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Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia’s

Fibro Living Issue 1 • February/March 2014













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Revolution Conditions Currently Served Ankylosing Sondylitis Celiac Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Chronic pain Crohn’s Disease Ehler-s Danlos Syndrome Fibromyalgia Hashimoto’s Disease Hyperthyroidism Interstitial Cystitis Irritable Bowel Syndrome Lupus Lyme Disease ME/CFS Migraines Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Multiple Sclerosis Myasthenia Gravis Orthostatic Intolerance/ POTS Osteoarthritis Other Psoriasis Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Rheumatoid Arthritis Sjogerns Syndrome Ulcerative Colitis

“We match patients with similar condition to make sharing treatments easier, then use online data to fuel new medical research” - Joey Tuan

REGISTER TO JOIN TODAY. HealClick has just opened their proverbial online doors to the public, all they need is you. Join HealClick to meet wonderful people like you who are dealing with neuroimmune and/or autoimmune illnesses. By sharing information about symptoms and treatments, you can help find or share better ways of dealing with symptoms while making new friends. The data users submit is anonymized and used to help develop research trials and hopefully eventually to find a cure. Are you ready to find some answers and possibly even help find a cure? HealClick is completely free to use. There are no ads and no company sponsorships. This site is genuinely for people to people connections for people who HAVE one or more of the conditions currently served. or are caregivers of people with the conditions

2 • Fibro Living Magazine •

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Contents 04 Letter From the Editor 04 Want to Contribute? 05 Popular Posts from Facebook Page 06 Treating Fibromyalgia “Simple Aids” Treatment Protocol

10 The Link Between Anxiety and Pain Author Dr. Webster

12 Fibromyalgia Pain Reduced with Vitamin D Author Brent Matsalla

14 Health Benefits of Cherries for Fibromyalgia Ways Tart Cherries can help you


Dear Fibromyalgia Facebook Page

Authors: Emily Brewer, Beth Biondolillo, Michelle Pena, and April Zink

20 The Many Wonders of Epsom Salts How Epsom salts can help with Fibro symptoms

24 Release the Energy Drain of Overproviding Tendencies Learning to say “No” for your health and well being


Follow Your Heart

How Fibromyalgia got me on the Right Path Author: Jenn Mulherin

28 FGX PowerStrips



29 Advertising rates and information

Fibro Living Magazine •• 3

FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to the first Issue of Fibro Living Magazine. The Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia blog and community is now expanding into a new medium, a digital magazine. As the owner, creator, and general trying to handle everything person, I feel like a proud parent standing by as my child enters the doors to school heading to kindergarten. A little nervous, but mostly excited for the amazing changes ahead! This is a huge step in a new direction to offer a magazine that caters to people with Fibromyalgia and helps provide information and inspiration, while spreading awareness and compassion. My intention is to offer lots of information, including reviews, treatment options, inspirational stories, ways to connect with other people and more. I had some wonderful contributors to this first issue who were willing to take a chance on something new. I truly hope you enjoy this first issue of Fibro Living Magazine as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Editor In Chief Emily Brewer,

Air Hugs & Love, Emily

Advertising Info Click here for Advertising Rates.

Want to contribute?

Send a Letter to the Editor

Charities & Non-Profits

I always welcome your comments (positive and negative) about the

Due to the amazing work that so many charities do, I don’t charge

publication. Send letters to the editor via e-mail and include your name.

for promotion. If you have a story or article that you would like to

Fibro Living reserves the right to publish any letter addressed to the

have featured in Fibro Living, please hit me up. I will work with

editor. Letters may be edited for space and clarity.

you to ensure it is included in the Fibro Living Magazine and I will

Guest Authors

do so for FREE.

I am always interested in having guest authors who write on the top-

Format for Article submissions:

ics of living, inspiration, fibromyalgia, or anything else, if it fits with my

Please submit your article in Microsoft Word format or text format

audience. Please send me an e-mail pitching your idea for an article and

that can be opened in Microsoft Word. Photographs are highly

I will be happy to let you know if it fits. If your article is selected to be

encouraged and welcomed, please send them as separate attach-

used, then there will be no charge, UNLESS it is a blatant sponsorship

ments and not as part of a word document. Images should be 300

story in an attempt to obtain free advertising. I do recognize the differ-

dpi and either JPEG or PNG format.

ence and so do my readers.

Copyright 2014 Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia’s Fibro Living magazine. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the Editor. The information in Fibro Living magazine is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of medical professionals. 4 • Fibro Living Magazine •

Popular Posts from our Facebook Page

GRAPHIC BY: Josephine Wall TEXT BY: Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia

Breathtaking Niagara Falls

Ready for Spring Yet? Fibro Living Magazine •• 5

“SIMPLE AIDS” To Free You From Fibro Symptoms

TREATING FIBRO “Simple Aids” Protocol for treating Fibro

Millions of people suffer with Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome that affects every facet of life including sleep, libido, brain ffunction, daily tasks and so much more. Everything in life is more difficult with Fibro. But there are a wide variety of treatment options and the “SIMPLE AIDS” protocol discussed here helps to narrow down the key components to living a wonderful life with Fibromyalgia. My goal is for each of us with Fibro to lead the most inspired life possible. In order to reach for our dreams, we need to treat the physical obstacles, whcih in this case is Fibro and the many symptoms that come with it. This treatment plan works for me (with adjustments as needed) and it can work for you too. The key is finding what works for you and doing it!

6 • Fibro Living Magazine •

“Simple AIds” Protocol in a Nutshell S = Sleep I = Inspiration M = Meditation P = People L = Live Life E = Exercise A = Acceptance I = Identify D = Diet S = Supplements

When we have Fibro we are affected

our triggers are, and most importantly

possible and assist iyou in reaching your

our individuality.

optimal health more quickly by increas-

physically, mentally, and spiritually. The

ing energy levels and promoting genuine

“Simple Aids” protocol for treating fibro-

There is no “one way only” to treating

myalgia with style and grace focuses on

Fibro, just as there is no cure. The path

meditation, inspiration, and openness for

is uniquely individual for each of us, but

I = Inspiration. Find the good in your

the mind,; diet, exercise, treatments, and

this generalized treatment protocol for

life and the world around you. Focus on

supplements for the body; and energy,

how I treat Fibro may help you focus on

maintaining the most positive attitude

faith, determination, and hope for the

the things you need or want to, so that

possible. In order to live life to the fullest


you can reach your fullest potential with

with Fibro, you need to get your mind in


the right place so your body can begin to

The one constant with Fibro is that it


follow. Look for things in your life, or in

will change and it will affect everyone

S= Sleep. Get enough well-rested sleep,

books, or online to inspire you or at least

differently. The “Simple Aids” treatment

at least 6 to 8 hours a night. Without

make you think of something other than

allows for the individual adjustments we

enough sleep, you will suffer more

your symptoms.

all need to make based on our symptoms,

fatigue, brain fog, and pain. When you

our reactions, what works for us and what

get enough sleep, your body can begin

M = Meditation. Learn to meditate or uti-

doesn’t, what our dietary needs are, what

the process of healing itself as much as

lize relaxation techniques at least once a

Fibro Living Magazine •• 7

TREATING FIBRO “Simple Aids” Protocol for Fibro continued from page 5

day. The mind-body connection is a huge factor in determining HOW each of us lives with Fibro. If our mindset is strong and positive, we will be able to manage the Fibro symptoms better and live a fuller life. The pain doesn’t go away; we can just manage it better! P=People. Reach out to people. Get help when you need it. Look outside of yourself for answers. If you are in a flare consider seeing a gentle massage therapist or acupuncturist or chiropractor to help you move past the flare (even if it didn’t work in the past, try someone else or something else) and break the vicious cycle often caused by flares not being treated thereby generating more pain overall for even longer periods of time and increasing the frequency of flares. Create a network of wonderful people to help with your life including, medical professionals, family, support groups, and friends. L= Live Life. Stop being afraid that you will cause yourself more pain by doing something. You will have pain whether you sit around or whether you do something, so choose to do something that brings you joy or allows you to accomplish a goal. Simply live your life and appreciate what you can do when you can. Forget excuses and focus on what you really want and start working towards it. A life unlived is not a life. E= Exercise. Exercise as much as possible, but don’t cause yourself severe extra pain. The goal is to work your way up to at least 30 minutes a day. The exercise doesn’t have to be painful, but it does need to occur. When you first start you will most likely feel more pain, which is why I recommend starting with 5 minutes of light stretching or beginner yoga or water based exercises and allowing your body to let you know when to increase the time and/or the intensity of the exercise.

8 • Fibro Living Magazine •

A= Acceptance. Learn to accept yourself and your body as they are, then work on improving. Avoid negative self-talk, try not to get frustrated or down on yourself if you are unable to do something. Learn to say no when necessary and accept that people may not like it, but you know what you need to do so that eventually the no’s will occur less frequently. I= Identify. Identify what triggers make your symptoms worse like weather, food, smells, stress, certain types of exercise, and so forth. Identify possible hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid or adrenal gland malfunction, infections, allergies, etc. (preferably with the help of a medical professional). When you know what triggers things and if you have an imbalance, THEN you can begin to eliminate or reduce the impact of them and replace your triggers with healthier options and address any medical imbalances or issues through supplements, changes to lifestyle, medications, etc. D= Diet. Pay attention to your body and what you put in it. Eliminate foods that cause more inflammation or adverse reactions. Consider trying gluten free, sugar free, non-processed foods, etc. Try to eat healthy foods as much as possible. Consider trying an elimination diet or testing for food intolerences and/or allergies. S= Supplements. Add in supplements as needed to help with symptoms, but be careful not to take too many! Common supplements used by Fibro patients include Vitamin B Complex , Magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and/or fish oil, 5htp, Melatonin and more. Not everyone needs every supplement, so take cautiously and communicate with your medical professional about what will be helpful and what may not be. Also, some supplements interact with medications, so your doctor really needs to know if you’re considering a supplement, which one and why, so they can make sure it is safe for you.

Fibro Living Magazine •• 9


By Dr. Webster


number of studies have shown strong ties between anxiety and pain. This is because pain and anxiety share a reciprocal relationship.

Symptoms of anxiety can trigger pain and symptoms of pain can trigger anxiety. While dealing with this double dose of frustrating conditions can get overwhelming for pain/anxiety patients, knowing the causes and treatments for each can help you get a better handle on the symptoms. To help you find a more complete understanding of each condition, I’ve provided the brief descriptions below:

Anxiety: This condition is best described as a state of panic. Individuals experiencing anxiety typically find that their muscles begin to tense, their palms become sweaty and their hearts race. These symptoms of anxiety occur because the condition triggers a response from the sympathetic nervous system (the “fight or flight” system).

Chronic Pain: Chronic pain is typically classified as pain that lasts longer than six months. The severity of chronic pain varies greatly, including all levels from mild to excruciating. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include headaches, joint pain, injury and backaches. These are, of course, only some of the many types of chronic pain.

10 • Fibro Living Magazine •

Treating your Chronic Pain and Anxiety Finding both a skilled therapist for your anxiety and a trusted pain specialist for your chronic pain is of utmost importance in taking control of your conditions. These specialists will provide you with treatment programs for your unique symptom sets and help you work your way to a more complete relief. Reach out to trusted family and friends for references to qualified therapists and physicians in your area.

Optimizing your Treatment There are many lifestyle changes you can make to find your way to a better quality of life with anxiety and chronic pain. Some that I highly suggest include: • Developing a routine for regular exercise It’s been said time and time again, exercise does a body good. No matter the intensity level, getting out and active with a regular exercise routine will give you the strength and endorphin boost you need to decrease both pain and anxiety symptoms. Exercise is one of the best remedies for anxiety as it rids your body of excess energy that contributes to the condition’s symptoms. • Setting aside time for relaxation Rest and relaxation are two of the most important aspects of taking care of your body

3 Keys for Optimal Treatment 1. Regular Exercise

and mind. Narrowing down your list of “have to do’s” by eliminating your “should do’s”

2. Relaxation

will help you clear your mind and build a stronger base for fighting both your chronic

3. Avoid Harmful Substances

pain and your anxiety. • Avoiding drinking and smoking While many patients suffering from pain and anxiety believe that these substances ease their symptoms, they actually end up causing more harm than good. This is because their components can cause harm to the body and mind, hindering their abilities to overcome your conditions. Rather than reach for alcohol or a cigarette when you’re feeling pain or anxiety, pick up a glass of water or a healthy snack. These items will give you a moment to step back and take a break from your current state-of-mind in a healthier way.

About Dr. Webster Lynn Webster, MD is a leading physician and researcher in the pain community. As Medical Director of CRI Lifetree and President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, Dr. Webster dedicates his work to the development of safer and more effective therapies for chronic pain and addiction prevention. He is best known for developing the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) and for his public campaign

There are many lifestyle changes you can make to find your way to a better quality of life with anxiety and chronic pain.” ~Dr. Webster

to reduce overdose deaths from prescription medications.

Fibro Living Magazine •• 11

FIBROMYALGIA PAIN REDUCED WITH VITAMIN D By Brent Matsalla for the Guardian Libery Voice This article is reprinted with permission from Brent Matsalla.


esearchers are saying that taking supplements

Study researcher and orthapaedist at Vienna’s Orthopaedic

of vitamin D can reduce pain and offer a cost-

Hospital Speising, Dr. Florian Wepner, said that this study shows

effective compliment to other traditional medi-

that Vitamin D supplements are an economical and safe treat-

cal treatments for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).

ment for FMS sufferers.

Patients with FMS often experience very widespread chronic pain and fatigue and those studied with low levels of vitamin D

“Vitamin D supplementation may be regarded as a relatively

have found some pain relief in taking the vitamin supplements.

safe and economical treatment for people with fibromyalgia.” – Dr. Florian Wepner

Vitamin D Supplements help Fibromyalgia pain.Fibromyalgia sufferers may also experience occasional anxiety or depression,

Dr. Wepner and other researchers discovered that patients

poor concentration, morning stiffness and sleep disorders. All

often had low levels of calcifediol. Calcifediol is also known as

the horrible symptoms of FMS can often reduce a patient’s qual-

25-hydroxyvitamin D, 25-hydroxycholecalciferal, or calcidiol, and

ity of life. Often the symptoms can lead to a withdrawal from any

is produced in the liver by the enzyme cholecalciferal, or vitamin

social life to loss of employment or careers. A patient with FMS

D3. The vitamin D3 is then converted by the liver to calcitriol

will often need ongoing physical therapy, cognitive behavioral

which is an active form of vitamin D. Levels of calcifediol in a

therapy and multimodal therapies. Some will also go through

patient’s blood will offer the best indicator of the current level

temporary drug therapy and take meds such as: pregabaline,

of vitamin D found in the patient. When the researchers found

amitriptyline, and duloxetine. For those suffering with FMS,

common low levels of calcifediol in patients with more severe

there is no cure known.

pain and symptoms of fibromyalgia, they began to hypothesize that a vitamin D supplement might be of benefit by reducing the chronic pain that so many experienced. “Low blood levels of calcifediol are especially common in


patients with severe pain and fibromyalgia. But although the role of calcifediol in the perception of chronic pain is a widely discussed subject, we lack clear evidence of the role of vitamin D supplementation in fibromyalgia patients.” - Dr. Florian Wepner Dr. Wepner then said that the researchers began a quest to determine whether raising the patient’s calcifediol levels would actually alleviate chronic pain and possibly cause an overall improvement in the patient’s condition.

12 • Fibro Living Magazine •

The Natural Vitamin D study was a randomized and controlled trial of 30 women with FMS that had low serum calcifediol levels of below 32ng/ml. The group’s levels were monitored at five

Vitamin D Food Sources:

weeks, 13 weeks, and 25 weeks into the study, while the FMS group took vitamin D supplements for 20 weeks. The monitoring allowed the researchers to adjust the oral dosage in the group to help maintain levels of calcifediol between 32 and 48ng/ml. The patients would also be monitored for an additional 24 weeks after stopping the supplements. After 24 weeks of finishing the supplements, patients reported a marked reduction in their chronic pain levels. The patients all showed a significant improvement in chronic pain reduction during the first part of the study when the patients began taking the supplements, while the pain levels in the study’s placebo group remained unchanged.

Cheese Margarine Butter Fortified Milk Healthy Cereals Fatty Fish

Overall the group taking the vitamin D supplements scored better on a fibromyalgia impact questionnaire with symptoms like chronic morning fatigue. However, there were not any significant improvements with the group’s anxiety or depression. Dr. Wepner believes the data they presented looks very promising for vitamin D helping to reduce the chronic pain suffered by patients with more severe cases of fibromyalgia syndrome. Dr. Wepner advises FMS patients to have their calcifediol monitored regularly by their doctors especially in the winter season when the hours of sunshine are reduced.

The original article can be found at the Guardian Liberty Voice

Fibro Living Magazine •• 13

HEALTH BENEFITS OF TART CHERRIES FOR FIBROMYALGIA Cherries are an oftentimes forgotten source for vitamins and nutrients that can have a positive impact on your health. Fresh cherries offer the best nutritional value, but the growing season for cherries is short so most people do not reap the amazing benefits of cherries very often. When cherries are out of season, you can drink cherry juice concentrates or take a tart cherry supplement. You can also frequently find cherries in frozen or dried form


in most grocery stores. Depending on where you live, you


reap even more benefits.


Not all cherries are created equally when it comes to

may be able to find the coveted fresh tart cherries and

health benefits. Both sweet or wild cherries and sour or


tart cherries are packed with healthy compounds that are incredibly helpful in obtaining wellness, , but sweet cherries may have lower amounts of nutritional values. Maraschino cherries, on the other hand, lose a lot of their nutritional value and end up having a high caloric value when they are jarred with added sugar and artificial coloring. They should only be used as very rare treat.

14 • Fibro Living Magazine •


PAIN RELIEF Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in cherries act like anti-inflammatory agents by blocking the actions of cyclooxygenase-1, and 2 enzymes (also

called COX-1 and COX-2). The anti-inflammatory properties of cherries function at a level equal to NSAIDS like Naproxen or Ibuprofen. Regular consumption of cherries can lead to fewer episodes or flares caused by inflammation.


NATURAL SLEEP AID According to the Cherry Nutrition Report, tart or sour cherries contain high levels of melatonin.

Melatonin is a commonly known natural sleep aid that can cross the blood-brain barrier easily and produces soothing effects on the brain neurons, calming down nervous system irritability, which helps relieve insomnia. Melatonin also helps regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Basically, a handful of cherries a day can increase the blood levels of melatonin enough to enhance the natural sleep patterns, leading to deeper more restful sleep

A 1-cup serving of cherries most days of the week is recommended to obtain the highest level of benefits. With just 90 calories, it’s great as a snack!


Other Cherries contain a wide variety of disease fighting antioxidants and vitamins including Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Potassium,

calcium, copper, folate, Bioflavonoids, tyrosine, Ellagic acid, Perillyl, Athocyanins, and Melatonin. Studies have shown that a diet high in cherries can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, inflammatory problems like arthritis while regulating sleep patterns and reducing the aging process.


Depression and Anxiety Depression and anxiety are two of the

Also, cherries are low in calories and contain fiber, so unless you add sugar, they are great for most diets too.

most common symptoms of Fibromyalgia, due to dealing with chronic pain for such

long periods of time. The antioxidant anthocyanin, in addition to providing pain relief, also acts as an inhibitor for monoamine oxidases, which are enzymes believed to be tied to depression and anxiety. Additionally, cherries contain tyrosine, an amino acid that your body uses to make dopamine. Low levels of dopamine can lead to depression almost as frequently as serotonin.

Fibro Living Magazine •• 15





ear Fibromyalgia is a Facebook

Typical posts include member questions

while offering ways to cope with day to day

community devoted to educating,

(with answers), articles on Fibro, and so

living with chronic illness.

supporting, and sharing experi-

much more. They even share some things

Dear Fibromyalgia is much like my favorite

from Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia!

coffee shop; warm, inviting, a little dark, and

ences on Fibromyalgia and comorbid conditions. Beth Biondolillo, Michelle Pena and

the perfect place to rest for a bit and simply

April Zink provide a safe place for those

My favorite part of the page is the use of

struggling with Fibro to connect and learn.

edgy, unique, and stunning graphics com-


bined with deep, sensitive thoughts that so

This page provides comfort and companion-

Their hip approach to dealing with Fibro is

clearly reflect the deepest, oftentimes hid-

ship to online readers through a discussion

unparalleled amongst Fibro Facebook pages.

den, feelings of those fighting Fibromyalgia

of everyday topics that will be familiar to

The primary emphasis is on coping with the

and other chronic illnesses.

those who live with chronic invisible ill-

day to day problems faced by people living


with chronic illnesses. Beth hones in where

These beautiful graphics capture the myriad

invisible illness genuinely hurts – focusing

of feelings those of us with Fibro face. From

This is truly a fantastic Facebook page that

on the real problems and real feelings of

laughter to tears, from silence to yelling,

hones in where invisible illness genuinely

Fibromyalgia sufferers.

from anger to acceptance, these ladies find a

hurts and focuses on the real problems and

way to share the gamut of emotions we face

real feelings of Fibromyalgia sufferers.

16 • Fibro Living Magazine •


Beth Biondolillo, the Fearless Leader When Emily contacted me and asked to write about why I started Dear Fibromyalgia, a million reasons went through my mind. The night I decided to create the page I was in bed, fighting a fibro-flare, and just days away from my disability hearing. My life was literally hanging by a thread as I’d lost everything or was going to lose even more if I didn’t receive a favorable decision. Like they say, “your life can change in the blink of an eye” and that’s exactly what happened to me. I woke up one morning with what I thought was the flu. Little did I know my life was never going to be the same. My future career as a nurse had ended, and I knew I’d never be able to work again having finally been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s Syndrome, CFS/ME, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, severe MCS, arthritis, DDD, bulging lumbar discs, depression, and anxiety. I needed an outlet for not only my knowledge, but also my creativity and the need to help others.

Growing up I remember the “Dear Abby” columns in the newspaper, so that’s how I named my page. I wanted people to be able to write in with their problems and concerns and, in return, receive medically sound advice, personal support, and encouraging words; something I wasn’t always finding on Facebook. Dear Fibromyalgia’s audience quickly grew with regular followers much to my delight and surprise! I have since relocated up to beautiful Saint Augustine, Florida, to be near the beach (my sanctuary) and have access to better health care and alternative therapies. When people are diagnosed with chronic illness they go through stages of grief. I want to help people reach the stage of acceptance and realize that there is life after a diagnosis of Fibro; it’s just a different life. We’re now in our 8th month since start-up, and I hope to continue to grow, spread awareness, and help those who are suffering from this mysterious, unpredictable, and debilitating disease and its comorbid illnesses.

Like they say, “your life can change in the blink of an eye” and that’s exactly what happened to me. “ - Beth Biondolillo

Fibro Living Magazine •• 17


Michelle Pena, Relief Admin and Graphic Designer In June, I discovered Dear Fibromyalgia. I wanted to learn more about my illness. When looking at all the FB pages this one stood out to me. There was a lot of medical information, questions being answered, everyone was welcomed to the page and of course beautiful graphics. One day I asked for just simple support as I was going through some pretty hard stuff on top of my illness. After getting great responses from other people on the page and personal support from Beth I was hooked. When I was cruising my FB news feed, I would see a funny or beautiful graphic that I could relate to. So I started sending them to Beth. Well I never stopped. Beth would post every single one I would send her and she encouraged me every time I did. We were only at about 2000 likes when I told her “you know I really love being a part of the page like this. If you ever need some help please let me know” I didn’t realize that she was looking for another admin. Shortly thereafter we both agreed and I became an admin. I started making my own graphics basically just pouring my heart out into them. I self-assigned the days in which I would run the page to help her get some “me” time. I also would check on the page and her daily to see if there was anything I could do to help. One thing about pouring and opening your heart up to something like this page and the community of people is that it becomes a part of you.

People don’t understand chronic pain and the effect it can have on people and their relationships...” - April Zink 18 • Fibro Living Magazine •



April Zink, Graphic Designer & Admin I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2009. I had heard of the disease, but did not know anyone who had it. I was a deputy program manager in charge of 25 team members. My career was on the rise, until this disease brought me to a complete stop. I ended up having to quit my job because my brain could no longer function. I went into a deeper depression as I realized we would lose our house.

Dear Fibromyalgia’s latest addition is a special private Facebook group for their Dear Fibromyalgia fans.

I found Dear Fibromyalgia at the end of summer 2013. I cried when I found their page. To find out that you aren’t crazy and that there are other people who have or are going through the same thing was wonderful. The graphics drew me in, but the love, support and camaraderie made it my home. I now have a place that I can go to where I am not judged, criticized, or ignored. Now I help make some of the graphics when I can, and it helps me to feel more alive. People don’t understand chronic pain and the effect it can have on people and their relationships. I am just glad I found Dear Fibromyalgia.

One thing about pouring and opening your heart up to something like this page and the community of people is that it becomes a part of you.” All graphics on pages 14-16 created by Dear Fibromalgia and printed with permission.

- Michelle Pena

copyright © 2013 Dear Fibromyaliga Fibro Living Magazine •• 19

20 • Fibro Living Magazine •

THE MANY WONDERS OF EPSOM SALTS AN ESSENTIAL NATURAL COMPOUND Helpful for Fibromyalgia because it relieves muscle aches while increasing magnesium and sulfate levels

The many wonders of Epsom salt have been heralded for centuries for having beneficial properties that can soothe the body, mind, and soul. Epsom salts are named after Epsom in Surrey, England where people used to boil the mineral water from the local springs to obtain magnesium sulfate. In fact, Epsom salt is not even a salt; it’s a naturally occurring pure mineral compound comprised of magnesium and sulfate. This mineral compound is wellknown for having many health, beauty, household, and gardening related uses. A study by Dr. RH Waring shows that magnesium and sulfate are both absorbed through the skin, which makes an Epsom salt bath a relaxing way to enjoy the benefits.

Fibro Living Magazine •• 21


EPSOM SALTS continued from page 19 Despite the many uses and health ailments Epsom salt is believed to

triphosphate (ATP), which provides energy to physiological processes.

help with, there haven’t been very many scientific studies completed

Many biologists consider ATP to be the energy currency of life, because

on them. However, the roles magnesium and suflates play in our bodies

it is the high energy molecule that stores energy for nearly everything

have been studied extensively.

we do. As a result, ATP can help increase energy and reduce fatigue over time.

Magnesium serves as a major player in many roles within the human body including regulating the activity of hundreds of enzymes, reducing

Additionally, magnesium ions improve sleep and concentration, create

inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function, and helping with the

a relaxed feeling, reduce irritability caused by adrenaline, and help

prevention of artery hardening. Sulfates unique healing properties help

muscles and nerves function properly. Some studies have shown that

with absorbing nutrients, flushing toxins, and easing migraines.

Epsom salt can help regulate electrolytes which helps ensure muscles, nerves, and enzymes function properly.

Combined, magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt helps with a variety of health issues including relieving itchiness from Athlete’s foot or bug

Calcium is an incredibly important part of the human body as well.

bites, removing splinter more easily, treating toenail fungus, sooth-

Calcium is used by almost every cell in the human body. As people get

ing sprains and bruises, easing inflammation, relaxing muscle spasms,

older, they tend to absorb less calcium, so the calcium the cells need is

relieving migraines, making insulin more effective, preventing the hard-

taken from our bones leading to osteoporosis.

ening of arteries and blood clots, curing skin problems, soothing back pain, removing toxins, and relieving constipation.

Epsom salts don’t have calcium in them, but magnesium is critical in the proper use and absorption of calcium in the body. So, Epsom salts

Epsom salt baths using several cups of Epsom salt in a hot bath,

do play an important role with calcium as well..

where one soaks for at least 20 minutes, can be very helpful for many symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Many people with Fibromyalgia endure

According to some studies, a balance of the proper amounts of mag-

high stress levels daily. Stress depletes the body of magnesium while

nesium and sulfate levels in the body increases the effectiveness of

increasing levels of adrenaline. As a result, when magnesium is reab-

insulin, which can help lower the risk or severity of diabetes.

sorbed into the body through a hot Epsom salt bath, the magnesium levels are replenished.

One of the most commonly known uses for Epsom salt is as a laxative to help with constipation. When taken internally, Epsom salt assists

The magnesium helps create serotonin, which can help create a feeling

with constipation by cleansing the colon and by increasing the water in

of calm and relaxation. Serotonin is also believed to play a major role in

the intestines. Although, this is a commonly known use of Epsom salt,

depression, which is another common symptom of Fibromyalgia.

this is one of the only uses that people NEED to consult their physicians about prior to using, because if used incorrectly or when not really

Magnesium is also believed to encourage the production of adenosine

22 • Fibro Living Magazine •

needed, it can actually cause worse problems than constipation.

The sulfates in Epsom salt help cells flush toxins and remove heavy

Epsom salts can be found in nearly every grocery store, drug store, chain

metals, which eases muscle pain and helps the body flush harmful sub-

store, and dollar store. All Epsom salts have the same ingredients, so any


of them will work. Epsom salts are an easy and affordable way to help alleviate symptoms.

Making Epsom salt part of your regular routine can be exceptionally helpful. For the best results, Epsom salt baths are usually recommended

There are a few people who do not respond well or at all to Epsom salt

at least three times a week using two cups of Epson salt in a tub of hot

baths. If after you purchase your Epsom salt, you find this is the case for

water and soaking for at least 20 minutes.

you, please know that it has many, many other uses. Just take a look at the graphic on the first page of this article for some ideas!

Depending on specific health conditions, the bath may be effective at night prior to bed to relax and help sleep (adding essential oils like

If you are one of the few people who already have proper levels of mag-

lavender can aid in this endeavor) or it may be more helpful during the

nesium and sulfates in your body, your Epsom salt doesn’t need to go to

day when you can get out and stretch and move (especially important if

waste, because there are so many other handy uses!

you have arthritic joints).

Relaxing Foot Soak Recipe Ingredients: 1 cup sea salt 1 cup Epsom Salt 1 cup white vinegar ½ cup of dried lavender* Directions: 1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and whisk fully. 2. Place water that is hot (but still bearable for your feet) in a container large enough to soak your feet. 3. Add the combined ingredients to the foot bath and stir the water for a moment. 4. Sit in a comfortable chair and place feet in the water. 5. Soak feet in water for at least 20 minutes 6. Rinse Feet and lightly scrub with pumice stone 7. Say hello to fantastic feet! *Contents of lavender tea packets or lavender essential oils can be substituted for dried lavender. Other great scents: include for relaxations: chamomile, clary sage, rose geranium, sandalwood or for stimulation basil, lemon grass, orange, peppermint or rosemary. Fibro Living Magazine •• 23

RELEASE THE ENERGY DRAIN OF OVERPROVIDING TENDENCIES Are you trying to take care of everyone in your life as your body continues to fail you? Are you trying to be everything to everyone, because it feels like that’s your purpose? Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you find yourself stressed out trying to figure out how to do everything everyone else wants, but deep down, you know your body may not be able to handle it much longer? Do you skip doing things that help you, because you are too busy helping others? Do you feel unappreciated and misunderstood? Do you find that when you do something for someone else that causes you excruciating pain the other person doesn’t even seem to appreciate it? If you are experiencing these feelings, then you are probably overwhelmed due to overproviding tendencies. Overproviding specifically refers to accepting responsibilities or duties that you know you aren’t able to do, may struggle to do, don’t want to do, your body can’t handle, or keeps you from doing what you truly need to do to get better and live a fulfilling life.

24 • Fibro Living Magazine •

Ultimately, you are giving too much of yourself to others, depleting your energy without getting the help you need, and losing the ability to treat yourself properly to be able to live a great life with a chronic illness. Women, in particular are hard wired to believe that we HAVE to do everything we are asked or at least try. Many women want to be needed and see being asked to do something as a badge of honor that must be accepted. One of the biggest reasons people reach the point of severe overproviding to the point of being completely overwhelmed is due to fear. We are afraid of being rejected, of not belonging, of not being loved, of having someone be angry at us, of disappointing others, of not making enough money, of not being good enough. All of these factors are exacerbated by our Fibromyalgia ridden bodies that actually have very real limits at times. Unfortunately, our limits are often difficult for others to understand.

3 Steps to Say “No” More Easily The three steps to saying no (and knowing if you should really be saying no) are pretty straightforward. 1. When asked to do something that you feel trapped into saying yes about, tell them you will let them know once you check your calendar when you get home. By giving yourself time to answer, you prevent yourself from agreeing to do things that don’t fit your needs or wants. After taking some time to think about it (and check your calendar), you decide if this is something you want to commit to or not. Then be honest and kind when saying no you aren’t going to be able to participate at this time. This will help keep you from being bulldozed or pressured into doing something. 2. Prioritize items of importance. What is truly important to you? Take a bit of time to figure out what things, events, moments and so forth actually ARE what you want to do or be able to do.

What’s the bottom line? How do you remove the draining overproviding tendencies from your life? Learn to say no. There are always wonderful things that people want you to do. There are always great events that help others. There are always family events and obligations. Everything is worthy and has value. Learn to say no, at least to some of the opportunities and events that are brought to you. Here’s the cold hard reality, by not saying no, you are setting yourself up to be unable to help anyone! That’s right when you avoid saying no for whatever reason, you are making it more difficult to actually help the people that matter most in your life, including yourself. When we allow ourselves to reach the point of extreme stress caused by overproviding, we are causing our bodies to revolt. Stress can and does cause Fibromyalgia flares. When you are in a flare, are you able to do any of the things you agreed to do?

When thinking about this list, resist the temptation to add things that other people want you to do unless it fits with what you want. Start removing anything that doesn’t nourish you or your family or provide a benefit to you, so that you can be open and able to do the things that really matter to YOU. 3. Create a support system for saying no. Find someone in your life willing and able to help you analyze opportunities and whether or not they really fit with your priorities and goals. This person should be a friend or family member who you trust to consider your best interests and who has some understanding of your body limitations. Eventually, you will find that you no longer need the support system; you will be able to say no or resist the urge to volunteer, because you have the confidence and ability to determine exactly what you want and need in your life.

Fibro Living Magazine •• 25

Follow Your Heart: How Fibromyalgia Got Me on the Right Path By Jenn Mulherin

I would consider fibromyalgia as what many teenagers call a “frenemy”: an enemy because of the pain, fatigue, and other symptoms it inflicts on me…and (believe it or not) a friend because it taught me that following my heart breeds the most happiness. It mostly began when I was laid off from my school year job. During the summer, I had more time on my hands. Therefore, I wanted to be able to fill up my time with things that I truly enjoy. I picked up crocheting again; however, I was just crocheting scrap pieces. I didn’t know what I was making; I just liked the act of engaging in single crochet. However, my crocheting went from plain boring to interesting when my supervisor at the place I volunteer at suggested to me that I learn some new methods of crocheting (such as double crochet and making granny squares). I can thank YouTube for being my teacher because the moment I watched the tutorials, I learned how to make various different things. Before I knew it, I was inspired to open up an online shop (My first one was “Hooked on Creativity”. When I moved it to Etsy, I renamed it “Jenny Square Crochet”). I’m only beginning, but I have made a few successful sales. Some of the items I make are pocket pillows, hats, scarves, mittens, and plush Valentine hearts.

26 • Fibro Living Magazine •

Not only has fibro led me to opening an Etsy shop, but it also inspired me to create a blog. This all began during February when I first discovered that I have Fibromyalgia. I typed in the phrase “Inspiring stories and fibromyalgia” on Google, and that was when I was led to the blog “Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia”. This blog was truly heavensent to me. Just reading about how you can find the blessings out of a difficult situation made me feel good despite being in a lot of pain. I wanted to share this positivity with other people as well. During August of 2013 (after doing some research on how to blog), I finally took action and called my blog “My Fibrotastic Life!” I blogged about various things, but they usually surrounded fibro and being a living example of “having a good quality of life despite having this condition.” On WordPress, I have met a lot of people from all over the world who have fibro and chronic fatigue syndrome, and have established friendships with many of them. During my hard times, they have been there for me virtually. I couldn’t have asked for a better support group!

Some crochet creations from Jenny Square Crochet

It is now January of 2014 and my blog is a great success. I have over 700 followers. Plus, I have a Facebook page for my blog where people can read my blog posts through Facebook. If you have a dream that you want to follow, don’t let your health stop you. As whoever said, “When there’s a will, there’s a way.” Maybe you can’t climb Mount Everest or swim across the ocean…but there’s always other ways your dreams and desires can come through.

If you have a dream that you want to follow, don’t let your health stop you.”

I may not be able to hold a full-time job or be able to buy a big house, but at least I’m following my heart and doing things that I truly enjoy…things which I thought I would never be able to do in this lifetime.

~Jenn Mulhern

Visit Jenn at her blog My Fibrotastic Life

or stop by the “My Fibrotastic Life” Facebook Page or visit her at “Jenny Square Crochet” on Etsy Fibro Living Magazine •• 27

Review of



Want to Learn More or Buy Some? Contact: Amie Kukkola, a proud distributor of FGX PowerStrips on her Facebook Page at FGX Power Strips - Pain Relief and Holistic Health & Wellness

Product supplied for review free of charge and tested by Emily Brewer

What are PowerStripsTM?

Upon placement, I immediately felt gen-

PowerStripsTM are a patented fusion of far-

My recommendation

tle warmth spread through the areas the

Despite what some “amazing” testimonials

infrared or “waveform energy” technology and

PowerStrip physically touched. Within 15 min-

from users say, these are NOT a cure for

ancient herbs. The energy technology works to

utes my slight headache was gone. Within

Fibromyalgia. For me, they have not elimi-

focus energy in your body. The FGXpress Power

an hour, pain in my collarbone from a recent

StripsTM, an FDA approved Class 1 Medical

nated all of the pain or all of the symptoms,

car accident started to subside. After twelve

but they have noticeably helped with the four

device for treatment and management of pain,

hours, the pain is still there, but it has reduced

things that bother me most: pain, sleep, brain

are safe and effective and realistically will

noticeably throughout my body. I had a decent

function, and energy. The company and the dis-

help lower the pain level of most people.

night of sleep, which is not a common occur-

tributor who sent me samples don’t claim the

rence with Fibromyalgia and has been worse Each PowerStripTM contains: Fermented

PowerStrips are a cure, so be aware that the

since my car accident. My mind is clearer and

testimonials may be biased or unrealistic and

Korean Red Ginseng, Germanium, Marine

my energy levels are a bit higher. After 24

set your own expectations accordingly.

Phytoplankton, and Silver Ions. When the

hours, I’m not noticing much more of a differ-

strips are applied, they function at a cellular

ence. On my way to 48 hours, the pain levels

I am experiencing enough benefits that I

level using muscles and tissues that activate

are still reduced, my energy is still better, and

do recommend giving them a try to see if

and boost energy at the same time as relieving

my brain is still functioning more clearly, but

they might help with your pain and possibly

pain and discomfort.

I’m not seeing any more improvements yet.

other symptoms, as long as the price tag isn’t

They are designed to last up to two days, but

Compared to Other Pain Patches

going to harm you financially and your doctor may need to be replaced more frequently.

The PowerStripsTM are

Many people recommend daily application.

working better for me

The general recommendation is to try them for

than most other topical

at least two weeks to see if they will work for

patches I’ve tried for pain

your body and your needs specifically.

relief. They work better, smell better, adhere bet-

What Happened When I Tried Them

ter, and feel better (no

The moment I opened the package, I could

skin irritation) than the

smell the lovely and distinct smell of ginseng.

vast majority of other

Being sensitive to smells, I was relieved that

patches. However, a few of

the smell doesn’t bother me at all and is actu-

the others do last longer

ally very pleasant. When I started putting them

than the PowerStripsTM

on, I was really impressed with how well they

and most of them cost

adhere to the body and breathe for movement.

considerably less.

28 • Fibro Living Magazine •


Advertising Packages for Fibro Living Magazine and Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia Blog Sponsored Articles

I accept sponsored articles and will write one for you for $50. The post will be published in the magazine and on the blog. If you would like to provide your own post, the cost will vary depending on the size of the post. A full page would be $30.

Full Page Ad

A full page ad in Fibro Living is $30.

Half Page AD

A half page ad in Fibro Living is $20.

Quarter Page AD

A quarter page ad in Fibro Living is $10.

Product Highlight Mention

A product highlight mention costs $20. This will also be published on the blog.

Front Page Feature

A front page featured article costs $200 and includes the article title on the cover and 2-6 pages for the article that you write. This article will also be published on the blog.

Back Page Ad

I prefer full page ads on the back page. I typically want to reserve this space for non-profits and charity events (which I do NOT charge for). As a result, if you want to actually place an ad for the back cover, it costs twice the price of the same size ad in other places. A full page ad would be $60, a half page $40, a quarter page $20.


I am happy to promote products through reviews. However, I only review products that may provide some sort of benefit for Fibromyalgia patients or provide general inspiration. I am happy to do a free review in exchange for a product. I will provide an honest review.

What I will NOT include

I will not post your free article with links to your products and affiliate sites, unless I want to. I am only interested in genuine content from guest authors and bloggers. I know the difference based on the links you submit in your bio, so please do not waste my time and yours. If you want to have a full article with affiliate links, then you need to purchase the featured post for $200.

Please send advertising inquiries via e-mail to Fibro Living Magazine •• 29


The On My Last Straw Collection is based on the Straw Game and is a fun way of expressing what it means when someone with Fibro simply cannot do any thing else. This new collection has just become available and cannot be found anywhere else.

Visit: My Inspired Living Zazzle Store

Fibro Living - Issue 1  

Helping you live your life to the fullest with Fibromyalgia. Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia now offers a digital magazine.

Fibro Living - Issue 1  

Helping you live your life to the fullest with Fibromyalgia. Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia now offers a digital magazine.