Podcast: Stories

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 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 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 99: Uncovering Who I Was Meant To Be with Ann Garner Coulter

When you’re healthy, you can be more you and bring your special magic to the world.

Over twenty years ago, when today’s guest Ann Garner Coulter was diagnosed, we were in what Tami describes as the dark ages of fibromyalgia. There were no FDA-approved medications, and it was even more challenging to find a doctor who knew enough about the condition to help. As a result, Ann had very few resources to help her manage her fibromyalgia, and she struggled for a long time. While dealing with those symptoms, including pain consistently in the seven to nine range, Ann continued working full-time but eventually lost her job due to her health.

Around the same time, her young daughter received a ME/CFS diagnosis. Ann stepped in as an advocate for her and discovered a side of herself she never knew existed. That discovery led her to more extensive advocacy work and her decision to become a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®. Ann has a remarkable recovery story, and she’s now taken her pain down to a two or three most days. She’s also returning to work and working her way off of disability.

In this conversation, Tami and Ann discuss Ann’s journey to her fibromyalgia diagnosis over 22 years ago, Ann’s symptoms in the lead up to her diagnosis, what it was like navigating her diagnosis in what Tami calls the dark ages of fibromyalgia, the treatments and therapies Ann tried before finding a doctor who was able to help her, why it’s often hard to find doctors with the proper knowledge and experience, being pregnant with fibromyalgia, dealing with fibromyalgia alongside postpartum depression, working full-time while struggling with fibromyalgia symptoms then losing a job because of her health, why Ann finally filed for disability, how learning to advocate for her daughter helped Ann advocate for herself, Ann’s decision to become a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, what made the most significant difference in turning down her pain, how being a coach and helping other people has helped Ann, the vital role of faith in Ann’s journey, peeling back the layers and finding who she really is, what’s next for Ann, her impactful advocacy work, Ann’s message for someone struggling with fibromyalgia, what to expect from a coaching call with Ann, recognizing that it takes time to heal, and more.

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Episode 89: Adventures Are Still Possible with Melissa Swanson

So often with fibromyalgia, we’re given negative news: there’s no cure, your life has changed, and the list continues. Once again, we’re on a mission to break that trend and show you that there are still adventures for you.

Tami is excited to be joined by Melissa Swanson to share the recent epic hiking adventure that, not too long ago, neither of them would have thought possible. Melissa and Tami met about eight years ago at the Leaders Against Pain Scholarship Training in 2014; since then, so much has changed.

In this episode, Melissa and Tami share what their fibromyalgia symptoms were like when they met, what it was like to have their sole focus be on getting through the day, why Melissa needed to wear sunglasses all the time, how Melissa’s bad knee acted as a trigger for a lot of other pain, the anxiety around having surgery and the potential impact it might have on your fibro, Melissa’s amazing recovery following total knee replacement surgery, the significant improvements Melissa experienced after joining the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program, Tami and Melissa’s recent hiking adventure to the middle of nowhere and navigating “steep but manageable trails,” the surprisingly light after-effects of Tami and Melissa’s adventure, what Tami and Melissa did to boost their recovery, Tami and Melissa’s recognition that they are doing better than they realized, the shifts that made the most significant differences on Melissa’s fibro journey, and more.

After their adventure, Tami and Melissa were blown away by what they could actually accomplish now with their fibromyalgia. We hope their story and journey will inspire you.

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Episode 88: Stories of Hope and Healing #5

There’s so much hope that comes from hearing the healing stories of other people on the fibromyalgia journey. Often, that’s where we first recognize that a better future is possible for us.

Today in our fifth installment of Stories of Hope and Healing, we’re sharing the inspiring stories of four recent graduates of the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program.

On average, this cohort of graduates has improved their FIQR score by 62%. In the individual interviews, you’ll hear each person’s journey.

In this episode, our graduates share how they’ve improved their fibromyalgia over the last few months, the considerable role mental health plays in their healing journey, why even coaches need coaches, a game-changing supplement to transform your sleep, the significant shift that comes from slowing down and being more intentional, why it’s necessary to dig deeper to figure out if all your symptoms are from fibromyalgia, the key insights they found during the program, and more.

We hope this episode inspires you, encourages you, and simply shows you that it is possible to feel better than you do right now.

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Episode 86: From Dying to Better Than Ever with Julie Schiffman

Everyone can get better.

Even in remission, Tami feels that there is always something we can do to feel better on our fibromyalgia journey. And because we have to focus on taking care of ourselves, in many ways, we can get to a place where we feel better than the average person.

Tami is excited to share this interview with Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, Julie Schiffman, where she shares her story of going from thinking she was dying to feeling healthier than ever.

In this episode, Julie talks about her long health journey and years of painful symptoms, her diagnosis with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome over 20 years ago, the mental toll of chronic pain, how to deal with guilt, frustration, and uncertainty around a vague diagnosis, Julie’s medication rollercoaster, finding hope for living a great life with fibromyalgia, why becoming a coach brought Julie so much healing, the confidence that comes with knowing you can control your symptoms, why Julie decided to become a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® after completing the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program, what it looks like to do the best we can with the bodies we have, balancing helping others with taking care of yourself, the deep meaning Julie has found in her life since becoming a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, what it would look like to work with Julie as your coach, and more.

I hope you enjoy this conversation with Julie and that it sparks new ideas and brings you encouragement and inspiration.

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Episode 76: Stories of Hope and Healing #4

In this special episode, you will hear from five women who have found ways to improve their fibromyalgia over the last few months. As you hear their stories, you’ll notice they all have done different things as there’s no one-size-fits-all magic formula. On average, they have improved their Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR) score by 28% — one reduced her score by 41%!

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Episode 67: Fibromyalgia Stories of Hope and Healing #3

On average, the clients interviewed in this episode have reduced the impact of fibromyalgia on their lives by 50%. Their average FIQR scores went from 52 down to 26. In this episode, they share how they were able to accomplish this.

You’ll hear how Dawn took immediate steps to feel better after her diagnosis — and how some tough love from her coach helped her make some necessary changes.

Nichi shares why she chose to hire a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach℠, even though she has one of the top fibromyalgia doctors in the world as her personal physician. She also shares how learning the “why” behind everything helped keep her motivated.

After dealing with fibromyalgia symptoms for 20+ years, Penny discovered just how much there was to learn, and how many ways to feel better that her doctors had never explored with her.

Listen to these interviews and be encouraged on your healing journey!

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