About

Hello & Welcome!

Me wearing my need more sleep sweater.
This post contains an affiliate link where I may make a small commission at no cost to you. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

My name is Donna and I live in Scotland with my husband and our pet dog Oscar. In late summer of 2013, I set up this blog after years of illness and finally receiving a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

What started as a personal blog– and a means to share my own experiences– has since grown into a health and lifestyle blog where I share tips and information related to living as well as possible with chronic illness. This is intertwined with stories from my life and posts related to healthy living.

My story…

Since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013, I have faced many challenges. The summer of 2014 saw my health decline significantly and I ended up bedbound for many weeks. Despite my many attempts at getting back on my feet,  I kept finding myself crashing back down. Numerous doctor visits followed, but I found myself no further forward.

I reached the point where I thought that this would be my life from now on. I was incredibly ill, suffered from unimaginable fatigue and was relying on the care of my husband and parents. I couldn’t see how it would be possible for me to get any better. Nothing was working.

Then an email popped into my inbox. Little did I know that this one email would be the start of my journey back to better health.

The email was from a doctor called Dr. Bill Rawls. He had written a book called “Suffered Long Enough” and wondered if I would like to review it. I was hesitant but decided I had nothing to lose from reading his book. What that book did was ignite the fight back in me.

I was given a reminder about some helpful information I already knew and was also equipped with new knowledge about herbal therapies and their role in recovery. The book also challenged my view of illness and put a new perspective on my health issues.

vital planner

Becoming my own health advocate

Since then I have learned what it means to become your own health advocate. Taking my health into my own hands has been empowering.  What I learned from Dr Rawls set me on the path that I continue to follow now.

I instinctively knew that there was more going on than Fibromyalgia and I decided to look for answers beyond my diagnosis.

At this point, M.E/CFS had been mentioned to me and my GP tried to refer me to an M.E specialist nurse. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that there are more Pandas in Scotland than M.E nurses (i.e. there is only one specialist nurse for the whole country).

The service is unsurprisingly in high demand and, due to my Fibromyalgia diagnosis, I was deferred to my local pain clinic instead.

Here, they seemed to see M.E and Fibromyalgia as overlapping conditions and I was told I likely had both. Though I was never formally diagnosed with M.E (which is why I tend to use the term CFS) I was content knowing that it explained my symptoms well.

The pain clinic was the first time I was truly met with empathy and understanding. I worked with a lovely physiotherapist but there was only so much he could help with and I didn’t seem to make significant progress. Exercise intolerance was a big problem for me.

Time passed, yet this nagging feeling that more was going on wouldn’t leave. Finally, in 2016, I discovered that the underlying cause of my health problems was Lyme Disease.

Thankfully, the herbal therapies I had been taking for my Fibromyalgia and CFS had also been helping to treat that. I dread to think how bad my health might have gotten if it hadn’t taken a leap of faith and followed Dr Rawls’ protocol.

Since then, I have tried a few additional therapies and treatments. Though I regained some of my health and saw improvements I once didn’t think were possible, these treatments didn’t take me as far as I wanted to go.

Ultimately, this led to me seeking treatment at a clinic called Infusio in Frankfurt. You can read all about my treatment here.

I had stem cell therapy and– though it’s early days– this has been life-changing. I still have a few months of healing ahead of me but I finally feel as though I am finding my way back to living life again. I’m excited to see what 2018 has in store for me.

What to expect from my blog

In my posts, I not only share my own successes and what has worked for me, but also the mistakes I have made along the way (in the hope I can help you to avoid making the same ones). Though we are all individual and I appreciate our paths will no doubt have differences, the advice I share is honest and sensible.

If you are interested in learning about self-improvement, managing and minimising symptoms and living life to the fullest despite the challenges chronic illness presents… well you are in the right place!

Find Me On Social Media

You can also connect with me on:

Or, if you would prefer, please feel free to send me an email to donna@februarystars.co.uk.


Where to start?

There are a lot of posts on the blog and you can navigate through them via the categories in the top menu or by simply reading through one post at a time. To help you along, here are some of my favourite posts:

> Health

10 struggles people with chronic illness will understand
15 shades of fibromyalgia
Here’s what chronic fatigue really feels like
10 top tips for pacing when you have fibromyalgia
Is it possible to cure or recover from fibromyalgia?
5 ways fibromyalgia has changed my life for the better
Fibromyalgia and letting go of guilt
Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2015: What I miss the most
Choosing to use a wheelchair when you have fibromyalgia
How to handle a flare-up: 5 tips
20 minutes towards a happier you
6 ways to start living the life you want
50 ways to cheer yourself up
5 tips for successfully changing your diet
Fighting to overcome fibromyalgia
Adrenal fatigue & the adrenocortex stress profile test
Facing tough decisions
Choices & consequences
Starting a business with chronic illness: an interview with Faye Savory of Bear Hugs
The Vital Plan Restore Progam: 10 months on
The Oska Pulse & how it works to reduce chronic pain

> Travel

Venice beach
San Francisco & Alcatraz
Humpback whales
Photographing an abandoned fever hospital- Part 1
Photographing an abandoned fever hospital- Part 2
California Dreamin’
Icelandic adventure
A week in Barbados
72 hours in Amsterdam
What could be more magical than an Enchanted Forest?
I got locked up! Visiting Inveraray Jail
Photographs from Inveraray Castle
♥ A long weekend in Copenhagen
How to travel when you suffer from a variable health condition, such as fibromyalgia

> Lifestyle

I was sent a Bear Hug!
7 tips for being better with money
Homemade ginger tea recipe
Learning a new language with Duolingo
Health benefits of having plants in the home
DIY: Create a succulent & crystal peace garden for your home
Glitterati box unboxings
Tasty protein pancakes with a blueberry topping
Time-saving tip: reverse shampooing
How to manage a blog with chronic illness
Pet supplies made easy
Easy to do make-up routine

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor, nor am I a trained health professional. I am simply a patient sharing my own story. Any advice given on this blog is a result of my own opinions that are formed from personal experience. Anything written on this blog should not be taken as medical advice nor should it replace the opinion of a healthcare professional. I hope that you will find what I write useful but I strongly advise seeking the opinion of your doctor before implementing any advice that I have given.

24 Comments

    • Dawn Hosking Reply

      It’s lovely to meet you, I am still hit and miss with pacing after trying to do it for over 7 years 😉

    • Thanks for dropping by. It’s nice to meet you too. Hopefully through reading yours and other fibro blogs I might learn to do things that bit better 🙂

  1. Hi. I read your story on Julie Ryan’s blog. I also have FM and Lyme. I’m So impressed by you and your wisdom. It took me many more years to be as accepting as you are. I gave up dairy this spring. I am so much better. My doctor said my body was inflamed by fibro and that dairy would further inflame it. She was right. I am on my iPhone and can’t seem to follow you. I’ll do so when I get back on my computer.

    • Thank you for your kind words. It is a long hard road to acceptance and I do think it is a constant journey. I hope you are doing well. I agree about dairy, my body definitely disagrees with it and I am much better off without it. Don’t miss it either 🙂

  2. Welcome Donna to My Fibro Team !!! I feel better already knowing that I’m connected to a website that provides comforting, and helpful advice to ALL it’s members. Take care, Live Love, and Laugh A Lot !!! 🙂 It’s the best medicine, and affordable too. 🙂 God Bless You !!!!

    • Thank you very much Maryann for your kind words. Great advice too, definitely the best way to live 🙂

  3. colleen hardy (Callinan) Reply

    Donna hello. I have been reading your blog and postings and have now decided that I am having you as my BFF. How did you get such wisdom and acceptance. I am so impressed with your attitude to Fibro. I am not able to be so, I always feel so guilty when I try to explain to others. It still has the stigma of not being a true illness. But you sound lovely and all your photos are brilliant. I have my own little doggy Lucy and a very old cat Toto who’s 18yrs young in July. You may not realise that you are doing a wonderful thing with this site. You have made me smile, made me go Oh Wow it’s not just me imagining pain and although I would not wish this on my worse enemy there is a comfort when you read the same symptoms, thoughts and emotions from others. Love what your doing Donna. Well done. Colleen

    • Hello Colleen. Than you for your kind words, it means so much to me to know that my writing helps you. It has taken me a long time to reach this point and I do think that acceptance is a never ending journey. However, I have found a lot more peace and happiness from living in the moment & just taking each day as it comes. I of course have my days where I feel a bit down but don’t we all? It’s really hard to explain this illness to other people isn’t it? Especially given we look okay. Keep an eye out on the blog thewolfandme.com as I will be writing a post about the stigma attached to fibro & about acceptance on there. Your pets sound lovely. Animals definitely make our lives so much brighter. Are you on social media Colleen? There is a wonderful community of spoonies on Twitter & Instagram and it would be great to connect with you on there. Gentle hugs.

  4. Hi Donna, I found your page very interesting and encouraging. I have struggled with FM for years,but my doctors were only able to put a name to it about 4 years ago. I struggle to accept this horrible illness,but dont give in. Sometimes I long to be myself again ,independant and everything working well,lol. For the last 4 month now I have started suffering with severe cramp and according to various sites,this is common with FM?’. Maybe i am down as it just something else to deal with along with the pain and ups and downs,Anyway dont want to take up your precious time,just wanted to say Hi,knowing there are other people like me out there.not in the habit of writing on websites,but thought i would give it a go .take care

    • Hello Fiona, thank you for taking the time to comment. It is hard to accept such a difficult diagnosis and come to terms with it. Cramps can be part of FM and are horrible. It does always seem to be one thing after the other with fibro, which can really get you down. But please know you are not alone and there are things you can do to help you feel better. My biggest improvements have come from diet changes and herbal therapies. Take care

  5. HI Donna I am a fellow sufferer and know a lot of people who are being diagnosed now. I am as you are also ware that it is diet that leads the way forward and I am very interested in your use of homeopathic and diet related solutions. I will be following with real interest and hope that we can link up and chat from time to time. Very inspirational and honest! Thank you! x

    • Hello! Thank you for your kind comments. It makes me happy knowing you are enjoying the blog, though I am sorry to hear you are a fellow sufferer. Absolutely, drop me an email any time you want to chat or if you have any questions about what I am doing. Take care x

  6. Nancy Rojo Reply

    Hello nice to meet you. I to am a suffer and have enjoyed reading your blog. And would very much like to read more of what you have to say about fibromialga. If you have any tips on diet please share. Thank you

  7. Hi Donna,

    I am so happy to join your blog. I have been fallowing for awhile and decided to join in. I was diagnosed with Fibro about a year ago. It took months to find out what was really wrong because this syndrome mimics so many other diseases. The first thing was MS, as my mother suffered from this and died at a young age, 52. After that was ruled out, there were many others that it could of been. Before my Fibro diagnosis, I was very healthy and full of life and energy. My favorite saying was, ‘Live, love and laugh.’ I so enjoyed life. I have had a lot of trauma in my life since 1983. My husband and I were in a motorcycle accident in Oregon that year. A young girl feel asleep at her car wheel and came around a corner and ran over us. We both went flying up in the air and crashed on the street. I hit the guard rail and went down a embankment. I broke both arms and both legs along with many other things. It took 5 years to recover from this. Since then, I have had many surgeries that were related to this accident. The last one was a knee replacement. I was doing really well for 4 to 5 weeks after. then I began having trouble walking, becoming very weak and feeling like I weighed 7000 pounds, The fatigue was incredible. The cramping and electrical sparks up and down my legs felt like daggers sticking in me. My vision was disturbed and I couldn’t sleep at night. The headaches were intense. My skin felt like it was burning up and crawling with bugs. my brain was not functioning correctly. I couldn’t remember things, I had trouble coming up with the words to complete sentences. The fibro fog was just awful. the Doctors,5 of them, think that the fibro came out at this time for me because of all the stress and trauma I have had. I also have PTSD, and panic attacks.

    My life has changed so much, as has everyone else on your blog. I spend most most of my time at home I am a needle pointer. I do it on painted canvas. There are so many wonderful artist painting these days and selling their work at Needlepoint stores. I have one in town here. She carries everything I need. She permits opened stitching to anyone who wants to join in. I think we have about 30 wonderful ladies that come. I try for twice a week. This is my one out of the house thing I do. My things at home are reading good mysteries,history and watching documentaries. The computer is a big part of the day and at night I like TV. I am so blessed to have my niece living with me to help me. My son is not to far either. I lost my Husband of 40 years to cancer in 2011.
    I have visited Scotland along time ago, and loved it. What part are you living in today. I am a part of the McDougall Clan. my Ancestors came from the Isle of Islay. Our clan is from Somerland- Lord of the Isles. I have been to the town of Oban and found four of my family’s Castles. What fun we had there. I love your country.
    Thank you again for letting me join in on your blog. Big warm and soft hugs to you and your friends. Linda Mae

    • Hi Linda! Thank you for reading my blog and for taking the time to get in touch. Reaching a diagnosis is a long and hard road isn’t it? You have been through so much and are such a strong person! I’m glad you finally have you answer but sorry that it turned out to be Fibro– I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’m so sorry to read about your husband and your mum. It must have been a relief for you to have had MS ruled out. You are right when you say life completely changes. Everything has to be much slower paced, doesn’t it? It’s great that you have found a hobby you enjoy and that you have wonderful, supportive people in your life. I am so fortunate to live in such a beautiful country. I want to visit more of the Highlands & islands. I have briefly visited Oban on the way to Mull. It must have been fun to explore your history and find out all the places of your ancestors. Take care and sending gentle hugs back.

  8. Hi,

    I found your site through Pinterest. Happy to see there are other chronic wanderers in the jungle of endless protocols and tips and tricks:) Have you tried ozone, chelation and Rife treatments? Like my site if you like, I’ll do the same at yours.

    Cheers

    Tuukka

    • Hey,

      Thank you. I have had 10-pass ozone treatment and it definitely helped. I have had calcium and magnesium EDTA IVs as part of Infusio’s protocol but I haven’t look further into this for now. I’m not sold on the idea of rife machines personally but I appreciate that they help many people. I’ll be sure to give your blog a read.

  9. hi there nice to find someone thinking positive and being awesome! after a struggle with chronic pain since 12, i am hoping this year will be better than the last!

    • Hi, Jemma! Thank you. I’m sorry to hear you have been struggling with chronic pain at such a young age. I really hope 2018 treats you well 🙂

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.