Fibromyalgia Questions Part 4

  • Announcement:

I’ve decided to start an FREE ezine (this is an e-mail  newsletter), which will contain all the Fibro Tips and Fibro facts I had posted daily during the week. Also the blogs.

This is because I realize many of you are not on the Facebook page every day and might miss the day’s tips and facts or miss the blog which is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

All you have to do is send me your e-mail address to fibro@drgenemartin.com and write ezine in the description (also your full name) and I’ll send them out every Friday afternoon. Remember this is free!

I can’t accept your request by Facebook message as it gets too complicated, just e-mail me, again fibro@drgenemartin.com and write ezine in the description.

Fibromyalgia Questions and Answers Part 4

18 Why are you so concerned with Fibromyalgia, after all, you don’t suffer with it.

I’ve been licensed to practice since 1986. For much of that time, I’ve traveled to different parts of the world on “Health Missions” where we helped and educated the needy and indigent. The amount of suffering I personally witnessed was indescribable. The satisfaction I received in helping these people were also indescribable, like a drug and very addicting. Simply, I was hooked. Back in the states, one of the few illnesses I saw which equaled the suffering was Fibromyalgia. As I researched and learned more about this illness, I was appalled not only at the lack of knowledge, but at the misinformation circulating not only among people, the media and the internet, but also among doctors. I therefore made it my mission to help people with Fibromyalgia. I am able to dramatically help patients in my office, the majority of times helping these people become and stay “Fibro Free” However, I also realize, that I’m one doc and there are millions, probably tens of millions all over the world suffering from this insidious and devastating illness. As I realize that I’ll never meet the majority of these people in person, I’ve spent time trying to devise ways of providing information to help these people in any way I can. I also want to draw the public’s awareness as well as the medical establishment’s awareness to Fibromyalgia. I consistently post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I write a blog three days a week, I’ve created free videos which are filled with tips and facts to help people lessen their symptoms and to educate themselves and their loved ones as to what fibro really is. I’ve run supported groups, I’ve given a number of public talks (I’ve lost track of the exact number) and the latest project is compiling this book of the stories of fibromyalgia sufferers… As you can see, I might not have Fibromyalgia, but my life is certainly wrapped around treatment and education of this monster. Lastly I do see patients in the mornings and spend the afternoons doing house calls for those who are bedridden.

19 Is there anything I can do on my own to make my Fibromyalgia go away?

It is very rare that Fibromyalgia goes away on its own; however there is plenty you can do to at least lessen your symptoms. I’ve discussed this in my blogs at length (www.nomorefibro.wordpress.com), but to summarize, cleanup your diet, meaning get all the chemicals and preservatives out of your foods and water. Eat a natural and if at all possible organic diet. Try to eat produce that is in season, thus if you live in the eastern part of the country, don’t expect to eat such summer fruit as peaches and apricots in January. Be very vigilant of the cosmetics, lotions and creams you use on your body, the additives are very scary, some are carcinogenic and they put extra stress on the body. Bottled water in plastic and food in cans has been shown to be unhealthy as the chemicals tend to leach into the foods and water which you ingest. Practice meditation, relaxation exercises or anything that can help to lower your stress. The list goes on and on but I believe that you get the point.

20 You mentioned about diet changes, isn’t his very difficult in our modern world.

Absolutely true, it takes awareness, education and vigilance. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t understand an ingredient in a food, you probably should not be eating it. The best approach is to start very slowly, start learning about foods and the food industry (the internet is once source and there are plenty of books on the subject). Stop thinking in terms of how buying real organic foods are too expensive. The fact is that in the long run, they’re much cheaper as you tend to eat less and feel satisfied. Remember, the reason for eating is to supply your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly. (Of course I realize that eating is also pleasurable), however learning to cook in a healthy manner and eating healthy foods can also be very pleasurable. You’d be amazed at the recipes out there that are every bit as delicious as that steak and potatoes or fast food. Speaking of fast food, this is a NO, you must eliminate all fast food from your diet, and that goes for junk food also. By definition, foods that are processed have to cost more money as processing these foods actually raise food prices. I’ve never quite understood why so many foods are processed which in so many cases depletes them of the vitamins and minerals we need, and then after processing, the vitamins and minerals are re-added. Again, the key is to go one step at a time and slowly change your eating habits. Ultimately, the urges for junk food will disappear, and you will feel better. Lastly, back to food costs for a second, the most important thing you have is your health, and when it’s gone, it’s very difficult to regain it. If changing your diet entails some extra cost, don’t you think it’s worth the price?

21 I’m on various medications for my Fibromyalgia, yet I don’t believe an occasional beer or a glass of wine can hurt me, In fact, I find that it relaxes me. Is this okay?

No No No, alcohol and medications never mix. Alcohol is a drug; it is a depressant that acts upon the brain in numerous ways. Isn’t your illness affecting your brain enough? Alcohol and medications very often will interact with each other, magnifying the effects of both and sometimes causing other reactions, which can not only be harmful and make your fibro worse, but can also, be downright dangerous and sometimes fatal. Is it worth the risk? One problem that many with and without Fibromyalgia come across is that person at the family get-together or the friend who insists that you just have one little drink, after all one little drink cannot hurt you. This is the worst kind of inconsiderateness and selfish behavior. This person obviously doesn’t care about you, though he/she might say they do. The best action is to very politely decline and excuse yourself. You owe no explanations. If this person will not leave you alone and keeps insisting, this can be construed as abuse, even harassment, again politely walk away and if necessary, tell the host. Don’t concern yourself what this person thinks as he or she obviously doesn’t really care about you. This question is so important that I’ll repeat it one more time. Alcohol and medication do not nor do they ever mix. By the way, this also goes for over the counter medications.

22 I’m on a host of different medications under the care of my doctor. This is safe isn’t it?

Well this certainly is safer than if you were taking medications without supervision. I’m not saying that medications are bad after all, before insulin was synthesized, all diabetics died). However the point is that any medication, any preservative in your foods, any chemical you ingest has to be detoxified by the liver before the body can utilize it. Think of the alcoholic and cirrhosis of the liver. This is the liver wearing itself out from overuse. The same goes for medications. You always need to weigh the risks versus the benefits. Just remember that there are no free rides, every non nutrient that you put into your body bruises something. This is a metaphor for every medication has some type of side effect. It is imperative that you keep a list of all the medications you are taking, give your spouse and one to a close friend. Write down the name of the medication, the dosage, the doctor’s name and the strength. Keep a copy in your bag at all times. The next time you see your doctor, take out the list and carefully go through each medication. This is to make sure that you are not double or triple dosing. Many doctors are so busy that they at times don’t realize that a certain medication they prescribed might have been prescribed by another doctor, but under a different generic or trade name. An example would be if you were taking Prozac and your doctor wanted to prescribe Cymbalta. The Prozac might have been prescribed by a psychiatrist or even another specialist. In essence, Cymbalta contains the same medication as Prozac plus another type of anti depressive med. Mistakes do happen, more often than we like to believe, so be aware and be careful. Inadvertent double and triple dosing can be deadly. Last word on meds, a reminder, if you’re on any fibro meds, it is essential; to have your blood and urine checked every three months at the minimum. If your doc says that is not necessary, insist on it Make a scene if necessary, fibro meds do affect the liver and the kidneys.

Dr. Gene Martin, D.C.

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 S El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo, Ca. 94402

650-558-1010

e-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

Web:  http://www.drgenemartin.com

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Fibromyalgia Questions and Answers part 3

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

First an announcement:


Starting Tuesday December 6, 2011  A Telephone Support group. The details are all finalized and all who sent in e-mails to inquire will be contacted early this week.

e-mail fibro@drgenemartin.com

The telephone support group will be a safe, warm and supportive environment for people to talk about their issues with Fibro or anything for that matter. You’ll be able to meet people, make new friends and be with non-judgmental people. The tone will be uplifting, affirmative and positive. The idea is to learn, to find some joy and to leave feeling good about yourselves. I (Dr. Martin) will also speak on a topic (can be your suggestions and or my choice) and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that after the teleconference, an audio copy will be e-mailed to you within 24 hours. The hours will be:

Every Tuesday:                                  6 PM Pacific

                                                            7 PM Mountain      

                                                            8 PM Central

                                                            9 PM Eastern

Send an e-mail to fibro@drgenemartin.com and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details. Remember that with cell phones or Skype, even long distance calls are pennies these days. Take a positive step

 Fibromyalgia Questions and Answers Part 3

14 Why am I so tired all the time? The basic reason and simple one is that you are sleep deprived. As you know, with fibro, sleep is so difficult. You’re not getting the sleep required, thus you’re extremely fatigued. Keep in mind that the sleep meds used still do not allow you to deeply sleep and achieve the R.E.M. level of sleep which you need to replenish your body, thus you’re always tired. Probably the most common sleep meds used are Amitriptyline or Nortriptyline and possibly Valium. The first two are anti-depressives (older generation) which have a side effect of making you tired, Valium is, of course an anti-anxiety med, which also has a side effect of making you tired). Therefore, these are really not meds for sleep.

15 Why am I so oversensitive to Sounds, smells and even taste? There are two reasons for this. Firstly, as I mentioned above, you are sleep deprived and a consequence of not enough sleep is this oversensitivity. Secondly, being that the nervous system is always on overdrive (which is what fibro really is), the nerves controlling smell, taste and sounds are working at a higher level, thus more sensitivity. We once had a patient who played cello her entire life in orchestras, and when she developed fibro, she could no longer play because the sound of the cello was like fingernails on the blackboard. When her fibro was gone, she was able to resume playing. Many times, when the senses are so over sensitized for long periods of time, as in fibro, ultimately the neuro-receptors are used up and the result is that you might become under-sensitized for a while, your taste and smell might be lessened as your ability to hear. As the neuro chemicals replenish and then are released in force (due to the hyper nervous system), you return to the state of oversensitivity. Thus for some it’s up and down for others it’s always hyper sensitivity.

16 Why do I have so much trouble collecting disability insurance? I certain am disabled!

This may be due to a number of reasons. First, here in the U.S. government money is very low (or so they say). There is a concerted effort to save as much money as possible. One way is by denying disability benefits (my opinion). I know that this is unfair, but then again, this is politics and when has politics been fair? Secondly, many of the Docs working for the disability companies are being paid their salaries by these companies. The docs might be insecure enough that if they approve too much disability, they will lose their jobs. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds when you consider that disability is a form of insurance and how difficult it may be it to commonly collect from insurance companies, when the claims are legitimate (which they are the majority of the time contrary to what the companies say). Make no mistake about it, these companies know very well that Fibromyalgia exists and is disabling. Fibromyalgia, despite what any doctor or insurance company might say is an illness and has an ICD-9 number. (ICD-9 numbers are codes for diagnoses and every doctor and health insurance company uses them). Lastly, I believe that these companies, realizing how sick people with Fibromyalgia are, believe that the patient s will ultimately give up trying; after all, they don’t have the energy to keep applying, being denied and fighting with the disability and Insurance companies.

17 I have Fibromyalgia, but I can’t afford medical insurance, Shouldn’t health care be free to all who need it?

This is very controversial. I personally believe that everybody should have access to health care but at a very reasonable cost. If all health care was free, who would pay for it? This really gets into the politics which is not my arena, but the only way health care could be free is by raising taxes, something that most are opposed to. This has been an ongoing struggle in the U.S. for decades, and again it hasn’t come to pass due to political maneuvering. After all what Congressman or Senator wants to vote for higher taxes and then go back to his contingency and explain it. Chances are that he or she would be voted out of office. This also leads to the question of why health care is so expensive. The medical system is in actuality a large business and is really run and funded by Pharmaceutical companies. All business is profit driven. With enough lobbyists in Washington, these huge cartels get away with increasing their prices leading to the insurance companies having to increase their prices. The U.S. is perceived as the world’s richest country (perhaps it is, I’m not sure), which is why the same medication is sold for sometimes 1/5 the price in Canada as it is here in the states. The Pharmaceutical companies blame this on the fact that they spend billions on research and bringing a drug to market, yet they spend almost as much on advertising and marketing. Don’t be so fast to blame the doctors either as most are hard working professionals putting in more hours per day than the average worker, and are under huge stress. The concept that all doctors are wealthy is just not true. In fact the joke about a good plumber making more money is often the case. Of course there are exceptions, but in a day of HMO’s and PPO’s, doctors are restricted in what they do, what they can prescribe, and they are hustling to cover their overheads and make a living. In summary, the health care system (at least here in the U.S. (is severely broken and I wonder if they will be fixed any time in the future.

Please keep I mind that we are starting our on line info and support group in December 6. There is a very small charge (the companies, not mine) to cover the downloading of the weekly sessions and controlling who can and cannot join. this is to keep the troublemakers and spammers out.

Dr. Gene Martin

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo, Ca. 94402

650-558-1010

Healthy Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes!

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

First, an announcement

Starting Tuesday December 6, 2011  A Telephone Support group.

 e-mail fibro@drgenemartin.com

 The telephone support group will be a safe, warm and supportive environment for people to talk about their issues with Fibro or anything for that matter. You’ll be able to meet people, make new friends and be with non-judgmental people. The tone will be uplifting, affirmative and positive. The idea is to learn, to find some joy and to leave feeling good about yourselves. I (Dr. Martin) will also speak on a topic (can be your suggestions and or my choice) and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that after the teleconference, an audio copy will be e-mailed to you within 24 hours. The hours will be:

Every Tuesday:                                  6 PM Pacific

                                                            7 PM Mountain      

                                                            8 PM Central

                                                            9 PM Eastern

Send an e-mail to fibro@drgenemartin.com and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details. Remember that with cell phones or Skype, even long distance calls are pennies these days. Take a positive step

_________________________________________________________

 Today’s blog is about some healthy Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes. The healthier you eat, the less You fibromyalgia will bother you.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard & White Beans:

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved (see Tip) and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 cups chopped chard leaves (about 1 large bunch chard)
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Note)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  1. Cut a small slice off the bottom of each squash half so it rests flat. Brush the insides with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar-size) microwave-safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High until the squash is fork-tender, about 12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in water, tomato paste and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in chard, cover and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in white beans and olives; cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  3. Position rack in center of oven; preheat broiler.
  4. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl. Fill each squash half with about 1 cup of the chard mixture. Place in a baking pan or on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Broil in the center of the oven until the breadcrumbs are browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pear & Red Onion Gratin

Ingredients

  • 1 large red onion
  • 3 ripe Bosc pears
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Note)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preparation

  1. Fill a large bowl three-quarters full with water; add a handful of ice cubes. Cut onion into 16 wedges, place in a strainer and lower into the water. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Halve and core each pear; cut each half into 6 slices. Drain the onion wedges well and place them in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish along with the pear slices, 1 tablespoon oil, thyme, salt and a grinding of pepper; toss to combine. Cover with foil.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring twice.
  5. Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a small bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil; stir to combine. Remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the gratin, return to the oven and roast until the breadcrumbs are well browned, 20 to 30 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Vegetarian Stuffing with Cranberries

Ingredients

1 package pre-toasted bread cubes (14 – 16 ounces)

  • 3 tbsp butter plus extra
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 3/4 cup cranberries, chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup wild rice, pre-cooked
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 16 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a large skillet and add 2 tablespoons butter and oil.

Add onions, celery and cranberries and cook on medium-high heat until soft, about fifteen minutes.

Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

Place toasted bread, rice and herbs in a large bowl, stir in eggs.Pour hot liquid mixture into bowl; add poultry seasoning, beans, salt and pepper and mix.

Grease two 8-inch pans with butter, pour mixture, dot with extra butter. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more or until top is crisp.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup vegan margarine, plus 1 teaspoon

  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 6 cups pumpkin bread, cubed
  • approx 1/3 cup vegetable broth

Preparation

Allow pumpkin bread to dry overnight, or toast in oven at 250 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and grease a large baking dish with 1 teaspoon of margarine.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the 1 cup of vegan margarine. Add the celery and onions and sautee for 8-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes until mushrooms are soft.

Turn off heat and add spices, stirring well to combine. Add bread cubes. Add vegetable broth a few tablespoons at a time just until stuffing is moistened.

Transfer mixture to greased baking dish and cover with foil. Bake in oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes, or until done.

Vegetarian Stuffing with Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound bread, cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted cashew pieces
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Preparation

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place bread cubes on large shallow baking pan and bake until golden, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in large heavy skillet. Add onions and cook until clear, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). Add red peppers, mushrooms and celery; cook until tender – about 5 to 7 minutes.

Combine with bread in mixing bowl; add nuts, seasonings, vegetable broth and beaten eggs. Stir well and pour into an 8-inch greased baking pan or one of similar size. (Can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated). Cover and bake for about 1 hour.

Sweet Cranberry Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients

  • 14 slices bread, lightly toasted or pre-dried, chopped into cubes or crumbles
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley (or 2 tbsp fresh, chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preparation

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, pour apple juice over cranberries and set aside.

In a large skillet, sautee the onion, celery and garlic in the vegan margarine until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add thyme, sage and parsley and sautee for one more minute.

In a large bowl, combine bread, onions and celery, and cranberries and apple juice, stirring to combine well.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Add additional spices, if desired, and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup celery leaves, chopped
  • 1 4 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 cup rice, uncooked
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free margarine
  • 2 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds

Preparation

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, sautee onion, celery, celery leaves, mushroom and rice in margarine for a few minutes, until onion and celery is soft and rice is golden.

Transfer to a lightly greased 2-quart casserole or baking pan.

Stir in gluten-free vegetable broth, salt and poultry seasoning.

Cover and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.

Fluff with a fork, then sprinkle the top with chopped toasted almonds.

This vegetarian and vegan stuffing recipe is gluten-free and wheat-free.

Vegan almond butternut squash au gratin

Ingredients
  • One 2 1/2 lb butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter substitute (or butter, if you don’t want to go vegan. And yes, there is such a thing as trans fat-free margerine)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds or almond meal
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup almond or other nondairy milk substitutes
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Grind almonds in food processor.
  3. Mix paprika, turmeric and mustard powder into vegetable broth.
  4. Melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour slowly until smooth and bubbly. Slowly add broth and spice mixture, whisking all the while. Whisk in nutritional yeast and keep whisking until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 2 minutes, maybe more. Turn up the heat if it’s not getting thick and bubbly. Stir in lemon juice and about half the ground almonds. Turn off heat.
  5. Slice squash in half vertically. Peel and seed the squash. Slice into 1/4 inch slices.
  6. Place slices in a pot and cover with water. Bring water to boil and let cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander.
  7. Place squash in a 10″ diameter casserole dish, gratin dish or baking pan. Pour almond milk over the slices and stir a bit to make sure the slices are all saturated. Pour your sauce on top and stir into the top layer of squash a bit. Sprinkle remaining almonds on top. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

Vegan pumpkin ravioli

Ingredients
Filling
  • 1 cup roasted pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter substitute or butter
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • dash of white or black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup ground cashews (or nuts of your choice)
Pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (or fine flour of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
Instructions
Roast the pumpkin:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice your pumpkin in half horizontally and scrape out all the seeds and surrounding stringiness.
  3. Place both pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet at roast for about an hour or until the skin is very soft and brown in spots and the flesh is soft and easily separates.
  4. Scrape flesh away from skins and let drain in colander.
Make the filling:
  1. Melt margarine over medium heat in a large saucepan.
  2. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, pepper, salt and ground cashews.
  3. Stir in pumpkin and cook, stirring and mashing, until your mixture is fragrant and the consistency of stringy, creamy mashed potatoes.
  4. Turn off heat and set aside.
Make the pasta:
  1. Sift together flour, salt and basil. Add oil and water and knead until a stiff dough forms.
  2. If you’re going to be cooking your ravioli the same day that you’re making them, you’ll probably want to put a large pot of water up right about now so it’ll be ready to go when you’re done with assembly. Add a dash of salt and a dollop of olive oil to the water.
  3. Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it as thin as you can with a rolling pin if you’re like me and don’t have a pasta maker (thought if you have a pasta maker, by all means use it). You may want to work with a small portion of the dough at a time.
  4. Cut your dough into roughly matching squares; I like 2.5″.
  5. Put aprox 1 tablespoon of your pumpkin filling in the middle of a square, place another square on top, and pinch around the edges to seal. This is a great step on which to enlist the help of family and friends–it will go much quicker with more hands on the job. Place ravioli on parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  6. Gently drop ravioli into a large pot of boiling water.
  7. Cook for 15 minutes and carefully drain.
  8. Serve with sauce of your choice. I braised some minced garlic, onion and fresh sage in a few tablespoons of olive oil and Earth Balance butter substitute.

Oxycontin – The Behind the Scenes Saga of a Dangerous Drug!

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

First an important announcement.

Starting Tuesday December 6, 2011  A Telephone Support group.

I’ll be e-mailing the info out to those who wrote me this week as the group is all set up.

 e-mail fibro@drgenemartin.com

 The telephone support group will be a safe, warm and supportive environment for people to talk about their issues with Fibro or anything for that matter. You’ll be able to meet people, make new friends and be with non-judgmental people. The tone will be uplifting, affirmative and positive. The idea is to learn, to find some joy and to leave feeling good about yourselves. I (Dr. Martin) will also speak on a topic (can be your suggestions and or my choice) and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that after the teleconference, an audio copy will be e-mailed to you within 24 hours. The hours will be:

Every Tuesday:                                  6 PM Pacific

                                                            7 PM Mountain      

                                                            8 PM Central

                                                            9 PM Eastern

Send an e-mail to fibro@drgenemartin.com and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details. Remember that with cell phones or Skype, even long distance calls are pennies these days. Take a positive step

 

OxyContin – The Real Story.

Purdue Pharma generated $3.1 billion dollars in sales in 2010 of OxyContin. There were 6.7 million prescriptions written. By contrast Abbott Laboratories only generated 30 million dollars on 380,000 prescriptions written for Vicodin. They are both for severe pain, why such a difference.

The story of OxyContin  is quite enlightening. OxyContin was developed by Purdue in the mid 90’s. and was touted as an addiction free pain killer, yet this drug has  basically left a trail of death and destruction in it’s wake. This pharmaceutical company was very astute and clever in it’s marketing. They consistently and constantly went to individual doctors offices and spoke about it’s miraculous effects, the fact that it was non-addictive and that there was finally an answer for people suffering from the chronic pain of various illnesses. They embarked on a powerful marketing program, hitting all the medical journals and even advertised in other media, not only to doctors and hospitals, but others including pain support groups, various associations dealing with such illnesses as fibro, M.S among others and were very very persistent in their continual pushing of this “miracle drug”. The only problem was that they were not telling the truth. In fact their marketing was so fictitious that eventually (after the typical denials and legal games) that they pleaded guilty in Federal Criminal court  for misbranding the drug with the intent to mislead the public. They had to pay $635 million in damages and are now on the corporate equivalent of probation. Yet the damage has been done and OxyContin is the second most abused drug today in the United States (the first being alcohol). By the way 600 million is pocket change to them.

Oxy is highly addictive and produces a high similar to heroin and equally as difficult to stop using. In fact it is nick named “The Poor Mans Heroin”

The story begins with the fact the fact that Purdue was a small family owned business and that the active ingredient of Oxycodone has been around since 1916. The Purdue brothers, especially, the eldest, Arthur, was a brilliant marketer and joined a small advertising company that specialized in medications. (In fact he helped turn Valium into the first 100 million dollar drug ever sold). Arthur’s research and study in marketing, (not to be confused with laboratory research), convinced him that he could take a medication that existed for sever pain like cancer, tinker with the formula and tout it as the new wonder drug, and that is exactly what he did. He took the drug Oxycodone, (which was generic by this point) and created a time released formula, which he stated would work over 12 hours per pill. He won FDA approval to sell this as a new med in 1995. He immediately began a push to create one of the largest and most successful advertising campaigns in the history of the pharmaceutical industry.He pushed the drug for every type of pain, from backaches to headaches to cancer and everything in between. He was able to overcome doctors misgivings by convincing them that since it was time released, there was no danger of addiction. In fact a Purdue company video sent to doctors and hospitals claimed that the addiction rate was less than 1 percent.

Their plan worked as sales went from $45 million in 1996 to $1.5 billion in 2002 to nearly $3 billion in 2009.The beauty was that nearly half of those prescribing these meds were family doctors or primary care doctors, not specialists or even oncologists!

But then, the dark side began to emerge as doctors quickly learned that the effects of the med lasted only 8 hours, not 12 hours and that the patients would immediately go into withdrawal needing higher and higher doses. Patients, even taking small amounts, quickly found themselves addicted. Executives at Purdue told the Congress investigators that they only learned of these problems in 2000 but confidential company records showed that they were aware of these problems at least 3 years earlier. The U.S. attorney in Maine warned the company of the problems in 1997, but nothing was done. Internal company memos showed that the COO (Chief Operating Officer) Michael Friedman was well aware of these problems, but did not act. After all the money was rolling in and Purdue Pharma went from a small backwater company and rode the wave of OxyContin into a giant Pharmaceutical company!

In the early 2000’s federal Prosecutors formally recommended charging Purdue and it’s three top executives with multiple felonies, including conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and money laundering in addition to misbranding about the side effects of the med. Purdue hired an all star defense team which included Mary Jo White, a former U.S. Attorney and Rudy Giuliani who was than the republican’s potential front runner for presidential nomination. After much political maneuvering the company was charged with only a single felony and had to pay $600.5 million dollars and each of the top three executives had to pay $34 million dollars each (which was paid by the company Purdue).  The company admitted only that it’s promotional matter contained misleading information. When you compare this to the billions in sales, it is like they got away with murder, which is apropos as OxyContin has left a trail of death and destroyed lives in it’s wake since the beginning of it’s sales.

There have been celebrities have have come forth about their addictions to Oxycontin, the most famous being Rush Limbaugh and Winona Ryder. When actor Keith Ladger was found dead, he had Oxy in his system.

One of the things that addicts ultimately began to do was to crush up the pills into a powder and than use a needle to inject it, or to snort it (inhaling it upt the nose). Purdue in response changed the formulation so it can no longer be used in this fashion, how ever the fact remains, OxyContin is an extremely addictive medication and this addiction takes hold very very fast.

Other Pharmaceutical companies see the vast money potential and are positioning themselves to get into this every growing market. Dr. Andrew Kolodny, chair of the Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in New York and president for Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing views Purdue Pharma as benefiting from addiction. As he put it:, “Once you’ve got a patient who is addicted or physically dependent, and they’re going to be too sick to stop taking it, that’s a very good business model.”

Be aware that there are Doctors who prescribe OxyContin, like giving out candy, we call them mills. A personal example is a local doctor who calls himself a pain specialist and as a waiting list of patients. Many times he doesn’t even see the patient, his receptionist (wife) writes the prescription and he signs it). I’ve had patients come to my office to be treated for Fibromyalgia who had seen this Doctor many times and were very addicted. The worst case was a fellow who was up to 600mg per day. (keep in mind that 5 mg are enough to get you pretty high (stoned). This man was one step away from suicide and his wife and get rid the house of all his hunting rifles. Slowly weaning him off the med was out of the question. This fellow was sent to a hospital as an inpatient for 10 days to go through a highly supervised detoxification process. He made it and is now free of this horrible medication, but the process was hell. He screamed and cried and was in constant horrible pain (from the withdrawal, not the fibro), according to his life. He made it, many don’t. A perspective patient  (with whom I made a house call) had been hoarding her Oxycontin and finally overdosed and died. This was her way out, and it is probably a lot more common than is known.

____________________________________________________________

Remember, the Fibromyalgia telephone support group is now all set up and I will be e-mailing those who expressed interest this week. It took a while but I wanted to make sure that it was set up probably.

Dr. Gene

Fibromyalgia Questions and Answers Part 2

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

First an important Announcement

Starting Tuesday December 6, 2011  A Telephone Support group.

 e-mail fibro@drgenemartin.com

 The telephone support group will be a safe, warm and supportive environment for people to talk about their issues with Fibro or anything for that matter. You’ll be able to meet people, make new friends and be with non-judgmental people. The tone will be uplifting, affirmative and positive. The idea is to learn, to find some joy and to leave feeling good about yourselves. I (Dr. Martin) will also speak on a topic (can be your suggestions and or my choice) and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that after the teleconference, an audio copy will be e-mailed to you within 24 hours. The hours will be:

Every Tuesday:                                  6 PM Pacific

                                                            7 PM Mountain      

                                                            8 PM Central

                                                            9 PM Eastern

Send an e-mail to fibro@drgenemartin.com and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details. Remember that with cell phones or Skype, even long distance calls are pennies these days. Take a positive step

More Fibro questions and Answers!

8 Why are Doctors so hesitant to treat people with fibro and why do they say it’s all in your head. If you have Fibromyalgia, you understand how debilitating it can be, not just the pain, but the other symptoms including the “fog”. Doing a full Fibro history is and should be very time consuming and many doctors just do not have that much time, especially in our culture of managed care. Other doctors and professionals get frustrated by their lack of knowing how to treat this illness. Still others don’t have the patience necessary to treat a Fibro patient as it takes a lot of skill and empathy. It’s easier for many docs to just toss a prescription at the patient. This is not to say that Doctors are bad, they are just very over worked and feel very vulnerable due to their lack of Fibro knowledge. Lastly, I’m in no way condoning this, it’s just the reality of a very broken medical system.

9 Why isn’t there more research being done to find a cure for Fibromyalgia? Very simply, fibro is not a “glamorous illness”, there is no Nobel Prize waiting for the scientist who finds a cure. Most scientists need to rely on grants from institutions  to further their research, run their labs  and research is very very expensive. Pharmaceutical companies will fund research if there is a huge profit potential in the future, otherwise they won’t spend the money. Another reason is that Fibromyalgia is such an unknown illness among most people. the average person hasn’t a clue as to what fibro really is about or worse, they believe that its some sort of pain problem. It is also very difficult if not impossible to really explain to another how you are feeling with fibro. The old saying is true, “Unless you are in a fibro body, You’ll never understand it”. Lastly, you’ll never see: “Rums in the Par for Fibro” etc until people with fibro start making a fuss and yelling, the irony being that most with fibro are to sick to do this, so perhaps it is up to their loved ones.

10 Are Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome the Same or different Illnesses? The jury is out on this question, my personal belief is that they are the same as the symptoms seem to be identical. As I run and own the Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area in northern California, I’ve seen people with Fibro and people with CFS respond in an identical manner to treatment and get better. One issue that I’ve seen again and again is that the Fibromyalgia Associations and the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Associations are both vying for money from the same institutions and thus it seems difficult for the two to work together. There are also people whose lives are devoted to running web pages and Facebook pages on these two illnesses and they are very protective of their own turfs. They are not scientists but feel that if the two were really one illness, they lose a lot of their reason for waking up in the morning. I know that this sounds harsh, but it is true as I’ve encountered this on a number of occasions. I’ve seen people argue this to where you’d think they would physically start fighting. Crazy..Huh?

11 What is the story with the XMRV virus? Does it Cause Fibro or CFS?

What I find truly interesting is that the research has been out for a while proving that there is no connection between this virus and Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The definitive large scale study was published in “Science” a very prestigious Journal last September 2011, again offering indisputable evidence that XMRV does not cause these illnesses. Yet, people keep insisting on the connection between the Virus and the illnesses. This, most probably due to the fact that they haven’t read the research and only go by what is in the popular press or on a web page. This is dangerous as the popular press is no longer the way to find the current news. With so many sources of information bombarding us on a daily basis (it is estimated in the thousands, without our even being aware of it), we know longer have the luxury of a Walter Cronkite reporting the real news. Any person with a computer can post whatever they like and have it look professional enough to be very believable.  News has also really become opinions further agendas such as the liberal television stations, the conservative television stations and everything in-between. In summary, there is no link between Fibro and or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the XMRV virus. This is indisputable fact.

12 Is Fibromyalgia Terminal? Absolutely and positively not! I realize that for some of you, suicide has been considered as Fibromyalgia has a large suicide rate (after all the pain alone can be so unbearable), however Fibromyalgia will not kill you. It tends to run in an up and down way, meaning sometimes you feel better, sometimes you feel worse. You might be at one level of symptoms for days, weeks,months even years and all of a sudden, you crash and become worse. All in all the progression of the illness is downward, with ups and downs along the way. I have never seen a patient recover from Fibro by themselves, though that doesn’t mean it might not happen. One thing is true, meds, will not cure Fibromyalgia, they might make you feel a bit better, but will not cure you.

13 My doctor told me that children cannot get Fibromyalgia, is this true? This is absolutely wrong, anybody,male or female at any age can get Fibromyalgia. I’ve seen children, seniors and everybody in between develop
fibro. I’ll always ask a new patient if they had leg pain as a child which was diagnosed as “growing pains” and at least 50% of the time, the answer was yes. This was most probably the onset of the Fibro. I also watched a women who was 68 years old and had fibro since she was three years old recover in my office. she had Fibro for 65 years! If you child is complaining of leg pains, don’t accept growing pains as an answer! I cannot stress this strongly enough!

Next Week: More questions and answers. Please remember to look into the telephone support group that will be starting in December.

Fibromyalgia Questions and Answers Part 1

First an important announcement

Starting Tuesday December 6, 2011  A Telephone Support group.

 e-mail fibro@drgenemartin.com

 The telephone support group will be a safe, warm and supportive environment for people to talk about their issues with Fibro or anything for that matter. You’ll be able to meet people, make new friends and be with non-judgmental people. The tone will be uplifting, affirmative and positive. The idea is to learn, to find some joy and to leave feeling good about yourselves. I (Dr. Martin) will also speak on a topic (can be your suggestions and or my choice) and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that after the teleconference, an audio copy will be e-mailed to you within 24 hours. The hours will be:

Every Tuesday:                                  6 PM Pacific

                                                            7 PM Mountain      

                                                            8 PM Central

                                                            9 PM Eastern

Send an e-mail to fibro@drgenemartin.com and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details. Remember that with cell phones or Skype, even long distance calls are pennies these days. Take a positive step.

_______________________________________________________

 Every day, I find myself being asked the same questions about Fibro, again and again. These questions are asked at my classes I give, at my workshops, on Facebook, during support groups I lead, on my website and from the many phone calls I receive daily. I. therefore decided to use today’s blog to answer some of these questions.

1 Does Fibromyalgia really exist? If you have fibro, you know that at times someone intimated that there was no such thing as fibro or that it was in your head or even more insulting, that you were just lazy. Many times this comes purely from ignorance as the general public and many doctors, for that matter, haven’t a clue as to what fibro is or what the symptoms are. Some even say that Fibromyalgia is just a combination of symptoms, but not a real illness. This is absolutely and positively wrong.

Fibromyalgia is an illness, the same way Diabetes is an;illness, the same way Multiple Sclerosis is an illness etc. The research is very clear on this topic and it is known for a fact that Fibromyalgia and all its symptoms are caused by an over active nervous system meaning that the central nervous system is firing on overdrive all the time. The constant firing of the nervous system causes all the various symptoms that people with Fibromyalgia deal with constantly. Each symptom can be traced to this.

2 Well, What are the symptoms? The answer to this can take pages to go through, but the shortened version is as follows. The six most common symptoms that almost everybody with fibro experiences are: Pain, Fatigue Insomnia, Depression Gastro-Intestinal problems and Insomnia. This is not to say that these are all the symptoms, not by a long shot, just the Big Six, as I call them. I’ve accumulated a list of 60 other symptoms that also affect people with fibro, some , the majority of the patients, some only 80 percent of the patients, some only 50 percent of the patients etc. These symptoms can also come and go at times, or get a little better or much worse. However, the Big Six seem to be constantly present.

3 What Medical test can I do to determine if I have Fibromyalgia? Unfortunately at this time, there is not a test, either blood, urine or an imaging test (X-ray, MRI etc) that can test for fibro. It is very important to remember that just because a test does not exist, in no way means that fibro does not exist. the test has not been found yet.

4 Why do doctor push on tender points in the body as a way of determining Fibromyalgia.? When doctors find these so called tender points, they are really finding pockets of lactic acid (Trigger Points), which are common with fibro. The problem is that these points are also common win the general public, some with muscle illnesses and others who are totally healthy. Recent studies have shown the 12 to 18 point tenderness test as pretty useless as a diagnostic aid. In fact scientists who did the studies, loudly claimed that this tenderness test should be abandoned. I agree with this, again as trigger points are very common and can also be the result of over exercise, falls and traumas and other things. It should not be used as an indicator for fibro and can lead to too many false diagnoses.

5 If I suspect that I have Fibromyalgia, what type of doctor should I see? One of the problems with Fibromyalgia is that there is so much false and misleading information out there, not only among the public but among doctors as well. Since so man doctors understand so little about this illness, it really does make it difficult to find a practitioner who can help you. Normally, you would think that a Rheumatologist would be the right choice, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many times a general practitioner or any other type of doc might be much more well versed in the ins and outs of Fibro. It also should be understood that there is no specialty per se in Fibromyalgia, Many docs receive their info from a weekend seminar and probably more commonly from a pharmaceutical representative who comes to the office selling the newest medications, Of course the goal of the salesperson is for the doc to prescribe this or that med. It is estimated that every doctor with a DEA license (to write prescriptions), receives at least two and many times more visits from these reps per week.

6 How should I than find a doctor who can help me? The best answer I can give you is to go by trial and error. If you know someone with fibro who has an excellent doctor, than that’s the way to go. If not you can ask your doctor for referrals, but remember than many times a referral can be a friend of the doc. Yes, it still is in many cases a good ol’ boys network, so be aware of this. If you do go to a doc and are treated rudely or not given the attention you need, leave, and let the doc know the reason. I like the words: “I’m firing you”. Again it is important to let the doc know why you are so unhappy, if not our medical system will never change for the better.

7 What drugs have been developed for Fibromyalgia? Sadly, to date there are no drugs that have been developed for Fibromyalgia. The three most common meds you hear about are Lyrica (really an anti-seizure medication), Cymbalta (an anti-depressive medication) and now Savella (also an anti-depressive medication). these three meds had already existed and were used for other illnesses, thus to date, there have been no new meds for fibro.

More questions and answers next time!

Remember our telephone support group starting in December, for info: e-mail fibro@drgenemartin.com

Dr Gene Martin

Fibromyalgia relief Center of the Bay Area

Fibro and Sexual Abuse, a True Story!

Warning, many will find this blog entry very disturbing as it has to do with Child Sexual Abuse. However, I felt it important to talk about this as it affects more young children and teens than we’d like to believe and perhaps this can help a fellow victim. I’ve used different names and the the story has been changed just a bit, the the basics are true and I do have the permission of the patient to post this.

Feel free to skip this post if you are sensitive to this topic, or if you would find it upsetting.

Julie was a 18 year old teen who came to one of my Fibromyalgia workshops suffering from pretty severe Fibromyalgia. She had all the symptoms, horrendous pain, fatigue, insomnia, all kinds of stomach problems, she had constant headaches, was very depressed, could not think well and she was barely able to speak. She was just not able to get the words out of her mouth. She barely squeaked through High School and college was out of the question.

She came to to one of my workshops with an older gentleman who was about 60 years old and was introduced as her High School teacher. They both made an appointment to speak to me at more length in my office and they showed up a week later on a Saturday. Julie took me aside and asked if she could speak to be alone, without the escort (teacher) who had driven her to the appointment. As she was 18, I replied, certainly, as she was legally an adult. We discussed her Fibro symptoms and I explained the treatment options available to her. Interestingly enough, the Teacher seemed “bent out of shape” at not being allowed to sit in during the consultation, yet I just wrote it up to his caring for her. I explained to him that she was an adult and the choice was hers.

Julie started treatment about 6 months later and was totally Fibro free after 8 weeks, really a new person. No pain, no fog, no insomnia, she was articulate and very very bright. Now it must be understood that when a patient finishes treatment in my office, I have them return monthly for about 6 months just to check and make sure that all is well and they are adjusting quite well to being Fibro free. This is exactly what happened. Julie maintained her good health and all was good, that is until I received a call from her about 12 months after she finished treatment. It should be noted that Julie was no longer living with her High School Teacher but had been taken in by a family who was taking very good care of her and helping her in many ways.

I received a call from Julie about a 4 months ago and she was in a panic mode. I was able to ascertain from her rambling that the High School teacher who had taken her in when she was 15 years old had really held her captive and repeatedly sexually abused her. The abuse consisted of unspeakable actions and I was mortified as she rambled on. He had originally taken her in as Julie’s parents were physically abusive which most probably triggered her Fibromyalgia in the first place.

Being that Julie was 15 when this abuse first began, I immediately called the police and reported this incident. (by law I have to inform the police, however I would have done this anyway). The report was taken and the investigation began. As you can well imagine, the investigation and court trial were traumatic for Julie but with the help of a good therapist, she was able to get this this challenging situation. To jump to the end of the story, the High School Teacher was convicted and sent to prison for the rest of his life. During the trial, it also surfaced that Julie was not his first victim, but he had preyed on many vulnerable teens for more than 25 years. He was a true “Pedophile, a real Predator”. Julie is now in the process of rebuilding her life however this trauma will stay with her for years, if not for ever.

So, you may ask why I’m telling you this story.

One of the triggers of Fibromyalgia are continuous trauma’s and stresses. From speaking to so many women with Fibro for so many years, the above scenario is much more common than we’d like to believe. Physical, mental and sexual abuse is rampant. Many of these incidents go unreported due to shame, embarrassment and fear of retaliation. In fact it is estimated that only 1% of abuse ever gets reported.

According to the  Centers for Disease Control abuse is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 25 million American women. Also approximately 22% of women are assaulted as adults and a much higher percentage as children. 5% to 15% of men were sexually abused when they were children.

I cannot emphasize how vital it is to get help. Counselors, psycho-therapists,  psychologists, clergymen have the training to help you to put your lives back together. It’s very difficult, if not impossible to do this on your own. You must be able to talk about these incidents, feel the emotions and process them so that these traumas can be left behind. It is also important to have a good friend or two with whom you can talk. A true friend will understand and be there for you.

One of the after effects of abuse is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). this can manifest as:

  • Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there

There certainly is overlap between the symptoms of PTSD and the Fibromyalgia symptoms, so dealing with this trauma is one way to start helping yourself. You must come to terms with this! It probably will not cure the Fibro, but it is a step in the right direction.

One last note: The perpetrator of these horrible crimes still has no clue as to what he did and why it was wrong. He has actually been trying to contact Julie from prison as her to recant.

Parents, watch your children, adults, if you suspect any wrongdoing from a relative, friend or others towards your children, jump on it immediately, do no wait. As I said, this trauma will be with Julie for the rest of her life. It robbed her of her childhood. God only knows if she’ll ever be able to live a normal life. I certainly hope so, but I doubt it.

What is a Vegetarian?

Starting Tuesday December 6, 2011  A Telephone Support group.

 First an announcement!

The telephone support group will be a safe, warm and supportive environment for people to talk about their issues with Fibro or anything for that matter. You’ll be able to meet people, make new friends and be with non-judgmental people. The tone will be uplifting, affirmative and positive. The idea is to learn, to find some joy and to leave feeling good about yourselves. I (Dr. Martin) will also speak on a topic (can be your suggestions and or my choice) and there will be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that after the teleconference, an audio copy will be e-mailed to you within 24 hours. The hours will be:

Every Tuesday:                                  6 PM Pacific

                                                            7 PM Mountain      

                                                            8 PM Central

                                                            9 PM Eastern

Send an e-mail to fibro@drgenemartin.com and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details. Remember that with cell phones or Skype, even long distance calls are pennies these days. Take a positive step

What is a Vegetarian?

Being a vegetarian is basically and simply the practice of eating only plant based foods. People practice this for a number of reasons: health, religion, environmental, cultural and economic.

Being a vegetarian goes back thousands of years to ancient Greece and India and in these cases it was related to a non-violent approach to animals. After the fall of the Roman empire, the practice basically disappeared in Europe. there has been a large resurgence in it’s popularity over the last century, primarily due to health concerns, and in the last 30 or so years also due to environmental reasons. Of course, as with any trend, there are always detractors, many times for economic reasons, but certain facts cannot be denied and have been shown to be true by study after study. Vegetarians tend to have lower lower body mass indexes lower levels of cholesterol, lower blood pressure, less incidence of heart disease, lower hypertension less type 2 diabetes (Adult onset) less kidney disease, less osteoporosis, less types of dementia (such as Alzheimer’s) and less incidences of other illnesses.and other disorders. Non-lean red meat, in particular, has been found to be directly associated with increased risk of cancers of the esophagus, liver, colon, and the lungs.

Again, many detractors will claim that a person cannot receive all the essential proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals from just a plain vegetarian diet, but this is just incorrect and a lie, again probably  for economic reasons. (Remember that the meat industry has very large monetary interests!)

Many argue (correctly), that humans are omnivores and have evolved to eat meat. Though this might be true, the quality of our commercialized meat is an excellent argument to consider the vegetarian lifestyle. Meat has been found with E-Coli bacteria. Another reason is that there are a number of illnesses that can be transmitted from animal to human, the most recognized being salmonella. Finally Scientists are beginning to realize and see that there is a  connection between animal meat and human cancer, birth defects, mutations, and many other diseases in humans. Commercial meat is also filled with hormones (to make it grow faster), antibiotics (which are a leading cause to our resistance problems), colored dyes to make it look more attractive (linked to cancers) and other chemicals.

An outrageous argument for eating meat (by the meat industry) is that lack of meat in adolescent girls lead to such eating disorders as bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa, this has simply been proven to be not true.

In many societies, controversy and debate have arisen over the ethics of eating animals. Ethical objections are generally divided into opposition to the act of killing in general, and opposition to certain agricultural practices surrounding the production of meat. Reasons for objecting to the practice of killing animals for consumption may include animal rights, environmental ethics, and/or religious reasons. Ethical vegetarians also believe that killing an animal, like killing a human, can only be justified in extreme circumstances and that consuming a living creature for its enjoyable taste, convenience, or nutritional value is not sufficient cause. Another common view is that humans are morally conscious of their behavior in a way other animals are not, and therefore subject to higher standards.

Some people choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for environmental reasons.

The use of large industrial machine that is common in industrialized agriculture, typically for feed crops such as corn and soy is more damaging to ecosystems than more sustainable farming practices such as organic farming.   Other concerns include the wasting of natural resources, such as food, water, etc.

Animals that feed on grain or rely on grazing require more water than grain crops. According to the USDA growing crops for farm animals requires nearly half of the U.S.water supply and 80% of its agricultural land. Animals raised for food in the U.S. consume 90% of the soy crop, 80% of the corn crop, and 70% of its grain.

There are a number of types of vegetarianism, which exclude or include various foods.

  • Ovo vegetarianism includes eggs but not dairy products.
  • Lacto vegetarianism includes dairy products but not eggs.
  • Ovo-Lacto vegetarianism(or lacto-ovo vegetarianism) includes animal/dairy products such as eggs, milk, and honey.
  • Veganism excludes all animal flesh and animal products, including milk, honey, and eggs, and may also exclude any products tested on animals, or any clothing from animals.
  • Raw Veganism includes only fresh and uncooked fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Vegetables can only be cooked up to a certain temperature.
  • Fruitarianism permits only fruit, nuts, seeds, and other plant matter that can be gathered without harming the plant.
  • Buddhist vegetarianism(also known as su vegetarianism) excludes all animal products as well as vegetables in the allium family (which have the characteristic aroma of onion and garlic): onion, garlic, scallions, leeks, or shallots.
  • Jain Vegetarianism includes dairy but excludes eggs and honey, as well as root vegetables.
  • Macrobiotic diets consist mostly of whole grains and beans.

Some groups, such as PETA, promote vegetarianism as a way to offset poor treatment and working conditions of workers in the contemporary meat industry. (Read “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair) These groups cite studies showing the psychological damage caused by working in the meat industry, especially in factory and industrialized settings, and argue that the meat industry violates its laborers’ human rights by assigning difficult and distressing tasks without adequate counseling, training and debriefing.

So what does it all mean? Many studies have shown again and again that vegetarians live longer than non-vegetarians, with fewer illnesses and diseases. In fact a study published in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating much less meat or no meat significantly increased life expectancy.

Vegetarians tend to report that they feel better, are less stressed out with our every day lifestyles and overall think more clearly.

Famous Vegetarians:

  • Alicia Silverstone
  • Anthony Perkins
  • April McKay
  • Brooke Shields
  • Candice Bergen
  • Catherine Oxenberg
  • Danny DeVito
  • Daryl Hannah
  • Dennis Weaver
  • Dustin Hoffman
  • Eric Stolz
  • Hayley Mills
  • Ian McKellen
  • Jenny Seagrove
  • Joanna Lumley
  • Kate Moss
  • Kim Basinger
  • Kirk Cameron
  • Lindsay Wagner
  • Lisa Bonet
  • Meredith Baxter
  • Nicola Bryant
  • Peter Bogdanovich (director)
  • Rhea Perlman
  • Richard Gere
  • Rosanna Arquette
  • Sara Gilbert (vegan)
  • Ted Danson
  • Tippi Hedren
  • Tom Watt
  • Tracey Pollen
  • Tracy Brabin
  • William Shatner
  • Woody Harrelson
  • B. B. King
  • B52s
  • Belinda Carlisle
  • Billy Idol
  • Bob Dylon
  • Boy George
  • Charlie Watts (Stones)
  • Chris Novoselic (Nirvana)
  • Chrissie Hynde
  • Dave Davies (Kinks)
  • David Gedge (Wedding Present)
  • Dizzie Gillespie
  • Elvis Costello
  • George Harrison (musician, Beatles/solo)
  • Gladys Knight
  • Grace Slick (Singer with Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship)
  • Indigo Girls
  • Joan Armatrading
  • Joan Baez (folk singer)
  • Joan Jett
  • Joe Jackson
  • K D Lang (vegan)
  • Kate Bush
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Meatloaf
  • Melissa Etheridge
  • Michael Bolton
  • Michael Franks
  • Michael Jackson
  • Michael Stipe (REM)
  • Moby (vegan)
  • Morrissey
  • Olivia Newton John
  • Paul McCartney
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Yehudi Menuhin

And the list goes on and on.

Medical Cannabis The Real Story

First an announcement!

Telephone Support group will Start Tuesday December 6, 2011

Please note: I’ve been working for a few months on setting up a telephone support group for those interested. The idea is to have it weekly for 45 minutes to one hour. I could speak on a topic and then there would be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that all conferences will be recorded and e-mailed to you after the call.  If interested, please e-mail me at fibro@drgenemartin.com and write support group in the description.

  Every Tuesday:                               6 PM Pacific

                                                            7 PM Mountain      

                                                            8 PM Central

                                                            9 PM Eastern

Medical Cannabis

I’ve had so many people ask to republish this blog entry on Medical Cannabis (Marijuana). There is so much mis-information and worse, so much politicking that I thought it prudent to report.

Spanish English
La cucaracha, la cucaracha, The cockroach, the cockroach,
ya no puede caminar can’t walk anymore
porque no tiene, porque le falta because it doesn’t have, because it’s lacking
marihuana pa’ fumar. marijuana to smoke.

First, I’d like to talk a bit about the history of Marijuana. Pot, Weed, Bamba, Ganja, call it what you will, many people have many different strong opinions about Marijuana. The fact is that Marijuana use goes back to the third century B.C.and is originally from central and south Asia. It is used recreationally, spiritually, religiously and now medicinally. In some form or other, it is estimated that about 200 million people use it and that number is probably understated.

Believe it or not, in the mid 1800’s Marijuana use was fashionable and there were many establishments where it was sold and used quite freely. (A precursor to what would happen in Amsterdam in the later 20th century.)

In the early 1900’s a wave of conservatism swept the country leading to the “Prohibition” which made alcohol illegal. Marijuana was than looked on as an addictive and dangerous drug and steps were taken to also make it illegal. For more info see the:Towns-Boylan act.

The 1930’s started a hysteria about Marijuana with many believing that it not only led to harder drugs but could turn you into a homicidal maniac (as seen by such movies as “Reefer Madness”). This was directed at the masses, however the upper classes, movie stars and musicians still used it regularly. The 1960″s brought a large resurgence among the younger and not so young generations and after an initial propaganda campaign by the government about it’s evils, the laws began to slowly loosen as studies showed it’s relatively benign nature. Though still illegal in the U.S and other countries, 15 states now have legalized it for medicinal use. Interestingly, it’s medicinal properties were known going back to the beginning of the 20th century.

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug and comes from the Cannabis plant. The major psych-active component is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).

There are many medicinal uses for Marijuana so get ready as this will be a long list: This is well documented so it is not an opinion.

Nausea

Vomiting

Premenstrual Syndrome

Weight loss

Insomnia

Appetite loss

Glaucoma

FIBROMYALGIA

Bowell disease

Migraines

Multiple Sclerosis

Spinal cord Injuries

Alcohol abuse

Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

Arthritis

Asthma

Colo-rectal Cancer

Bipolar Disorder

Depression

Epilepsy

Leukemia

Skin diseases

PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorders)

Psoriasis

Alzheimer’s

Lung Cancer

Breast Cancer

Brain Cancer

A.I.D.S

and the list goes on and on.

So why all the controversy? One reason is that many scientists felt that smoking Marijuana could be dangerous. However this need no longer be the case. Marijuana can be eaten, sprayed into the mouth, and used in a vaporizer (where the important components are extracted and inhaled without the other chemicals). Therefore, this eliminates the toxic compounds. Another reason is that the governments have not figured out a way to tax Marijuana as they tax alcohol and cigarettes. A third reason is that Large Pharmaceutical companies want to be able to control it, hence a potentially large income stream and lastly, Alcohol companies, see it as competition. I’m sure there are other reasons.

There are two basic strains: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica.

Cannabis Sativa causes the “stoned feeling” as well as other body feelings (pain loss, appetite increase etc). Cannabis Indica minimizes the “stoned feeling” but includes all the other body feelings. There are also strains which are mixtures of the two and in varying degrees.

Marijuana can be very strong, quite weak and everything in-between. A visit to a Medical Marijuana dispensary is a very enlightening experience. You might see many Jars of different types of Marijuana with many different slang names, displays of cupcakes, brownies other food products, lotions, sprays and other forms. Many of the people working in the dispensaries can quite knowledgeable about the different stains and guide you to the right type which would be most beneficial to help with your symptoms. At least here in California dispensaries are in no way back alley operations, but can be multi-million dollar businesses, very modern with doctors and other health professionals on staff. Many times, employees have to go through days or weeks of training so they are familiar with all aspects of Marijuana. In some cases, these employees are much more educated than pain doctors.

As of now, Marijuana dispensaries are legal in 15 States in the United States, though Federal Law always trumps State law and it is still illegal federally. However the Federal government has take the stance of “looking the other way”.  On the other hand, some county District Attorneys have ordered the closure of dispensaries and instituted arrests of those involved. Their motive is usually political in nature and it is a good bet they will be running for another office in the near future.

Marijuana is a political and moral issue and I pass no judgment, however I can say with confidence that we all know that Fibro meds can be very strong and sometimes pretty severe side effects. I’ve seen many patients in my office who could not tolerate these meds, yet medicinal marijuana got them out of bed, dramatically helped their pain and allowed them to start functioning normally.

As with all meds, Marijuana is not for everybody. Some people will have bad reactions such as increased anxiety, and paranoia.Some are allergic.  For these people Marijuana is a very unpleasant experience and should be avoided. I suppose that this is an example of how we are all wired a little bit differently. I do believe that Marijuana should be taken out of the political arena and looked upon as a possible health aid as there are so many suffering, whose symptoms can be alleviated or at least decreased.

My personal story involves my sister in law who went through horrible chemotherapy and radiation for Breast Cancer, yet Marijuana helped her tremendously to get through the process, she did not lose weight and was able to continue working. It really did wonders for her. I welcome your comments.

__________________________________________________

Some added info that was not in the post originally:

Sixteen states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana: Alaska, Arizona,California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico,  Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont,Virginia, Washington and Washington D.C.

Other countries have their own legalities, in some countries, it is a crime, but if used for medicinal reasons, it is sometimes okay-ed. The best bet is to check the politics and legalities of your particular country and province.

The following link is from wikipedia and is a breadown of the legal status by country:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis_by_country

NORML is an organization where you can get more information on medicinial cannabis, it’s web page is:

http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3376

NORML provides world politics, research links and basically the latest news and information on this topic and is an excellent resource.

The Big Three Fibro Meds!

First an announcement!

Please note: I’ve been working for a few months on setting up a telephone support group for those interested. The idea is to have it weekly for 45 minutes to one hour. I could speak on a topic and then there would be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that all conferences will be recorded and e-mailed to you after the call.  If interested, please e-mail me at fibro@drgenemartin.com and write support group in the description.

Tentatively:  Every Tuesday:          6 PM Pacific

                                                            7 PM Mountain      

                                                            8 PM Central

                                                            9 PM Eastern

Lets speak a bit about the Fibromyalgia drugs on the market. Please keep in mind that Pharmaceutical companies are businesses whose job is to sell meds. These are the three most Common which you hear about.

Lyrica: This is the med you see constantly advertised on television. In fact these days, it has almost become synonymous with Fibromyalgia. So what is Lyrica?

Lyrica is a trade name for Pregabalin, an anti-seizure medication. It is marketed by Pfizer. When the drug was filed with the FDA, it was written up as a help for diabetic pain, neuralgia, epilepsy and Fibromyalgia. Lyrica is one of four drugs which a subsidiary of Pfizer in 2009 pleaded guilty to misbranding “with the intent to defraud or mislead”. Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion  in settlement. Usually you would start on low doses and the effects are supposed to be felt in approximately one week. It appears to help some people, however many others report a whole plethora of side effects causing them to discontinue it’s use. One thing that is important is that if you have been taking Lyrica for a longer period of time, it is essential to not abruptly stop as it can lead to many withdrawal symptoms, including seizures.

Lyrica should not be taken if you have kidney disease, diabetes, congestive heart failure, depression with suicidal thoughts  or bleeding disorders.

Commonly reported side effects are

  • muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness (especially if you also have a fever and feel tired);
  • easy bruising or bleeding; or
  • swelling in your hands or feet, rapid weight gain.
  • dizziness or drowsiness, anxiety;
  • loss of balance or coordination;
  • problems with memory or concentration;
  • dry mouth;
  • skin rash;
  • constipation, stomach pain;
  • increased appetite; or
  • joint or muscle pain.

Cymbalta: This is probably the second most common drug you see advertised for Fibromyalgia. Cymbalta is the trade name and is produced by Ely Lilly. It’s real name is Duloxetine.

Cymbalta is a serotonin-nonepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor, meaning that it is an anti-depressant medication. It was marketed at one time for urinary incontinence, but failed to show any improvement and was not okay-ed by the FDA. It sometimes will help those with nerve pain and Fibromyalgia, but others cannot tolerate it and it’s side effects.

Side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat or runny nose
  • A decreased sex drive 
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Coughing
  • Shakiness (tremors)
  • Muscle pain
  • Sexual side effects, including ejaculation problems, a decreased sex drive (libido), and orgasm problems 
  • Blurred vision
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Weight loss 
  • Hot flashes
  • Yawning
  • Indigestion or Heartburn
  • Muscle spasms
  • The Flu
  • Abnormal dreams.

Again, if for any reason you decide to stop using Cymbalta, you must gradually stop, no “cold turkeyor you will experience withdrawal symptoms which can include irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances,anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy and possible seizures. You must speak to your doctor when stopping this med.

Savella: The new med on the block, it is sold by Cypress Bioscience and it’s real name is Milnacipran. Savella is like Cymbalta in that it is a serotonin-nonepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor, thus it is an anti-depressant medication. Though it might be sold in other countries, Milnacipran has been only okay-ed in the United States for treatment of Fibromyalgia. As with most Fibromyalgia medications, some people will see some improvement while many others have to stop due to the side effects.

Side effects include:

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
  • painful or difficult urination;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, nosebleeds, bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood;
  • severe weakness, seizure (convulsions);
  • chills or goose bumps, memory problems, trouble concentrating,
  • agitation, hallucinations, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting;
  • very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out;
  • high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats); or
  • stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
  • Headache;
  • dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling;
  • swelling in your hands or feet;
  • constipation, upset stomach, bloating;
  • dry mouth;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • hot flashes, sweating;
  • weight changes; or
  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.

You must be careful using this med if you have high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease, glaucoma,  a history of suicidal thoughts, or are allergic to aspirin. This is not a complete list, but Blood and Urine Tests should be done regularly. In fact, with all of the meds mentioned in this blog, it is imperative to have regular blood and urine workups.

As with almost all meds, you must not stop “cold turkey” but have a Doctor help to wean you off, otherwise you might have withdrawal effects.