Thanks; I have actually. (There are a lot of other little details about my medical journey that would have made for an insanely complicated — and even lengthier — read!) While my problems were being shrugged off by my doctors as ‘lifestyle-related’, I did make a number of attempts to improve my health through healthier eating, various supplements, and regular exercise. (This is pretty common for people dealing with invisible illnesses — while you’re waiting to be acknowledged by medical professionals, you’re often willing to give almost anything a try.) I even went gluten-free for several months on the off-chance that I did have coeliac disease that wasn’t being picked up by the tests. Nothing helped, and both the gluten-free diet and anything more than very mild exertion made my symptoms worse. The latter is pretty common among those with fibromyalgia — dysautonomia, or poor regulation of one’s autonomic systems including heart rate and body temperature is common in this and many other neuroimmune disorders, with the result that exercise can often leave you feeling unwell for days. Funnily enough, my response to gluten-free eating was a clue to figuring out my dietary intolerances.
Earlier this year, I realised that I was regularly experiencing bad bouts of heartburn after eating my mum’s rice-bread toast in morning. Then after spending the weekend with a friend who cooks with a lot of rice, I became rather violently ill — and realised rice might be a culprit. Once I’d cut that out, and my GI upset wasn’t quite so constant, I started noticing other triggers, in particular eggs and soy (which, like wheat, is now in an astonishing number of processed foods). Since cutting out those three ingredients, my GI issues have been drastically improved, and I notice an almost immediate resurgence if I accidentally ingest one of them. (Within about fifteen minutes, I can tell ‘oh damn, I’ve just had some egg / soy / rice.’)
But while cutting out the foods I’m intolerant to has helped with my GI issues, Cymbalta and Flexeril are the only treatments that have thus far helped with my pain, paresthesias, fatigue and sleep.
(I do also eat pescatarian, for ethical reasons. I used to be lacto-ovo vegetarian, but having now cut out both the ‘ovo’ and soy, getting adequate protein is quite a bit trickier, which led to adding fish back in from time to time.)