Monday, November 28, 2011


Recently I blogged about my pill organizer, but what I didn't mention was the DMG I take twice daily. That's because I take it in a liquid form, and it doesn't go into my pill organizer. I started taking DMG because a friend of mind believes it is a miracle supplement. She initially gave it to me for my cat, Spike, who I blogged about over the summer. Spike has feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), the feline version of AIDs. DMG is purported to support the immune system, so we thought we'd test it out on him. I have to report that Spike is amazingly healthy so far. Based on Spike's surprisingly good health despite the vet's dire predictions, my friend, decided I too should take DMG and see what it does for my fibro.

What is DMG? I'll start first with Wikipedia's definition:

"Dimethylglycine (DMG) is a derivative of the amino acid glycine with the structural formula (CH3)2NCH2COOH. It can be found in beans and liver. It can be formed from trimethylglycine upon the loss of one of its methyl groups. It is also a byproduct of the metabolism of choline.
When DMG was first discovered, it was referred to as vitamin B16, but, unlike true B vitamins, deficiency of DMG in the diet does not lead to any ill-effects meaning it does not meet the definition of a vitamin. In legal terms, it has been deemed a food product and, as such, is available without a practitioner or prescription.
Uses: Dimethylglycine has been suggested for use as an athletic performance enhancer, immunostimulant, and a treatment for autism, epilepsy, or mitochondrial disease. Published studies on the subject have shown little to no difference between DMG treatment and placebo."
Next let's look at Dr. Ray Sahelian's take on DMG. (Please note that I do not represent his view's as my own. I am just offering a different view from Wikipedia's.):
"If you find the field of mind-boosting pills, sex nutrients, and anti-aging interesting, you will certainly want to learn more about DMG (dimethylglycine), TMG (trimethylglycine), and methyl donors. Unless your major is college was chemistry, chances are you don’t remember learning about DMG or methyl donors. A methyl donor is simply any substance that can transfer a methyl group [a carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms (CH3)] to another substance. Methylation is a biochemical process that is essential to life, health, and regeneration of body cells. Vitamins, hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes, nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), and antibodies depend on the transfer of methyl groups to complete their synthesis. Scientists suspect that proper methylation of DNA may prevent the expression of harmful genes, such as cancer genes. It’s quite likely that our body’s ability to methylate declines with age, contributing to the aging process, and therefore supplementation may well be beneficial. The research in this area is still very early and no firm answers are yet available."
Whether you believe in DMG or not, interestingly enough, I think it might be helping. I have been taking this supplement since early-October, and I feel less fatgued. I still have the muscle aches, I still get tired, but it feels like a more normal tired. The kind of tired you're suppose to have after you've spent a morning stacking wood.
Of course, this could also be due to the fact that I am no longer baking like a madwoman. That was also taking a toll on me. Fall is always hard on my fibro because of the time change and the constantly changing weather systems as we move into winter. The persistent cold of winter makes my muscles ache and can cause me a great deal of fatigue, especially in the morning. I will continue on the DMG through the winter, and see if the improvement in energy continues.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Weekly Pill Organizer

The weekly pill organizer waits patiently. Each empty cubicle represents one day out of one week of my life. Large blue block letters indicate the day of the week. These days are spelt out in slightly smaller block letters. I lift the first lid to begin the process of refilling the pills for the week. 

I start on Sunday. For some, the Holy day or Sabbath, for others the last day of the weekend. I place the first pill into the receptacle-- one birth control pill. Is this pill an indication of my rabid sex-life? Does it represent taking responsibility for my actions? The reality is less exciting. Severe PMS is common in fibromites. I take this pill daily to control wild hormonal fluctuations. I place one of these pills in each receptacle, then I turn to the next.

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods. Cinnamon trees are native to South East Asia, and according to some studies, cinnamon may improve blood glucose and cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. 

Both my parents have Type 2 diabetes, my cousin has it, two of my uncles have had it. Genetically, I am at great risk to have it too. Therefore, I proactively take a 500 mg capsule of cinnamon at both breakfast and dinner daily.

Next I add my flaxseed oil. I chose flax seed oil over fish oil, because I am pre-menopausal. Flax seed oil can help stabilize a woman's estrogen-progesterone ratio, have beneficial effects on the menstrual cycle, and relieve the hot flashes of peri-menopause and menopause.  

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that partly and inefficiently converts into DHA and EPA. I can get this more directly from fish oil, but I see no need to take both supplements, and the fish oil does not provide the menopausal benefits. Additionally, flaxseed has shown some ability to lower inflammation markers, although not as efficiently as fish oil.

The dark green pill I add is magnesium. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Those of us with fibromyalgia have been found to be low in magnesium. Irritable bowel syndrome is also one of those ailments that commonly accompanies fibromyalgia. In my case it is IBS-C, or IBS with constipation. Taking a magnesium supplement is a common treatment for both fibro and IBS-C.

Joining the daily pill party is a B-complex supplement. B vitamins are known to support energy production in the cells. Vitamin B-12, in particular, helps to combat nerve problems, such as tingling and tenderness.

Of course in our pill-popping world, no supplement party is complete without a pro-biotic. My pro-biotic is perfectly spherical, creamy-colored, and appropriately named Pearls IC. I have tried the yogurts and other supplements with no success. An herbalist recommended this one for me, and if nothing else, I noticed I don't get yeast infections anymore when I must take an antibiotic.  

Then I must add the dreaded pink pill. Dreaded because if I remove it, I get extremely sick. This little pill is Prilosec or the generic equivalent. Some of you may groan in horror. "Oh you must not take that daily. It will do bad things to you. It is better to change your diet." I don't want to change my diet. First I am a pretty healthy eater, and second I love tomatoes and chocolate, and refuse to give either up.

Unfortunately GERD, heart-burn, acid-reflux, all names for the same disorder, is a common problem for fibromites. When I have tried easing off the Prilosec, or used other home-spun remedies, the results have been disastrous, and worse than the fibro itself. So the pink pill stays for as long as it works.

The last entrant to the party is Zoloft, or at least its generic equivalent. I finally gave in last spring and decided to try an anti-depressant for both the fibro and IBS symptoms. Zoloft belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The medication works by balancing serotonin levels in the brain.

Experts do not know exactly how SSRIs work to improve fibromyalgia. But some people with fibro who take SSRIs seem to have improved mood and less fatigue. Similar to treating diabetes with the missing insulin, antidepressants may help recover the brain's ability to respond to pain signals properly. Certain antidepressants can also help regulate abnormal bowel functions like diarrhea and, constipation, as well as other IBS symptoms. The tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) help with diarrhea and the SSRIs help treat constipation.

The pill organizer is replete. Each cubbyhole is full for another week. Does it sound like a lot of drugs and hype-filled supplements? Maybe, but I know my IBS has improved considerably, my blood sugar is great, I am not suffering from severe-gas, cramps, and acid from GERD, and I have yet to suffer any peri-menopausal symptoms.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jump-start Failure

Saturday was a gorgeous autumn day. I decided to enjoy the sunshine and take my dogs for a long walk in Naples. When we returned to the car, it would not start. A kind lady let me use her car to jump mine, but nothing. Finally, I called AAA. Three hours later, I was home with my parent's car. My car sat lifeless at the service station until Monday. That's my problem -- lifelessness. I feel like I need a jump-start, but it is just not working.

I exhibited in a holiday show this past weekend, and I overheard two artists talking. It caught my ear, because the one artist, now former-artist, was describing how she would see some form of art, get excited about it, go home inspired, and then nothing. She just froze. Little by little, she tossed out her arts and craft supplies. She could not put brush to canvas.

I could completely understand this. I'm not yet ready to toss out my art and writing supplies, but I understand the freezing. I think about my writing, and my drawing, and I am overwhelmed. I doubt my abilities; I'm afraid to put something on computer or paper for fear it won't be any good; I make lots of excuses. Maybe I need a new starter like my car did.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

I am happy to say that I managed to transcribe two and a half interviews last week. Unfortunately, I"ve done nothing this week. There is always an excuse. This week it is because the weather is nice, and I have a lot to do on the house and yard to sell it, and I have wood to split, and I have proposals to write for freelance work that actually pays, and, and, and...

Well you know how it is. Always a reason to procrastinate. I think the real reason is that I am stuck. If I were really excited about writing, nothing would stop me, but right now, I am agonizing over what voice to use. How many interviews to do? How to organize the material?

I want this book to sell, I want it to be interesting, and I want it to be compelling. So I am waiting for my epiphany, and in the meantime making lots of excuses not to write.