If you are new to my blog, my name is Donna and I have lived with Fibromyalgia, CFS and Lyme Disease for a number of years. In October/November of 2017, I received stem cell treatment at Infusio in Frankfurt. I’ve been documenting my treatment and progress on this blog.

Find all of my Infusio posts here.

Photo is a selfie of Donna (right) and her husband Ross (left). They are both looking and smiling at the camera. Ross wears a navy shirt with a tiny zebra pattern and a baseball cap that has his sunglasses resting on it. Donna is wearing a black and floral sleeveless jumpsuit, has her hair in dutch braid pigtails and wears glasses.
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It’s been an entire year since I received my stem cell therapy at Infusio, Frankfurt! Can you believe it?

I thought I’d sit down and write about how this past month has been for me. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag if I am completely honest!

How I’ve Been Doing This Past Month

You may recall that last month I chatted about having a really hard time of things with my hormones. I found out that I had oestrogen dominance and was advised to use a natural gel to try and balance my hormones.

Having your hormones out of whack is not fun. And, it makes you feel pretty lousy.

At the start of month 12, most days I was feeling achy, flu-like and fatigued. It was nothing compared to how I used to feel when I was really sick, but it was enough to have me resting and doing nothing for good chunks of the day.

At some points in the day, all I wanted to do was sleep. I was like a zombie!

My Physical SYmptoms Challenged Me Mentally

It was getting me down and I was struggling mentally. I started to think about the “big date” that was looming and felt this pressure to be doing better than I was.

I’ll admit I was worried about the symptoms I was having. I knew it was related to hormones but the aches and pains were all too reminiscent of Fibromyalgia pain.

SYmptoms In Addition To Hormonal Issues

What didn’t help was that I was also experiencing symptoms in addition to all the “hormone stuff”. Particularly, nausea and symptoms in my head: mainly sinus pain/pressure and pain on the side of my face.

When I’ve been having “flare-ups” of healing symptoms in recent months, I have felt this pressure in my head. But, this time, it was more painful.

In addition to this, I had chest pain on the left side of my sternum bone. Admittedly, none of the symptoms I was experiencing were new for me but I hadn’t experienced them in a while.

The chest pain was so, so painful at times. It’s the type of pain that made breathing hurt.

God forbid I forgot about it and stretched! Agony!

I call this pain my costochondritis pain. But, in reality, I don’t know what causes it. Costochondritis is just my best guess.

I once went to the doctor’s about this pain and felt like a bit of a numpty as I was simply told to use ibuprofen gel and sent on my way.

Taking A ‘Wait & See’ Approach

I have a lot of anxiety surrounding going to see my GP, so I decided to wait the costochondritis pain out and see if it went on its own accord. I tried to think positively and told myself that I was revisiting old symptoms as part of healing processes.

Photo shows Donna stood against a brick wall in the Serrano Towers in Valencia. She wears a black and floral jumpsuit, black ankle boots and dark sunglasses. She has her hair in dutch braid pigtails and is looking off to the right.

My Oska Pulse was a Godsend for me at this point and helped to knock down the pain. The chest pain stuck around for a while but, in the end, it completely disappeared one day.

It was so odd. One day it was there and the next, I woke up and it was gone!

The head pressure and sinus pain were sticking around, though. Some days it was better than others, but it was frustrating me because Ibuprofen wouldn’t even touch it.

Histamine Issues Reappearing

It took until very recently for me to figure out what has been contributing to my head pressure and sinus pain. I believe it’s due to histamine intolerance.

It’s amazing how diverse the symptoms can be with histamine-related issues. I’ve found that taking a histamine scavenger and an antihistamine can help to relieve my head symptoms.

I have admittedly been laxer with my diet (I thought my histamine issues had settled down). So, I am going to have to get back to eating better!

I’m not sure if that’s the whole reason for the head symptoms or if there’s anything else going on but time will tell, I guess.

For now, I am making a more conscious effort with my diet and I am also trialling taking Daosin (which contains an enzyme that breaks down histamine) at bedtime.

I tend to find my symptoms get worse as the day goes on and they seem to peak in the evenings. So, fingers crossed this strategy will help! This is in addition to a histamine scavenger I take with meals (that I get from Infusio).

Looking At My Thyroid

Going back to my hormones, despite my thyroid tests coming back as good, I couldn’t shake this feeling that something wasn’t right. I probably shouldn’t admit to this, but I went against doctor’s advice and decided to try changing my levothyroxine dose.

I will definitely be keeping a close eye on my thyroid levels (Medichecks makes this super easy). But, so far, it seems to have been a good call.

The flu-like feeling, aches and fatigue began to lift. I started to have more energy. The “zombie” feeling and urge to sleep in the day faded.

I don’t really understand what’s going on and it’s probably not the most sensible of actions. But, it’s a couple of weeks since I stopped it and I seem to be doing much better!

Obviously, it goes without saying that I don’t advocate going against a doctor’s recommendations. And, this could come back to kick me in the ass… but we will see.

A Trip Away To Valencia

Thankfully, the symptoms I was experiencing lifted just in time for me to head off on a trip to Valencia. I am very lucky and my husband Ross took me to Valencia to celebrate my birthday.

I was so excited to be spending my birthday exploring a new city. It was a great call from my husband as this was the first time I had looked forward to my birthday in years!

If you have read this blog for a long time, you will know that I usually struggle around the time of my birthday. Birthdays reminded me that another year had passed and I was still sick.

I honestly found them hard and turning 30 was especially difficult.

I remember writing last year that I hoped that, come my 32nd birthday, I’d be reflecting back on how much of a positive difference treatment at Infusio has made to my life.

I might still have my dips and challenges, but I can certainly do that! Visiting Valencia for my birthday was really a testament to how much my health has improved over the past year.

We were there for four nights and I had such a good time. My energy was really good that week and I managed to explore the city on foot and walked an incredible amount of steps!

Photo shows Donna sat on a teal bike looking to the right away from the camera. Behind her is a concrete pool of water (water feature) and a building at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia that has been designed to resemble a human eye.

Hiring Bikes In Valencia

One day, we even hired bikes! I hadn’t been on a bike for years (and you could tell as I was rather wobbly to start, haha!)

I biked for around an hour and a half without issue and I couldn’t have been happier. We explored Turia Park and cycled along to the City of Arts and Sciences, which had incredible buildings.

I would have like to have explored the science museum. But, the aquarium there houses belugas and bottlenose dolphins, which is something I strongly disagree with. So, I didn’t want to spend my money as– though the buildings were separate– it seemed like one big complex.

Balancing Activity With Rest

To balance out all of this walking and being active, I did have slow mornings and chilled out evenings.

Despite the significant improvement in my health, it’s still important for me to incorporate the strategies that have helped me all along. This includes balancing activity with rest.

However, I was amazed by how much I was managing to do. Especially considering the challenging time I was going through in the weeks prior to the trip.

I say it all the time in these updates, but it never fails to amaze me just how quickly things can turn around.

The unfortunate part was that I was due on when I was away. So, I did have some hormonal symptoms to deal with on a couple of the days that I was in Valencia (mainly pain and feeling flu-like and a bit crap at points).

But, despite those symptoms, I was functioning well. I was so pleased by that as it was a big difference compared to previous months (where I was completely wiped out).

I guess the hormone gel was helping!

Seeing A Gp About My Monthly Symptoms

When I returned home from Valencia, I went to see a GP about my monthly symptoms and issues surrounding my period. I chose to see someone other than my regular GP and it was such a good call.

I decided to see a GP who I knew took an interest in women’s’ health issues. I had a really positive appointment and she took my symptoms seriously and put together an action plan.

I now have a referral to gynaecology and I will also be having a scan to check everything is okay too. It’s reassuring to know this is all getting looked into as I do think it’s something that has been going on for a long time.

I think I blamed a lot of symptoms on Fibromyalgia and Lyme. Plus, as I had more prominent symptoms to deal with, I pushed these issues down to the bottom of my priority list.

When I actually sat down to prepare for my GP appointment and wrote everything down… well, I have no idea how I’ve put up with it all, to be honest!

I guess the healing that has happened and improvements I’ve seen following stem cells has made these issues more apparent to me. And, I definitely want to get checked out just to be sure there’s nothing else going on.

How I’ve Been Since Returning From Valencia

Since returning from Valencia, my energy has been good most days. I’ve been getting out for walks and have been spending days completely out of bed again- phew!

Needless to say, I’ve been feeling more upbeat and positive again. And, my motivation has been good too.

I even managed to celebrate my one-year stem cell anniversary by doing something incredible that has long been a dream of mine (and something that I once never thought would be possible).

I’ll be chatting about that in a separate blog post soon. But, if curiosity has gotten the better of you, head over to my Instagram profile and check out my saved highlight called “Stem cells: 1yr”.

The Ups Keep Getting Better

As I said, it’s definitely been a mixed month for me. I am still waiting for my health to stabilise and for these ups and downs to stop.

However, the ups continue to surprise and amaze me. I am still improving and getting stronger.

I know people will be interested to know if I consider myself to be in remission from my illnesses a year after treatment. I feel this isn’t necessarily a straight-forward answer, so I am going to answer this specifically in a future blog post (where I will also discuss my symptoms before and after treatment at Infusio).

If you are interested to read that post, be sure to subscribe to my e-mail list. That way, when it is published you will receive a link straight to your inbox.

For now, all I will say is that I may still have some symptoms that crop up but I am a completely different person to who I was a year ago. I am participating in life and enjoying things I never thought would be possible for me.

For that, I am so incredibly thankful.


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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.

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