About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Bodycare Supplement Routine

OK, I know it'll never happen in THIS lifetime! But one can dream?

It was back in August that I swore that I'd write a post about a vitamin/supplement routine I'd been on for what seemed like "forever." And yet I've hesitated to write about it. Why?

I suppose my hesitation to endorse this line is because I hate sounding as if I've bought into yet another doctor's line of supplements. I've taken enough of them over the years and have very mixed feelings about the whole issue of doctors selling or endorsing products. I know, call me old-fashioned, but I do remember when doctors couldn't even advertise. Yep, that's the way I like my doctors: unadvertised and without commercial. Furthermore, I HAVE tried various doctor's lines of vitamins and supplements and they've never done me a bit of good, other than to throw away good money.

But about a year ago, I started taking Murad's "Firm and Tone Dietary Supplement" daily packettes.  I'd seen them advertised and turned my back on them until I got to the point where I thought, "I really DO need to start back on a good vitamin and supplement regime."  (Yes, I've started talking to myself: it's a genetic thing!)  

I've done vitamins and supplements over the years in a major way, sorting them into those pill boxes, carefully investigating everyone's opinion, reading all I can get my hands on as to what is good or helpful, especially for the person with CFIDS/ME/CFS and/or fibromyalgia.  At different stages of my life, I've taken up to 50 pills/capsules a day, not including my prescription meds.  I've fine-tuned according to my needs, with supplements such as CoQ10, milk thistle, enzymes and the list goes on and on.  At times I felt as if I were spending my life keeping up with filling those little Sunday-Saturday, 4 times a day compartments pallettes, in plural.  I always felt better, but it was a royal pain in the behind, not to mention awfully time-consuming and expensive.

Somehow I conveniently fell out of the vitamin and supplement habit but after the near-fatal and also long-term damage of the "compartment syndrome surgeries" episode of a year ago, I knew I had to fight back in a major way.  After all, I'd had fluid around all my major organs (abasarka), had renal failure, had come close to pancreatitis (jury is still out on that) and the brown stuff in my urine bag in the hospital was the tissue breaking down and leaving my body (rhabdomyolysis).  It took two blood transfusions to save my life.  

When I finally arrived home, I knew that I needed to start taking care of my body in a serious way.  The plastic surgeon, a gentle, jolly bear of a man, found nothing amusing at all with my situation and since he was a surgeon, had no way of comprehending all the stuff that was going on with me aside from the surgeries he'd performed to save my arm/hand and life.  He flatly told me that he could never understand all the mysterious goings-on with the CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibromyalgia and all THOSE issues.  He just knew that I'd had a close call and could see that somehow I wasn't getting the message that my health and what had transpired was no laughing matter.  Bummer.  I really like to make people laugh, but he was in no laughing mood when he'd see me.  When I joked that he must see this stuff - the acute compartment syndrome, etc. - every day, he looked at me seriously and said, "No, thank God, I do NOT see this sort of thing often.  And you don't have an easy road ahead of you."  Gulp.  Killjoy!

So, I thought I'd slowly go back to taking vitamins and supplements.  I knew I wasn't up for the charts I'd made for all the complex plans I had before of not over-dosing on too much of one thing and not enough of another. Therefore, when I started seeing the Murad line of supplements being touted, I thought, "here we go again. SUCKER!"

Imagine my surprise, when I discovered that they were actually making a difference!  My legs were getting a bit veiny (understatement) since there was so little muscle to hold those veins in place.  My skin tone, which had been problematic only in the upper arm area, was now an issue all over.  It was extremely difficult for me to breathe after all the stress on my heart and lungs. I was bloated but my skin was dehydrated.  As if I hadn't had enough issues, I now had so many more.

I felt like a fool.  I cringe saying that I even tried the program.  If anything, the descriptions all over the box are as silly, blatant and worthy of the best headlines that New York Daily News (famous for its cheesy headlines) could come up with.  It was better than anything that the Kellogg and Battle Creek people from the beginning of the 20th century could come up with when they tried to get Americans to start eating healthy. (We've been a country of unhealthy eaters for much longer than we think!)

After a week or so of taking the Murad supplements, I thought that surely the positive results I was seeing were a figment of my imagination.  It had to be ME being a sucker.  How in the world could my skin actually start firming up in just a few weeks with no exercise to go hand in hand?  How could I be eating less and my appetite be under better control within just a few weeks?  Even the Murad people weren't claiming that I'd want to eat less.

And just as I was telling myself I was a Madison Avenue ad executive's dream come true, I happened upon Caroline Hirons' blog and after reading some of her posts I found that she too was puzzled about the sudden fullness of appetite she was experiencing.  Now, Caroline Hirons is one of those women who has a bunch of credentials as well as street cred when it comes to the beauty world and especially the skincare world.  She's completely irreverent (which I love) but so spot on.  Her blog is one I have on the sidebar as a blog I follow - or at least try to - because anytime I remember to check her blog out, I come away with tons of knowledge or validation I strongly need.

So, when I saw that Caroline Hirons was endorsing Murad, I thought, well, I suppose I'll buy another supply of those boxes of packettes and give it another month's try.

What do they include?

  • A multi-vitamin (absolutely essential but I always forget!)
  • Connective support complex supplements (now we're talking business!)
  • Essential Fatty Acids (which help skin cells attract water)
  • Cell Energizers (be still my heart -well, not TOO still!)

Why do I love them?

First, I've made it pretty clear that I'm awful about taking any of my meds in a timely fashion.  I either can't find them (and they're laid out in a dish next to my bed as of 6PM each evening!) or I can't find the little Sunday through Saturday pill box (in yellow so it doesn't blend in with the bed linens) that hold my ONE thyroid pill for the AM.  If I need to go on an antibiotic four times a day, all bets are off.  I can't do ANYTHING every day - other than eat - much less a few times a day, so we're not doing well in the thyroid department. I'm an all or nothing person: either my life is nothing but taking supplements and meds all day and nothing else gets done, or my life is reading/watching TV and no meds or supplements get taken.  I know.  It's time to get over it, but I'm a very OLD dog!  New tricks are hard to learn, and if it hasn't happened in the last four decades, I'll venture to say it'll never happen.

With the Murad "Firm and Tone" ... Ok, I have to stop. Can ANYONE out there say that with a straight face?  I mean, really?  Why not just tell us we can take supplements and our faces will look like Elizabeth Taylor's reincarnated at the height of her beauty?

So, getting back on track (and yes, it took me five minutes to stop laughing enough in order to continue)...

The packettes are divided into four "compartments," two of which you take in the AM and two you take in the PM.  Well, that's never going to happen in my lifetime!  (That's what all the ABOVE stuff was about: to make you understand how hopeless a case I am!)  

The first month I ended up with a bunch of PM's and finally decided that I'll just take both AM and PM supplements in the late afternoon.  I know, you should probably take some before eating, some with a meal, some after a meal.  However, I finally decided that my life is too short to get that straight.  Like I said, it's never going to happen.  So which is best?  No supplements ever or all at some point?   Yes, I think you see my point.  All in one go it is.

The only precautions I do make?  I don't take the supplements around my thyroid AM med taking - whenever that might happen to be because of my sleeping "issues."  I understand that there may be a calcium issue (if it IS indeed an issue: I've yet to talk to my endocrinologist about timing of food, etc.).  I also don't take the supplements close to "bedtime" because one of the PM meds I take is Neurontin.  Neurontin and magnesium cancel each other out.  Other than that, I'm just glad I can take something with a minimum of effort and a minimum of worry.

So, yes, I've been back on the Murad for the last two weeks and they are as great as I remember them.  I'm probably on my fourth or fifth box of them now.  I've gone off of the Murad for periods and then back on - it's one of those "out of sight, out of mind things" with me, as well as "am I imagining this?" and yes, I can definitely see a huge change in my skin tone. 

Just a few of the improvements I've seen thus far, as of my January 1 resolution in terms of weight and all that "nonsense":

  • my skin's elasticity has improved (big time!)
  •  my sore throat, lymph node problem and mouth sores seem to have improved
  •  my posture has unexpectedly improved
  •  my muscles have strengthened

    That's it so far, and this from a person who never really notices things unless they are drastic and you'd have to be a moron not to notice.  Honestly, I'm truly impossible.

    However, yesterday I got off the sofa by my bed without touching the arms of the sofa, just my legs lifting my body up, the way things used to be in the "old days."  It was purely instinctual, not at all premeditated.  And please keep in mind that just a month ago, hubs was having to push me towards the middle of the bed each night, with me howling at him to get his filthy paws off of me - OK, I slightly exaggerate about the "paws" thing.  However, for some odd reason (?), hubs didn't want me falling out of bed yet again.  But I didn't like the manhandling and I was just too weak to be moved from the edge of the bed.

    So if for no other reason than marital bliss, I highly recommend this supplement routine. Forget the Madison Avenue bull.  Just consider taking the supplements and see if they work for you!

    As always, I hope everyone's feeling their very best, only better.  Ciao and paka!


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