Today Kimberly J. Penix shares how she treats Fibromyalgia. Please remember that Kim and I are not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice. We are just sharing our experiences and opinions. Check out Grace is Sufficient and be sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
My story begins like so many other fibro patients with a few years of doctor appointments before finally getting a diagnosis. I was given prescriptions for Motrin 600’s, exercise suggestions and shrugged shoulders from my doctor while he explained all my blood tests, etc. were coming back normal. But I knew there was something else going on over and above the issues I already dealt with from my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I became more and more determined to get to the bottom of whatever was wreaking havoc on my body and mind so my primary care physician finally sent me to a rheumatologist. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue in 2009 and later that year, adrenal fatigue was added to the mix.
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My treatment plan started 300 mg of Gabapentin (Neurontin) three times a day, 50 mg of Amitriptyline (Elavil) at bedtime and Flexeril (I’m sorry I can’t remember the dosage for this one). I immediately felt like a zombie. I had a full-time job in executive management at a credit union and found it impossible to complete my work. The brain fog and fatigue was worse than before the meds. The first pill to go was the Flexeril because my rheumatologist thought it was causing some of my issues. Over time, and with trial and error, I have ended with a mix of 300 mg of Gabapentin twice a day and 75 mg of Amitriptyline at bed. This mix has seemed to help the most.
In addition to the meds, we’ve found a supplement routine that is a tremendous help to me. I take 5 grams of D-Ribose once or twice a day and I find it’s a great help with my energy and brain fog. I also take a B-Complex and 5,000 IU of Vitamin D-3 twice a day.
Diet and exercise play a large role in how I feel. The diet aspect was revealed to me in a large part from being on the Vital Plan Restore Program for three months. The program is a diet and supplement regimen and I have to say it helped quite a bit. The program is pricey so I wasn’t able to continue with it after the initial three months.
As far as pain management, my first line of defense has always been heat. Whether it’s a long soak in a hot bath, a heating pad, or heating blanket I can find some relief. I also have a Quell device that I use on my bad days and it helps quite a bit.
The biggest battle for me is knowing how to pace myself. I think it helps to a degree and I definitely try not to overdo it when it comes to physical activity, however, there are so many other variables that come with fibro it’s so hard to keep on top of all of them. Weather, particularly when the barometer drops, the first two days of my menstrual cycle, eating too much inflammatory food, stress, etc. can cause a flare. I just try my best to be aware of all the triggers and work around them as best as I possibly can although some are totally unavoidable.
In 2011, I quit working to focus on my health and my family. We moved to a smaller home we could afford on my husband’s pay to allow for me to stay home. I know that isn’t possible for many and feel very fortunate we were able to. Currently, I watch my 4-year-old grandson while my daughter works full time and now have my blogging that is becoming a part-time income stream for me.
Fibro definitely changed my life but I have found I’m stronger and more resilient than I ever knew. I have also found compassion (toward me and toward others) to grow in my immediate family as a result.
Things had to change and life looks much different than planned, but I’m finding ways to live a life of purpose and joy despite my illness and that’s what makes the biggest difference!
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