I’ve always wondered if nutritional supplements work. I started on them in 2006, the year I was diagnosed, and have tried pretty much everything under the sun since. There’s no way to really know if anything is doing anything. I don’t know what’s malfunctioning in my body, giving me fibro in the first place. So how could I possibly know if a specific herb is helping a specific problem caused by I don’t know what? My pre-surgery experience gave me some answers.
My doctor instructed me to lay off herbs and fish oil for two weeks prior to my surgery. Science doesn’t know how they impact bleeding. Most vitamins, minerals, and amino acids were fine. So per her instructions, I stopped taking milk thistle, turmeric, resveratrol, spirulina, and fish oil. I stayed on magnesium, potassium, lysine, vitamin D, and a probiotic. By the end of the first week, my flare had taken me over. It was the kind of flare I get when I’m in a much sicker overall state. I hadn’t had one this severe in months, possibly even a year. Of course, I throbbed and ached, couldn’t sleep, and found it impossible to keep my eyes open for the better part of the day. But all of that paled in comparison to the mental takeover. I became absolutely convinced there was no point in continuing to live. Surgery was a waste of time and money. I’m such an unimportant member of society, why was anybody squandering their efforts on me? I was terrified it was going to increase my pain or create more problems than it fixed. I wondered if it was going to kick me into another five-year relapse, which is not outside the realm of possibility. The world became a dark, cold, awful place I was certain I didn’t possess enough strength to survive. I actually called my mom and told her the devil had taken me over and she probably shouldn’t come out from Arizona to help assist me. I had no way to guarantee my mind would perceive anything accurately. The last thing I wanted was to permanently damage our relationship. Lord knows I’ve done enough of that.
Fortunately for me during this entire experience of mental anguish, I couldn’t take a full breath to save my life. That’s one of my earliest symptoms of this illness I don’t experience very often anymore, the inability to breathe. The whole time my mind was folding in on itself, my lungs were rejecting air. It was an astounding physical reminder that my emotions were not coming from me, they are a manifestation of my illness. My physical impairment was so strong I couldn’t ignore its relevance. Perhaps that’s the only thing that got me to surgery day without losing it completely, the constant reminder every time I tried to take a breath that something was seriously sick inside me.
The day I came home from surgery I started on my full regiment of supplements immediately. I haven’t dipped as emotionally low since. I haven’t flared as badly since. I haven’t been unable to breathe or want to obliterate my own existence since. No, I don’t know what’s wrong with me, what fibro is, what’s actually causing these problems inside my body. But after my surgery/supplement experience, I’m more convinced than ever that my potions and herbs make a tremendous difference.
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