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 84: Stop Pressing Your Own Panic Button with Ramses Rodriguez

Many people with fibromyalgia also deal with a lot of anxiety.

With your nervous system stuck in fight-or-flight mode, you have a diminished capacity that can put you closer to the panic threshold. What that looks like in day-to-day life is that you might find yourself often pushed over the edge by something objectively small.

To help you learn more about managing anxiety and panic attacks, Tami is delighted to bring Ramses Rodriguez back to the podcast to share his expertise. Ramses has a great way of blending research and science with the down-to-earth and practicalness of someone who has lived through it themselves.

In their conversation, Tami and Ramses discuss his journey with panic attacks and anxiety, how anxiety impacted every facet of his life from career to relationships, how Ramses has gotten to a point where his panics are in remission, common symptoms of a panic attack, why it’s crucial to see a doctor if you think you have panic attacks, the key to getting your panics in remission, the physical toll of having anxiety, the metaphysical aspect of anxiety, practical steps you can take to bring down your anxiety baseline, exposure therapy for treating anxiety, why some breathing exercises make anxiety worse, the three major factors that cause anxiety, creating a regular practice to manage your anxiety baseline, the benefits of having a coach and a personalized strategy, and more.

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Episode 68: Endometriosis and Fibromyalgia with Dr. Jessica Drummond

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus — the endometrium — grows outside the uterus. It’s one of the most common causes of pelvic pain and infertility. Many women with fibromyalgia who are experiencing pelvic pain, painful periods, and more may also be dealing with endometriosis.

Listen in as Tami interviews Dr. Jessica Drummond about what endometriosis is, how to distinguish between fibromyalgia pain and endometriosis, and how she addresses endometriosis in her clinic.

You may have fibromyalgia, but that doesn’t mean all of your pain is only fibromyalgia. Conditions like endometriosis are very treatable. Addressing these other causes of pain help to lower your overall fibromyalgia pain levels.

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Episode 31: Creative Resilience with ChronicBabe Jenni Grover

In this episode, Tami speaks with ChronicBabe herself, Jenni Grover, about how ChronicBabe was born, what ChronicBabe continues to stand for, and the new work that is calling Jenni forward: her School of Creative Resilience. Listen in as these two babe-alicious friends discuss what it means to live and work with a chronic illness — and uncover the innate superpower we all have: Creative Resilience.

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Episode 29: Fall in Love with Your Fibromyalgia Body with Janet Farnsworth

Our body can feel like a battleground, like it’s us against fibromyalgia, and this fight is happening inside of our body. Many of us with fibromyalgia “check out” from the neck down because we have to, just to get through the day. We’re in so much pain. We’re so fatigued. What if it were possible to fall in love with your body, right now, exactly as you are? Tami and her guest, Janet Farnsworth, offer this extraordinary gift in this special episode, which is our Valentine wish for you.

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Episode 28: Exercise in a Fibromyalgia Body with Rose Harwood

We are told that exercise is good for fibromyalgia, but then we go out and do it, and we feel terrible. Rose was a dancer and competitive athlete until she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. In her 20s, she felt like she lived in a body that was 85 years old. Over the last ten years, she has learned to listen to her body and retrain herself into competitive condition. Her advice can help you ease into a routine that is right for you and your body, no matter how big or small your fitness goals might be.

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