A relatively new process, fascia blasting, changed my life from despair and pain to active and happy. It allowed me to stop taking high doses of pain medication for fibromyalgia and go off all medications. Currently I take no prescription or over the counter medications. I do take supplements like D3 and B complex.
In 2004 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The pain had increased slowly and steadily since September of 2003. Metatarsalgia had gone undiagnosed for several months and the pain was constant and moving increased it. I remember going to the doctor about a month later, thinking something was incredibly wrong because my entire arms were tingling fiercely, so much that I didn’t notice my feet and other areas were also numb and tingly.
The fatigue gradually increased to epic proportions. Many people throw the fatigue word around loosely, but overwhelming tiredness is life altering. The air weighs down your body, like being covered with ten wet comforters. It feels like you’re walking through Jello. You can push through for a limited time, but eventually your body just gives out and stops being able to move. I remember explaining to people what fibromyalgia was—unexplained pain, tiredness, and brain fog. You can imagine how I felt when they said “maybe I have fibromyalgia too.”😒🤦🏻♀️🙄
As time went on, pain increased and so did the fatigue. I remember a period of time where I would have a shot of blackberry brandy in the evening and it was so soothing. The pain crept up so gradually over the months that I didn’t even know I was drinking to relieve the pain so I could sleep. My husband was getting upset so I started hiding it. One night it came to a heated argument and I finally discovered why I was drinking.
“What am I supposed to do about the pain?! How am I supposed to sleep?”
This was a real eye opener and I realized I was constantly in pain and exhausted. I had just been slogging through the days and not paying a lot of attention to the specifics. It was time to go to the doctor for this.
The doctor did many tests and bloodwork, which in the end he said was mostly excluding different conditions. After other factors were ruled out and excellent bloodwork results he told me he had some bad news.
I asked if there was something I could do, eat or not eat, something to get at the root cause. He said that there was no known cause and it was not an easy diagnosis to make. He began throwing medications at me, mostly pain meds.
I’m not sure how I made it through the first school year. I become less effective as a math teacher. I remember sitting at my desk (something had rarely done previously) and watching the minutes drag by at the end of the day. I’d barely be able to drive home and sat in a chair the whole night, almost too exhausted to move. Junk TV and grading papers made became the evening agenda. Sugar, fats, and flour-based food like macaroni and cheese were my comfort. It turns out they were also much of the cause, but more on this in another post. I did not know enough to go gluten free until 2020.
I can’t begin to describe how distressing this was. a life operfectionism, it was difficult it was to accept limitations that made me feel like a poor teacher and bad mother. This was back when I was highly critical of myself and generous with grace for everyone else.
I didn’t accept that there was nothing I could do, so over the years I went on a hunt to find causes and cures in the natural realm. Eating nutritious food helped. When I made my body stronger by avoiding fast foods, pop, and junk I had a lessening of symptoms. I changed to Subway and stopped going to McDonalds and Burger King. Vitamins and supplements helped. Other things that helped during these years were reducing sugar and increasing my vegetable intake.
In the summers, with less stress and expended energy working I got better. I could exercise and the pain was less so I could reduce the pain medications a bit. I know now that stress was greatly reduced during the summer. I worked on increasing my exercise and it helped, but was almost impossible to maintain when the school year started. The pain and fatigue were also variable. For seemingly no reason I’d get an unexpected wave of complete exhaustion and/or the pain would increase dramatically and then ease up.
I eventually learned about Candida and cleanses would greatly reduce my symptoms. I had more energy to teach, so I used that up during the day and nights were still spent ignoring pain and sitting in a chair. But at least I was able to do my job better, which was incredibly important to me. Another thing that helped is when I periodically did a parasite cleanse. Keep in mind that all of these things were over the counter and from my own research. Traditional medicine gave me prescriptions to cover up enough of the symptoms to work, but not enough for me to have much of a life.
To say that it was a depressing way of living is an understatement. I remember thinking on the drive to school that it would be a relief if a big tree feel down right in front of me. I never thought about doing anything actively to end my suffering, but there was a deep longing to be free. Off and on I’d take antidepressants but they didn’t really help uplift my moods, even trying different kinds. I feel like it was because I had so much to be sad about and that could not be controlled by medication. They did supply some pain relief the doctors felt better when I kept taking them.
There was quite a bit of “I’ll be a compliant patient so you won’t think I’m a drug seeker.” My friends in this position will completely understand what I’m saying. Since there was not a definitive test or lab work where doctors could see what was causing the pain, there was so much disbelief and victim blaming. Because of my childhood and a family prone to different addictions, I was terrified of being addicted to pain and other medications. Every time I thought about taking a pill I mentally reviewed my pain level and likelihood that it would increase to unbearable before it took effect. Although my body was “addicted” I was determined not to need the pills emotionally and sought to decrease the doses and frequency of them whenever possible.
The thing is, though, I NEEDED my job and the validation that I was worthy of taking up space. I got that from helping students. And when I wasn’t able to be as effective as I wanted it really messed with my mind. This would become another endless cycle adding to the stress that amplified symptoms.
In the summer of 2017 I found the incredible gift of fascia blasting. AshleyBlackguru.com is where I purchased fascia blasting tools and she had a huge Facebook group of positive women, success stories of pain relief, and advice on how to use her, Ashley Black’s, products. the education and help available was and still is phenomenal. She has a book that explains everything and a website with blogs, how to videos, explanations of how and why blasting works, and a place to buy products. She has a 1,000 day money back guarantee if tools break or even to return tools if you don’t like them. What did I have to lose?
I fascia blasted during the summer and then inconsistently during the school year. I learned to take it slow and easy because I got flare ups. The pain relief was incredible. I would find out later that it wasn’t just physical fatigue from exercising (it can be a workout!) that caused flare ups, but a release of toxins also. I didn’t drink enough water to help these leave my system—live and learn!
During the school year I again reached the “I don’t have the time or energy cycle,” so blasting took a back seat. But one thing I did do that totally got me through my last SUPER stressful year of teaching (for fun they moved me during my last semester from middle school to high school math) was to do the upper body stress relief protocol. I would blast in the bathtub before school. The bathtub is our fibromyalgia friend isn’t it my peeps? It consisted of blasting the upper back, upper chest, neck, face, arms, hands and head. My neck and head would go from what felt like imminent implosion, skull crushing pain to “thank you sweet baby Jesus” in a matter of minutes. I also found that blasting immediately lifted my mood decreased feelings of stress.
During the late winter of 2018, a new doctor I had never seen (mine retired and I was seeing a nurse practitioner under this doctor) said he was weaning me off pain medications, effective immediately. I had months before retiring and pleaded for just a few more months so I wouldn’t have to retire early. The pain would make it physically impossible for me to walk, function or even think. He was adamant and said he would send me to a pain clinic. I asked if could at least wait until I got into the program. Sounds reasonable doesn’t it? I had already downgraded to a less intensive pain medication as suggested by the nurse practitioner I saw that he wrote prescriptions for. He was insistent. He said, in doctor’s terms, you’ve had a free lunch you haven’t deserved for too long and we are ending it now. He also said there is no test to determine if I actually had fibromyalgia and that there was no scientific evidence that pain medication was effective to treat it. Asshole, asshat, and douche bag were a few of the names I didn’t call him—at least out loud.
Do you know how hard it is to find a new doctor when you are a pain patient? It’s nearly impossible and you look suspicious, like a drug seeker. I was addicted to working and doing my best and the last thing I wanted to do was to leave my students before the end of the year. I had remedial classes that relied on how much I cared and respected them even more than the actual teaching. At the last minute a miracle occurred and I found a doctor, just as I reached the point of not being able to work. The clinic took six weeks to get into and weaning off medications had been scheduled for about half that time. I was blasting inconsistently with the time and energy that I had, but basically I was just trying to make it through the day, barely hanging on.
I retired in late May of 2018. My health was so bad that I could barely walk around the petting zoo with my grandchildren. I kept looking for places to sit and rest.
I had been in the pain clinic program for about three weeks and retired for almost two weeks when I started doing full body blasting (rotating areas) consistently. I had gotten some pain relief and was learning some very helpful things, but honestly the pain was still intense if I wasn’t taking medication. They had a plan to reduce medication by 1/2 a pill every week. But when I got serious and consistent about blasting almost every day, I asked them is I could decrease the dosage faster than that. The pain was going away rapidly! The doctor and therapists said this was the first time someone had asked this question and encouraged me to reduce as tolerated. I was careful not to cause any issues by going too fast because sometimes I had breathing difficulty. I took my last 1/2 a tablet on 6-21-18. I didn’t even need Tylenol after that!
It took only 11 days to completely go off pain medication when I was on a daily blasting schedule. It’s important to note that I had been blasting for a year and my body had become accustomed to the process. But I had not been consistent for about nine months. I know that if I had been dedicated and tried to do at least a little bit every day and rotated body areas I could have healed myself sooner.
If you’ve lost hope and feel you’ve tried everything, isn’t this at least worth an honest try? And that means don’t do it once or twice and give up. Don’t get freaked out by issues that feel like setbacks but are actually positive signs that blasting is working. Educate yourself by reading the book and blogs and watching videos. I’ve made it through to the other side and am living a full and pain free, medication free life. The pictures below clearly show before and after results. They are from four to five years ago.
Please reach out to me if you’d like some help, advice or encouragement. Don’t give up hope!