My experience with functional medicine

Affinity

Distinguished member
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
123
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
05/2014
Country
US
State
TX
Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I posted here but I have been pursuing functional medicine for fibromyalgia (FM) as I have been having so much trouble and nothing else seems to be helping. Please note that what I am writing here is my own experience an not meant to be prescriptive for anyone else.

To begin I was diagnosed with FM back in 2014 a couple of months after my daughter was born. I was 41 and had a lot of muscles and joint pain. I did not receive any treatment at that time, I thought FM was BS and didn't want to deal with it medically. And so I worked to manage it myself with food and exercise. And which I was able to be more active I was able to keep it under control for the most part for several years.

In 2019 I had some unrelated medical issues where I spent over a month on very strong antibiotics and I believe that threw my gut bacteria and whole system out of whack to the point I am still struggling to regain my health and physical abilities prior to that infection. I have taken probiotics, gone to physical therapy, even started taking Cymbalta (which helped with pain but emotionally made me feel completely depressed and dead to the world). I have read many books on FM by now and my conventional doctors seem unable to help me. I have been really struggling and then I get afraid that this will be my whole life in pain, unable to do basic things, always having to make excuses for why I can't live life how I want with my family.

Many of the books I have read on FM (most recently "The Fibro Fix" by David Brady) discuss functional medicine and so I decided to pursue that route, even though it is cost-prohibitive. Better to pay money now than live a life that is so miserable, I think. I had my first appointment back on January 22nd of this year and received the following diagnoses in addition to FM:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Abnormal weight gain (gained 30-40 pounds in less than a year unexplained)
- PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Vitamin D deficiency (was already aware of this before appt)
- Acne (I am 48 so this is unusual)
- Possible hypothyroidism
- Possible B12 deficiency
- Possible anemia
- Possible diseases of musculoskeletal system and connective tissues

I was sent home from my initial appointment with a list of vitamins (B9, B12, zinc, selenium/brazil nuts, multivitamin, omega 3, probiotics, D3, magnesium) and a schedule for taking them. I was already most of these things but adjusting dosages and timing was probably helpful.

I was also sent home with instructions to follow a paleo style diet with no grains, no refined sugars/artificial sweeteners, no gluten, no beans or legumes including soy, no dairy (with the exception of sheep's milk cheeses, grass fed butter and ghee), with a focus on organic produce and grass fed, pasture raised meat sources. No farm raised fish allowed. I was told it is okay to occasionally eat sourdough bread as apparently the sour eats the gluten, but this would be an exception and not something to have all the time. Given that I have been mostly vegetarian with a diet heavy in grains and beans this was a pretty big change for me but I decided to implement the changes over time as I learned more about paleo and found more recipes as well. I was told that nutrition would be like 90% responsible for my recovery and so it would be very important to me to take responsibility for this part of my health. Having dealt with various eating disorders in my life I was very concerned to drastically change my diet but in fact it's been okay in practice as I have done a lot of work to recover from those eating disorders and have approached these changes mindfully. Included in this recommendation was to get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week which was already in place for me but I am trying to increase intensity.

I was also sent home with a list of books to read including the following:
- "Hashimoto's Protocol" by Isabella Wentz
- "The Autoimmune Fix" by Tom O'Bryan (currently reading)
- "The PCOS Plan" by Jason Fung
- "The Obesity Code" by Jason Fung
- "The Diabetes Code" by Jason Fung
- "The Complete Guide to Fasting" by Jason Fung
- "The Plant Paradox" by Steven Gundry
- "The Hacking of the American Mind" by Robert Lustig (currently reading)
I admit I wasn't very happy about this list of books and I felt like they were going to be very gimmicky ... a response due to by previous disordered eating and dieting experiences. But I started with the books I found the least offensive and am about halfway through both that are marked as currently reading.

I had my second follow up appointment last week on February 19th to discuss my bloodwork (lots and lots of bloodwork). The blood tests indicated the following additional issues:
- Euthyroid sick syndrome
- Ovarian dysfunction/menopause (even though I still have my cycles my hormone levels are post-menopausal)
- Adrenal fatigue
- Anemia
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Due to these results and my personal experience so far on paleo I am starting the additional supplements and medication:
- T3IR (prescription)
- Iodine
- Progesterone (prescription)
- Testosterone cream (prescription)
- Pregnenolone
- Dexamethasone (prescription)
- Increase vitamin D
- Decrease B12
- Increase salt intake (pink Himalayan or Real Salt)
- 5-HTP
- Daily leafy greens and add red meat 3-4 times a week
- Digestive enzymes
- Ox bile
- DHEA
- naltrexone (prescription)

Several items are being watched with no action right now:
- Estradiol
- Chronic infections (tests indicate but they want to get other things in place first before addressing)
- Intermittent fasting is recommended but not until thyroid and adrenals are better functioning
- High cholesterol levels/prediabetic indicators to be monitored (expected to fall due to other changes)

I will be implementing these additional changes over the next couple of weeks as I get these supplements and medications. I am told this should make a big impact on my energy levels within 2 weeks of making these changes. I know it's a lot, and I don't want to tell you what it all costs because it isn't cheap, but I wanted to document this process here for anyone considering this route. Most of the prescriptions I received go through a compounding pharmacy which is made to order medication. I will follow up with updates and additional info as things change for me. I go back in 3 months with new bloodwork and hopefully a lot more energy and a lot less pain. So far I am not noticing much change but really the only thing that has changed so far is my diet and only completely for about 3 weeks.

I am also continuing with my physical therapy (since August 2020) which I am finding overall very helpful but that is another financial investment as well. All of this is being paid out of pocket. I have a high deductible PPO so some of these costs do get applied to my deductible but I am really paying out of pocket for PT, functional medicine doctor visits, labs, medication and supplements. Since I am buying higher quality foods my food cost has also increased somewhat as well. But I joined a local farm box delivery for weekly produce and they have the option to add pasture raised meats and eggs as well each week. And last week I decided to order a "Butchers Box" to increase my grass fed red meat intake as recommended.

I will keep you posted on how this journey goes ...
~ Nikki
 

JayCS

Senior member
Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
305
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
02/2020
Country
GE
Hi Nikki! Good, I'm interested how you fare with it. :) I've tried very similar, to no avail, so I don't take most supps any more. Diet I have to keep a Mediterranean, vegetarian extremely healthy, natural diet anyway, due to IBSD and high blood fats. Despite gluten-free not helping after 2-3 months, I do keep my gluten-intake down just in case.
 

Creola17

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2018
Messages
63
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
US
State
Nv
I don't have a gluten problem but I wouldn't eat anything with wheat due to the poison they spray on it. Read "Wheat Belly".
 

JayCS

Senior member
Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
305
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
02/2020
Country
GE
Hmm, after reading a few reviews of Davis' book, I'm not at all convinced, for me at least. He seems not just to concentrate on wheat, but gluten-free and low-carb. Both did absolutely nothing for me. Also I personally tolerate wheat and spelt with yeast or ferment much better than rye with sourdough. But I (have to) eat everything wholemeal, organic and 'healthy', as little poison on everything as possible. Maybe that's what Davis is suggesting, just that that sounds too health-nutty for most... :cool:
 
Last edited:

Creola17

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2018
Messages
63
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
US
State
Nv
I was wondering why the doctor suggested sheeps milk instead of goat. I've never had or seen sheep's milk. I hear the ice cream is really good but I'm in Nevada and can only find in California.
 
Top