Brissia’s Story – How a Paleo Diet Helped Her Fully Live Life and Reduce Fibromyalgia Symptoms

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Everyone starts life the moment they come into this world…or so it would seem it should be that way.
I was always the sick kid, I knew all my doctors on a first name basis by the time I was 5.  My favorite blanket was one I had taken home from one of my many hospital visits. From the moment I was born I was being given medicines, pills and ‘remedies’ for all my factory defects (as my dad used to say). I always suffered from ear infections, throat infections, colds that would last what seemed like forever..

My parents (well my grandparents really) tried their best to have me grow up like any other kid, they’d let me play in the dirt (eat dirt even!) I was allowed to play in any weather just like all the kids.  I guess they hoped I would eventually build a normal immune system.  At age 9 I was hospitalized after passing out at my grandparents.  The doctors suspected juvenile diabetes, then sickle cell anemia…then they just sort of gave up and said I must of had too much sugar. “Something, insulin levels too high, something, something…here are some pills and vitamins…have a good day!

Getting to my teens didn’t make things any better.  I was anemic, weak, always sleepy and I had a horrible diet.  Age 14 I was in a lot of physical pain, all my joints, lower back, and neck ached.  I had constant migraines and Iwas always moody (then again what teen isn’t?).  I was told I had herniated lumbar discs.  Oh, no… no… a pinched nerve   No wait…  juvenile arthritis with sciatica.  Eventually I was just told I had a lot of growing pains and bad genes.  Four years of growing pains and I only grew and inch!!!  At one point some doctors suggested all these ailments where in my head.  They said that I had mommy and daddy issues and I should be going to a psychiatrist instead.

At 19 I was ready to give up on doctors and just crawl under a rock.  I only wanted to be like other teens.  I was sick of being sick.  As a last shot I went to a neurologist; and he diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia (after many visits and many many tests to confirm).   At the time, (2001), not a lot was known about Fibromyalgia and the little information I was given by this doctor and others that followed that confirmed the diagnosis wasn’t enough to console me.  I spiraled into a horrible depression, which only made my symptoms worse.  I was constantly in pain, movement was minimal, and sleep wasn’t something I was familiar with.  I used a cane to get around during winters and my GI problems were all over the map.

I was a 19 year old living in the body of a tubby, bitter 90 year old.  I disconnected myself from the outside world to become a hermit.  Many friendships were lost and family ties severed because I found it easier to keep away from those who ”didn’t understand”.  Instead I buried my feelings in Krispy Kreme boxes.  Once I hit rock bottom I tried every drug on the market that came out for Fibromyalgia, which only made me more depressed and even less functional.

I wasn’t sure if I would make it to 30 at the rate I was going.  I was popping two Vicodin and one naproxen a day.  Worse yet, I was drinking on top of that.  One day while while visiting family, which was a rare thing, I stepped onto the scale they had in the bathroom. It read 163 pounds.  I’m not even 5’3 and have a petite frame!

That was my wake up call.  I was slowly killing myself.  I was unhappy because I was making all the wrong choices.  I started dieting, trying all sorts of soft exercise like yoga and such.  I lost some weight but it always came back.  The Fibromyalgia only waxed and waned but never got better.  The emotional part of the recovery was also a yo-yo, but I did not detour I was determined to fix myself and turn my life around.

This year an acquaintance mentioned I should look into the Paleo diet and recommended I read  The Paleo Solution.  I did the research, took the challenge and 4 months in – here I am a new woman!  I have never felt better in my life!  I am full of energy, sleep well, eat delicious foods, and am at the fittest I have ever been.  I jog, run, and climb – things I enjoyed and had not done since I was a little girl.  I am cheery, happy and my true self is finally coming out.  My outlook on life has done a 180.  I feel better than I did at 19.

Now at 28 (this September 16th!), getting to 30 looks quite doable and I’m looking forward to it as I continue down the road to recovery and remission.  I have had no severe Fibromyalgia symptoms since week 3 on Paleo and it just keeps improving!

I can now start living fully.  I’m enjoying the ride and loving this new lease on life :)

THANK YOU!

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  1. Hans Eisenman
    September 12, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Hey this is a great story – congratulations!

    It inspires me to really look after my four kids and wean them off the gluten. It’s tough but getting easier the more we get them to eat paleo. We notice their mood swings disappear if we feed them something like fruit and eggs instead of letting them find their way to some wheat product. It’s amazing.

    Well done for turning your life around.

    • Brissia
      September 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

      Thank you Hans! I have one of my aunts trying out Paleo and her 10 yr old is doing this along with her, in 2 weeks she told me she noticed he isn’t as grumpy and even more he doesn’t seem so ADHD … Im hoping this is something that can also be fixed through a good diet because she spends $$$$ on meds for this kid

  2. Zach
    September 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Wow…what a crazy story! I got introduced to the paleo/primal lifestyle from reading Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint, but I just started reading The Paleo Solution today, and I am extremely excited to learn more and get a different perspective. It is extremely clear to me that many medical issues could be resolved if people adopt the paleo lifestyle. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Crunchy Pickle
    September 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Remarkable story! I wish that you could have found answers earlier, but I am so glad that you did find them!!!

    • Brissia
      September 14, 2011 at 10:59 am

      I wish I had too, but better late than never! ( I love love pickles btw) :)

  4. Eric
    September 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Congratulations on your success Brissia.
    You look great, and the best part is you feel great.

  5. Eric Anondson
    September 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I know there is the forum where people can post their “story”, but I would love a place where all these posts are collected in one place! I love ‘em.

    • Robb Wolf
      September 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm

      Eric-
      You just toggle “testimonials” and you got it. We are looking at a site update the will streamline all this.

      • Brissia
        September 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

        Hey Robb!

        So with 2 jobs and school full time, I don’t think Ill be able to start and upkeep a Paleo/Fibro blog at the moment, so I did the next best thing….getting my story out there, I wanna thank you and your team for sharing it here. It was really hard to share that before picture (I only have the one; solely as a reminder of how bad I had it)

        I’m happy to announce 5 family members are on the 30 day challenge (some just started some are 2 weeks in) and they already notice the difference!

        If my story can help even just one more person, Im all set :)
        Once again thank you for all you do, you are changing lives one paleo dish at a time!

        • Robb Wolf
          September 13, 2011 at 7:45 am

          Honored you chose to share the story here…if you want to write in the future, you have a place here. Great job with the family…much better %’s and I’ve got!

    • Diane @ Balanced Bites
      September 12, 2011 at 8:07 pm

      Robb meant the tag/category linked here: http://robbwolf.com/category/real-life-testimonials/

      The top of the site links to other testimonials, more related to the book than to real life stories (at least currently).

  6. Lindy
    September 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Sounds more like Ankylosing Spondylitis than Fibromyalgia. You may want to look into this. Try KickAs.org for more information on a starch-free diet putting this autoimmune disease into remission. It’s definitely related to neck/lower back/migraine and digestive problems. It also causes pain and circulation problems as well as a whole family of weird symptoms. Paleo has also helped me quit dangerous drugs like Humira, Prednisone, and NSAIDs.

    • Brissia
      September 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks Lindy, Ill look into it but Ive experienced pain everywhere not just my back, AS has been discussed a few times but my doctors are pretty sure Im Fibro all the way…but ill dig some more into it, I have found out so much just by researching and asking that its def worth another look! :)

      thanks for the link

      • Robb Wolf
        September 13, 2011 at 7:45 am

        At the end of the day it’s very similar etiology and so similar approach to fix it.

        • Brissia
          January 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm

          I have successfully gotten 7 people on Paleo and they have as a group lost over 80lbs! and many ailments have changed,no acne, better sleeping, no sore joints etc etc. I want to pursue becoming a personal trainer with a specialization in degenerative disorders such as Fibro but I have NO idea where to start, it is so very fulfilling getting the goodness of Paleo out there other than myself

          Could you point me in the right direction?

          Thank so very much Rob, you really have no idea what a wonderful impact youve made on me and the people around me!

          • Robb Wolf
            January 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm

            I’d pick some kind of cert (ISSA?) and knock that out, then start interning with a good gym.

          • Laura
            April 15, 2012 at 5:49 am

            Brissa, I am so happy for you and encouraged at the same time. I also have fibro and your testimonial pushes me over the edge. I am just learning and haven’t made the paleo leap.

            I do encourage you to look into hypermobility syndrome also. Your story sounds much like mine and my daughter’s. The HMS is often connected to Fibromyalgia. It may not be part of your health struggles but it is very often missed and may be worth a few minutes to check out the possibility of it being pertinent also.

            A bit of time has passed since you first shared. Any updates to how you are feeling and doing?
            Thank you so much for your story and inspiration!

  7. Erin
    September 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Wow! Congratulations! Great thing you never gave up on yourself!

  8. debbyK Fitness
    September 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Congrats! Welcome to the club of feeling great from Paleo foods and exercise! You look awesome!

  9. Tom Chon
    September 14, 2011 at 7:42 am

    How do you submit your success story with the Paleo Diet?

  10. Theresa Robertson
    September 16, 2011 at 6:02 am

    I have been on paleo/primal for 8 months now and notice little differences weekly. Mostly of course over the first three months. Even though your busy keep telling your story. You have a fantastic one that should open not only everyday persons eyes but hopefully more of the medical community. Like your strong spirit and can see that it is infectious! Theresa

  11. Spencer
    September 16, 2011 at 11:31 am

    You share a Birthday with my daughter. She’s 8 today!

    Congratulations on your journey.

    I do my best to bring “sick” people into the light, but they kick and scream wanting to reinforce their position with meaningless information released by the FDA, Pharma and BigMed! They’ll continue to try and “burn it off” on the dreadmill and elliptical instead of KEEPING IT OUT in the first place.

    I’m sad that more wonderful people don’t trust themselves and advocate for HEALTH rather than TEATMENT.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    all my best

    spencer

  12. Michael Jefferson
    October 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm

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  13. Theresa
    May 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I have to say I have been diagnosed with fibro (2008) also and have been doing paleo for about 6 weeks or so. I am symptom free and off all meds. I tell anyone I can about Paleo especially if I know they have fibro. I am amazed how great I feel. It is so wonderful to have my life back. I can relate to how you felt. Thank you for sharing your story.

  14. Amanda
    December 18, 2014 at 10:56 am

    How are you feeling today in 2014? (Or maybe 2015…new year soon!)

    You said this…
    “I have had no severe Fibromyalgia symptoms since week 3 on Paleo and it just keeps improving! ”

    But it was 2 years ago…are you still paleo and do you still see improvement? What’s the story now?

    Thank You!

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