Are Lyme Tests Worth It? What If You Have Fibromyalgia?

Rachel discusses when to get Lyme testing and when to skip it. What's the best use of your money? Lyme tests are expensive. What if you've only been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia? Rachel walks you through some of the decision-making process.

Links:

RawlsMD.com

 

Joyfully,

Rachel B.

More things we don’t like to talk about

(Photo by  Form )

(Photo by Form)

If you’re like me, the word “exercise” is a double edged sword. Theoretically it’s a great idea. I mean, who doesn’t want to be like the women in those Athleta/Nike/Calia ads, am I right? All fit and toned, enjoying a beautiful sunrise all alone, sweating glamorously, perfectly in sync with themselves and nature. No pain, no stiffness, just beautiful strength.

 

Yeah, right. When I exercise I am a sweaty, uncoordinated MESS!!!

 

(Photo by  Alexander Redl )

(Photo by Alexander Redl)

Runners are my favorite.

“Don’t you just LOOOOVE running?!? I run 5 miles a day, 10-15 on the weekends!!”
 

Ummmm, NO.

 

When I run I get about ten yards from my front porch and have to stop to vomit, wheezing like I’ve just run a marathon. Running makes my head pound and my back ache. It makes me see stars!

 

I do not find running to be freeing. I do not find it to be energizing. I do not find it enjoyable in the least!! Not even a teeny, tiny bit.

 

(Photo by  Massimo Sartirana )

At this point you’re probably saying to yourself, then why do it?

 

Guess what. I don’t.

 

Run, that is. However, I have learned that exercise is a vital part of overcoming the pain I endure on a daily basis. Even better, regular exercise greatly improves my mental/emotional state. But you don’t have to try to love running to incorporate exercise into your routine.

 

And hey, if you love running? Wonderful! I don’t, but I’m thrilled for you! You go, girl!! (or guy)

 

For the past 20 years I have dealt with chronic pain, which of course leads into (or makes worse) depression and anxiety. It’s hard to exercise when everything hurts. Pain is exhausting. Depression is exhausting. Just doing the bare minimum is enough to wear me out on a GOOD day, much less a bad day. Anxiety makes me worry about what other people will think of me in a gym setting. What if I look like a wimp? What if I get dizzy and pass out? (This has actually happened to me) What if I am in so much pain I have to leave after 10 minutes? People will think I'm ridiculous!!

 

Ah, yes, the beauty of how our minds "help" us.

 

About 8 years ago a couple of my doctors started to really get on me about exercise in spite of my pain. They told me it would help. They told me I NEEDED to exercise because my body needed the enhanced blood flow to help it be able to overcome the pain. They told me I needed to exercise because my brain needed the endorphins to help overcome my depression and anxiety. When I protested, strongly, one of them suggested trying yoga, or another low-impact option. Around that time one of my close friends was also encouraging me to join her at her favorite yoga studio.

 

Of course I said no. Yoga terrified me! How did people bend themselves into those ridiculous poses?! Just LOOKING at them made my neck hurt. Seeing as my neck was a major source of my pain, I wanted to stay far away from anything that would set it off. Plus, there was all that new-agey breathing and meditation stuff, how weird!!! (I know, I know, I am SO open-minded!!!)

 

Eventually I was desperate enough to try. I purchased a few private lessons from my friend’s instructor and, in our first session, proceeded to tell her all the reasons why I thought yoga was not going to be right for me. In excellent instructor fashion, she heard me, empathized, and said, “I understand. Let’s just start with learning to breathe. That won’t hurt your neck at all.”

 

Since I was paying $60 for the hour-long session I decided to humor her and not inform her that I'd been breathing my whole life and did NOT need to "learn how."

 

A few months later I had finished my private lessons and completed multiple classes (I went every week!). I was amazed at the difference in my body. In case you didn’t catch that, I was AMAZED at the difference in my body!! Now, I’m not talking toned and hot, I’m not even saying I could get into those ridiculous poses! What I AM saying is this:

 

  • Learning to control my breath, and breathe deeply, was transformational. When I am in pain I breathe very shallowly, and it does NOT help my body.

 

  • Stretching and strengthening my body was incredible. It helped relieve pain in my joints, loosen muscles that were (I thought) permanently spasmed. It built my confidence and made me feel capable and beautiful. Even the names of the poses are empowering! Warrior. Sphinx. Tree.

 

  • But most of all, I was blown away by the difference in my mind. Learning to pay attention to - and control - my breathing helped me get through cycles of pain. It also helped relieve anxiety better than some of my meds. It helped me learn to quiet my mind and truly rest which, of course, allows the body to better heal and refresh.

 

Suffice it to say, I was wrong in my prior impressions of yoga, and I am so thankful to have learned what it really is!!

 

Recently I have also been incorporating Barre Fitness into my routine. Let me tell you this, that workout kicks my butt! It’s amazing. I can’t believe how gentle it is on my joints, neck, and back, while giving me such incredible core strength and toning ALL muscle groups. Even the ones I never knew I had! (Ouch!)

 

But most of all, I am amazed at how much better my body can recover from a pain cycle when I’ve strengthened it. In fact, going to class can help me recover from a pain cycle!

 

A few things to note:

 

  • Do not exercise if you are feeling lightheaded, or have recently taken narcotic pain meds. You’ll probably pass out. This is very embarrassing. (I tested this so you don't have to. You're welcome.)

  • Drink lots of water.

  • LISTEN to your body. If the particular exercise you're trying hurts, stop. Remember, there’s good hurt (hurts so good!! You want this one) and bad hurt (this means STOP). Be careful.

  • Work with an instructor to make sure you have proper form and avoid hurting yourself.

  • Drink LOTS of water. (Did I say that yet?)

  • Talk with your doctor about which type of exercise would be beneficial for your condition, and not exacerbate it.

 

(Photo by  Charity Beth Long )

Trust me, I know this is unpleasant. I cancelled one of my barre classes this week because I’d been up since 2am with a ridiculous headache coupled with neck & back pain, and I’m still not over it 2 days later. I should go to class today but I know that if I do it’ll make the pain come back. I signed up for one tomorrow morning. Praying I can make it, as that will be a sign that this pain cycle is easing, yay!!

 

The most important thing is to LISTEN to your body. But, kind of like you would a child when they say, “but I don’t WANNA go to sleep!!!” Sometimes we need the thing we don’t want. It is vital to learn the difference between “don’t want to” and “shouldn’t do it.”

 

Oh, one more thing. Drink lots of water ;-)

 

-Liz

Lyme Disease Part 3: 4 treatment ideas

This week we get personal. Let's be honest...Lyme disease is personal. It not only affects your personal life, it affects each person in a unique and individual way. It shakes out in a variety of ways based on the tick that bit you, your genetics, body chemistry, stress level, and immune system resiliance.

 

In this video, Rachel shares 4 strategies that were pivotal in her treatment for late-stage or (chronic) Lyme Disease. These may or may not be the direction you should go in your own treatment, but sometimes it's helpful to hear someone's story in a real-life kind of way. Here goes! (Show notes below.)

Video Notes:

  • 45 seconds: Treatment #1 - Doxycycline
  • 2:50 Side effects of Doxycycline
  • 3:40 Other antibiotics used
  • 4 min Treatment #2 - Antivirals
  • 5:55 Treatment #3 - UVB therapy
  • 8 min Treatment #4 - Prayer
  • 10:30 - when you should change physicians

 

QUESTIONS:

  • Do you have Lyme? What has been your best treatment option so far?
  • What hasn't worked for you in your Lyme journey?
  • What treatments would you recommend to others with Lyme disease?

 

Joyfully,

Rachel B.

Lyme Disease Part 2: Symptoms, Testing, and Finding a Doctor

Hi there! Welcome back to part 2 of the Lyme Disease series. This might be one of the most valuable videos we've ever done. Please note the show notes under the video if you'd like to skip to anything specific. 

 

Let us know what questions you have about Lyme disease and treatment. It's pretty complex, so unfortunately the treatment isn't a one size fits all. We hope you find this video and series awesome and helpful!

 

VIDEO NOTES:

  • 20 Seconds - Symptoms
  • 1:45 - About fibromyalgia
  • 2:35 - Western Testing for Lyme diagnosis.
  • 3:30 - Two Recommended tests for Lyme diagnosis (more accurate).
  • 5:40 Resources if you have Lyme (Herbal protocol)
  • 7:25 How to find a doctor

 

SYMPTOMS can include: 

  • Fatigue and brain fog
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Joint Pain
  • Body Ache
  • Twitching
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Insomnia and sleep issues
  • Neuropathy (Nerve pain)
  • Cold and /or Heat intolerance
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Digestive Issues, Abdominal Pain
  • Elevated Liver Enzymes
  • Fever
  • Raynaud's Syndrome
  • Food sensitivities and allergies
  • Itching

 

Tests:

Igenex

DNA Connexions

 

Resources:

RAWLSMD.com

Lyme Disease Association

Find A Doctor

 

If you are having a difficult time navigating Lyme, you are not alone. It is an overwhelming scenario. Rachel is available for 1-hr coaching and consultation calls. Email her at RachBarrentine@gmail.com to find out more and get pricing.

Joyfully,

Rachel B.