Hi Jen - I've been having a rough time the last couple of years. Still in AI dx limbo. My rheumie wanted to start me on Plaquenil the first time I saw her - but I wasn't ready - been dodging all kinds of meds for years. My fibro and unexplained liver problems make it hard for me to take meds - so I keep searching for natural approaches to the problems/symptoms.
I saw a homeopath for about a year -without much help. I get the most benefit with muscle/pain symptoms from massage therapy (3yrs)- but it's very temporary and expensive. I'm currently trying acupuncture. My rheumie encouraged trying it. I've had 4 treatments, with the traditional chinese herbs/teas. Generally, I've felt no better - and even a little bit worse for a few days after treatment. Was getting really discouraged - and then after the last one - I suddenly started feeling better. More energy, less fog, less pain. Still not "all the way home" (which I'm not sure I remember what that feels like) but definite improvement. I had been told by a couple people and from research that it takes at least 5-6 treatments to begin to feel appreciable benefits. I'm hoping that's the case, and I'm on my way.
That said - during the 4 mos. I've been rec'ing the acupuncture, I've had two pretty bad flares - relatively short-lived in the acute stages - but difficult nonetheless, and seemingly more directly associative to Lupus. So either the "thing" has just generally been ramping up for the last couple years.....or ......?
I also use meditation time with my ipod for relaxation and it seems to help. I try to stay away from dairy, sugar (very hard!) too many raw foods, alcohol and caffiene. The acupuncturist advised that my Ph was overly acidic, so I stay away from acid producing foods also.....which seems to help my GERD. I walk for exercise - anything else is too much, it seems, even though 4 years ago I was doing 60 min. of aerobic exercise with weights 3 x wk AND walking 4-5 x wk. I had a back injury (herniated disc w/ nerve involvement) in 04 and it seems nothing has been the same since. The back problems hampers the other problems and vice versa.
I take a multivitamin, calcium, malic acid (just started that based on recommendations here) and a garlic supplement. Also fish oil (Omega 3). I see my rheumie in Nov. ( I cancelled an appt in Sept. because I was feeling better) and will see what she says about Plaquenil then. I have another acupuncture tx this month. Hoping things will improve even more - but if they don't I'm ready to give the Plaq a try. Winter always increases symptoms and is tough to get through. Wishing I was feeling a little sturdier going in.
Now that I've rambled on and on and on....what do you to/take to manage your symptoms naturally?
diagnoses: mono 1972; postviral CFS 1997; fibro 1998; CEBV 2005; UCTD (dx limbo) 2007
meds: occasional low dose xanax for sleep, artificial tears w/ ointment at night, ibuprophin (none of which manages the problems very well!)
We cannot avoid the birds of sadness flying over our heads, but we need not let them make nests in our hair.
~~ Chinese saying as quoted by Helen Nearing