I recently had the pleasure of reading Susan E. Ingebretson’s book, FibroWHYalgia: Why Rebuilding the Ten Root Causes of Chronic Illness Restores Chronic Wellness. Reading Sue’s personal story allowed me to reflect back to my own struggle of nearly ten years of looking for answers and the many questions I have had in the last two years since my diagnosis. Looking back helped me to pinpoint specific first indicators that something was wrong with me and when and how these things occurred. These memories were important because they helped me to remember a time when I was close to feeling healthy and they reiterated my desire to want to rebuild my health today.
Since receiving my diagnosis nearly two years ago, alongside a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, and being properly medicated, I could not fully understand why I could not feel better. Everyday is a struggle for a fibromyalgia sufferer and trying to make sense of the struggle is a private battle because there is not a single person, not a loved one nor a member of the medical community, who can come close to understanding your battle. For whatever reason, there are people who are not affected by the environment, by hormonal imbalance, or by genetics, but there those of us who are.
My plan was to have Sue’s book finished a week ago but I found myself reading and rereading. Sue’s words echoed in my mind reminding repeatedly that even though I am climbing hills, I still have a lot of work to do before I can begin successfully climbing mountains.
FibroWHATalgia: You hurt all over but no one knows why
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is one of those difficult diagnoses that only come after other conditions have been ruled out. Often times, people think that FMS isn’t a real medical condition or that symptoms are imagined. What is more, even members of the medical community think of FMS as a “garbage can diagnosis” because it is diagnosed when everything else has been ruled out. Despite this, there is a specific criterion for diagnosis including having painful tender points above and below the waist on both sides of the body. While there is not a lot of information about FMS, researchers have learned more about it in just the past few years. Those who have FMS have brain and spinal cord pain signals that process differently than people without the condition. Sufferers react more strongly to touch and pressure and have a higher sensitivity to pain. Contrary to misconception, it is a real physiological and neurochemical problem.
Do you hurt all over and feel exhausted the majority of the time? Has your doctor tested you over and over but tests show no signs of a specific condition? If you have FMS or think you may have it, you are among the estimated five million people who suffer from this very mysterious condition, a condition that for some reason affects mostly women between the ages of 20 and 60. Most FMS patients see as many ten doctors before they are properly diagnosed. Moreover, the average time to get a proper diagnosis is at least five years after the onset of symptoms.
Fibromyalgia may offer a grim fate for each new sufferer, but there is good news. Despite FMS being chronic and debilitating, it is not progressive or life threatening. Further, there are number of treatments, medicinal and non-medicinal, along with a healthier lifestyle, which will help you to better manage your condition and live an active life. What you need, however, is knowledge to understand and to treat your condition successfully.
FibroWHYalgia: Why Rebuilding the Ten Root Causes of Chronic Illness Restores Chronic Wellness by Susan E. Ingebretson
Sue Ingebretson has been studying health issues and fibromyalgia for nearly fourteen years. She works to educate about chronic illness, health and wellbeing and serves as the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia Research and Education Center at California State University, Fullerton. She has also done various education programs with local support groups and the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) to promote education, awareness and understanding of chronic illness. Moreover, Sue has written articles for NFA’s online and print magazine, Fibromyalgia AWARE, a publication that offers advice, treatment information, research news, and lifestyle tips for those living with fibromyalgia and chronic illness. She lives in Anaheim, California with her husband and her 9 ½-pound Sheltie, Fox. She is available for speaking engagements. For more information, please visit her website. http://www.rebuildingwellness.com
About the Book
Sue’s book offers a wealth of knowledge not only for the chronic illness sufferer but also for anyone looking to rebuild their health. This book is not just about living with chronic illness but it is also about eating well, exercising and keeping your mind focused on the goals at hand. It is about being practical in order to be successful. If you live with chronic illness or fibromyalgia, or know someone who does, please purchase this book because Sue’s advice is worth every penny and more. For the first time in my life, I am seeing clearly what it is I need to get back to healing and living healthy. Sue writes in a way that speaks to you, as a friend or as a sibling, and as if she was in the same room, having a heart-to-heart conversation telling you, “hey, learn from my experience.”
There are five reasons to buy this book:
1) You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.2) You want to better understand the root causes of chronic illness.3) After receiving a diagnosis, you wonder, “Now what?”4) You’re looking for information on how to rebuild your health, and want it in a fun and easy-to-read format.5) You’re looking for a book to help a friend or loved one deal with chronic illness.
For me, Sue’s book was the answer that I had been search for, for quite sometime. I am at a point in my chronic illness journey where I have stopped asking why and wondering how I got this condition. While we all go through this, it cannot be a permanent part of your life. I understand that I wake up every morning in pain and that lifestyle changes play a big role in my feeling better. However, I felt like I needed a nudge to fully understand what I needed to do to live a successful life with chronic illness. Sue’s personal story reached out to me in a way that told me that Sue knew my struggle and understood it. From reading my blog, you know that I have made great strides in understanding my conditions and I have started taking steps towards change. The steps that I had already taken and the ones I started adding as I read Sue’s book have been important and life altering. I have been sick for a long time – as far back as my teen years – and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have control of my body. I am not saying there are not going to be days where my conditions win, but what I am saying is that it starts out with small steps, and one day you realize that you feel better than you felt the day before. The more you work at it, the better you feel. Sue writes that “[f]ood can be our enemy or our ally.” (page 63) While making good choices isn’t always easy, though some effort a person can figure out what foods causes problems or what choices are better for you by simply reading the ingredients. Sue’s message is realistic and reasonable. She is not telling you to completely make over your lifestyle, but she is telling you that it is possible to feel better through diet and exercise. She offers a reassuring and encouraging tone that allows you to think clearly about what goals you can set and reach. In fact, there is nothing radical about Sue’s advice; it is practical. We come from a society that thinks a magic pill can cure us and once we rid ourselves of that notion, we can set clear objections.
Sue writes that we need to stop making excuses and start making better choices and her advice comes directly from the heart and from her own experience. In the first three chapters, she tells her story before and after her diagnosis and how she started to pull together a wellness plan. In the next four chapters, Sue focuses on her own philosophies of treatment: diet, exercise, reducing stress, emotional balance, and how to push towards change. In the last chapter, Sue writes about what she calls the “ten root causes of chronic illness” – genetics, physical injury/trauma, emotional trauma, malnourishment, internal and external toxins, inflammation, infections, hormonal imbalances, and thyroid dysfunction. There ten roots are important in your journey to understand your body, how it functions, and how to make it healthy. Sue’s book offers a plan and her advice comes from various resources she shares so that you can seek these out for yourself. Make it your new hobby to feel better and live a healthier life. After you have finished reading, rereading, and taking notes, you will see that these resources are a code to allow you to learn more and to put you into a doorway towards learning so much more about being a better you. If you are ready to embark on a journey of being a better you, read Sue’s book.
You can purchase Sue’s book through Amazon. For more information and advice about rebuilding your health, visit Sue’s blog, Rebuilding Wellness.
(We are near the end, thanks for bearing with me.)
Sue has generously offered to give away a copy of her book, FibroWHYalgia: Why Rebuilding the Ten Root Causes of Chronic Illness Restores Chronic Wellness, to one lucky reader of this blog. If you want to enter to win, please leave me a comment letting me know if you have any experience with fibromyalgia, whether it is a loved one that is affected, you have been diagnosed, or if you suspect you may have the condition. If you have not heard of fibromyalgia, let me know if you want to learn about feeling better and rebuilding your health.
You will have until Thursday, July 29 at 11:59 p.m. The winner will be picked by Random.org and announced Friday, July 30. United States and Canada only.
I was not paid for this review. Susan E. Ingebretson sent me a copy of her book for review. The opinions expressed belong entirely to me. Thank you Sue for allowing me the opportunity to review your book.