Episode 109: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: When Typical Treatments Fail with Gisèle McDiarmid

With the lack of awareness and education about fibromyalgia, many of us go through years of chronic health issues without finding answers. You might even find that the medications, supplements, and treatments that are supposed to help you to get better are making you worse.

Today’s guest, Gisèle McDiarmid, went through all of that, and today she’s sharing what she uncovered that made all the difference. While her health deteriorated over 20 years, Gisèle received multiple diagnoses and treatment options, but nothing worked. So what do you do when everything makes you feel worse?

In this conversation, Gisèle and Tami talk about Gisèle’s life as a nurse, mother, and caregiver, managing her Hashimoto’s diagnosis, her deteriorating health and experience with injuries, chronic infections and allergic reactions, severe reactions to flu shots and what she learned about her ability to tolerate vaccines, why fibromyalgia awareness and education are so important, Gisèle’s health crash which turned out to be a massive fibro flare, the long journey to receiving her fibromyalgia diagnosis, her struggles with conventional medications and natural treatments, unlearning her disconnected body mindset, the power of tuning in and recognizing that you and your body are on the same side, learning about multiple chemical and environmental sensitivity, common triggers of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), why we need to become aware of our individual body burdens and all the things we’re exposed to, the increase in MCS diagnosis worldwide, why green initiatives matter, resources you can use if you think you may have MCS, Gisèle’s message for you, and more.

If it feels like nothing is working for you, Gisèle and Tami hope that her story gives you some new ideas of things to try. Always remember that it doesn’t matter if other people don’t believe you as long as you know what you’re going through is real. Even when we have a chronic illness, our life isn’t over. Gisèle went from a crisis to living a full life again, and you can do it too.

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Episode 108: Invisible: The Documentary That Makes Fibromyalgia Visible with Director Nick Demos

Everyone with fibromyalgia understands how challenging it can be to explain the invisible pain and fatigue that comes with it. Despite affecting millions of people, there’s still a lack of understanding and awareness about fibromyalgia. That’s where the documentary “Invisible” comes in.

Through personal stories and expert interviews, “Invisible” explores the impact of fibromyalgia on people’s lives and the challenges caused by the lack of understanding and research. For today’s episode, filmmaker Nick Demos joins Tami to discuss his feature documentary on fibromyalgia, Invisible. Nick and Tami have been waiting to do this interview ever since they began working on the film eight years ago. Not wanting to give away the ending before people could watch, a lot had to be kept secret during the production process. Now, they finally get to talk about it publicly.

In this conversation, Nick and Tami talk about how Nick became involved with the making of Invisible, its evolution into a documentary about the fibromyalgia community, challenges with finding men when casting the film, how the perception of fibro as a woman’s disease has contributed to the lack of research and understanding, the difficulty balancing creating a piece of art with making a film that would educate and inspire action, Nick’s on-camera life-changing diagnosis, the unfairness of being discriminated against for something outside your control, why this film is vital to the fibro community, Tami’s experience being a part of the film, why it was especially tricky to visually explore stories about an invisible illness, why community is essential, why Tami and Nick consider some aspects of fibromyalgia as a gift, what most surprised Nick while making the film, the truth behind the lack of research on fibromyalgia, upcoming premiere events, how Nick manages his fibromyalgia, Nick’s message for you, and more.

Invisible is the film that the fibro community has wanted and needed, and we know you’ll love it.

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Episode 107: What To Trust Online… AI and ChatGPT

With the sheer volume of information online, it can be challenging to know which sources are legitimate. Since ChatGPT’s launch in December 2022, we must be even more careful.

While it’s an incredibly useful tool for increasing efficiency for writing blog posts, generating book outlines, and more, the problem lies with the fact that it will create a response to whatever you prompt, regardless of the facts, potentially spreading misleading information.

Since many of us search for information about our health online, it’s crucial that we know that the sources we turn to are reliable. For today’s episode, Tami shares tips to help you understand who you can trust online. Tami talks about what you need to know about ChatGPT and information generated by AI, why adding the human element is critical, creative, and valuable ways ChatGPT is being used in different industries, how to figure out whether an information source is trustworthy, recognizing that the title of “doctor” doesn’t always equate to expert, website red flags, why it’s worth it to take a closer look at the underlying data and sources, tips on how to figure out which studies are valid, what you can learn by cross-referencing articles, being wary of content that’s overselling or over-generalized, building a list of trusted sources, how to use AI effectively, and more.

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Episode 106: When Life Implodes with Dr. Ginevra Liptan

Fibromyalgia can feel like an endless taking away of things. Whether you’re newly diagnosed and struggling to find your way, or you think you have it all figured out, boom, life happens.

We’ve all had hopes and dreams that ultimately died or were taken away. Living your best life doesn’t mean avoiding anything terrible happening – that’s impossible. Instead, the key is knowing how to take care of yourself when life implodes.

For this episode, Tami interviewed Dr. Ginevra Liptan, fibromyalgia specialist and author of The Fibro Manual and the Fibro Food Formula. While in medical school, Dr. Ginevra was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has since devoted her career to helping other fibro patients. With all her expertise, it’s easy to assume her fibro would be permanently under control, but none of us are immune from life’s ups and downs. In this conversation, Tami and Dr. Ginevra discuss how Dr. Ginevra’s life fell apart during the pandemic, dealing with the worst fibro flare since she first got sick, the power of reconnecting with your deeper purpose, Dr. Ginevra’s drive to help people with fibromyalgia, giving yourself the grace to slowly build the pattern of accomplishing things, figuring out who you are after your diagnosis, finding meaning and direction from the pain, how Frida Kahlo has inspired Dr. Ginevra, why therapy was life-changing after her divorce, how to separate your vision from your purpose, what it was like for Dr. Ginevra to lose the Freedom Center so close to getting her divorce, the struggle to find a new identity after a life implosion, why Dr. Ginevra doesn’t identify with the typical Western medical doctor-patient dynamic, the terrible experience Dr. Ginevra had when taking her son to the doctor to investigate potential fibro symptoms, her work to help other doctors improve their standard of care for fibro patients, how you can help your doctor help you, why so many primary care doctors are burned out, the magic combination of a fibromyalgia health coach with a fibromyalgia doctor, Dr. Ginevra’s message for anyone dealign with a life implosion, and more.

If you’re struggling on your fibro journey, Tami hopes today’s interview will help you feel less alone. Be kind to yourself, take advantage of every available resource, and take small steps toward your goals. Brighter days are possible, and there can be a silver lining to the clouds you face.

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Episode 105: Talk To Your Doctor Effectively with Dr. Andrea Chadwick

Having good conversations with doctors can be difficult for many fibromyalgia patients. Whether it’s dealing with fibro fog or the fear of being labeled as a drug seeker, we often leave these interactions without feeling understood or confident in the action plan.

So how do we have better conversations with our doctors? Finding the right practitioner and arming yourself with tools to support you during your appointment.

Today Tami is joined by Dr. Andrea Chadwick to talk about current fibromyalgia research, the hallmarks of a good doctor, and simple strategies to get the most out of your doctor visits. In this episode, Tami and Dr. Chadwick discuss why she chose to work with chronic pain, the mission behind Dr. Chadwick’s Fibromyalgia and Centralized Pain Exploration Lab, the overlap between fibro and other chronic pain conditions, why it’s essential to tell our stories, research into how and why heat therapy helps with pain, advocacy for fibromyalgia research, the value of recording your pain journey and details of interventions you’ve tried, the types of conversations Dr. Chadwick has with new patients, figuring out your goals for your therapeutic relationship, how you can create space for grace, finding the version of you that works best in your fibromyalgia body, getting comfortable with moving on from a doctor who isn’t a good fit, how Dr. Chadwick became involved wth Swing Care and what you can expect from their virtual clinic, the advantages of telehealth, how you can register your interest in Swing Care expanding to serve your area, Dr. Chadwick’s message for people struggling to find good doctors, bonus resources you can use to make doctor visits easier, and more.

Dr. Chadwick wants you to know that there’s hope out there, and you can advocate for yourself to get better care. Getting better with fibromyalgia is a journey and a process. Trust the process, and more importantly, trust yourself.

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Episode 104: Step Into Your Purpose with Katy Suik

“If it’s in you, it’s for you.” – Katy Suik

With fibromyalgia, we can’t do things the way we used to. That can trigger a loss of purpose and identity. “Who am I when I can’t do this? Can I still contribute?”

While we tend to think of our purpose as a single thing that will make our lives perfect, the reality is much more expansive. Purpose is not external to you. It’s about tuning into yourself and aligning with what’s already in you. When you lean into who you are, what’s meant for you will find you.

Today Tami is joined by Certified Professional Coach Katy Suik to talk about uncovering your higher purpose. Katy believes we are all born with the seeds of purpose within us, and it’s our job to nurture those seeds to help make the world a better place. In this episode, Tami and Katy talk about how Katy’s quest to find herself led to developing a career helping others overcome their limitations and unpacking their purpose, the gifts that come through our experiences, recognizing that purpose is multifaceted, the connection between identity and purpose, reclaiming your power utilizing Katy’s pebble in a pond model, the danger of putting too much emphasis on what you do versus who you are, the difference between egotism and self-love, what you can expect from Katy’s upcoming free Entrepreneurial Purpose & Prosperity Masterclass, why many of us get stuck in a stagnant place, the three pillars that will be covered in the masterclass, the power of seeing real-life examples of people living in their purpose, what to do if you feel like you’re made for something more, Tami’s Joy List activity, shutting down your inner critic, why it’s helpful to have a coach on the journey with you, Katy’s message for you, and more.

When we feel worthy and love ourselves in a celebratory way, we can bring so much wonderfulness to this world. Whatever the circumstances in your life, you get to have the life of your dreams.

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Episode 103: Thyroid Disease and Fibromyalgia with Dr. Kaley Bourgeois

Treating your thyroid is a critical piece of managing fibromyalgia. It’s so crucial that Tami dedicates a whole week of the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® training program to teaching about thyroid.

It’s also an issue that’s near and dear to Tami’s heart because it’s a significant part of her story. After years of classic thyroid symptoms being dismissed because her labs were “normal,” Tami was fortunate to discuss the problem with her fibromyalgia doctor, who ordered a full thyroid panel. That was when they discovered that she had Hashimoto’s, and treating it was a major step forward in getting her fibromyalgia under control.

Today Tami has invited her thyroid doctor, Dr. Kaley Bourgeois, to the podcast to talk about thyroid issues in fibromyalgia patients. In this conversation, Tami and Dr. B discuss what the thyroid is and what it does, what thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) signals, common symptoms of hypothyroidism, why Hashimoto’s is often missed, why Dr. B always includes thyroid screening for her fibro patients, how thyroid hormones are made, the role of T3 and T4 in your body, why it’s common for fibro patients to have issues converting T4 to T3, Dr. B’s recommendation to ask for a full thyroid panel with antibodies, huge differences between optimal versus lab ranges, treating thyroid issues, what you need to know about iodine, the three essential thyroid nutrients, considerations for thyroid hormone therapy, different medication options, why medicine needs to be individualized, your thyroid needs shift throughout your life, how to find the right practitioner for you, why most doctors aren’t well-versed in treating thyroid conditions, dietary changes to support your thyroid, lifestyle and nutritional factors to avoid, and more.

If you’ve ever had a doctor tell you that your thyroid is normal despite your symptoms, Dr. B is here to share why your doctor probably doesn’t know how to treat your thyroid and the steps you can take to move forward on your healing journey.

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Episode 102: When Children Feel Pain with Dr. Anna Wilson and Rachel Rabkin Peachman

One out of five children in the US suffers chronic pain.

From the prick of a vaccine to stomach pain, headaches, and chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, children’s pain is being undertreated. Today Tami is joined by Dr. Anna Wilson and Rachel Rabkin Peachman to discuss the research on pediatric pain and simple ways you can help children manage their pain. Anna and Rachel are the authors of When Children Feel Pain: From Everyday Aches to Chronic Conditions, a powerful book that covers a wide range of pain-related topics in children.

In this conversation, Tami, Rachel, and Anna discuss why Rachel and Anna became interested in researching children’s pain, how they first found each other and connected over their overlapping pursuits, limitations of the ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) framework, the increasing cultural awareness of the impact of medical trauma, what research shows about non-verbal signs of pain in babies and infants, the problem with clinicians relying on physiological pain symptoms alone, shocking statistics on the number of children having chronic pain, how Anna and Rachel are hoping to improve the long-term outcomes for children feeling pain, the horrifying stories of babies in recent history getting surgery without anesthesia, how long it takes for breakthroughs in research to move into practice, teaching kids the tools to cope with pain through needle pricks, Tami’s insights from the way her body reacted to the traumatic stories shared in When Children Feel Pain, what research shows about babies’ bodies storing the memories of painful events, the non-genetic connection between kids and parents with chronic pain, how parents can create empowering messaging around pain for their children, why coaching is so helpful for navigating these situations, resources for parents with kids dealing with pain, why it’s crucial to manage your child’s pain, the issue of diagnostic uncertainty, tools parents can use, Rachel and Anna’s messages of hope for parents and children living with chronic pain, and more.

As someone who felt alone as a child in pain, Tami believes anyone who influences young lives can benefit from reading the book. While it’s a hard truth to read in places, it’s also full of hope and offers practical suggestions for what we can do to change the future.

Each exposure to pain builds on the last, and it’s never too late to course-correct.

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Episode 101: Stories of Hope and Healing #6

When we hear stories we can relate to, it brings hope that healing is possible for us.

In the sixth installment of our Stories of Hope and Healing, Tami shares the stories of three recent graduates of the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program. During the program, these women improved their fibromyalgia symptoms by an average of 51% in only three months. That’s right in line with the improvement we typically see with our graduates.

What would your life look like if you cut your symptoms in half? What could you do that you can’t do now? Today’s graduates prove that you can go beyond your limitations once you know them.

Today you’ll hear from three real people who have fibromyalgia about their experiences. They share their history with fibro, why they decided to join the program, and the impact it’s had on their lives.

In this episode, Tami interviews graduates Kerstin, Laura and Tamy and they share the differences between listening to the podcast and being a part of the classes in the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program, why working with a coach made all the difference for Kerstin, what it was like for Kerstin – a fitness coach herself – to be coached, why Kerstin fired her doctor, the fibro knowledge and personal choices that brought about Kerstin’s 10% improvement in her symptoms, the supplements that have helped Kerstin on her healing journey, Kertin’s top two tips, Tamy’s experience feeling stuck on the struggle bus, how the program helped Tamy reconnect with her authenticity as a wellness coach, why getting vulnerable was a crucial element in Tamy’s fibro journey, what it means to build your fibro team, recognizing that it’s normal for your needs to evolve along your healing journey, working through self-care guilt, the factors that helped Tamy to decrease her severe symptoms by 51%, dealing with breast implant illness alongside fibromyalgia, Tamy’s message to other people who feel like they’re on the struggle bus, why Laura took the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program a second time, why Laura decided that going forward she wants to have a coach for the long haul, budgeting your time and making the space to care for yourself so you can live the life you want, the elements that helped Laura to improve her symptoms by 75%, acknowledging that many of us need external accountabilty, and more.

Tami’s wish is that hearing their stories will give you some new ideas you can take back and share with your doctors and some encouragement and hope that you can feel better too.

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Episode 100: Can a Coach Help ME? Ask the Coach

So much healing happens when you talk to somebody who truly understands you.

One of the more common questions Tami receives is a variation of “Can you actually help me?” Sometimes this comes up because you’re worried that you’re too sick; sometimes, it’s the opposite. Maybe you’ve tried so many things that you’re afraid to get your hopes up and try something new. At the core, all these questions come up because people feel uncertain about whether fibromyalgia coaching would work for their unique situation.

For today’s episode, Tami talks through the most common questions about working with a fibromyalgia coach and shares the key areas to think about when considering whether to work with a coach. Her intention for today is to help you gain clarity on what might be the right choice for you.

In this conversation, Tami shares the core principle of fibromyalgia coaching, what it means for a coaching relationship to be client-led, the two elements that must be in place for you to see positive results from coaching, what to do if your resources are limited, why working with a coach is the best way to see results, remembering that scheduling a consultation is only a commitment for showing up for that consultation – nothing more, what you can expect from fibromyalgia coaching, how a coach can support you in different phases of your health journey, how long it takes to see results, the typical level of improvement Tami sees with her clients, the critical distinction between a coach and a doctor, what it would look like to have a fibromyalgia coach on your team, the advantages of working with someone who understands what you’re going through from personal experience, what a coach is not, who is a good fit for hiring a coach, and more.

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