Tonight I’ve got one of my favorite patients, Jolene is going to come on the line here. Jolene if you’re on the call, if you can hit star 6 that’ll bring you live on the call.
J: Hi Dr Murphree.
Hi Jolene. Thank you for joining me, I so appreciate you taking the time to do so.
J: I’m happy to be here, happy be to be able to do this.
It’s been an interesting 6 months.
I’m so proud of you, you’ve come so far. I know in the beginning you had some reservations, you weren’t sure if it was the right timing and I would venture to say that that was a good decision you made.
J: No doubt, you’re right. In the beginning I was skeptical, I was hesitant but I decided that it was time to take care of myself. With your encouragement, this has been a great journey.
Tell me, how long have you had fibromyalgia?
J: At least 20 years.
Prior to that, what was your health like? What were some of the issues that you were having before you got the diagnosis of fibromyalgia?
J: I had a lot of pain – a lot of joint pain, muscle pain, fatigue, digestive issues, I’d been diagnosed with IBS, I had been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis so I had chronic UTIs. I didn’t sleep, I was depressed, al the typical fibromyalgia symptoms.
Yeah, they just stack up year after year. Tell me what were the medications that you were taking when we first started? You were on a few, not a lot but a few of them.
J: Right, I was on Cymbalta, Neurontin, Tramadol, Norco …
Were you on Prilosec as well?
J: Yes I was.
How many meds are you taking at this point?
Fantastic, I love it. What were your doctors telling you over this 20 year period? What were they suggesting to you?
J: It started out by telling me that I was just getting older, I was going to have aches and pains … I got really discouraged and I quit going to the doctor for several years. Then about 8 years ago, I really hit the wall hard. I found a doctor who would finally listen to you and was trying to help me, but like you said, all he knew was to give me a new drug. I tried Lyrica and Savella, and if this doesn’t work try something else … the side effects were horrible and nothing made me feel better.
I think they’ve got a big pot of soup here and they just keep throwing stuff in there to see if they can get the recipe right, but 20 years goes by and they never get the right mix of meds. They try everything and it’s a long journey. Tell me about your sleep. I think you put that you hadn’t slept well in 40 years.
J: That’s right. I had a terrible time getting to sleep, and then when I would finally get to sleep, I didn’t rest. Then I would wake up in the morning and I would feel more tired than I was when I was going to bed. I was also Ambien when I started with you.
I remember that now, yeah. What was it like when you finally started sleeping? That was a real game changer, wasn’t it?
J: Oh my gosh, it was a whole new world. Now I go to bed, I go to sleep and I sleep good. When I wake up in the morning, I feel like getting up and going.
As you know, it’s something I ask probably every time I talk to my patients is, how is your sleep? If that’s not corrected and then if it’s not kept in check, everything gets out of alignment again and you’re in trouble. That’s the first sign that the wheels are starting to wobble but fortunately for you, you’ve done so well. Getting that deep sleep has really helped your energy because your energy was really low at one point … tell me about your energy. A year ago, how was your energy?
J: It was horrible. I didn’t do a lot of things that I wanted to do, because I just didn’t have the energy to do it. I know when I talked to you last fall for the first time, I couldn’t walk to the end of the block and back. I didn’t have energy, I had a lot of pain and I couldn’t do anything that I wanted to do without getting really worn out.
That’s got to be really frustrating to see that you can’t really do what you want to do, and you really don’t know how to fix it. Share with me what you’re doing now. Tell me about your walking.
J: I’m walking at least 1 to 3 miles every day, I’m doing an aerobic walking program every morning when I first get up and then usually in the evening I will walk 2 miles.
That is fantastic. A year ago, could you have imagined what you’re able to do physically now?
J: No, I had really given up. I’m only 62 years old and I’ve got a lot of living to do, a lot of things I want to do. I had gotten to the point where I thought I’d never be able to do those things that I want to do.
I think that’s a real sad place to be, because if you’re 52 like me or you’re 62, you realize this is as good as it’s going to get and probably it’s going to get worse, and you’ve got another 20-30 years to live. That’s pretty discouraging, and unfortunately I think a lot of people with fibromyalgia get in that position and they just settle, this is what it’s going to be. You’ve worked so hard to improve, you’ve done fantastic … tell me about your weight loss because you’ve been fantastic with the anti-inflammatory diet.
J: I’ve lost 40 pounds since the 15th of December.
You did it over Christmas break, you were ready and you did it, you didn’t complain so you’ve lost 40 pounds. That’s amazing. How does it feel to have lost 40 pounds?
J: Oh my gosh, I’m not the same person. I don’t look the same for sure, I don’t feel the same, it feels so much better that I have that weight off. I can do so much more and I have so much more energy. I can make plans and actually do it. Before I couldn’t plan anything because I didn’t know how I was going to feel that day.
I think that’s a common thing, you don’t know is this going to be a good day or a bad day. You find that you do less and less, and little by little the syndrome just sucks your life away because you get to where you withdraw from your family and your friends, you don’t socialize. The great thing about the diet is your metabolism goes up, your energy goes up, you’re not carrying around an additional 40 pounds like carrying around my son all day long … it’s a lot of weight. The other thing is your pain. A year ago, your pain was all over.
J: Yeah, everywhere. I felt like my entire body was inflamed. With that diet, the inflammation has decreased so much … I wouldn’t have believed it. You told me that that would happen and I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t really believe it. But it’s not just the weight loss, I feel so much better, my body doesn’t feel like it’s on fire inside anymore.
Isn’t it wonderful to do it that way, rather than just trying to suppress the symptoms with pain medication which make you dopey?
J: Yeah, the pain medications didn’t really do anything.
Tell me about your stomach issue; that was another thing we worked hard on.
J: I had chronic stomach pain, discomfort when I ate, I was just miserable all the time. Now that I have got my diet under control, my stomach is great. I’m not taking anything, I don’t have indigestion, my stomach doesn’t gurgle all the time and I don’t have the pain.
That’s fantastic. One of the things I remember is in one of our consults, you told me you’re happy. I think I take that for granted, but I think hearing that from my patients … I distinctly remember you telling me that you felt happy. You’re happy with your progress, you felt good.
J: A totally new life for me.
That’s fantastic. I’m so proud of you because you’ve worked so hard. It couldn’t happen to a nicer person, so it just tickles me to hear how well you’re doing. What would you suggest to those who maybe are listening or those who may listen to a replay – what advice would you give to them?
J: I think for those people who are in my shoes and understand what this can do to your life, the best thing that you can do is to make an investment in your health and yourself, take care of yourself and get on your protocol and change your life.
Do you think that you could have done it by yourself?
J: No, I know I couldn’t have. I needed the support and the guidance and the encouragement. I knew that you knew what you were doing, and I trusted you. You would tell me what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong, and I couldn’t have done that by myself.
What was it like working by phone on a weekly basis? Did you enjoy that?
J: That worked really well for me. I really looked forward to that time when I could get feedback and give you feedback and ask questions. I could do it from the comfort of my own home.
I think a lot of people initially have reservations about that, but what I have learned from doing this for quite some time now is my patients actually really enjoy it, because they don’t have the stress to get dressed and get somewhere at a certain time, sitting in an office and waiting. They know that if they ever need anything, they can pick up the phone and get their questions answered.
J: That was another thing. I could either call or email and get an answer. Like you said, it was so much easier than having to go to the doctor because I really felt like the time that we had, was so much better spent than when you go to the doctor’s office a lot of times.
I totally agree. Jolene, I’m really proud of you and like I said, it couldn’t happen to a nicer person. You’re a wonderful person and you’ve enriched my life and my staff’s life. We’re just so happy that you’re part of our family, and I really appreciate your coming on the line and I’m just tickled that you’re doing so well. It makes me happy.
J: I’m so grateful for you and what you’ve done, to help me change my life. I would highly recommend you to anyone.
Thanks again for joining me and I look forward to our next phone call.
J: Thank you very much, I’ll talk to you soon.
Good night. Again, I like to have my patients come on periodically and share their stories. As you can hear from Jolene, she’s probably not a lot different than a lot of you. She has a lot of the challenges that you’re facing. Through hard work and us being a solid team together, we were able to first of all find out where she was broken down.