Above you can listen to Judy’s story, but here is the transcript from my weekly Treating and Beating Teleconference
I’d like o personally invite you to join me each and every week. You can learn more by registering for this free conference www.FibroExpert.com
Good evening this is Dr Rodger Murphree, www.TheFibroDoctor.com, author of Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Thank you for joining me tonight for my weekly Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia teleconference. I look forward to your questions this evening.
A little bit about me: I’m a board certified nutritional specialist and board-certified chiropractic physician. I’ve been in private practice for 24 years and for the last 19 years, I’ve specialized in fibromyalgia. For a number of years, I owned a very large integrative medical practice on the campus of Brookwood Hospital here in Birmingham, Alabama where I had 5 medical doctors and a very large support staff that worked for me. In 2003, I sold that practice and I’ve been practicing solo ever since.
For the last 7 years or so, my practice has evolved to where 95% of my practice is phone consults; I work with patients throughout North America and overseas. No one would have predicted when I got out of chiropractic school in 1990 that I would be specializing in fibromyalgia, certainly not me. Fortunately and I say that with a smile on my face, fortunately God knew what He was doing. All the trials and tribulations that I went through owning a medical practice where we specialized in integrative medicine using a very judicious use of prescription medication and relying mostly on natural protocols … while that practice had a lot of rewards and I enjoyed parts of that practice, a lot of it was very unpleasant and I was very glad to sell that practice and move on in 2003.
Even though I have specialized in fibromyalgia as I said for almost 19 years, 2003 was the first edition of my book that came out and hit the bookstores. It really renewed my sense of mission and purpose, and put a fire underneath me to really make sure that I was learning everything I could and do everything I could to help those with fibromyalgia.
I really believe at this point in my life, I’m doing exactly what God put me here to do. I really appreciate you joining me here tonight and I do look forward to your questions this evening. Time to time, I have some of my patients who I’m working with come on the line and share their story, because I think it’s important for the people who have fibromyalgia to realize that yes there is an opportunity and maybe they could feel better again.
What happens with fibromyalgia is you get the diagnosis of fibromyalgia and then you’re told that you have to learn to live with it. Here’s some medications, we’ll put you on these drugs and we’ll see how you do, but basically you’re just going to have to learn to live with it. I don’t believe that’s true. I think you’ve got a lot of options.
Certainly one option is to continue doing what many of you are doing now which you’re finding frustrating, and that is to go the conventional medical route which largely uses more and more drugs to cover up more and more symptoms which leads to more and more problems. I’m not anti-drug, I’m anti-wrong drug, too many drugs and drug only.
The problem with fibromyalgia is that if you go the conventional route and you’re relying on different drugs for your different symptoms, before you know it you can be on half a dozen to a dozen drugs. You don’t even know if the drugs are making any difference because as you so well know, some days are good days and some days are bad days. You never know, so you start taking these medications and you’re not sure. Maybe they’re helping a little bit, maybe they’re not.
You’re taking Neurontin or Lyrica and maybe you have less pain, but then you start realizing you’re gaining weight or you’re having more fluid retention or you have high blood pressure and now you’re being put on a blood pressure medication.
The challenge with fibromyalgia is that it’s not an illness that lends itself very well to traditional medicine alone. Traditional medicine alone is pretty much a dead end. The other big challenge that I mention quite often on this show is that once you get that diagnosis, they tend to sweep all of your symptoms of fibromyalgia underneath the fibromyalgia rug.
They tell you that your low energy is because of fibromyalgia, your pain is because of fibromyalgia, your low moods are because of fibromyalgia, Restless legs syndrome, IBS …they tell you that everything you’ve got is because of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia doesn’t cause anything. Fibromyalgia is only a name given to a syndrome made up of a bunch of common symptoms that come together and make this thing called fibromyalgia. What you really want to know is, what’s creating the symptoms that we link to fibromyalgia?
Just because you have fibromyalgia and they tell you that, it doesn’t mean anything. What you want to know is why do you have such low energy that you’re not able to get out of bed each day? Why do you have such a low tolerance to stress, so that if you do even the most routine thing that you used to do like go grocery shopping, you crash for 2-3 days. Why do you wake up in the middle of the night and your legs are jerking everywhere? Why do you have these hot flashes throughout the day? Why do you have one day where you have loose bowel movements all day, and then you go 2-3 days and you can’t have a bowel movement, you’re bloated and have all this gas and stomach pain? You can’t just explain that away saying that it’s all fibromyalgia.
All those are symptoms are nothing more than warning signs. I truly believe after doing this for almost 2 decades, the only way that you can beat fibromyalgia and that’s an option for many of you – you certainly can, is to get healthy. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me.
Having the large medical practice in the past, trying all the different prescription medications that we had at our disposal and now doing it naturally for a number of years, the only way to get your life back, to feel good again and more importantly stay that way, is you’ve got to get healthy. I know that sounds very simple-minded but it’s the only thing that makes sense. The first thing you’ve got to do is to find out where you’re broken down, and that comes with special testing. Once you know where you’re broken down, now you can start treating the causes instead of treating the symptoms.
Tonight I’m going to share more about that philosophy and mindset of using a special kind of medicine called functional medicine, but before I get into answering your questions … Judy if you’re on the line, if you can hit star 6, that’ll bring you on my call.
Judy Beats Fibromyalgia
DrM: How are you? Thanks for joining me from Pennsylvania.
Judy: Yes, way up north.
DrM: I wanted to get your permission before I ask you … I kind of put you on the spot, if you don’t feel comfortable just let me know and we’ll do a question/ interview session. One of the things that I thought was wonderful about you was that you shared a handwritten letter with me when we first started. That letter really moved me. I wanted to see if you’d feel comfortable if I read just a couple of portions of this letter.
Judy: I don’t even remember that.
DrM: This was the letter that you wrote to me. It was on the back of a form, a handwritten letter about you being an office manager at a physician’s office. Are you comfortable with me reading that, is that okay?
Judy: Yeah, no problem.
DrM: This is a handwritten letter from Judy before we even started working together. I loved it because it really made it all come alive for me what she was going through, what so many people with fibromyalgia go through. This is the letter, this is before we ever met by phone.
(Dr. Murphree reads Judy’s letter)
“Dear Dr Murphree, as an office manager of a physician’s office for over 25 years, I have found it exhausting having fibromyalgia and since 2002, to deal with the medical world; seeing one specialist after another and to be prescribed one drug for each new symptom. By the grace of God, your videos reached me via Facebook. I broke down in tears. Is there really someone who has the slightest idea of the true hell I go through each day, never knowing how my day will be? I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I take more meds than my 84 year old father takes. This disease affects not only me but my relationships with my family and my friends. I had to resign from a great job from one of my favorite doctors, to start to figure out what was wrong with me.” It all started with a low diagnosis of low moods, and then you go on and talk about going through that whole process there. Finally you had no choice but to go on disability, you got so run down…”
DrM:Then you went on to say that you tried part-time teaching as a medical office management, but after 6 months crashed hard and found you couldn’t even get out of bed. You couldn’t remember anything, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t do anything … it goes on and on about your frustration but I remember this letter. I just remember how frustrated you were when we started working together, to have the knowledge that you had, seeing the medical world in its futile attempts to help you. Everybody wanted to help you, yet you were getting worse.
DrM: Share with us a little bit about what you were going through when you and I first met by phone a few months ago … what were your issues?
Judy: I read your book and it was like I was reading a novel that spoke to me. I remember the evening when my husband came in the living room and I’m sitting there balling my eyes out; he thought I was reading a romance novel.
I said, “No I’m reading about fibromyalgia”, he goes, “Don’t you have enough of those books?” I said, “But this is different. This doctor really understands what I’m talking about.” He’s like “Where is he?” and I’m like “Alabama. ” He goes “I don’t care what it takes we’ll get you there.”
It was like someone didn’t want to give me another drug, they wanted to try to figure out what was wrong with me. I was in that desperate mode. I was trying everything from physical therapy to massage therapy. I got electric stim machine, I tried all the fibro creams and all the supplements that are out there, and nothing helped.
Like you said, with fibro you get one diagnosis after the other and I had them all. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t make decisions, I had restless legs. Also some strange things started happening that not a lot of fibro patients have, and I came to my breaking point this past winter. I always seem to get worse up here when it gets cold. I get sick, so I knew my immune system had been depleted. I started this winter with the usual 2 sinus infections, followed 3 weeks later by bronchitis. My irritable bowel was so bad that it actually turned into colitis and 3 weeks after I’m done taking antibiotics for that, I get strep throat. I’ve never had strep throat in my life; finished that course of antibiotics and I get shingles in May. I’m like, what in the heck is going with me? I can’t take this anymore, I need to find something else. This is where I read your book from beginning to end and I said, I don’t have to go to Alabama. I can do this phone consult, send my records and we can figure this out together through trial and error. I’ve come a long way in a very short period of time.
DrM: We have, you’ve worked so hard and you’ve done so well. I’m so proud of you. What was that first consult like? Obviously it was a big leap of faith to reach out to somebody on the internet and then set up a phone consult, but what was the first consult like? Was doing it by phone intimidating? Did you feel uncomfortable in any way doing that? I’m just curious.
Judy: I felt like how can he really know me without seeing me? I have to say I did worry about it. But I said I’ve gone to how many doctors, they have seen me and where am I now? What is this going to hurt? I gathered all my medical records, the things that you needed, I sent them and I was impressed how much time you took with me … not only the first call, it’s every two weeks the calls that we have. I spend more time talking to you than I can talk to my PCP. I’m impressed with that.
DrM: I appreciate that. When we first started talking, you had all these issues and if I remember right, you were on 7-8 different meds. One of the things you told me was you really wanted to get off your medications. At this time, I think you’re taking 1 or 2 just as needed basis?
Judy: Right, I was on 13 medications everything from sleep medication to Cymbalta, to Vitamin D, to restless legs, Flexeril, Synthroid … I had a pituitary tumor, I had a little bit of everything. I stopped most of my meds when we first started, the end of July. By September, I was off everything. For pain, I was up to taking 8 Vicoprofen a day which I knew in the back of my mind from being in the medical field, none of these drugs were good especially with liver toxicity … I can’t keep doing this the rest of my life, I have to find other answers. I went back for the first time to my PCP to do all new blood work this past October, and it was my first time to tell him that I stopped everything and he just looked at me. He was supportive because he said, “Judy I know what you’ve been through for 13 years. If something is going to help you, I say go for it.” He called me when the blood work came back and he said, this is the first time in 13 years that all your blood work is within normal limits. That was like, I am on the right track.
DrM: I remember you said that he was awestruck when you saw him. You’ve lost some weight. I know you worked real hard on anti-inflammatory diet and you still on that. How much weight have you lost?
Judy: As of today, I’m down 33 pounds. I started at 199 in July and I’m 166 today.
DrM: That’s fantastic. I know your cholesterol was elevated and it’s dropped quite a bit since we’ve been working together. You were smart enough not to even go on the cholesterol meds they recommend. I guess you knew from your medical background given everything else you were doing, it probably wasn’t going to be a good thing to be on. Is that right?
Judy: Exactly. I remember reading your book and I said, this is the first thing I’m not taking. It was elevated just a little bit. After I looked at your prescription, it was my fault because you told me to take 2 pills twice a day and I only read it as taking 2 pills a day. I feel that small fluctuation was just a misreading of what I was supposed to be taking. I’m confident that the next time that we have it checked, that also will be within normal limits.
DrM: It’s dropped 50 points and that’s pretty impressive without taking statin medications. One thing that you really struggled with was your sleep. When you were able to come off that Ambien, I think we both celebrated that … maybe more than you. Then you were able to get off the Flexeril too, it was fantastic you were able to do that. Tell me about your sleep now, how’s your sleep doing?
Judy: One of the things I did tell you was, when I was on the Ambien you eventually do fall asleep but my kids would make fun of me, because they said an hour after I take it, they could ask me anything and I wouldn’t remember what they asked me and they could get away with things. I could not remember what had happened. The worst part was I didn’t feel relaxed when I did wake up, and I could not dream. With the meds that I’m currently on, I’m back to remembering my dreams. It may seem insignificant but it’s like, I don’t remember the last time that I dreamt.
DrM: You had put down your energy was a 1 or 2 out of 5, it was incredibly low. You went from working from what I call a high strata type of job where you really had to use your mind and engage in a lot of different areas, to where it was hard to get through the day. You couldn’t really do much physically, is that right?
Judy: Right. The hardest thing was losing a job that loved, in the profession that I loved for a guy that I loved. That was also mentally hard for me with my Type A personality. To be in your own home and not have enough energy to take care of your home and cook meals for your family … I spent most of my time laying on the couch, because I was in so much pain and I couldn’t do anything. In fact, I had someone every other week to clean my house because I can’t do it. It was too much to do.
DrM: Tell me about your pain now. I know one time it was all over and you were taking quite a bit of pain medications. How is your pain doing?
Judy: I have to say that my pain level has decreased significantly, my energy has increased significantly. I used to call myself a human barometer because I would know when it’s going to rain or snow before they even called for it. I do have my days where sometimes I am hurting a little bit more than usual. Like most fibro patients, when you have those good days you want to get so much done. You over-exert yourself and all you do is make yourself crash the next day. It’s very important for fibro patients to realize that you’ve still got to make a steady attempt, you can’t just go all out every day, day after day. you’ve got to have that restful time and you’ve got to be able to sleep.
DrM: The other thing that you had was migraines and headaches. That’s really not been an issue now.
Judy: No, my migraines have totally gone away. I’ve had problems with fibrocystic breast disease and I every 6 months, I have to go for a mammogram and follow it up with a sonogram because I have 3 areas of concern of calcification that they always have to double check. I went Friday, they do a new process now where they do a mammogram and take it right to the radiologist. The radiologist came back in the room and said, I just wanted to ask you what have you done in the past 6 months? Have you changed something? I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Let me show you these 3 spots” and he got the film out and showed it to me. He said, “Here’s your X-rays for your mammogram. They’re not there anymore.” I just explained that I’m taking these supplements, I’m getting rid of all the inflammation and that’s my last 6 months. That has to be the answer. He said, “You keep doing whatever you’re doing. You didn’t have to have your sonogram today.”
DrM: Great. What would you tell people who say, there’s no way that taking vitamins, minerals, amino acids and the things that you’re taking right now, obviously the diet can make a difference. Oftentimes you hear that that doesn’t work but obviously it does. What would you share with people about that?
Judy: Part of my therapy is I am on a couple of fibro support networks through Facebook. I know the desperation out there, I’ve been there and people are searching for answers. There were these multiple postings of people that are saying, “You’ve got to try marijuana or cannabis. It’s going to solve all your problems.” It’s the first time I ever documented my story. I got on there and I said, “No, don’t do it. That’s not the answer.” I explained my story and I have gotten so many replies from that. I’m a testimony to you because people have been writing back to me saying, “Who is this doctor? Where is he at and how can I get his book?” Juno has sent me an extra book and I had this poor girl who was in tears. She called me and I said, I have this extra book. It must be a Godsend because I’m not sending it back to the office, I’m going to forward it to you overnight. I heard in her voice what I used to hear in mine. I said you’ve got to take it seriously, you’ve got to read it and you’ve got to follow the program or it won’t work. I’ve only been on it seriously for 3 months and it’s changed my world.
DrM: I appreciate your courage, number one to share your story and I really appreciate you trying to help others. That’s really what it’s all about, I think. What happens when you get fibro, you just get so beat down and you get so exhausted from the whole thing that it’s really easy to give up. Then before you know it, you’re in a support group chat and it’s all about how bad you feel every day. It’s not about maybe you can feel better. It’s all about how bad you feel today, and that’s really bad company to be in by the way but it happens. What would you like to share with those with those who are listening this evening or maybe listening on the replay? What would you like to share about your story and our relationship together?
Judy: All I can say is that I have been where many of you are right now. I’ve probably been in some worst times, especially because mine started with the depression and anxiety to a really bad level. When you have fibro, it’s really a stigmatism that’s attached to you. It’s hard for your family or your friends to understand, because they can’t see that something is wrong with you. They don’t understand why you have to keep canceling on them. I’ll be honest with you, we’ve lost some good friends because there are times I just can’t go out.
People get tired of hearing you can’t come or you can’t do … when you get to that place, you search for anything. Like I said, I was in the medical field for all those years. I thought I would be the last person to ever try something like this, but I am so glad that in the past 90 days it has made more improvement in my overall health from my head to my toes, than anything that I have done in 13 years. I have been to every kind of doctor, every kind of specialist. Like I said, just to be able to go into my primary care office and cross off all those drugs and say, I don’t take this anymore, please remove this from my medical record … I will certainly always be a spokesperson and I will continue on my fibro support group, directing people to please stay away from things like cannabis. I know you’re desperate but there are healthier ways to take care of this than that.
DrM: Absolutely. Judy, I want to thank you for sharing your story with us tonight. I think you’re just a wonderful person.
Judy: Thank you.
DrM: You’re so welcome. I’m really a better person for getting to know you and getting to work with you. We’ve still got so many more things we’re going to do, I’m just glad you’re part of our family at the clinic. Everybody loves you and we’re all so proud of you and we’re rooting for you.
Judy: The time that we spend together, you always give me the time. If I have a quick question or I forgot something or I don’t understand something, Juno and the rest of the girls in the office they’re always there to return the call. If they don’t know the answer, they’ll get it for you … it’s just amazing. You have support from the physician all the way through the office staff, which is hard to find these days.
DrM: I really so appreciate you complimenting them because they’re wonderful and they don’t get enough praise. They are two of the most wonderful people I’ve had, they’re the greatest staff. Juno’s been with me for about 15 years now. He used to be the nurse in the IV clinic at the medical practice, and Gina who’s her daughter has been with me for 11. They know more fibromyalgia than most doctors. The great thing as I think you would agree, they love what they do and that comes out in their conversations with patients. It’s almost like family, which is exactly what I want in my clinic. I don’t want it to be stuffy and it’s not. Thank you so much for joining me. You have a great night.
Judy: You too, bye.
Getting Healthy Is The Only thing That Works!
DrM: I want to thank Judy for coming on the call from Pennsylvania and sharing her story tonight, she’s such a delight. She has worked really hard and it’s important that I share that. It’s not something that is a passive thing that happens. When I work with my patients and my goal is to get them healthy, it’s work. It’s not that here’s a handful of pills and you’re going to feel better instantly. It’s not that here’s a diet, you’re going to change what you eat and you’re going to lose weight. It doesn’t really work that way. It’s a team effort where I’m working with the patient, finding out where they’re broken down through the appropriate testing.
Once I know where they’re broken down, I know exactly what protocols they need to use based on doing this for 20 years. The testing is the key, but that only sets up then what needs to follow after. In Judy’s case, she had some things with her thyroid that were being mismanaged and she got on some over the counter things.
The supplements that I use in my practice allowed her to be able to get off the Synthroid and actually do better on over the counter supplements that I use, than she was on the medication. That set up the opportunity for her to get her metabolism doing better and then to be able to do the diet. Obviously you heard that she’s worked really hard. For her to have been on 13 medications and to come off all those, that doesn’t happen by chance.
That’s a lot of work on her part, working with me week after week, making sure that she’s doing what I’m asking her to do and she’s being compliant and doing everything, then getting better and better, you build this momentum.
I really am so proud of her for everything that she’s accomplished. I’m so grateful that she’s a part of our family now. What I’d like to do is if you’ve got interest in learning more about the phone consults or if you’d like to come to Birmingham Alabama, you certainly can do that. If you want to know more about the phone consults or consults in general, I would encourage you to go to the website www.FibroConsults.com and it’ll tell you everything about the consult process, how you set up the paperwork online, how we get that paperwork and then we set up a consult, all about the fees associated with that … everything is in there at FibroConsults.com. For those of you that are on the line live tonight, if you’ve got a question if you will hit star 6 that will bring you on the line and I’ll be happy to take your question.
You can also learn more and take advantage of all the free resources at www.treatingandbeating.com
It’s Not About Taking More Pills Including Supplements. It Is About Getting And Staying Healthy
I had a patient today that came to the clinic from North Alabama, her and her husband drove down. I told her everything that was going on and everything that I thought was being missed by her doctors, what she needed to do and what her options were. She said, “I agree with everything you’ve said and I totally believe you, your book makes perfect sense to me. I’ve tried vitamins in the past and nothing has helped. I’ve been to doctors who have tried me on vitamins. In fact, I work for a pharmacist who specializes in helping people with vitamin therapy and supplements. I did what he recommended and I didn’t feel much better.”
My first question to her was, did you do any testing? Her answer was no. Here’s the problem that most people are faced with. They’re getting recommendations from people or they’re getting the information from the web. They’re taking these things based on what people are telling them what they’re supposed to do, but because they don’t know where they’re broken down, they don’t know if this is the right protocol for them.
If you take a handful of supplements and expect to feel better overnight and stay feeling better forever, it just doesn’t work that way. That’s not what I do. When I’m working with a patient, I work with them to get healthy so the first thing I want to do is find out where they’re broken down. I want to what is the cause of their low energy, do they have a problem with their thyroid, their adrenals, I want to know if they have leaky gut or yeast overgrowth, do they have problems with SIBO, I want to know what’s going on with their circadian rhythm, their sleep-awake cycle. Then and only then would I make recommendations specific for them … That’s how I do it and I approach it with a mindset that it’s not about giving you a pill to make you feel better, whether that’s a supplement and drug.
It’s about changing your life by finding and fixing the causes, and then helping you get as healthy as you can. That’s why it works. That’s why you can go on my website and you can see testimonials after testimonials. You hear people come on here on weeklys and share their story, because it works. I was fortunate enough to realize years ago that the only thing that works is getting people healthy. It’s so simple that no one wants to believe that, but that’s the only way it works. Fortunately I’m smart enough to realize that God showed me that, and that’s really the way it’s going to work. There’s no magic supplement or acupuncture session, chiropractic session … it’s got to be done by getting healthy and that’s got to be a step by step process. That’s why it works.
If you’d like to know more about my practice, setting up a new patient consult and the book Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, then I encourage you to go to www.TreatingandBeating.com and you can see there’s free videos on there, you can get access to the blog, there’s health articles and all those are free, past audios like these conferences are on there, testimonials … there’s a great deal of free resources for you to take advantage of.
If you’re ready to go to the next step, then I would encourage you to get the book. Go through the book, make sure that it makes sense to you and resonates with you. You start doing the protocols that I recommend in the book. The book is available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com.
Then if you get stuck – and many people do get stuck because fibromyalgia is very complicated – but if you’re at that point where you’ve done all the research and you’ve tried everything and you realize you need a health coach to work with and to get you healthy, then at that point you want to reach out and contact the office. You can go to www.FibroConsults.com and set up a consult. Many of you are at that point, you’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired like Judy shared. You’re just exhausted by the whole thing, you can’t even think about reading a 560 page book, trying to figure out what tests you need and what supplements … it’s so draining for you to even think about that. I understand that, so for you it could be it’s time now to go ahead and set up a consult.
If you don’t change what you’re doing now, where are you going to be one year from now? Where are you going to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now? If you keep doing what you’re doing, then what’s going to change? Is anything going to drastically change? Unfortunately with fibro, probably not especially if you’re just going the conventional route.
I really want to encourage you to be proactive and do something different. It could be that it’s time now to get a fibro expert to help you in your quest to help you feel good again. Really as you’ve learned tonight I hope, the way that you feel good again is by getting healthy and more importantly, not only do you feel good tomorrow and next week but you feel good in 6, 12, 48 months. That’s really what it’s all about.
This is Dr Rodger Murphree, www.TheFibroDoctor.com, author of Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We’ll let you know that next week there will not be a teleconference, but typically there’s a free weekly teleconference each and every week. For more information about me, go to the www.TreatingandBeating.com site. For information about the consults, I encourage you to go to www.FibroConsults.com
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