Before I moved to NY last year, I was treated by Dr. A., a physiatrist (physical therapist + medical doctor), for four years for fibromyalgia. Dr. A’s approach included pain management through medications, proper sleep habits, daily meditation, diet, supplements, aqua therapy, and exercise. I implemented most of her recommendations on a regular basis. Although I did see moderate improvement in daily pain level, I experienced flare ups and my chronic fatigue, while improving over time, did not significantly see a reduction.
After moving, I found a primary care who has been willing to keep me on my current regime of pain medications (gabapentin and duloxetine). When I said I wanted to go off duloxetine, she wanted me to see a psychiatrist who would manage the administration of it. We discussed this over a couple of visits, and I told her I wanted to see a specialist who would treat my fibromyalgia from a holistic standpoint, just like Dr. A had done. My primary gave me the name of a doctor in NYC who she thought might be able to help.
One night, I submitted my information online requesting more information. Within two hours, the doctor called me directly to talk. I was stunned at the quick response from the doctor himself, not one of his office staff. Office staff calling me back at night to make an appointment would have been unusual, but this even more so. When I asked what his availability was, I learned I could have gotten an appointment as early as two days later.
We discussed in brief my medical history, what I was looking for, and his background. In the past few years, I came across at least two other docs who claim to have had positive results working with fibromyalgia patients. One of them, Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, uses an approach to treatment he calls S.H.I.N.E (sleep, hormones, immunity, nutrition, exercise). Turns out, this local doc is friends with Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum and uses the follows the same protocols to treat his fibro/CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) patients.
I said I would call the office after I had figured out my finances because their office takes no insurance. No surprise there. Because I hate rushing into things and because my husband was not around for a few evenings to discuss this, I didn’t call back until the following week.
Yesterday, I met with Dr. D. who was just as pleasant and professional in person as he had been over the phone. I brought blood test results from this year’s and last year’s annual physical exams. Last year’s testing was extensive. My new primary asked if I had been tested for Lyme and other conditions, which I hadn’t.
After looking over the results, Dr. D said my thyroid values, B12, and folic acid values were low. While I sat in front of him, he called in a custom T3 med for me at a custom pharmacy. He gave me a B12 shot in my right arm and the folic acid shot in my left arm. If you’ve never had a folic acid shot, they HURT. He told me it would hurt for an hour. Fibro increases my sensitivity to pain. I felt pulsing pain over the course of two hours, and it caused me to have a diffuse flare-up of pain throughout my body for the afternoon until the pain in the arm finally died down completely.
To address my lack of restorative sleep, he also prescribed supplements – CoQ10, L-Carnitine Tartrate, and Corvalen (Ribose). One line of thought with fibro is that it is caused by the inability of your cells’ mitochondria to take in energy. This, in turn, causes painful spots throughout the body. These supplements help the mitochondria get the energy into the cells of your body to address the pain issue, which, in turn, lets you get restorative sleep.
I bought the three supplements from the office, though I could have gotten them elsewhere, because I wanted to begin immediately. I called the custom pharmacy and provided with the information to charge and mail me the medications. I took a couple of couple of the supplements last night.
Maybe it was my imagination, but I felt a tiny speck of a bit more alert yesterday afternoon. Today, same thing, although it did not translate to me feeling well-rested. Dr. D said it would take at least a couple of weeks to start feeling better. In the meantime, I am going to get another round of blood tests next week and then see him after the new year for a follow-up.
Dr. D said that he’s helped other patients and he can help me. I told him that if that were the case that I would be floating into his office the next time I saw him.
Wish me luck!