Health Update 2015

It has been my intention to write a blog post for almost a year now.  I have learned so many new things about my health in the past two years and I want to share it with you!  I’ve missed you!  So for those of you still reading…

In March of 2013, my normal fibro/CFS cycles seem to take a turn for the worse.  I was spending more time in bed.  My anxiety was out of control.  I was so achy and tired.  Much more than usual.  My legs felt very weak and it hurt to walk.  This was all very intense and different than my normal cfs/fibro routine of 18 years.  Coincidentally, (Divinely appointed) I was scheduled to see a new doctor about this same time.  I finally found a doctor who practices integrative medicine in my area. On my first visit with her, I explained my story.  She looked at me and said, “I can’t believe no one has sent you to see me before this.  You are the type of person I can help!”   And that started our journey together.  I have seen her almost every month since then.  She has tested me for lots of different things.  She thinks outside of the box and her main goal is to help me figure out why I feel so bad.  She is a puzzle solver and she takes pride in her patience and knowledge to find root causes of symptoms.  And together we found out a lot of things that I never knew before.  Let me list them here.  It’s a big list.

Celiac Disease
Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism
MTHFR Genetic Defect
Vitamin deficiencies
Mineral deficiencies
Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut)
Food intolerances
Elevated Epstein Barr Virus counts
Possible Lyme’s Disease

My cousin sent me this article to look at a few years ago.  All the things on this list, are the exact things that my new doctor was addressing.  This is a great reference for you to keep and a great place to start looking for root causes!!!!

10 Causes of Fibromyalgia Your Doctor May Not Know About

I wish I had the room to tell you in detail everything that I have learned.  I have spent hours researching and reading about all these new discoveries we have made about my body.  But the biggest lesson I have learned is that functional/integrative/naturalistic medicine is the only place we should be looking for answers.  A doctor who practices integrative medicine looks at the whole body.  All they bodily systems and tries to figure out why some systems are out of balance.

The gut plays a much bigger role in disease than we ever thought.  Addressing gut issues is bound to have you feeling better in some way.  My suggestions?

Google Leaky Gut Syndrome and learn about it
Take a strong, quality probiotic daily
Take Digestive Enzymes
Get tested for Celiac Disease
Do a trial of gluten free – after being tested for Celiac
Do a trial elimination diet – for food intolerances
Do a trial AIP diet – autoimmune protocol
Some of my favorite functional medicine resources are:

Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Mercola
Dr. Tom O’Bryan

No doctor had ever thought to test me for Celiac Disease.  I never thought of it either.  I didn’t have gastrointestinal symptoms!! But I had autoimmune symptoms! Who knew that Celiac Disease could present with autoimmune symptoms without digestive symptoms?  Celiac Disease awareness as well as gluten sensitivity/intolerance is making it’s way into the headlines.  And I am so thankful.  Dr. Tom O’Bryan says that if you are experiencing a chronic health problem or an autoimmune disease – you should be tested for Celiac Disease.  And if you are negative, you should still do a trial of gluten free to see if helps you feel better.  I always told myself that the food I was eating had nothing to do with how I felt. Some of you even wrote to me saying I should try a gluten free diet.   I ate pretty healthy, I thought that was all that mattered.  I was convinced that an elimination diet or a gluten free diet would do nothing.  Boy, was I wrong.  Very wrong.

 And because I tested positive for Celiac Disease, I had all of my kids tested too.  My oldest daughter tested positive.  She was 11 at the time.  It broke my heart, but at least we know and maybe an early Celiac diagnosis can save her years of pain and testing.

I also thought that I didn’t have thyroid issues because my lab tests always came back “normal”.  Until Dr. V tested me for thyroid antibodies and I learned that I had Hashimoto’s Disease.  Find a doctor who knows what they are doing!!!  It’s so important!

We still don’t know why my Epstein Barr counts are so high.  And we have extensively tested for Lyme Disease and are still unsure if that is part of the problem.  One test is positive, but several others are negative.  Still trying to put the puzzle pieces together on that one.

 I have come a long way.  I have many days of relief, but I am still not well.  I know all these new things about myself, but it has not brought about much physical relief YET!  Having answers is a good thing and I will not stop trying!!  We are on the right track!  One step at a time…

Now, in closing I want to share with you a new passion I have developed over the past two years. If you have read my blog in the past, you know that I have always been interested in natural remedies and alternative medicine.  A dear friend introduced me to the world of essential oils two years ago and my life has not been the same since then.  I tiptoed into the world of essential oils trying to help with the pain of fibromyalgia and I am now a huge advocate and educator with Young Living Essential Oils.  My entire family uses them for everyday health and wellness.  They are more potent and powerful than the supplements I have tried in the past.  And they work for our family.  We use them for so many different things from general headaches and stomachaches to the extreme pain and fatigue of fibro and cfs.

Essential Oils have become my passion.  And in sharing that passion, it has also become my business. I thought I would never work again.  But I am working from home, teaching, helping, sharing, and loving all of it.  God has blessed it.  And I am working hard.  If you are at all curious about essential oils and how they have made a difference in my life, then I would love for you to view this video that I personally made.  I even talk about fibromyalgia a bit.

 Introduction to Essential Oils – an online video presentation

I am passionate about essential oils.  And I believe in them!  Let me know if I can teach you even more about these wonderful God given treasures!

Email me at annferguson.yl@gmail.com

Thank you for listening to me.  Thank you for taking this journey with me.  I hope and pray that each one of you is encouraged by the community we have shared here together.  Be blessed.  And never give up.  Keep seeking answers and striving for better health.

Love and hugs!

Ann

P.S.  Ironically, out of nowhere and completely unrelated to any of my other physical ailments, I have been suffering from debilitating vertigo for 5 months.  It has literally stopped my life in it’s tracks.  After much testing and seeing many doctors, I found an awesome vertigo doctor in New Orleans that diagnosed me with having a tear in the membrane of my left inner ear.  Thank God for a diagnosis!  I thought I was dying – it’s been very scary!  With a diagnosis, I am on my way to healing and recovery.  I kept saying to my family, I wish this vertigo would leave and I could just get back to my normal chronic illnesses!  (Never thought I would say that!) 🙂  Life is a journey!

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ONE YEAR: A little blog chat…

Exactly one year ago I posted my very first blog post. That was very exciting and scary at the same time! This blog had been in the “works” for at least six months prior to that because I spent six months bantering with God about how inadequate I was to do what He was calling me to do. I kind of felt like Moses wrestling with God’s instructions to lead the Israelites. 🙂

There are so many blogs in cyberspace, it seems that everyone has one, so why the big deal? Why such inner turmoil? Well, I knew what God had laid on my heart. I felt led to use my experience with chronic illness to help others in similar situations. He was calling me to be vulnerable, to go public, to share personal experience, to admit defeat and failures, to be honest, raw and real. These are things that are often hard for me. There were times this past year that as I wrote a post, I cringed as I hit the “publish” button. Not that I regret anything I wrote, it was just hard to put those thoughts and feelings out there for everyone to read.

When I finally committed to starting this blog, I decided to consistently write for one year. I am goal oriented so giving myself a goal inspires me to work harder. Well, here we are at the ONE YEAR mark! YAY!

I have learned so much from putting my thoughts into words. It has been very emotionally healing and therapeutic for me. It has also encouraged me to stay up to date on the latest CFS/FM/ME research and to try new things to ease symptoms. Overall, it has been a WONDERFUL experience, more than I thought it ever could be. I have “met” so many new friends along the way too – sisters in Christ who empathize and also need understanding. I hope that is what this blog has done for you. I hope you have found encouragement, inspiration, understanding, empathy, love, kindness, and above all have felt the LOVE of God through words in a blog. I didn’t know if anyone would actually read this blog. But I told God and my husband, that if I help even one person, this journey will have been worth my time. I meant that! Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me!

Here are some fun blog stats:

*Last week, I reached 10,000 page views. Meaning people have visited my blog and looked at one of my pages 10,000+ times during this past year.

*I have had readers and blog visitors from 76 different countries.

*There have been 6 guest posts this year and one guest poster was inspired to start her own ministry blog because of that. Love it!

*This blog has 125 Facebook friends, 54 email subscribers, 25 Twitter followers (not much of a tweeter) and 34 WordPress subscribers. That is a total of 238 people receiving notifications of any new posts. I know numbers aren’t important, but these are the people that God brought to all of us to help each other.

*I have kept quiet about the blog in my own social circles, which means the majority of my readers are people all across the world that I have never met. This warms my heart!!! We are sisters in Christ bound together by His love, sharing with one another, uplifting and encouraging one another in times of physical pain and distress.

*I love reading your comments!!!! The purpose of the blog was to reach out to others with the same chronic illness and share spiritual encouragement, but I have found that through your comments and emails, I have been so blessed by all of YOU. I wasn’t expecting that! 🙂

Now, some of you are wondering, so her year of blogging is up, is this goodbye? No, it’s not!!! I have posted once or twice a week for a year. I was committed to that. My new goal is to blog whenever the Holy Spirit leads me to. Blogging is fun, but it is also very time consuming. I didn’t really know that at first. Towards the end of this year of blogging, I was feeling obligated to write, instead of inspired to write. I don’t like feeling like that. It was a self imposed goal to write once a week, but I still felt an obligation to my readers. Our family will be moving in the next few weeks and then we have the holiday season. Busy times for me. I want the freedom to post blogs as I have time and as I feel led to do so. So, I may not be blogging as much, but I am still here and will continue to write, as long as someone is here to read!

You can reach me anytime through email at restoringmysoul@gmail.com.

I love you all and pray that God continues to lead you and guide you through this journey of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis. It’s a tough road, no doubt. Keep praying for wisdom and let’s try to keep loving one another.

Much love and many blessings,

Ann 🙂

Tuesday Tip – Be Your Own Health Advocate

The more you read about fibromyalgia and interact with those who have it, the more you discover that no two cases are alike. There is a list of symptoms that put us in the box of fibro and/or cfs, but everyone seems to have their own unique experience. Degree of pain, type of pain, location of pain, is all different. Emotional, psychological, and neurological concerns, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue levels, sleep disturbances, are all varying degrees of different. Some people have all the listed symptoms and more, some have just a few, some are bed-ridden, some just have life interrupted.

The medical community has made it very clear that they know little more than we do. Because of this, I am a firm believer that as a patient, it is my responsibility to be my own health advocate. I do a lot of reading and research Continue reading