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When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, my initial attitude was that I was going to beat it. I was, admittedly, very naive and new to Fibromyalgia at that point!

However, as time went on I kept hold of the hope of recovering from Fibromyalgia. This was despite my health declining significantly and being told by my own GP that there was no more he could do for me.

Over the following years, I took my health into my own hands and did a lot of research. Mainly asking the question, “does Fibromyalgia get better over time?

What I found was a lot of negativity and people stating that Fibromyalgia cannot be cured. While this may be true, I wanted to know if it was possible to regain some of my lost health.

What you will learn in this post:

  • Why I believe recovery from Fibromyalgia is possible
  • The definitions of cure and recovery and how they are different
  • What recovery from Fibromyalgia looks like
  • Why I am wary of people who claim to be able to cure Fibromyalgia
  • What is helping me with my own recovery

Why I Believe Recovery From Fibromyalgia Is Possible

Even though I came across many depressing stories about Fibromyalgia, I kept looking. Thankfully, I came across people like Toby Morrison, Dan Neuffer and Dr Bill Rawls, plus many more.

I can’t tell you how refreshing and inspiring it was to find people who had recovered their health and were living the life they wanted to. If it was possible for them, maybe it would be possible for me?

Reading recovery stories reignited the fight in me to overcome my personal health struggles. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I set my mind on recovering from Fibromyalgia.

The Definitions of Cure And Recovery & How They are Different

Before I go any further though, I want to chat a little about the definitions of cure and recovery. Though it may be a case of semantics, to me, they have separate meanings.

Let’s take a look at the actual definitions for the words cure and recovery, as defined in the Oxford dictionary:

Definitions

Cure:
1/ Relieve (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition
1.1/ Eliminate (a disease or condition) with medical treatment

Recovery:
1/ A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength

From these definitions, it is easy to see why the two words are used interchangeably by many people. They sound like the exact same thing.

There is a key difference to me though.

What Being Cured Involves

In my mind, to cure yourself involves taking a medical treatment that eliminates your disease/illness. It’s then gone forever and you never have to consider it ever again.

If you are cured of an illness, you are able to resume your life as you left it. You can return to work and live the busy, hectic life that chronic illness forced you to leave behind.

It will be as though you were never ill in the first place. Your illness will become a mere blip in your life’s journey.

How Recovery Differs From THis

Whereas recovery is about more than medical intervention. It involves mind, body and soul and is a gradual return to a better state of health.

With recovery, there are strategies that will get you there that may need to stay in place to keep you well. In my mind, recovery is essentially undoing all that’s went wrong in the body.

It’s going beyond the diagnosis to piece together what will help to minimise or eliminate symptoms.

However, if you were to put yourself back into the position you were in when you got sick there is a possibility of a relapse.

You may disagree with me on these points and that’s perfectly fine. I am simply sharing my own opinion and how I view recovery.

I encourage you to share your own thoughts in the comments.

What Will recovery From Fibromyalgia look like?

For me, I see recovery as a slow, gradual process (though some may strike lucky and recover quickly). It may involve discovering underlying causes to your Fibromyalgia or finding out additional diagnoses that lead you to helpful treatments.

It will probably involve many setbacks along the way and it will be incredibly challenging. I imagine it will involve a complete lifestyle overhaul and your life will look quite different to the one you lived before you were ill.

Perhaps it will mean life has to be taken at a slower pace with minimal stress. If you return to work, it may look different to before.

Most importantly, symptoms will be completely eliminated or minimised to the point they don’t impact on daily living. To maintain this, though, I believe that it will be important to stay in tune with your body and keep doing the things that helped you during your recovery.

Flare ups may still occur and that’s okay if they do. I believe they won’t be as severe and will be easier to overcome. They will essentially serve as a reminder to slow down and look after yourself better.

What About People Who claim they are able to cure fibro?

I have come across people who claim they can cure me of my Fibromyalgia. However, I’ve found these people to be very closed about their methods.

Every time I have inquired further, I am sent some very positive and encouraging sounding copy or sent to a very professional looking website. However, my questions about how I will be cured are unanswered.

It always turns out that it all boils down to money. I won’t specifically find out what is involved until I have parted with my cash.

I have to sign up to X amount of Y that costs $$$$. I can’t help but suspect that the people who do sign up will be left feeling disappointed.

I just wanted to mention this to warn others as there are people who prey on the vulnerable.

How do people who claim to have recovered from fibro differ from this?

As I mentioned, I have read about many (and even spoken to some) people who talk about recovery from Fibromyalgia. First and foremost, there is no secrecy.

People who consider themselves recovered are generally very open about the steps they took to achieve recovery. Some even write about their recovery to try and help others.

Sure some of them will be selling books or services. Remember what I said above about work possibly having to look different in recovery?

Typically, though, they also offer some great free resources. And, when it comes to paid products, they are very upfront and honest about what is included. It is then it is up to you to decide if you want to part with your money.

You feel informed about what you are buying. That’s the big difference.

I guess what it comes down to is honesty and realistic expectations. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is.

A black and white photograph of Donna in the right side of the frame. She has shoulder length curly hair accessorised with a flower crown. She wears glasses and is wearing a polka dot dress and open zipped hoodie. She is looking down.

What Is Helping Me In My Recovery From Fibromyalgia

The road to recovery will not the same for everyone. The fundamentals will be similar but there will, of course, be variances between individuals.

However, I thought it may be helpful to share what has helped me. Personally, I have found herbal therapies to be invaluable.

Specifically, the Vital Plan Restore Program created by Dr Bill Rawls who himself recovered from Fibromyalgia and chronic Lyme Disease.

The Vital Plan Restore Program

The Vital Plan Restore Program includes four herbal preparations, a 6-month e-mail course with step-by-step guidance, a diet plan and ongoing support from Dr Rawls and the team at Vital Plan.

Before following the Vital Plan Restore Program I felt as though I had tried everything. I had spent a lot of money and hadn’t really progressed anywhere.

In fact, I was in a worse state health-wise than I had ever been! I had been told time and time again that there was nothing that could be done to help me.

Thankfully, I discovered Dr Rawls and Vital Plan. I admit that I was initially sceptical and I also found some of my symptoms worsened initially after starting herbal therapies (this is known as a herx reaction and is a temporary worsening of symptoms).

However, I then started to improve and I credit Vital Plan with setting the foundations of my recovery.  Herbs have played a very important role in my recovery and I’m so glad I invested in the Restore Program.

Try the Vital Plan Restore Program for yourself

Click here to save $50 on the Restore Program
If you would like to try the plan for yourself, it can be purchased at VitalPlan.com. Use the code Restore101 for a $50 discount.

Recovery From Fibromyalgia Takes Hard Work & Patience

Patient persistence is the answer. You work at it every day and expect gradual change over months and years. – Dr. Bill Rawls.

If you are looking for a quick fix then you are not going to find one. I know that it will take me months, if not years to reach a point where I would consider myself recovered.

At this point, I have no idea what my life will look like then. It will be a case of figuring out what works for me along the way with probably quite a few setbacks!

What I do know is that my health will be my number one priority and the decisions that I make will ultimately be the ones that work best for me.


What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

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Author

Hello, I'm Donna. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013 and started this blog shortly after. After my health declined significantly the following year, I decided to become my own advocate and searched for answers. It took two years but, in 2016, I finally discovered I had Lyme Disease. On February Stars, I share my personal journey back to better health; discussing what has helped me and the mistakes I've made along the way. I also cover topics on self-improvement, managing symptoms and living life to the fullest with chronic illness.

28 Comments

  1. fairycakepixie Reply

    fantastic post. All of us will spend most of our lives walking the tightrope of relapse and recovery. To invest time, effort and money into recovery, to be as well as we can be is a good thing to do and helps us feel more in control of our condition, but emotionally to invest in a cure that can’t be guaranteed is painful and costly. I love this post, because the fact is there is no medical cure for fibromyalgia. My fear is that people who claim to have recovered have been misdiagnosed. By it’s nature, fibro is chronic and lifelong. If it goes away, you’ve either done a great job of managing recovery, or you never had fibro. BUT, even though there’s no cure it does’t mean there’s no point in looking for ways to feel better, to put effort into recovery between relapses. That’s vital effort to give ourselves a quality of life, to give us hope and help mitigate the mental health issues that are a constant threat when you live with pain on a daily basis. Anyway, that’s my two pennies worth on the matter. Thank you for writing this post.

    • Thank you Anne. You are so right when you say that looking for a cure is emotionally painful. I have found I am at my happiest when I accept where I am at and then focus each day on making decisions to help me feel as well as possible. The whole reason I wanted to write this post was to make clear what I mean by using the word recovery as many people assume it will mean that I am looking to cure myself. I find myself unable to believe in people who claim to be free of their illness but people like Sue Ingebretson and Dr Bill Rawls really inspire me. I think a life with minimal to no pain and fatigue is possible but it is all relative. You are not 100% fighting fit. Life has to be different to achieve it and it doesn’t mean you won’t have the occasional flare if you over do it. Sue talks of living “each day about 95% pain and symptom free” and Dr Rawls says of his health: “At this point, I consider myself fully recovered. Even so, my stamina and energy are less than that of the average healthy person my age. I still, however, seem to be able to do all the things I want to do in life. Everything is relative. I’ve learned to do more with less.” That is what I am aiming for and I know it is possible, it’s just going to be a case of patiently working at it every day for months, if not years but I will get there.

  2. I recently wrote a post touching on this when the backlash that came after Jess Ainscough’s death started. I know that medically speaking, there is no cure for fibro or Sjogrens BUT that doesn’t mean that I will always be sick in body. Things like epigentics and neuroplasticity means that there is change possible, and change doesn’t always have to look like a cure. Even if I were 100% medically cured tomorrow, I wouldn’t want my old life back. It’s unhealthy and if it led me here once, it could do it again. This is why I differentiate between wellness and being healthy. You can be sick and well (like Jess Ainscough) or perceived as healthy but really, really unwell. Great post!

    • Thank you Phoe. You are so right when you talk about your old life. I feel exactly the same way. I will not go back to doing what I was doing before because it is what contributed to me getting to where I am in the first place. Change needs to happen. Even when I reach a point of feeling well, I will probably still be doing less. But I’d rather be doing less and living well than doing more and suffering. I am past pushing and fighting because I don’t want to live like that. Instead, I focus each day on making decisions that will help me to feel as best as I can and accepting where I am at. I will work away at it patiently. I appreciate many people cannot do this but I also don’t want people to think this is easy for me either. It’s not. It’s damn hard actually!

  3. I think you are spot on. I don’t believe that there is a cure for fibro. But achieving a relative amount of good health is possible. Another different is, recovery is something that has to be maintained. And also what you said about the supposed “cures” are secretive and extremely expensive.

    • Thank you Adriel. I think you are so right when you talk about needing to maintain recovery. It’s a whole new way of life and I believe you need to work at it everyday but through time that hopefully becomes second nature.

  4. I whole heatedly agree with this! Yes, and yes! It’s such a shame when people band about phrases like ‘cure’ it’s not doing anyone any favors to make them believe that they may be cured of their disease when actually it’s not possible at all! You are right, the people who really have the answers are happy to share them – no fee included, because they know what it’so like to suffer from these illnessebut, and just want to help other people get better! Great post as always!

    • Thank you Jenny. I am glad you agree with me. You are so right when you say it is unhelpful when people mention cure. I also agree with the notion that people who have recovered will do all they can to help others. They feel so passionate about getting their life back that they want to help others.

      • I’m so glad that the truth is finally coming out! I feel like 10 or 15 years ago it was so much easier to con people into believing that miracle cures existed, At least we have the internet, so patients can research things for themselves. 🙂

        Also I’ve just read my comment back, and I can’t believe how many typos there were in it! I don’t know how I managed to write “illnessebut” instead of illnesses! 😛

        • The internet can be a great resource and helps to connect people. I think we do have to be our own health advocates. Ha, I don’t know if it’s worse that I never even noticed?!! 🙂

  5. Thank you for coming to the Inspire Me Monday Linky Party. I’m Janice, one of your hostesses. It sounds like your post will help a lot of people.

  6. This is a great post. You just inspired another Sunday post for me. I’d never really thought through the difference between recovery and cure before.

  7. Thank you for a great blog and the interesting comments! I have been in remission, both pain and prescription free, from chronic debilitating fibromyalgia for nearly 15 years. It took me forever to find what works for me. Finally I found Joy of Healing. Because of them and my own efforts that at last had direction and focus we identified and dealt with a lifetime of unresolved issues and stressors that were helping to make me so very ill. No I do not want my old life back, after all that and the way I chose to handle it caused my illness.

    • That’s fantastic. It’s great that you found something that worked for you and that you are now in recovery. Hearing stories like this inspires me to keep going. Hopefully in time I will be able to say the same.

  8. Pingback: The Importance of Regularly Assessing Your Fibromyalgia Treatment Protocol ⋆ FIBRO GEEK

  9. seattlegirluw Reply

    I don’t have fibromyalgia, but I was left with chronic fatigue after a neurological illness. I fought against it for years before — after physical/mental breakdowns, lots of therapy and nagging from my husband — I finally realized I had to adjust my life to my limitations.

    Now I don’t set out to do more than one to two errands or chores a day. (Being a depressive can make it even harder to get anything done.) I was able to find a job working from home, and I store up energy if I know we’re going out — for date night, a party, etc.

    I now rarely end up enervated unless there’s a couple of nights of bad sleep involved. I’m not sure I’d call it recovery, though it seems close to your definition. But it’s managing my symptoms by working within my parameters. And that’s about as good as I’m going to get.

    • Sorry to hear you are suffering from chronic fatigue. It’s so hard coming to terms with the fact that life has to change isn’t it? That’s great you have been able to find a job working from home. I do the same with storing up energy. If I know I have something coming up I rest for days beforehand and allow lots of rest afterwards too. I think it’s fantastic you can consider yourself recovered, I think it’s individual and will be different for everyone.

  10. I know I’m late finding your post. I wish I had found it earlier. I totally understand your meaning of the word recovery. Medically, it is what we call remission. The illness is controlled but can come back. My psoriatic arthritis is in remission (usually) with my treatment but it will always be there and need treatment.

    I really desperately need to manage fibro and cfs. I’ve about given up on western medicine sadly and my Dr(s) have now written me off. My treatment for my autoimmune diseases trigger the fibro and cfs. I had a really horrible reaction to a general anaesthetic yesterday. It seems that I have to choose between being wheelchair bound by arthritis, which is degenerative or fibro/cfs, which is not. I feel really trapped.

    I’m doing a lot of research now and am trying to balance my conditions but I am at the start of my journey and don’t have any answers yet. I am fed up of being housebound and bed bound. I’ll be following your journey for hints and suggestions.

    Thank you. Cath xx

    • Yes that’s it. For me, my approach has been to help support my body’s natural healing systems; so healing the gut & boosting immune function and balancing hormones etc. And I hope that I may get to the point where– thanks to all the strategies I have in place– my body can do a good job of keeping my fibro in check. I don’t think it’s a case of cure and I fully believe that if you remove what has helped you to regain your health, or put yourself back in the situation where you got sick in the first place, then you will end up sick again.

      I understand you concerns. I use a mobility scooter to allow me to do more but movement is important for me– it’s just getting the right balance and staying within my limitations. And doing the right kind of exercise; i’m mostly working on building up core strength. I find the usual advice of walking, swimming etc too much for where I am at. I can do around 3.5K steps in a day but most of them I do around the house! I’m trying to focus on being more functional and then will work on building up and adding exercises such as going out for a walk onto that. It’s a slow game this recovery process 🙂

      The biggest help for me has been using the concept of baseline. And to begin it meant spending the majority of my day resting and not much else. But it’s been worth it as my baseline has slowly and safely increased. It’s something I’m so passionate about I want to create a whole guide on it as I don’t think a blog post would do it justice.

      • I also like the concept of baseline. I think I’m at my lowest baseline now with fibro so it’s a good benchmark. I’m not going to rush the healing this time. My daughter is older now so it is easier in that respect. She is more independent and even takes charge of my wheelchair now!
        I’m very interested in the book you reviewed. I like that you say the background science is in there as it will save me doing the research myself! I have a need to understand everything! I’ll be saving up my Amazon vouchers to buy it.
        I’m also going to allow myself to blog my journey (now I’ve changed focus) so that I can see improvement along the way… hopefully! I also find that it helps to put things into perspective. It would also be nice if down the line someone reads it and finds it helpful as I have done reading through your blog last night. Thank you so much for sharing.

        • I think the beauty of having a baseline is it makes it very obvious when you do too much. Previously, I would get carried away but think “I didn’t do that much more” when really I did. It has certainly helped me to escape the boom/bust cycle.

          I’ve found it slow progress. It kind of creeps up on you and sometimes it takes someone else to remind me just how well I’m doing. It’s small things that, over time, become bigger things. Today, for example, I went and had my hair cut. That was something I couldn’t do for a long time and I went in Jan/Feb & it was a real struggle. Today I coped so much better.

          Suffered Long Enough is a great book. It has a big focus on herbal therapies but is also filled with really good advice all-round. I’ve found myself going back to it now and again as I have had to change up what I take from time to time. I think it’s patient persistence and a willingness to change and experiment that ultimately gets you where you want to be.

          I look forward to reading about your progress and wish you the best of luck 🙂

  11. I have been reading this thread and my feelings about it are mixed. I’m afraid my comment may infuriate some of you, and I apologize if that is true for you. I have been using the word cure for about 15 years. By your definition of cure you would be able to go back to full activity as you were before the illness. So….that’s what I’ve done. I have not had a flare up. I have learned as many of you have said that there is no one thing that will cure fibro, but there are many things combined that will and do every day. I agree that if your life before fibro was not good, then going back to it would not be wise, but I also believe that the illness was a message that things need to change. If we can think of symptoms as messengers rather than problems to be dealt with, we will learn a lot more. I have written a book and do coaching, so I make money, but is that necessarily bad. I worked for a lot of years at a job I wasn’t passionate about, giving little tidbits of information and encouragement to people, when what I really wanted to do was help them. So it kind of upsets me that the general consensus here is that if I charge for my information and help, I’m only in it for the money. I’m in it to help people, and the money is a necessary part that allows me to help full time. I can identify with everything you’ve all said, I’m just saying that maybe there’s another side to the discussion. I had fibro, and needed to get rid of it. I struggled with it for a few years before one doctor made me so angry I told him I would just do it myself. I am grateful to have found the right combination for me, but I would not say that I tried everything…there are still new things I am learning. Again, I don’t intend to make anyone upset, or give false hope, only real hope.

    • Hi Ruth

      To clarify, recovery can mean regaining the ability to pursue an active lifestyle. I was perhaps restrained in this post because I wanted to plant the idea of hope and that recovery is possible. If things sound too good to be true, I find a lot of people automatically shut down to that.

      I think the important thing to appreciate is that everyone is individual and what applies to one, won’t necessarily apply to another. I don’t know if everyone will be able to achieve the level they had prior to being sick, but the possibility is there. For others it’s about a new 100% but that can be extremely fulfilling: it could be a new job altogether, different hobbies etc. I think it is dependent on the individual, how long they’ve been sick, what has gone on in their body and what their personal circumstances are.

      I do personally feel there is a big difference for me between recovery and cure though. For me, a cure would mean that you are free from your illness and it doesn’t matter what you do, it won’t return. It’s gone and you can live your life however you want.

      Personally, I don’t think that would ever apply to me. Although things are a bit different now that I know I have Lyme disease, I do feel my situation and circumstances contributed to my illness. Put me back in that position and I bet you I’d get sick again. That’s despite the fact many were able to do the same thing with no ill effects.

      Recovery is different. You can be symptom-free for sure but your illness has changed you (often for the better in some regards). You’ve learned, adapted and grown. Recovery is multi-faceted and you learn about all the different aspects of life that need to come together to get well and the important thing is to maintain that. Let the pieces slip and fall away and symptoms may resurface.

      I think it’s wonderful you have found your way back to 100%. Were you coaching and an author prior to becoming sick?

      And just to clarify, every single person who has contacted me about a cure has been shrouded in secrecy. I wouldn’t even know what I was signing up to until I had parted with my cash. My point isn’t about making money, more about business ethics. Sadly my experience is that those who claim they can cure me lack in this department! It’s maybe something to consider from a business POV because I know I’d want to separate myself from this. You would honestly be the first genuine person to use the term cure that I’ve come across.

      I have absolutely nothing against anyone who earns a living from coaching and helping others. So long as they are open, honest and transparent. If that’s you, I’d lump you in with the people who use the term recovery, e.g. Sue Ingetbretson. To expand on that point, these folks I was talking about are symptom free ~99% of the time. They may experience minor symptoms if they over-do it with stress or take too many liberties in other areas but they can identify that and get back on track.

      If you find you can do anything without any ill effects then yeah I’d agree with you that you are cured. I struggle to believe that would apply to everyone. However, I suspect how you feel about being cured is what I would describe as being recovered.

      I hope this has clarified things for you but do ask if I need to be more specific.

    • Spot on Ruth! So glad to read your post,the body can return to completely normal function once the triggers for Cfs/Fms are both clarified and rectified. Read 50 Recovery Stories from Cfs by Alexandra Barton.Well done on your return to healthy functioning and giving your body the right conditions to heal.

  12. Allen Swift Reply

    I am Allen Swift i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I have from moderate to severe pain in most parts of my body, been tested for a lot of things and all came back ok. I have had a lot of stomach pain, there was a day i received a message from my old time friend who has been away for many years he told me he heard about my illness and he directed me to Standard Herbs Home and i contacted them and purchased their herbal medicine and followed the instructions after 4 weeks i was cure from fibromyalgia. Thanks to STANDARD HERBS HOME.

    • Hey, Allen. That’s really positive to hear that you have reacted so well to herbal therapies. Some people have a great response to them. I’ve personally taken herbs for a few years now and think they hold a lot of value. I checked out this company you speak of here and I was disappointed to find there was no information on what their herbal formulas contain on their website. I much prefer companies who are completely transparent from the get-go.

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