More About the Author
Hi, my name is Heather Grover-Rizzo. I have 11 years experience parenting children with varying special needs. I'm a frequent speaker in my community on green living, transforming the health of families, and using natural remedies to support the health of special needs children. I'm the author of the book "Easy Superfood Recipes with Common Ingredients" available at Amazon.com and best of all I kicked Fibromyalgia in the butt. This is my story.
When the Pain Started
For most of my life I can't remember a day without some level of pain. By the time I was 12 my mom was taking me from one doctor to another to figure out the cause of my pain. At 12 I was put on my first narcotic as well as several other meds. By the time I was 15 I had been falsely diagnosed with Marfan's syndrome (talk about a scary diagnosis, Google it sometime) and had been tested for lime disease, lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, various cancers, wacky foreign diseases, weird only 1-in-1 billion get it disorders and every form of arthritis known to man.
Needless to say every blood test, bone scan, X-ray, MRI, CAT scan and basic psychological evaluation came back normal. Yes, there were doctors that thought I was CRAZY, truly loco. They where the loco ones. No one wishes that much pain and suffering on themselves.
I am the Doctor's Guinea Pig
At 15 I was on thirteen different meds, mostly for my unknown, not in my head, but we don't know what is wrong with you disorder and a few for a minor heart problem. My doctors at Shands Hospital is Gainsville, FL were baffled all they could do was write a prescription and recommend physical therapy. Acupuncture didn't help, my mom's holistic tasted-like-rotting-vomit parasite removal liquid didn't help, and above all the meds didn't help. On top of it all I was in a fog, I couldn't focus, I was dizzy and that was worse than being in pain. Pain while in a dizzy, fog is a hell all of its own!
By the time I was 16 the pain and swelling was so bad I lost the use of my legs. I was temporarily paralyzed with pain. No amount of medication, physical therapy, heating pads, cold compresses (which really burnt me) made anything better. I was desperate and went to a truly crazy holistic doctor who thought my blood was tacky and not flowing properly. Ah Ha! That was my problem, he gave me a list of herbs to take and assured me that I would be recovered. Well, I can't say whether my blood was tacky or not, but the herbs didn't help a thing. I read a few years later that he had lost his license to practice holistic medicine. I wonder how many people had tacky blood. A side note: I really do respect holistic medicine I believe there is a place for it.
The Heights of My Pain / Catalyst for Change
So here I was, 16, doped up, in a foggy dizziness, usually sick to my stomach (I couldn't vomit and really wanted to), and my legs where so swollen that they glistened. The skin on my legs was stretched so tight that people who saw me, and they were a rare few, were amazed it didn't rip apart. I was a mess! Finally I went back to a doctor I had seen a few years earlier and she diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. At the time there was very little known about it and no real way to diagnose. The diagnosis was usually given if you had chronic pain, that was unexplainable, and all other tests come back negative. Oh, and here was a list of several other problems I could and did encounter, from IBS ( irritable bowel syndrome), anxiety disorders to sleeping problems. All that the doctor could do for me was put me on different meds and try to treat the symptoms. I had a diagnosis, yay! I still couldn't walk, boo!
The additional medications didn't do a thing except worsen the fog. On top of all that my diagnosis had no real treatment plan and no one could tell me when and if I would walk again. I was a junior in high school and attempting to go to school in a wheel chair. Knowing from experience, being in a wheel chair is only cool for about a day. I left school and started a hospital home bound program mostly because I was so self conscience of the wheel chair and needing help; my pride couldn't take it. I also stopped all my medication. It wasn't helping and I felt worse on it anyway--what could I lose.
My First Breakthrough
Within a few weeks of stopping my meds I was walking again, still in a ton of pain, but walking. The weight of the fog had lifted. Even with the pain, I felt for the first time that I had enough strength to work on fixing me.
I was lucky that I had a mother who dabbled in natural remedies. She opened my mind to be able to look at alternatives. I started exploring these and that's when I started finding natural solutions to my fibromyalgia problems which worked.
It was not right away and It wasn't the smoothest road but I figured out the best methods for me to successfully manage my fibromyalgia. It took time, trial, error, and a ton of research to figure out that what I put in my body, on my body, and used in my home had a drastic affect on me. I had to start living a more natural lifestyle to fix me, and I did. As I have gotten older and experienced life I have refined my lifestyle and I have only gotten healthier. That is not to say I don't stray from the path sometimes when a large piece of cake calls my name, or I give into the temptations of well meaning friends, but I know how I will feel, what those things will do to me. I'm able to make that decision to suffer the consequences of my actions if I chose to, and that is freeing.
Almost Smooth Sailing Today
I'm 31 years old, it has been almost 15 years that I have successfully been managing my fibromyalgia without medication and for me I feel great! Here is my disclaimer: I'm not completely pain free but I'm at peace with the pain level I have. I can run, walk, bike, swim, hike, be a jungle gym to my 2 year old, a dance partner to one of my 11 year olds, have sprinting races with the other 11 year old and be a test subject for my 7 years old. I can cuddle with my husband and I can do most anything I can set my mind to.
I'm not usually in any more pain than the day before. One exception is day after exercise pain and that is a breeze compared to severe fibromyalgia pains. The only times I have a real flare up is when I ignore what my body is saying and indulge too much in unhealthy foods, lack of sleep, and not enough exercise. None of my flare ups have ever been as severe as during the four years when I was 12 to 16 years old.
I'm FREE! I have had my life back for 15 years and that is the second greatest gift in learning to manage my fibromyalgia naturally. The first greatest gift was that my journey to transforming myself prepared me for the horrors that would afflict my own children in the future. I was prepared and some of their lives have been saved because unknown to me I was ready for the challenges that life would throw at me.