I’m Alexa, or Lexi. Female, fifties, post-menopausal, 3 cats, 1 amazingly wonderful partner, Ben.
Thrust chemically into early menopause by breast cancer treatments 8 years ago, fibromyalgia dx finally in 2011, when the cancer treatments (radical mastectomy, simultaneous reconstruction, ECMF chemo, radiotherapy, Aromasin, Femara, Tamoxifen etc etc ad nauseam – pun fully intended) made my previously regarded very long-standing “mystery” illness a gazillion times worse, and was then identified by two separate rheumatologists at two different hospitals.
Neither of them has been much, if any, help with the fibro.
Keen interest in natural medicine (nutrients, herbs, enzymes, etc) since the NHS seems unable to help much, and I tend to react horribly to the majority of pharmaceuticals.
I have a fantastic GP, and I’m acutely aware of how very, very lucky I am to have him. So many patients with chronic “non-specific” conditions (which often turn out to be fibro) have rubbish GP’s who are either uninterested or unaware of how viciously debilitating fibro and its’ associated spectrum of painful and alarming symptoms can be. However, my GP is only able to offer me medical support within the current guidelines, for which read two things – cutbacks, and chemicals. He is also, I have to say, a valuable source of emotional support to me. But he is a rare doctor.
Between c.1981, when I first became aware that something was very not right with the way my health compared to others’ around me, and started asking doctors for help in finding out what was wrong so that I could fix it, and 2011 when I was diagnosed, I saw the inside of more hospitals and more doctors’ waiting rooms than anyone has a right to expect in one lifetime, all to no avail. No-one could find out what the matter was with me. Almost no-one seemed remotely interested. Not even in America, where in desperation I pulled a few favours and managed to see two doctors there when I was on holiday for the millennium celebrations.
I was lucky enough to find one private doctor in the UK who DID care, and she helped me a great deal. Still had no idea what was wrong with me, over and above a thyroid and adrenal insufficiency, but having a doctor recognise that my poor and erratic health wasn’t a product of my imagination, that my allergies, intolerances, pain, migraines, sinusitis, poor immune response, nausea, painful periods, chronic PMS, erratic strength and energy, muscle weakness, oedema, and exhaustion weren’t “depression”, as was often thrown at me by other doctors, was very important to me. I had heard so often that it was all in my head that at times I believed I really might actually be mad! Sadly, this lovely lady stopped practicing less than 2 years after I’d found her.
I tried to find another private doctor, but couldn’t find anyone else like her. You’d think that private medicine prices would give you some guarantee of interest and or expertise – at least some sympathy – but I didn’t find this to be the case.
So, for the most part, I have tried to make myself well by doing a lot of research, a lot of reading, a lot of joining up the dots and drawing conclusions. I’m always trying different treatments, different supplements, different approaches, and so on. I started researching in earnest c.1995 and I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learnt over the years with anyone who’s interested enough to ask. Just contact me direct, or ask a question in the comments section of my posts. That goes for breast cancer and its treatments as well as fibro. I’m always happy to help if I can.
Likewise, if you have any tips, anything you’ve found helpful in the management of fibro, or the aftermath of breast cancer, please feel free to share it via the comments section 🙂 or contact me via the form above.
Some of what I’ve learned has come from medical text books, including tomes on clinical nutrition, endocrinology, and alternative/complementary/herbal/natural medicine. Some has come from web-based research of medical papers of trials and studies. The web can be an invaluable source of information, and it is also a source of a great deal of incomplete and mis-information. I don’t believe everything I read, though if the data seems to be sound, I will try things that I might otherwise have remained unconvinced by or unaware of. I’m always looking. Always listening. Always trying things out. Always hoping to find the way back to being well.
As a final note, please understand and respect my copyright on everything I write for my blog. If you would like to use one of my phrases, expressions, descriptions, posts, titles, or my site’s title and or its tagline, please have the courtesy to ask me first, and at the very least attribute and link back to me and my blog. I’m sorry to have to add this, but someone pinched my entire tagline recently, and I’m less than happy about it. I put an enormous amount of effort into my writing, and I think it’s unfair to pinch something I’ve created and pass it off as someone else’s work. I hope you can understand this.
Everything on my Effing Fibro site is my own, original work. If I want to include outside work (books, medical papers, studies, etc) in my blog, it will be correctly cited, or quoted, and referenced. If I want to use something that’s appeared in someone else’s blog, I will ask first, and follow up with correct attribution and a link back to the original site. Perhaps naively, because this is how I do things, I took it for granted the same courtesy would be extended to me. It isn’t as though I forgot to apply a copyright widget on my site.
I live by the old adage, “Do unto others…” and I would never intentionally plagiarise another author’s work – and if I ever inadvertently do, please please tell me immediately, so that I can put things right.
Reblogging is a different matter altogether, because the linkback to source is automatic. Attribution is still required, though, and I would also appreciate being told if you would like to reblog one of my posts – I welcome all reblogs, obviously, and like to thank people when they pay me that compliment of reblogging 😀
!!! IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER !!!
Please understand that I am NOT a doctor, and any health advice I give on my blog is my opinion, or my experience, and is not intended to be used as a diagnostic or treatment tool by anyone. What works for me might not necessarily work for you, and I am not responsible for any effects you may experience from trying anything I recommend.
ALWAYS seek your own doctor’s advice before embarking on any supplements or natural medicine therapies, and do your own research, too. Don’t just take MY word for it – find out to your own satisfaction!
I do a lot of research in my efforts to be well again. The way I see it, if you’re ill, you can never know too much about your body, how it works, why it’s got sick, and how you may be able to help yourself get well again.
Investigate, research, ask questions, and never take a study as gospel. Just because someone wrote a paper about it doesn’t automatically mean it’s true. Many are skewed in favour of an interested party – and that goes for natural medicine, too, because the supplements industry is a big money industry. Not as big as the pharmaceutical companies, but still big, like the anti-sun industry is. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking all things natural must be good. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it can’t do harm – arsenic is natural! Many natural medicine products deserve just as much respect as pharmaceutical chemicals do, because some are very powerful. You CAN have too much of a good thing!
So, ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking any supplements or following any advice that I give out on my posts. ALWAYS!
Apart from any other considerations, like allergies, intolerances etc, there may be a clash between some natural medicine products and your meds or another health condition, which is why I keep saying check with your own doctor first.
If anyone feels in desperate need of a full, proper consultation with me, that can be arranged. It’s how I used to make a living before I got wrecked by chemo and radiotherapy, so feel free to email me and we can talk about it.
Otherwise, talk to your doctor, do some research of your own, read some studies, examine the evidence, and make your own mind up.
We get most of our natural health stuff from iherb in the US, and if you want, I can give you a discount code that will get you money off your first order with them (just email me above). I don’t work for them, and I don’t earn any money out of referring customers to their site (I wish I did!) but I do get points for me to use against my own purchases there. The reason we use them is because they are mostly a lot cheaper than the same products are in the UK, even after VAT and delivery have been added on. They carry a huge range, seem to me to be very good on price, and deliver quickly. I can get an order from iherb faster than from some UK companies! I’ve been getting stuff from them for more than ten years, so they aren’t some newbie fly-by-night cowboy outfit.
Thanks for reading!