to create a space where we can share our successful tips in managing our symptoms, find ways to improve our daily lives, research our illnesses, and ways to become an activist for autoimmune research and changes in healthcare policies. I'm hoping you will share what has worked for you, treatments and conditions you would like to read about on this website, and ways we can "revive" each other above and beyond our conditions.

Thanks for reading!

The Revivalist


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