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Simone Cahn - Fibromyalgia

Reflecting on my personal health journey I can pinpoint certain events which have led me to where I am today.

As a child I was classed as a “white food eater” which meant that all I really wanted to eat was white! white bread, white pasta, white chicken, white rice (except for the ketchup of course so in reality I was a pink food eater! )

I don't remember how long that went on or at exactly how old I was when the next part happened but definitely in primary school. I remember going to see a gastrointestinal consultant because I was permanently constipated and had stomach problems. I still remember the trauma of an endoscopy and telling my mum that I had an irregular “beat” in my bowels. I have no idea if this is was a genuine diagnosis or if (knowing what I know now) I was just a very anxious kid.

I'm telling you all of this is because these little health stories all mean something in the end- they always do. Years later, aged 16 whilst aboard I was hospitalised with severe constipation only to be told “we can’t do anything about that, but did you know you have a scoliosis”? Errrm no, but thank you…….. Through various eating regimes as a teenager from become a vegetarian (who smoked cigarettes – go figure!) to being a chocoholic, to having a miscarriage, and then developing severe post-natal depression following the birth of my first child. It all means something. These things don’t just happen for no reason.

I remember after the birth of my first child waking up in complete agony…. I remember being unable to open my arms to pick up my son soon after his birth. But the doctor told me it was just hormonal and would ease up. Months after that when I admitted that I really wasn’t enjoying motherhood so there must be something wrong with me, they just put me on antidepressants telling me it was all normal, most likely hormonal, and would pass…..just take the tablets.

I had always considered myself health conscious, having been in the health industry for many years, so my (now) ex-husband and I embarked on losing some of the excess weight we’d gained over the years by attending first Weight Watchers, then Slimming World. Both painfully boring and demanding with the scales. So we did the GI diet, then the juicing diet (that lasts 2 days and I wanted to eat my own arm I was so hungry!) Weight loss wasn’t that important to me, but my health was.

Soon after getting my gallbladder removed I started to feel continuously exhausted, achy and in pain in my upper back, elbows and knees, and hands. I ached like I had flu all the time, and was suffering from migraines, headaches and jaw problems. It felt like one thing after another. The doctors kept fobbing me off telling me that all the physical symptoms were because I was a “depressed mum” with two young children.

Being married to a South African has its advantages. They have a way with words which means things DO get done, so on the day that he accompanied me to the GP he insisted that this is not normal for my wife to feel like this. Maybe her “normal” blood results are NOT normal for her and (to my GP’s displeasure!) “we have done a lot of research online (Dr Google!) and we think she has fibromyalgia.

With that, my health journey began.

I was sent to a wonderful orthopaedic consultant. He prodded and poked me and it all felt fine. He watched me walk, he could see I had a scoliosis, he saw I had issues with my jaw and after taking bloods saw that my Vitamin D levels were virtually zero. He put me on a massive dose for 8 weeks. After that, I walked away feeling a fraud. He prodded and poked me and none of it hurt. I felt embarrassed, I had wasted his time, but on the journey back home, I started to feel incredibly unwell, and ended up with flu like symptoms, aching all over, headache, exhausted, it was awful. I went straight to bed. I phoned his secretary the next day and told her to please pass that message on. Yes, I did have fibromyalgia and referred me to the waiting list for The Pain Management Programme at the incredible Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore.

In May 2014 I started the Pain Management Programme. All I have to say is that if you ever have the unfortunate diagnosis of chronic pain, and you get this opportunity, DO NOT turn it down. It was wonderful. Educational, encouraging, mindful, holistic and just incredible.

In March 2015, my mother-in-law passed away. We flew to south Africa for the funeral. It was a stressful time and the stress caused my flare ups to return with a vengeance. One of my brothers in law, despite all the stress he had from the lead up to his mother’s death, looked incredibly well, in fact the healthiest he had looked in a long while. I asked him what he was doing, and he mentioned the word “banting”.

This Banting stuff intrigued me. In South Africa it became big via a company called The Real Meal Revolution. It had a chef, an expert on addiction, and a well-known sports scientist professor called Prof Tim Noakes. It was a programme where you sign up for a period of time. It was geared towards eating real food with a limited amount of carbohydrates, plenty protein and healthy fats. We were given an understanding of the physiological and psychological reasons behind the changes.

So, finally, on the 4th of June 2015 my true health journey started.

Within a month my fibro pain, my puffy face and body (inflammation), my headaches, my migraines, my moods, my foggy brain, my oily skin, my aches etc all started to fade. People noticed a glow about me that they hadn’t seen for a while. I started to feel like I was getting my life back. By September 2015 as the programme was coming to an end, I felt a calling that this would be my new path.

The term “banting” is known in our world as low carb high fat (LCFH) or Keto (ketogenic), or Real Food. Whatever you call it, it comes down to a few simple theories: sugar/carbs are not essential to life and we really do not need them in the amounts most of us are consuming. In fact they are harmful and damaging. Moreover healthy FAT is NOT bad for us. For those people who are on the Prolongevity Wellness programme you’ll gain a far greater understanding of this. Eg What are carbs? What is good fat /bad fat etc.

If you would like more guidance on this please get in touch.