Podcast: Ask the Coach

Episode 130: Ways To Overcome Privilege In Fibromyalgia? Ask The Coach

“How do you propose we help low-income individuals with CFS and fibromyalgia? Self-care and wellness are rooted in privilege, choice, fellowship, support, time, and money to invest in themselves.”

So many people living with chronic illnesses are forced to navigate the issue of how best to support themselves with limited resources. While you’ll often hear Tami talking about coaching and our training programs on this podcast, that’s not everything available in the fibromyalgia community. Tami and other organizations offer many resources that allow people from all income levels to access tools and support to improve their quality of life.

It’s also valuable to recognize that while wellness is often rooted in the privilege of having money to invest in ourselves, self-care doesn’t have to be. Self-care is about how we treat ourselves, and it’s not a direct link to our income level. In today’s Ask The Coach installment, Tami answers how low-income individuals can access help with CFS and fibromyalgia and whether you can still work with a fibro coach if you haven’t been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

In this episode, Tami discusses the connection between wellness, self-care, and privilege, why I believe self-care has nothing to do with your income level, challenges faced by low-income individuals with fibromyalgia who rely on state healthcare programs, free resources and support provided by Tami and the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute, organizations that can help you implement the suggestions for improving your symptoms, patient assistance programs that can help with covering the cost of medications, tips for accessing lower-cost options for supplements and services, advocacy and support offered through organizations like Support Fibromyalgia Network, Fibromyalgia Care Society of America, and the Sherri Little Foundation, how you can advocate for fibromyalgia awareness and support, working with a fibromyalgia coach without a fibro diagnosis, training to work with conditions outside of fibromyalgia, and more.

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Episode 120: How Do You Do It All? Ask the Coach

“How do you do it all?”

This question came up during one of Tami’s Ask Me Anything sessions during our annual alumni retreat, and it was so good that she decided to bring it to the podcast.

Before we get into the details, the short answer is Tami doesn’t do it all! At first glance, it’s easy to compare your life to what you see others doing. The problem with that is we tend to forget that we’re only seeing their highlight reel. You never know everything that’s going on behind the scenes at the deep level that you know your own life. On top of that, Tami’s fibromyalgia has been in remission for years, and it took a lot of work to get there. It doesn’t make sense to compare your everyday fibro life with that.

With that context in mind, in this episode, Tami shares how she chooses where to focus her energy and what to prioritize. She’s discussing the importance of making choices to prioritize the things that move you forward, how I learned to be intentional about choosing what to do, what it means to say no to say yes, the challenges of choosing between two good options, how to add more joy into your life, recognizing that you need to choose one habit to build at a time, why it’s worth it to prioritize improving your sleep quality, delegating tasks that are not in your zone of genius, offloading tasks in your personal life, how you can reduce your load with minimal resources, embracing imperfections in life, seeking support from others to reach your goals, the difference between talking to a coach versus a friend, finding the right professional help, and more.

As you continue to move forward into the life that you want to have, don’t be afraid to take a step back. Sometimes, that’s precisely what you need.

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Episode 113: Help Your Doctor Help You with Dr. Ginevra Liptan

As patients, we must take control of some aspects of our health care to get what we need.

Many fibromyalgia patients are familiar with the feeling that we know more about fibromyalgia than our healthcare providers do. How can you get help from someone who knows less about your condition than you? When you combine that feeling with the broken healthcare system in the US and things like fibro fog, many of us leave our appointments feeling like we’re no better off than when we went in.

Today’s episode is a segment from our July Fibromyalgia Stories of Hope and Healing event featuring our special guest commencement speaker, Dr. Ginevra Liptan. In her speech, Dr. Ginevra breaks down the three main friction points and how you, as a patient, can help overcome them and help your doctor to help you.

Dr. Ginevra discusses the knowledge gap between healthcare providers and patients and how it impacts fibromyalgia treatment, challenges of the fragmented and struggling US healthcare system, how fibro fog and other fibro factors affect the patient-doctor interaction, how resources like The FibroManual can help you bring the correct information to your provider, taking a curious, collaborative approach to your relationship with your healthcare provider, Dr. Ginevra’s tips for getting around the fragmented and siloed healthcare system, why you might want to request an extended appointment, the benefits of telemedicine especially for fibromyalgia patients, how you can maximize your appointment time regardless of fibro fog, why you should consider tracking your symptoms, taking control of certain aspects of your healthcare to ensure you receive the necessary support and treatment, and more.

In addition to these tips, studies have shown that the more you work with a coach, the better your results will be. A Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® can help you prepare for your doctor visits and implement what your doctor has asked you to do. You don’t have to take this journey alone.

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Episode 112: Becoming an Empowered Patient with Gisèle McDiarmid

Having been through the Western medical system for 20 years without meaningful change, Gisèle McDiarmid decided to take her health into her own hands. She felt the need to explore further and find specialists who knew about invisible illnesses, and she finally received a diagnosis and the help she needed to rebuild her health.

With that, she finally had enough energy to focus on empowering herself to maintain her health and well-being as much as possible without invasive interventions. That’s when she learned about the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute (IFC) and our Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program.

Today Tami welcomes Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® Gisèle McDiarmid to share her experience in our training programs. In this conversation, Gisèle and Tami discuss Gisèle’s journey with fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivities, and chronic fatigue syndrome, the struggle to find the right treatments and support, the importance of self-care and learning to prioritize your own wellbeing, the benefits of working with a coach, how Gisèle discovered the IFC and her decision to become a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, empowering yourself with knowledge and communication tools for doctors, the ins and outs of fibromyalgia, its symptoms, and management strategies, how having a support group can make a huge difference in your quality of life, what made the program pandemic-proof, how self-care benefits us and those around us, benefits of becoming a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, two of Gisèle’s client success stories with breast implant illness and long COVID, the value of having a coach that truly understands the experiences and challenges faced by fibromyalgia patients, recognizing that it is possible to have a better quality of life if you’re committed to taking better care of yourself, and more.

For both Tami and Gisèle, being a coach has been their secret weapon in managing their fibromyalgia and helping others. No matter where you are now, don’t give up. You can find the right tools and support to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

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Episode 111: Understanding Insurance Coverage w/ Dr. Chelsea Liebowitz

As coaches, we get a lot of questions from people trying to understand their insurance coverage. From prior authorizations to deductibles, coinsurance, and patient assistance, many moving parts need to align to maximize our healthcare benefits.

To help gain some clarity around all things insurance, Tami is joined by Doctor of Pharmacy Dr. Chelsea Liebowitz. A pain patient herself, Dr. Chelsea also works for an insurance company making determinations on prior authorizations and helping with self-funded plans.

In this conversation, Dr. Chelsea and Tami discuss her pharmacy background, understanding the open enrollment period, defining common insurance terms such as deductible and copay, the relationship between your premium and your deductible, recognizing that the best plan really depends on how you utilize healthcare, differentiating between an HMO and a PPO and why a PPO is often better for someone with chronic illness, why insurance plans vary widely from one employer or individual to another, how to find out if your medications and treatments are covered when choosing your insurance, when a secondary insurance plan can be helpful, understanding drug tiers and how copay cards work, applying to a drug manufacturer for patient assistance, why you might need prior authorization for certain medications, getting insurance on the exchange, the benefits of working with an insurance broker, the prior authorization process, how you can increase your odds of having certain medications and procedures approved by your insurance company, Dr. Chelsea’s advice for reducing your headache woes, options to consider when insurance doesn’t cover your medication, and more.

While this discussion focuses on the US healthcare system, many of the ideas and concepts apply to other countries and healthcare options. If you’re confused and overwhelmed by all the insurance options, this episode is for you.

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Episode 110: New Medications for Fibromyalgia w/ Dr. Seth Lederman: Ask the Coach

One of the questions Tami gets most often is, “When are we going to have new fibromyalgia treatment options?” With only three FDA-approved fibromyalgia medications, many of us are on the alert for new options to address our symptoms better.

To answer that question, Tami invited Dr. Seth Lederman, CEO and founder of Tonix, to talk about the fibromyalgia medication currently in phase three trials, TNX-102 SL. Dr. Lederman has dedicated his career to fibromyalgia research and has worked on this drug for almost 25 years. Today he’s sharing all the details about how TNX-102 SL could help fibromyalgia patients and walking us through the process of developing a new medication.

In this conversation, Tami and Dr. Lederman talk about the process of creating a new medication and the FDA approval process, the significant challenges in the medication creation process, TNX-102 SL – the new fibromyalgia medication Dr. Lederman has been working on for almost 25 years, how TNX-102 SL is different and improved over Flexeril, the importance of improving sleep quality for fibromyalgia patients, the benefits of improved sleep quality, unrefreshing sleep in fibromyalgia patients and how it relates to the pain perception system, the current phase three trial of TNX-102 SL and how you can find out more, next steps after the successful completion the current study, preliminary results showing the positive effects of TNX-102 SL on the quality of life of fibromyalgia patients, the overlap between long COVID and fibromyalgia, the varied factors that can lead to the development of fibromyalgia, a new drug under development for depression that could also have activity in fibromyalgia, positive progress in fibromyalgia research and treatment, Dr. Lederman’s message for you, and more.

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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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Episode 90: FDA-Approved Fibromyalgia Medications: Ask the Coach

“I’d like to try Lyrica, but I worry about if I ever had to come off. Should I try it?”

For today’s Ask The Coach episode, I’m answering this question sent in by Sarah in the UK.

When treating fibromyalgia, we have to attack it from two sides. The first is addressing the fibromyalgia itself and the amplification of pain signals; the second is treating the pain that your fibromyalgia amplifies.

In most cases, fibromyalgia medications are more helpful than harmful and can be a valuable tool to break the pain cycle.

That said, the question of medications is complex and impossible to cover in detail in a podcast episode. Tami’s primary focus for this answer will be on fibromyalgia medications that address the amplification of pain signals, how they work, and the most important aspects you’ll want to consider.

In this episode, Tami discusses the FDA-approved medications for fibromyalgia, the fact that no single drug is capable of managing all fibromyalgia symptoms, Tami’s two-pronged approach to treating fibromyalgia, the main goal of fibromyalgia medications, Lyrica’s history and previous versions, how Lyrica and Neurontin work to reduce our experience of our pain, common side effects of Lyrica, physical dependency versus addiction, how serotonin and norepinephrine affect pain levels, why the anti-depressants Savella and Cymbalta also help to address fibromyalgia symptoms, the mode of action of other anti-depressants that are sometimes prescribed for fibromyalgia, Cymbalta is known for being challenging to come off of, the importance of very slowly weaning off of medications, the gradual process Tami used when she was ready to come off of her medications, why we hear more stories about negative experiences, the fact that there’s no morality in taking medication, and more.

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Episode 74: Something Is Better Than Nothing

I’m so excited to be bring you this first new episode of 2022!
Today, we’re going to be talking a little bit about perfectionism. Specifically, how it’s actually holding you back from feeling as good as you could.
In this episode, I share some examples where perfectionism may have gotten in your way, how the social media highlight reels of others helps fuel our desire for our lives to be perfect, my own experience letting perfectionism get in the way of my doctor-recommended diet, the exercise I want you to perform to gauge how often perfectionism is getting in your way, my wish and goal for you in 2022, a quote from Teddy Roosevelt that perfectly sums up today’s topic, and more.

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Episode 73: When Everything Goes Wrong

Do you ever have those days or periods in your life where it seems like everything is going wrong? If so, you’re not alone.

That’s why, this week, Tami is talking about what she does when everything goes wrong for her.

In this episode, Tami shares how it’s okay to not be okay, the stressful situation she’s been experiencing with her beloved cat that has resulted in more than one sleepless night, how it can be a struggle to find a balance between our reality of experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms and not giving into negativity, the main thing she does when everything is going wrong, how she takes care of the essentials during these times, the bio hacks involving brain chemistry she utilizes to help her get through times when things go wrong, the difference between a coach and counselor (and which one might be more appropriate for you), and more.

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