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Podcast: Stories

Episode 127: Fibromyalgia Stories of Hope & Healing #8

Most of us with fibromyalgia have to spend a lot of physical and emotional energy teaching the people in our lives about our condition. From friends and family to doctors and coaches, it can be draining.

That’s just one of the ways working with a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® transformational. It’s invaluable to have someone in your corner who knows what you’re going through because they’ve been there and have the tools to guide and support you.

What would it be like to improve your quality of life significantly? How would your life change if you could improve your symptoms by 50%?

Today, in the eighth installment of our Stories of Hope and Healing, Tami shares inspiring excerpts from our January 2024 event. You’ll hear from four graduates about their stories and how they’ve been able to improve their fibromyalgia symptoms. On average, our graduates improve their symptoms by about 50% during the three-month program, and many people’s lives look dramatically different today than they did before starting.

In this episode, you’ll hear about Julie’s diagnosis and how she went from years of just one to two down days per year to four years of barely being able to get out of bed, why the journey of becoming a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® was transformational for Julie, learning to give yourself grace on your bad days, why Julie wrote Chronic Illness at Work, her passion for advocating for the fibromyalgia and chronic illness communities, how she’s set and surpassed goals she never believed she ever could, the importance of setting goals and celebrating your successes, why Kaylynne ultimately decided to join the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program, what surprised her (as a skeptic) about working with her fibro coach Brenda, why being able to address her fatigue had a massive knock-on effect on many areas of her life, prioritizing your energy for restoring yourself, the changes that made the biggest impact on improving her fibromyalgia symptoms, developing a positive relationship with your body, Kaylynne’s message to high achievers and perfectionists who are struggling with their fibromyalgia, Viktoriia’s early symptoms of fibromyalgia and how traumatic events in her life made it more difficult to manage, her move to Canada and search for relief from her increasing symptoms, the huge reduction in symptoms Viktoriia experienced after joining the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program and working with fibro coaches, the series of difficult events and experiences that led Viktoriia to join the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program for a second time and what she did differently, her recognition that she has to actively choose to support her body every day, Viktoriia’s new approach to life management, the tools that have made the most significant impact on her fibromyalgia, the impact of food on her well-being, how her coach Robin helped her with emotional overwhelm and her mental health, the challenges of managing stress and emotions, letting go of perfection, Deb’s decision to become a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, how changing her approach resulted in an improvement in symptoms of 68%, the value of experimentation and her experiences working with clients, what it’s like living with an invisible illness, why being a coach helps you with your fibromyalgia, the significance of focus and tools to manage fibromyalgia symptoms, focusing on living in the current body you’re in and making necessary changes for managing fibromyalgia, reducing stress and allowing time for the body to heal, how you can join the next Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program, what you can expect from the course, and more.

If you’re looking for ways to feel better, you’ll be inspired to hear their stories.

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Episode 124: One-Year Breakthrough To Fibromyalgia Healing With Kim Osborne

We often underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. The goal can seem so massive that we think we’ll never get there and don’t even bother to try.

That’s why it’s so important to hear stories of hope from people who have been where you are. There is so much you can do in a year; whether or not you go for it, the year will go by. It’s up to you to decide what you want to do between now and then.

Today, we’re having a special bonus episode where Kim Osborne, a current student in our Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® training program, joins Tami. In September 2022, when Kim came to Tami, she was struggling. She was at the end of her rope and didn’t know what else to try. Many of the things that used to help her cope weren’t working for her anymore, and even with her training as a health coach and yoga instructor, she was still feeling miserable. In this episode, Kim shares what worked for her and how her life transformed over the past year.

In this conversation, Tami and Kim discuss Kim’s fibromyalgia diagnosis and the start of her journey, her experience with prescribed medications and struggle with the recommendations from her rheumatologist, the downward slide many of us experience where our lives get smaller and smaller, why Kim decided to explore alternative solutions including seeking a fibromyalgia coach, the decisive moment when you realize life can get better, the feeling of finding hope and support in a community who truly understands you, the powerful impact of being coached by the right person, surprising lessons that came from working with Kim’s fibromyalgia coach, Robin, the drastic difference between a trip Robin took a year ago and again this year, being open to changing goals and expectations when we recognize what our bodies need, Kim’s progress in the past year, the importance of taking action between now and the future, recognizing the real role of a coach, why seeing a functional medicine doctor was game changing for Kim, the subtle difference between wanting to fix fibro and wanting to help yourself feel as good as possible, why Kim decided to take the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® course instead of only working with a coach, Kim’s plans for the upcoming year, her experience working with clients during her Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® internship, remembering that each person’s fibromyalgia journey is unique, Kim’s message of hope and encouragement if you’re struggling with your fibromyalgia journey, and more.

If you don’t have your own hope, borrow Kim’s. You can find ways to feel better, and we would love to help.

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Episode 122: Generational Trauma with Ruschelle Khanna, LCSW

Family stories play a crucial role in shaping our beliefs about health, work, and other aspects of life. In previous episodes, we’ve talked about the way traumatic experiences can impact your health and fibromyalgia. Today, we’re taking it a step further and exploring how the traumatic events that happened to your ancestors can affect your wellbeing.

You may have a family story about a great-aunt who is always sick and uses that to escape family obligations. Or maybe you watched your grandfather work himself to the point of illness. Even positive stories can get twisted over time; either way, they matter. They impact our relationship with our bodies, health, money, and even the world around us. The important thing is we can change those stories.

Today, Tami is joined by Ruschelle Khanna, a licensed clinical social worker and executive coach, to share her expertise on generational trauma. In this episode, Tami and Ruschelle discuss how Ruschelle came to do this work, how generational trauma can impact fibromyalgia and overall wellbeing, why Ruschelle decided to write her book, the concept of inheriting memories and traumatic experiences, Ruschelle’s experience with fear stemming from her mother’s early memories, the impact of family stories and peripheral experiences on generational trauma, how trauma affects the fascia and its connection to fibromyalgia pain, a recent example from a client of Ruschelle’s demonstrating the release of stored emotions through somatic therapy, how trauma affects the body’s flow of energy and information, looking at whether the muscular system, hormonal system, and energetic systems are flowing correctly, parallels between money management and fibromyalgia symptoms, the connection between strained family relationships, childhood trauma, and the development of chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia, what to do if your family isn’t supportive, why you need fo focus on and cultivate the areas where life is supporting you, talking to your body and acknowledging the thoughts and sensations in different body parts, why tapping is an excellent modality for working on the physical aspects of generational trauma, tracing family narratives and rewriting memories, where to find a genealogist or family constellation therapist for help in addressing generational trauma, the difference between coaching and therapy, healing through writing and connecting with ancestors, and more.

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Episode 121: A Gentler Way to Exercise with Fibromyalgia with Katarina Lotrič

For a lot of us with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses, working on our fitness comes in bursts. We’re told exercise is good for us, but when we go out and do what ordinary people do, it’s too much, and we crash. Then, that cycle repeats itself over and over.

Tami has found a tool that helped her and many of her students and coaches to shift away from this up-and-down cycle and into a healthy relationship with being active. It’s an app called Gentler Streak, and she’s been using it over the last year, during which it’s proven valuable for managing fibromyalgia symptoms while increasing fitness levels.

One of the things Tami loves most about Gentler Streak is that it’s more accurately in tune with how she feels and her normal versus a standard that might apply to someone who doesn’t have fibromyalgia.

Today, Tami is joined by Katarina Lotrič, co-founder and CEO of Gentler Stories, the creators behind the app. Katarina and Tami talk about the story behind the creation of Gentler Streak, recognizing that everybody’s normal is different, the unique features of Gentler Streak that make it suitable for individuals with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses, the evolution of Gentler Streak to focusing on a holistic approach to activity and wellbeing, challenges with existing health and fitness apps, making room for balance and self-compassion, launching the Gentler Streak app, privacy and how the app works with your Health app, the metrics that are tracked in the wellbeing section of the app, why the decision was made to use sleeping heart rate, the limitations of heart rate variability on the Apple Watch, factors that can impact your sleeping heart rate, how Gentler Streak determines when you’re doing too much activity, insights that can be drawn from heart rate data, the ongoing improvement of the algorithm and the app, tracking other activities and exercise minutes, why it’s important to log your activities at exercises, the special offer you can take advantage of for two free months of Gentler Streak, the important of getting good data in the app, feedback from Tami’s students and coaches about the app, becoming your own companion, how Gentler Streak can help you to treat yourself with kindness, why there isn’t an Android version of the app at the moment, why Tami checks the wellbeing tab in Gentler Streak first thing in the morning, how Tami tracks activity in Gentler Streak, Tami’s goal for using the app, and more.

Tami is so excited to share about Gentler Streak because it’s a gentle and fibro-friendly way to track physical exercise and body movement, and it does it without making you push too hard or feel like you’re not doing enough.

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Episode 116: Do More Making & Crafting with Jenni Grover

When we have an interest or a passion, but we’re not pursuing it, we don’t feel good.

Creativity is a vital part of wellness; for many people, it helps them manage their illness and feel better. No matter how you’re feeling, it’s important to know that staying creative and vibrant is possible.

Today, Tami welcomes Wellness Coach Jenni Grover to talk about how you can do more crafting, making, and creating. Jenni has a passion for making sure that people get to keep being themselves and expressing themselves through their creativity while also taking good care of their bodies.

In this conversation, Tami and Jenni discuss why Jenni created her ChronicBabe project, her passion for helping people feel better despite chronic illness, why she made the shift to being a wellness coach, the connection between physical and mental health and creativity, what it has been like for Jenni to adapt her life to support her love for writing without sacrificing her health, why we need to let ourselves evolve to meet our current circumstances, embracing a growth mindset, the vast difference it makes when we surround ourselves with supportive individuals from friends and family to a coach, how to getting started with accessible crafts, getting out of the comparison trap, pacing strategies and making sure you’re honoring them, tips for staying creative on low-energy days, how timers help with preventing burnout and maintaining productivity, balancing urgency and context, being intentional about taking breaks and enlisting the help of others, the empowering feeling of making conscious choices, two pacing tools Jenni loves, practical ways to get back to making things again, taking care of your brain which is your most important tool, finding balance in self-care, finding beauty in everyday life and how it can inspire creativity, what it’s like to work with Jenni as a wellness coach, and more.

Even if you’re not a crafter or a maker, Tami and Jenni’s conversation can apply to any project and fibro life in general.

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Episode 115: Fibromyalgia Stories of Hope & Healing #7 (Certified Coaches)

A certified Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® is not a doctor. We can’t prescribe or diagnose, but we can help fill the gap in fibro knowledge for you and your doctors. IFC graduates have received hundreds of hours of fibromyalgia-specific training. We can teach you and your providers more about fibromyalgia and help you advocate for yourself and get better results.

Today, as we continue the seventh installment of our Stories of Hope and Healing, Tami interviews two more graduates of our Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® training program. After going through both our Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® and Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® training programs over the last two years, Penny and Ann are nearly symptom-free.

In this episode, you’ll hear about their journeys and how they got where they are today. They are sharing Penny’s two-year journey to becoming almost symptom-free, the huge difference it made to work with the right providers, her experience going through early menopause as a result of a hysterectomy, how she finally got to the root causes of her pain, recognizing that each person’s fibro treatment recipe is unique, why becoming a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach® has been so rewarding for Penny, the challenges of navigating medical systems, the positive ripples of working on our fibromyalgia, the massive changes in Ann’s personal life since starting the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program, why she feels like she’s finally come full circle, the changes which have made the most significant positive impact on Ann’s fibromyalgia, how helping other people as a fibromyalgia coach has been helpful for Ann on her fibro journey, some of her favourite things to recommend to her clients, Ann’s message for anyone struggling with fibromyalgia, how a fibromyalgia coach can help you on your journey, what it looks like to work with a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach®, and more.

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Episode 114: Fibromyalgia Stories of Hope & Healing #7 (Certified Advisors)

For many of us, the fibromyalgia diagnosis left us feeling like, “Who am I now?”

Fibromyalgia changes how we see ourselves, relate with others, and interact in our lives.

What if you could significantly improve your quality of life? Or have the energy to do the things you love? Or to travel and enjoy yourself?

Today is the seventh installment of our Stories of Hope and Healing. Tami interviews five recent graduates of the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program, and they share their journeys from pre-diagnosis to where they are now after graduation. One graduate even improved by 87%, going from the most symptomatic student in class to being essentially symptom-free today.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Lisa’s fibromyalgia diagnosis led to an existential crisis and feelings of being spiritually unmoored, how her coach, Robin, helped to support her healing journey and build her healthcare team, celebrating the little wins with a “ta-da” list, the various approaches that contributed to Lisa’s 63% improvement in her fibromyalgia impact questionnaire score, the recognition that healing requires energy, resources to learn more about low-dose naltrexone, Lisa’s message for anyone dealing with a spiritual crisis, Kim’s post-diagnosis struggle with improving her symptoms after recognizing that the FDA-approved drugs were not a good fit for her, learning how to listen to what your body needs, how Kim’s coach, Robin, helped her to tune into your body’s voice, getting honest with yourself about the impact that fibromyalgia has on your life, how Kim used the tools she learned in class and her healthcare team to get through a recent significant fibro flare, the holistic changes that helped Kim improve her symptoms by 46%, recognizing the significance of an individual approach to symptom management, the far-reaching positive impact we can make by sharing what we know, the significant changes Connie has felt since going through the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program and improving her symptoms by 87%, how Connie’s coach, Brenda, helped her in numerous ways throughout her healing journey, Connie’s thyroid health, the huge difference that finding the right diet has made for Connie, Susan’s experience of trying various integrative and regular doctors, diets, and treatments, the frustration of not finding a solution until discovering the Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® program, how Susan’s symptoms impacted her career as a kindergarten teacher, techniques and strategies that helped to improve Susan’s quality of life, the ways that her coach helped with implementing the new strategies, giving yourself permission to take care of yourself without guilt, staying on top of your pain, Lauren’s deep dive into fibromyalgia resources right after her diagnosis, deciding to work with her coach, Julie, early in her journey and the impact she’s had on Lauren’s fibromyalgia journey, why coaching has been Tami’s secret weapon in managing her fibromyalgia, how you can join the next Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor® class, and more.

If you’ve been looking for new ideas on your fibromyalgia healing journey, you’ll definitely find some in today’s episode.

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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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