Friday, January 25, 2008

Does Anyone Go Through This?

This week has been tough for me - very busy at work with deadlines everywhere, feeling a bit tired from last week's swimming/walking exertions and not being able to sleep as well as i used to when I was on the amitryptalin. I have been out of Fibronol for a week because it has been taking forever for them to ship it (quite disappointing) so my sleep has been quite out of whack.

My shoulders and neck have been hurting a lot from the swim and the lack of quality sleep, so I took a break from swimming. I took a 35 minute brisk walk Tuesday morning, worked non-stop, to feel heavy and beat-down over the past couple of mornings. Last night I was so tired I couldn't even taste what i was eating for dinner. I went to bed pretty early (10p?) after taking one pill of Sleepy Time (from pharmanex) risking feeling groggy the next morning because i really really needed sleep. 6am my eyes open and my shoulders, arms and ankles are aching. However, thanks to the sleeping aid my neck wasn't as stiff (which means i was able to get some quality sleep). I knew that swimming was again not going to happen because of the aches, but something in my heart told me to get up and do something. I had no idea what that *something* was supposed to be. Do my usual stretches? Strength training? Not feeling either.

As i was standing around in my living room, the cover case of the Yoga for Athletes DVD caught my eye. I didn't think i would have the strength for certain Yoga poses, but I turned it on anyway and just let my body figure it out.

During my first forward bend and neck stretches, I felt my left side hurting as i turned that direction - i'm thinking "ugh, here we go, the swim has tightened my neck again". After several plank and downward dog poses later I'm feeling a bit stronger, I was happy to see how my right hip held up on the warrior poses (Thank you, Dianna, my amazing sports massage therapist!)...and then about 30 minutes in during another forward bend/neck stretch, i saw that the kink on my left neck was gone. My ankles were not aching anymore. I did feel a little faint in one of the last two sun salutation routines, where i just rested instead, but overall my aches were washed off and the kinks were gone.

How interesting. Perhaps my body, feeling stiff after the swimming, walks, and strength training, needed some flushing out of the toxins in our muscles. Yoga does that for us. Of course without the quality sleep I got helped from Sleepy Time (or any good quality natural sleeping aid) i wouldn't have had the strength to even get up. Last night my legs were swollen from poor circulation and they felt like a ton of bricks. This morning I am walking as if i'm flying on wings.

I just thought that it was really interesting to get up in the morning feeling completely lost - and then now i'm feeling like a brand new person. Just because I thought i'd just get up and do something and the yoga DVD was calling out my name, and I obeyed.

Sometimes we just gotta get moving to see how our body responds, I guess.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Swimming, Swimming and Swimming

My hip/back is still suffering from weakness and severe tightness and i'm tired of it and I will end it soon. I've started working with an amazing massage therapist who is knowledgable in physical therapy and sports injuries as well. She treated me for a whopping 2.5 hours last week (that's how bad perhaps my conditions are, little did i know) and we got maybe 1/4 of the problem solved. However, i feel so much better on my right hip that now my left hip feels relatively tighter. She is exactly what my long-injured, tired and weakened muscles needed. Needless to say, i'm going back to her soon.

The slightly ramped up training with the run/walks and longer spinning caused my hip muscles to tighten up again and caused a lot of pain. I was basically repeating the vicious cycle of improvement, setback, improvement, then setback... So lately i've shifted my focus on to swimming, which is my only choice as of now. So here's my sample schedule of the week:

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: Brisk walk, 20 minutes. Strength training
Wednesday: Brisk walk (20 minutes), Swim (25-30 minutes)
Thursday: Stretching, Strength training
Friday: Brisk walk (20 minutes), Swim (30-35 minutes)
Saturday: Yoga
Sunday: Brisk walk (20 minutes), Swim 45 minutes
**stretch always before and after, and icing after workouts!**

Next week after my second massage/muscle scuplting treatment, I am hopeful I will be able to start getting on the bike again.

**Back to Basics - Dropping the Amitryptalin**


About two weeks ago I stopped taking the Amitryptalin I was once raving about. Although I do miss the less painful and stiff mornings I enjoyed for a short period of time while i was taking the medication, I know that I have made the right decision to keep all my treatments natural.

I had heard that Amitryptalin makes you gain weight. I thought to myself when i heard it, that I'd be able to counteract that side effect because i exercise all the time. Wrong. Here's why: In a week or so after i started taking the drug, I recall starting to crave sugar and carbohydrates - i do love desserts here and there but my craving for carbs in this case was uncontrollable. It was right around Thanksgiving that I realized that i wasn't able to curb the craving - usually i don't even feel the urge to have carbs/sweets, and when i did a little taste of it would do. Not this time - it was uncontrollable in both frequency and volume.

Over the past couple of months, I felt myself becoming heavier and also prone to more pain, thanks to the sugar. I was feeling lethargic and just not the same anymore. I didn't think immediately that it was the Amitryptalin... but I started narrowing things down, comparing what i'm doing different now vs. before, and the only variable that has changed recently was the drug. So I experimented for a week - taking the drug, and then the next week - not taking the drug. A conclusion was made. Although the benefits of sleep and less pain in the mornings were great, it did not outweigh the drawbacks of an uncontrollably unhealthy diet and related physical (and even psychological) symptoms.

I think my system is finally clearing out the effects of the drug - I am craving less sugar and I am feeling so much more upbeat and focused. I'm back to my low-carb diet (I have always kept a low carb diet, since the 90's) and eating healthy again. I've got some extra pounds to lose, but that's just a matter of time.

So what about sleep without the drug? What about the pain? Here are my recent additions to my regime.

1. Fibronol and Fibroboost ( - helps with the sleep and therefore the morning stiffness (not as powerful as Amitryptalin) - and Fibroboost gives me extra energy during my training.
2. Greenergy ( is back - i stopped taking this for about 4-5 months and tried Monavie, which is also an antioxidant supplement. Monavie has worked wonders for some people. Greenergy just works better for me and helps me more when it comes to digestion and metabolism.

Every morning before my training I drink FRS (all the benefits of antioxidants, with a kick of caffeine). Throughout the day I make my Greenergy drink (twice to three times) and take Fibronol (two pills, three times a day). Back to my past/normal routine. I'd take the bit of the morning stiffness (which i deal with by stretching every morning now) over all the other sugar-related lethargy and inflammation. Case closed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I have more updates to write, but I just finished reading this article about Lyrica and Fibromyalgia in the NY Times.
All I want to say is that, if anybody thinks this illness is not real, read my blog and tell me how a *fake* condition could so often stop a healthy-living person from going to work and doing things as menial as running errands and walking down the stairs. And I know i speak for many patients out there that spend every waking moment of their lives planning healthy eating, exercising, resting and remaining positive despite the challenges we face. If they were fake, a simple declaration of "I'm not sick" would do.
I just have to laugh at those who look at this condition with arrogance and ignorance.
If anything, I thank God for allowing me to share the bad and good experiences with my fellow patients through giving me an illness as complicated as fibromyalgia. Today I am writing with more conviction in my heart that this (racing, training and raising fibromyalgia awareness) is what i was born and raised to do.
Fight on everyone! Keep up the good work, and may God bless you all. More physical therapy/training updates to come.