Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's 1x1, Not 1+1...

Image courtesy of nuchylee /
Don't worry, all.  I'm not going to get into any kind of crazy math, but I am going to use a math analogy, but I think it is one everyone can get, and yes, I promise it has to do with Fibromyalgia.

In math, we all know that 1 + 1 = 2, right?  And we all know that 1 x 1 = 1, right?  Great, so we can all do basic math, but what does that have to do with Fibromyalgia?  Well, simply this: most doctors/people treat Fibromyalgia as if it is a 1 + 1 = 2 situation, but in reality it is a 1 x 1 = 1 situation.  What do I mean?  Well, I'll tell you.

Everyone with Fibromylagia experiences a number of different symptoms (pain, fatigue, dietary issues, weakness, etc.), and normally these things are treated as separate issues.  What I mean is, you go to the doctor and they treat you for the pain with one medicine, the fatigue with another, the dietary issues with another thing, and so on and so on.  Before you know it, you're taking so many different pills or doing so many different things to try and manage it that your head is spinning and you feel out of control.  You really don't know what to do and you feel hopeless and lost.  Your Fibromyalgia is being treated as if it is a 1 + 1 = 2 (or 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4 and so on and so forth), i.e. you are being treated for the symptoms only, and each symptom is being handled differently, so you are not being treated as if you are dealing with one thing but as if you are dealing with several different things that are going on at the same time.  To most people, Fibromyalgia is viewed as several different things piling up together.  They see Fibromyalgia as a list of issues, not as one issue, and I think this is why most Fibromyalgia treatments fail.

I want to offer you the idea that Fibromyalgia is a 1 x 1 = 1 (or 1 x 1 x 1 = 1 and so on and so forth) thing.  It is one condition with several facets.  It is not a bunch of separate things, it is one overall thing, and it may not have the same root source for all.  Unfortunately, so many are caught up with treating the separate symptoms that they ignore whatever the root cause is and start treating Fibromyalgia as if it is many things instead of one overall thing, and I think this really needs to stop.

Let's think on this, shall we?  Why is it that some people diagnosed with Fibromylagia do a major overhaul on their diet and are "cured"?  Why is it that some people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia end up having autoimmune disorders or other conditions that are out of control and when they get those under wraps they are "cured"?  Why is it that some people with Fibromyaglia show signs of it early in life and others later in life?  Does it not seem like maybe, just maybe that Fibromyalgia itself is a symptom?  Maybe, just maybe it is the red flag that goes up saying, "Hey!  Look at me!  Something serious is going on in this body and if you don't take care of it, I'm going to shut this body down until it gets fixed!"  Makes sense, right?  So, why are symptoms addressed one at a time instead of looking at them together as a whole?  Why are we treating symptoms as if they are the cause (i.e. the main issue) instead of looking for the real root cause that has lead to all of the symptoms?  That I cannot tell you.

So, now that I've said all of this, I suppose you're wondering what I think the root cause of Fibromyalgia is.  Well, as I've said before, Fibromyalgia is as individual as we are, and everyone's root cause is different.  For some, it's mostly diet.  For others, it springs out of multiple accidents and injures.  For others, it's hormonal (which I think mine is deeply rooted in due to my Hashimoto's and family history with autoimmune and hormonal issues).  The possibilities are endless for the cause, which is only half of the equation.  What we also need a solution to is the other half: how to manage it.

If we stopped slapping band-aids onto Fibromyalgia's symptoms, looked more closely at family history and what causes flare ups and our own medical histories, maybe, just maybe we could cure it one case at a time.  My Hashimoto's is not another condition; it is part of the whole.  My pain is not another condition; it is part of the whole.  My dietary issues are not another condition; it is part of the whole.  My whole body is not working in sync, and that is the real reason for my Fibromyalgia, and that is what I believe is the reason for any illness or condition, especially Fibromyalgia.

How can I make such a claim?  Well, when my Hashimoto's is out of control, nothing I do works!  I can eat right, I can get the right amount of sleep, etc. and still end up in a lot of pain with lots of Fibro Fog, etc.  I am one miserable lady!  On the flip side, however, when my Hashimoto's is under control, I can manage everything else so much easier, and most of my pain, Fibro Fog, etc. is gone.  Now, when I add to that eating right, there is no pain, no Fibro Fog, no nothing!  I am a fully functioning human being with no Fibromyalgia symptoms in sight!  That, my friends, is very telling!

I think we need to start treating the body as a 1 x 1 = 1 functioning system, not a 1 + 1 = 2 functioning system.  Everything needs to work together or nothing does.  We need to find the root cause (or causes) of our issues, not just start patching this thing and then that thing and hoping that it all pans out in the end.  Maybe I'm crazy, and maybe I'm not, but I think it's worth the try, and I think the results could end up being miraculous!

What do you think?
Do you think that problems are unique to themselves, adding up to having several individual things wrong?

Do you think that it is more like a domino effect where when one thing is malfunctioning then it leads to other things not working right, and that the root cause needs to be found so that the body can function properly as a whole?

Do you have a different opinion entirely?


  1. Julie you amaze me and I agree with every word you said :) God Bless you sweetie

    1. Thanks so much! I have been doing a lot of research and thinking, and I keep coming to the same conclusions. Maybe this blog post will reach some of those influential peoples and get them thinking and who knows where it will go from there, right? Even if I'm totally wrong, maybe it will get a ball rolling in the right direction. :) That's how I am choosing to look at it, anyway. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This is one of the most interesting things I've ever read about Fibro. It's such a great way of thinking about it (and other diseases, to be honest). Your analogy is a good one. The truth is, most patients with chronic conditions would benefit from their physicians thinking of their illness in the 1X1 terms. Right now it's very much 1+1 for many things. As you point out, that's not really solving anything. It's a path that leads to frustration (and probably a lot of medication side effects).
    It's a very different mindset to think of chronic conditions in a 1X1 way, but for the most part, I think it would probably benefit patients much almost every chronic condition I can think of. (Fibromyalgia included)
    REALLY, really great post, Julie!! --Lisa

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! That means a lot coming from you. :)

      From what I've experienced personally and discussed with others, a 1x1 approach just makes sense. I am just so glad that I have a doctor that is willing to listen to me, discuss issues and concerns with me and work with me. He doesn't force things on me and is willing to indulge me in a lot of my 1x1 thinking (though sometimes I have to do a little more explaining of myself and my symptoms and why I want things done a certain way). I find that if you're not going to be your own advocate, how can you expect anyone else to be?

      Anyway, I have been sharing this thinking with anyone that will listen in hopes that it will help others in their health quests. Maybe we can change thinking from 1+1 to 1x1 one person at a time and together help change the world health-wise, one person at a time. :)


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