My Story: Finding a Way through the Fog

My Story: Finding a Way through the Fog

I do not have any medical training, but I do have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. At the beginning of this journey, I was also a border line diabetic and roughly 100 pounds overweight.

I am tired of reading stories that offer us no hope – when I know for a fact that it exists. So I am offering you my story to show you that there is hope and a way through the fog.

Over the last twenty years, I have gone through two very trying, abusive relationships, had two wonderful girls, and spent 12 of those years trying to balance the day-to-day trials of being a single mom. Just when I thought my life had finally sorted itself out, I developed a sinus infection and was on antibiotics for a long period of time.

Pyper Unitt

Pyper Unitt

Over that time I became more and more fatigued, and my shoulders felt like they were trying to climb up to the top of my head. The overall body pain never left and I could not think clearly anymore. It was like a permanent fog had settled inside my head and I kept gaining weight.

My vision was affected, so I had to stop driving in the evenings. Sometimes on really bad days I wouldn’t drive at all. It was just an effort to drag myself out of bed long enough to do “mom” and “wife” things, never mind trying to effectively run the national non-profit I was deeply committed to.

I truly believed I was dying.

“You’re not dying,” says the doctor, “You have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.”

The medication the doctor prescribed reduced the pain and cleared the mental fog enough that my ability to think and function returned for fleeting moments. Any improvement, although minor, I was very grateful for.

My mother thought I was just being “lazy” and was quietly disgusted with what she saw.

“What is wrong with you? Straighten up! You need to push your way through this!” she told me.

One day, I was pushed past the functioning point – and fell out of my chair from exhaustion.

“What are you doing on the floor?” she exclaimed, totally shocked at what happened.

So I explained again.

“The doctor says I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. She can’t fix it, only prescribe medicine that may or may not help control the pain and fatigue,” I said.
“That’s it? That’s the answer? That can’t be right!” my mother replied. “There has to be something else!”

After she left, I sat there playing those words over and over in my head. She was right. There had to be something else. 43-years old and half dead – useless to my husband, children, family and unable to meet the commitments I had made to my non-profit. Stuck on the couch like a zombie.

There had to be something else. And I was going to find it!

I have a friend, who is an excellent Naturopath – so I went to her. She said I was lucky.

Lucky? You’re kidding, right?

She explained that, in simple terms, my problem was a direct result of diet, past life experiences (high negative stress) and an A-type personality (I can sleep when I’m dead). My body was too acidic and I needed to learn how to find some balance in my life. The alternative to developing fibro and other related problems was terminal cancer. And if I didn’t make some changes soon, I was likely to develop it.

She told me I could learn to manage my diet and re-balance my PH with a little help. She referred me to a lady that did food sensitivity testing. I learned I was sensitive to potatoes and MSG (bye bye vodka and Chinese food).

It’s a matter of understanding yourself, your day-to-day needs and finding a way that works for you to ensure that you get the nutrients that your body needs to function properly. If you don’t believe me – start by removing all dairy, all wheat (gluten), yeast and ALL processed foods from your diet for four weeks. I hear you groaning – but humour me – you will be glad you did.

One other thing that is very important, find a product that stops the poor sleep cycle. I use Melatonin or a prescribed non addictive sleep aid. To heal, you have to feed your body what it needs and let it rest.

I stuck to the foods I could eat and after a year or so, improved to the point where I knew approximately what days would be bad and which would be good. So I could, in a limited fashion, start scheduling events, speaking engagements, working days and family days.

Let me remind you – because I forgot – that balance is the ultimate goal. I overextended myself again and my body fought back. I was soon headed to zombie land with 15 of the 45 pounds that I had lost.

I refocused on my diet, but saw little improvement. In fact, over the next year, I slowly declined almost back to the point where I had started. My children were rebelling, my husband growing more frustrated, and I was sinking further and further into depression.

Decision time.

First, I reduced my work load. Next, I accepted the facts of life: I had a disease that could not be cured. I had to stop fighting it and find a way to manage it.

I spent the next several months trying to figure out how I could manage my disease and get my life back. I knew that I had to find or create for myself a system that would meet ALL of my needs. Once I found the right combination, my overall health and mental well-being improved tenfold in less than 3 weeks.

Finally, after four years of searching, I am pain free and my husband keeps reminding me to walk, not run. Fatigue? Fog? What is that? I feel that God has given me back 20 years.

So my advice to you – DO NOT GIVE UP – accept the fact you have a disease that is directly affected by the food you eat and the stress in your life. The doctors can only treat the symptoms, not cure the underlying problem. You have to do that.

Each one of us is different, so there is no one answer. Identify the foods that you are sensitive to and stay away from them. Investigate anything and everything that is out there (carefully) – you have nothing to lose. You have a choice – you can be a zombie or you can effectively manage your symptoms and get your life back.

Once you try this, you will start to believe you can succeed. You will, by process of trial and error, be able identify other foods and additives that are not for you.

Try my suggestions. I truly believe they will help you find your way through the fog!

12_7.jpgPyper Unitt lives in a village 100 miles north of Toronto, Canada.

National Pain Report invites other readers to share their stories with us.

Send them to editor@nationalpainreport.com

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

 

Authored by: Pyper Unitt

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. Amber Rose Dullea at 4:01 pm

    I have to disagree respectfully with the characterization that this story is disrespectful or diminishing any one’s experience. This article is entitled My Story: . . . This is her experience. She may not have the same type of Fibro or CF that others do, her road may not work for others but for some lifestyle changes including nutrition, movement and supplementation can help their conditions. I know many people who have had healthy habits still get diseases and chronic pain. But sometimes having hope can be helpful.

  2. Marci G at 7:35 pm

    I live eat and breathe heathy and no amount of more is going to stop my chronic pain, only reduce it slightly if I’m lucky & on a good day. You start your story with a synopsis that basically reads as a primer of a life out of control (2 abusive relationships, 100 lbs overweight, borderline diabetes, etc) and then you ‘found nutrition’ and felt better!! Well gee whiz I sure hope so!! That’s not a ‘cure’ that’s common sense. Perhaps you were misdiagnosed to begin with?? I’ve been fighting my battle for 20 years and my nutrition couldn’t be better. I’m thrilled you’re feeling better but really, you’ve gotten your life in order and that’s what you should be proud of- not telling other pain patients what’s best for them when you are not a medical professional and stress and poor lifestyle choices were most likely your pain culprits based on your own descriptions.

  3. Dennis Kinch at 12:23 am

    Pyper, good for you. You persevered and life blessed you with some answers and hopefully some lessons you can use the rest of your life.
    Please excuse the anger directed at you. It happens when you try to say positive things to people who are truly stuck in the mire. They don’t want to hear your success story. It is not their fault.
    Pain brings us down the rabbitt hole before we have to find our way out. We’ve all been down there and when we’re down there, it is so hard to be happy for anyone or to see you are giving out advice for people to try, no promises of anything except that it did work for you. So I congratulate you. I hope and pray the rest of life gets better and better. Trudy and Bonnie too.

  4. Pyper at 11:22 am

    Trudy and Bonnie – I am sorry you are angry with what I had to say, it is my story and my truth and a result of 4 years of research, trial and error. Not selling anything but hope!

    Thanks Dave – that was my purpose – tired of listening to individuals tell us there is nothing that can be done!

  5. Trudy McGee at 5:41 am

    Congratulations for your fairy tale ending!! So your answer is not to follow snake oil treatments, but go to a naturopath, and take her very expensive supplements, ( the kind that you can only purchase from naturopaths), fix your diet, and everyone will have a fairy tale ending too!! Wow, where have I been!! Thank goodness I had the luck of reading your article to diagnose why I can’t work. Oh, but I wasn’t in any abusive relationships, so does that mean it won’t work for me?

    Where are your magical naturopath case studies, peer reviewed literature, and endorsements? How do you know that you actually had CFS/FM? Could you possibly have been depressed? Unfortunately, there are no definitive tests to diagnose these diseases, and therefore many people get diagnosed with them when nothing else fits certain patterns. Is it possible that you were depressed, and under tremendous pressure when you were diagnosed? Something that rest, and good nutrition could if not cure, at least control? How many mothers of young children burn the candle at both ends? What about the people who never did eat poorly, who always cared for their bodies, exercised, got plenty of sleep, and never touched processed food?

    I have nothing against good nutrition, in fact, I’ve been an advocate of healthy eating all my life. There is certainly something to be gained from good sleep hygiene, eating right, and removing stress from our lives. If you follow the true definition of CFS/FM, you would know that one of the symptoms is that you CANT get a good nights sleep, no matter how many overly expensive supplements sold exclusively by naturopaths you take!!

    Dont go telling people that you have the panacea, unless you can prove that it works for others. In other words, don’t sell the koolaide and have people who are desperate listen to your “cure”, until you show more than hearsay. You are doing no one any service!

  6. dave at 8:00 am

    I enjoyed learning of your story. Yours is an important tale of determination and triumph over a condition that is still considered ” a contested illness” and “incurable”. Kudos to you for sharing hope and the power of determination.

  7. Bonnie at 2:34 am

    Wrong you share your body with a virus and with in 3 years new drugs will be available to put it to sleep so you really do get your life back but spreading lies is not caused by diet it hurts you and everyone else reading this. The net is full of snake oil and sadly that is what you are selling try adding some research next time.