Plexus and the Pink Drink Progress Update: Fibro symptoms reduced.

Happy Friday! This post was supposed to have been finished two weeks ago. Life and laptop issues and mere procrastination has delayed that. Wednesday marked my four and a half months of taking Plexus products, so, it is about time to share how it has improved my health. I take three products religiously: Slim (Microbiome Activating), Bio Cleanse, and ProBio 5. If you are unfamiliar with what the benefits and purpose of these supplements are, I have included a brief explanation at the end of this post. I had thought to share it first, but for the sake of sounding like one of those long winded infomercials that seem to never get to the point, I decided otherwise. Instead, I’m going to first update on the improvements I have experienced and you can chose to read about the supplements after if you so chose. Or even skip to the supplement explanations. Again, your choice.

So, now on to all the positive changes I have experienced. The real good stuff! I am trying to be oh so cautious and mindful of what I express in terms of improvement, so as to give credence to how these products have actually influenced that change. I have not changed any other area of my life, taken other products, or engaged in any other health approaches, in order to realize the full affect these products solely have on any improvements I see. In fact, as I have felt improvement, I have tested them further by increasing physical activity and introducing foods I normally could not tolerate. It is no by scientific data, but it is my heartfelt darnedest to personally investigate if these products will help with my specific issues.

I’m forewarning you, it’s a no holds bar going forward. I’m going to throw out the exact experiences, no matter how personal.

Here goes:

Digestive Issues: Pre-Plexus I was experiencing bouts of diarrhea if I ate certain foods. (Those with Fibromyalgia also have IBS) It could be anything from a bit of gluten, to a milk product, to too much broccoli or pineapple that would start the onslaught of problems. Sometimes I couldn’t even decipher what caused it. After years of constipation, this situation of emergency runs to the restroom started back in 2013. Three years ago, the hemorrhoids became a major issue. They were to the point where some days I couldn’t walk without being miserable. This then decreased my ability to feel comfortable using walking as a way to lose/maintain my weight. In fact, it became a hindrance to almost all physical activity.

For the past 3 weeks I have had minimal hemorrhoid issues. I can only surmise that this is due to a more regular and consistent bowel movements. I have had lasagna with regular, not gluten free, noodles and had no issues. No stomach pain, no nausea, or diarrhea plagued me. I have not had any bloating or stomach and intestinal pain for the past three months. Holy smokes has that been fabulous! No more having my clothes feel tight because my gut is extended.

Pain issues: How about I make this easy and just list the improvements?!

  • No morning stiffness for about a month now
  • I haven’t had the deep, bone breaking pain for about 6 weeks.
  • The tingling, surging pain like when you hit your elbow has not reared its ugliness for about a month.
  • No longer have debilitating pain in my elbows.
  • No longer have swelling in my hands unless I am outside on a very warm day or when I take long walks.
  • No longer waking up with harsh pain. I still have pain at night, but it is not so debilitating that I can’t fall back to sleep and just want to curl up and cry. It’s tolerable. I do feel a bit achy in the morning, but it is not the type of pain where I am dreading touching my feet to the ground in order to get up.
  • If I had to explain my daily pain in terms of numbers, I’d say that I used to deal with pain levels of 5 to 6 throughout a typical day. My levels are now down to about 3 to 4. They can spike a bit, but never remain at the higher level throughout it. I think the best way to explain it is rather than having pain that makes me stop and catch my breath, it is a constant ache that is still a bit mentally tiring, but not also physically debilitating.
  • I am able to get through making a meal without having to stop to catch my breath because the pain is getting out of control.
  • My hubby and I have been walking 3 to 5 miles at least 5 days a week. My pain levels may sometimes increase, but they still are not to the levels I would have had in the past. They might fall into the 6 range after a 5 mile walk, but in the past that would have put me out of commission for the day. Perhaps even for the following day as well. I am also trying to do yoga each day.

My energy has also improved. Although I am walking long distances, I am still able to complete other daily tasks without feeling exhausted and having increased pain. Now don’t take this as I am “back to feeling and moving normally”, because I don’t feel that will ever be a possibility. I will never go back to how I used to feel and move, but I can improve it to a point where I feel I have some control, am able to get through more tasks within a day, and the struggles are not causing further anxiety or depression. I am hopeful, but need to remain realistic. Fibromyalgia currently has no cure, but I will leave no stone upturned in order to find out ways to live better despite it.

Okay, I believe that sums most of it up. So, here now is the further explanation of the supplements I am taking.

Slim with Microbiome: It’s also known as the pink drink. Although it is demonstrated to help lose weight, and that is something I desire, I began using it for other reasons. It promotes the growth of good microbes and supports a healthy glucose metabolism. Admittedly, I look forward to having this every day. (I seriously love it!) I drink it an hour before my first meal of the day, which given that I am currently doing a daily fast of 18 hours (eating for the remaining 6), I tend not to drink it until lunch time.

Bio Cleanse: Stated as a cleanse, I don’t particularly like to phrase it as as such, as the word “cleanse” has negative connotations for some. A cleanse is often seen as a harsh purging of the body. I have tried one of those harsh cleanses that had me drinking this weird concoction that I would have rather vomited than allow get through my system. But, because I was desperate, I endured it. I have not experienced that adverse reaction to BioCleanse. In fact, I have noticed nothing but positive affects to my body including decreased inflammation and

This is how I view the importance of BioCleanse for me: Our bodies are set up to eliminate the toxins that are ingested or that our body come into contact. However, given the number of toxins we are subjected to in our environments, sometimes our bodies need a little aid in ridding them. This product aids in that elimination.

Some of the symptoms I have had over the years have pointed to toxin overload in my system. There are several times when I have become ill when being exposed to things like cleaners, detergents, and products people use on their lawns. I have felt light headed, nauseous, suffered headaches and even migraines when exposed to them. Therefore, I am taking the Bio Cleanse to aid my system and hopefully decrease the possibility of experiencing these issues. It also helps eliminate the harmful microbes in the gut.

Pro Bio 5: While the Bio Cleanse is eliminating the harmful substances and microbes, Pro Bio 5 in introducing the good gut stuff. This is essential for being able to properly digest food and to maintain health. I have been taking probiotics for several years, but I believe the key to my recent success with improving my gut issues is the removal of the toxins and harmful microbes with Bio Cleanse and the Pro Bio introducing to help balance my gut.

I’m not going to pretend I am an expert on gut health, but I do urge you to do your own research on it. There appears to be many health issues that are linked to having an unbalanced gut. I can speak to how it has improved my health. I have, for years, tried to regulate it on my own by way of probiotics and food choices. And, yes, even that nasty cleanse I had tried. I have made progress in terms of finding foods and environmental problems that trigger my issues and did decrease my bowel issues to a point. However, it has been only since taking these products, have I begun to feel as if I might be able to get a handle on more of my health issues.

I’m not expecting a cure. I’m just looking for a life better than what I was experiencing. And I want to feel as if I have some control over continuing to improve it. The past couple months have given me hope. That, my friends, on its own, is huge, because I have lingered in the despair of having none for so long.

My path to health might not be the same as yours. This might not work for you. But I hope, at the very least, it encourages you to keep seeking your best health.

Wishing you happiness and good health.

Until next time… Keep digging deep to find that will power to become well.

Month two of working toward well power.

Tomorrow will mark my two months of adding Plexus products to my bags of tools to help me along on my journey of turning my willpower into well power. I thought it would be a great time to take a real look at what changes I’ve seen and feel. I am going into this with an open mind and without expectations of “a cure”. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, IBS, and Myofascial Pain. After nearly 16 years of dealing with chronic pain, I know it is not realistic, nor beneficial to my mental state, to believe there is a magic potion out there to make all the symptoms go away. But I am confident there are ways to decrease the intensity of the symptoms and increase my quality of life.

One of the very first positives I noticed was a decrease in inflammation. This is especially true in my hands, as this where I can visually see it. Most morning my hands are swollen to the point of being unable to bend them. This may or may not last all day. However, I have only had about 3 mornings of swelling, since about 3 weeks into starting Plexus. Physically I can feel less swelling throughout my entire body.

The second thing I have physically noticed, is a bit more energy throughout the day. I usually hit a wall both physically and mentally about 2 p.m. each day. Most days, I would be ready to crawl into bed for the remainder of the day. Every task beyond that bewitching hour was grueling and draining. I now have found I can sometimes have the energy to make dinner. Although pain still makes it difficult to do it at a “normal person” speed, I am grateful that there is a bit of stamina left to keep me moving through it. Having that bit of energy alleviates some of the daily frustration and in turn, gives me small snippets of actual happiness, rather than the “don’t let them know you are struggling face”. It’s a genuine feeling that I thought had forever eluded me.

I actually enjoyed cooking last night! It is chore that is usually spattered with expletives because pain persists and brain processes perish. But I actually enjoyed making these two new recipes and felt quite pleased by my sustained energy levels, as well as how delicious they turned out. The hubby said they are “must keep” recipes. I totally agree. I have shared the recipes at the bottom of this post

Left photo: Warm Potato Salad with Hummus and Arugula Right photo: Maple-Dijon-Cider Pork Tenderloin (Sauce not shown- But I did make it and it was delish!)

I started changing my diet about 15 years ago when my IBS was starting to get out control and I was noticing sugar and gluten increased my pain. I also had to focus on keeping my weight in check, since several doctors have warned me that a higher number on the scales equates to higher pain levels. I started eating clean and have rarely eaten processed foods since that time. Sweet tea is one of my weaknesses, so I limited that to once or twice a month. These choices, along with trying to get some type of exercise when my pain levels allowed, kept my weight in check. However, since hitting that 50 year old mark, my weight has been creeping up each year.

By the middle of last year, I had tipped into the overweight group. So, although my original intent was in alleviating other health issues with Plexus, weight loss would be an extra perk. To date, I have lost 5 1/2 pounds. I have not altered my diet. But I have had less cravings for chocolate. I used to literally wake up in the middle of the night and crave it. The only additional thing I have added, is walking each day. And I am able to do this because of my increased energy. It is no where in a normal range, but it has improved.

In terms of pain, there is a slight, but noticeable decrease. I still wake up nightly with pain, but I am moving more throughout the day, so that is something I expected. I hope over time this will diminish. Pain in my tender points has been less severe, and searing pain and tingling in my arms and chest at night are occurring about a 1/3 of the time now. I have also noticed I recover a bit more quickly after taking a shower. Yes, I said, a shower. It is one of those strange things that occur with fibromyalgia. I usually take showers or baths at night for this reason. Everyday task like that can be exhausting, and it is a good way to gauge levels of improvement.

A huge improvement for me both in terms of digestion and mental strength is that I am not facing severe repercussions for consuming gluten or even enjoying a few morsels of a non gluten free food. I have also been able to eat regular portions of foods like broccoli, mushrooms, pineapple and such, that used to once have me making quick trips to the bathroom if I ate more than my system could tolerate. I’ve also noticed decreased bloating. I now no longer look like I am 4 months pregnant after eating certain foods. There is still slight bloating after eating the occasional gluten free bread, but it isn’t something I like to indulge in much anyway due to preservatives.

The one fibro symptom that many night be aware of, but that is a huge issue when it comes to self confidence and self worth, is what is called brain fog. It brings much frustration and despair to daily life. The inability to remember words, finding it difficult to process thoughts quickly, and merely following common directions like a recipe, can become overwhelming. The many ways it decreases self esteem and worth feels never ending. In the past month, I have seen more windows of mental clarity throughout my day. Of course, when pain levels are up, this can feed into that difficulty of processing things mentally. But, even without pain, brain fog can be debilitating. I would love to see this disappear!

So, overall things are ticking in a positive direction. Since I have been plagued with pain for years, I know this is going to be a slow process. But, I am not moving backwards and that is a good thing. I could never go back there! It was a horrible time in my life. And I refuse to stay in the state I in as it is still not the happy and fulfilling life I want. This why I am seeking change. But I am still garnering all the willpower I can and am grateful for these small grains of healthy change. It is mental morsels that keeps me optimistically pushing forward.

I’ve unpacked my products and am ready to delve into month three.

Recipes:

Maple-Dijon-Cider Pork Tenderloin

Warm Potato Salad with Hummus and Arugula

What a pain, pain is.

This totally feels like it’s going to be perceived as a whining session, but I am seriously not. And it certainly isn’t about getting sympathy. My hope is to make others aware of the scope of what my body does to keep my living life as I once could. I have not absolutes on why it happens, I can only explain what I endure. Because there is mental and physical aspects to it, I want to present it in small chunks. Therefore, for this post, I am going to focus on the physical pain portion of it.

Two years after a fall, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and myofasical pain syndrome. There are a lot of details and experiences wrapped in those two diagnosis, but for sake of time, and perhaps your sanity, I’m going to refrain from telling those stories now. I may share them in a post at a later date.

Here is the Mayo Clinics definition of fibromyalgia:

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”

Now here is my best explanation of what that pain feels like:

Tense your entire body as if you feel like something you fear is about to happen to you. Tense everything from your leg muscles, your facial muscles, the bottoms of your feet. Everything. Now imagine never allowing those muscles to relax, yet you must carry out your day.

Now imagine your muscles are being twisted, over and over, until there are twists atop twists.

Okay, muscles tight and twisted? Now focus on your bones. They are being repeatedly assaulted by a sledgehammer. Blow by blow they feel as is they are being splintered. The pain is severe and deep; it hurts to the very core of them.

Next, the underside of your skin is on fire. Your feet burn, and it goes deeper with each step you take. In some places, your outer skin is afire, as if someone has suddenly touched you with a hot iron.

You know that feeling when you hit your elbow? That radiating stinging and tingling that courses down your arm? Imagine it occurring throughout your entire body. No specific place or pattern, just randomly showing up and lasting for minutes or hours.

Fibromyalgia is also marked with what is called tender points. I’ll throw this last little explanation in with the help of Healthline: “Tender points” on the body are one hallmark of fibromyalgia. When you press on these spots, they feel soreTender points can be located on the back of the head, elbows, shoulders, knees, and hips. There are 18 possible tender points in all. I have all eighteen. Always the overachiever. 😉

Image result for fibromyalgia tender points

Now keep all those things going at once; this is the height of a bad flare up. But, it can show up in when you think you’ve got things under control and are sitting in a movie theater or on that vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months. No warning, no reason. It just arrives uninvited. You know you certainly didn’t pack it in your suitcase. Who would?!

Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. Perhaps none of those symptoms are not visiting you on a particular day. Maybe, it is just a bit of muscle tightening. But suddenly, you can’t walk without being drained and exhausted. Your body feels like lead and you are walking through muck up to your chin and into a head wind. Yesterday you might have bounded up the steps, but now you are winded by going up 4 or 5 and need to stop and catch your breath.

All of this can happen individually or simultaneously throughout a day. One day you can run a mile or hike 3, the next day you can barely get yourself to the bathroom. It can be exacerbated by lack of sleep or sleeplessness, overexertion, not moving enough, cold weather, change in barometric pressure, diet, illness, stress, depression, anxiety, and hormonal changes. That, in a nutshell, is the physical infliction of fibromyalgia.

Myofascial Pain:

Mayo Clinic explanation:  “Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In this condition, pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in the muscle and sometimes in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. … This syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively.”

So, remember that muscle reaction to fear I had you mimic earlier? Imagine all that contraction going on. Each of those are now being plagued with the possibility of myofascial pain, if I cannot remain in control and keep them from tensing. Unfortunately, many movements used in daily activities cause them to contract and remain so. Thus, calling in in myofascial to over react.

The fascia is like that thin membrane you see when you eat chicken. It lies between the flesh and the skin. Here’s the medical description:  A fascia (/ˈfæʃ(i)ə/; plural fasciae /ˈfæʃii/; adjective fascial; from Latin: “band”) is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.

Here’s is my explanation of what happens physically with myofascial pain: I call it my push me- pull me pain. Basically a group of muscles react as if they are overused. This tends to be the group of muscles I originally injured. In order to protect themselves, they attach to the fascia. Now because that fascia is wrapped around and through so many muscles, it literally tugs on them with each movement. Now, my body subconsciously, or I consciously, start to use another set of muscles instead. Those then become fatigued and grab onto a big of fascia. Between me trying to use various muscles and those muscles now attached to fascia that is pulling across other muscles, it is an all out war: my push me- pull me in action.

So, therein lies my wish list of things to lessen or eradicate. It is almost 19 years in the making, so I know it will take time to pick it all apart. I have done much in the way of that in the last 16, but I’m determined to do better.

Thanks for following along on this journey. I’m hoping and striving for epic changes and improvement.

If you deal with any chronic or life altering setbacks, please share. It’s always good to know we aren’t alone in them. Finding mutual understanding without humiliation is key.