Photo: Singer-Songwriter Blaithin Carney. Source: Irish Mirror.
Following Lady Gaga’s announcement, Naas singer and songwriter Blaithin Carney also shared her own story of fibromyalgia.
After 13 years of marriage, the Irish singer-songwriter moved to Naas with her sons. She has two sons and four male siblings which are all, including her, musically inclined. While she has not been in the spotlight for long, the talented Irish singer has released several singles, including one that was number 1 on iTunes under singer/songwriter.
Blaithin was just in her late 20's when she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The singer stated that she could not believe it, especially since she was even advised to give up on her goals and change her career. Yet, despite the negative circumstances, she was still able to launch her second single entitled “Close My Eyes,” and she isn't expected to stop anytime soon.
While many are still unaware of what the disease entails, patients often feel at a loss for how they should cope with fibromyalgia. When sharing her own story, Blaithin also offered up tips for other patients to manage their disease.
What can patients do who have Fibromyalgia?
As for Blaithin, she tried to improve her condition by training in Pilates, choosing a better diet, and of course, a lot of exercises. According to the singer, she slowly gained her strength and eventually learned to manage it. The Fibro Center suggests the following tips to improve one’s condition of fibromyalgia:
Exercise is never out of the list. For people with fibromyalgia, aerobic exercises such as walking or something that increases your heart rate are advisable. The National Fibromyalgia Association has given the following tips for fibromyalgia patients to achieve this:
- Start gradually
- Be sensitive with your own body’s capacity
- Start each day with small exercises
- Walking is highly recommended
- It is important to record one’s progress
Since the disease also affects its patients’ sleep quality, patients, in general, must do something to fight against this and maintain a good sleep. Here are the following tips from the National Pain Foundation, the National Sleep Foundation, and other expert organizations:
- Patients need to follow a sleep schedule.
- The sleeping environment is cool enough for the patients to sleep in.
- Caffeine should be avoided especially at night.
- Exercising in the afternoon is advisable but not during the evening.
- Short naps are acceptable.
- Set a soothing room and routine for an effective sleep.
Unlike other diseases, a fibromyalgia diet doesn’t exist. According to researchers, the disease doesn’t have a specific diet plan to make it better. However, asking some guidance from doctors is highly advised.
It is emphasized to stick to medicines. In one study, half of the patients weren’t able to keep their medications due to frustration, carelessness, or forgetfulness. Fibromyalgia patients should keep their medications to relieve themselves from the insisting symptoms. As much as possible, they need to work closely with their doctors so that they will be properly monitored and guided.
Aside from the physical needs that fibromyalgia patients must try and meet, their emotional needs must be maintained and satisfied, too. The disease naturally affects their emotions. However, they may also control it by staying positive and get some moral support from their loved ones and the people around them.
Seeking support through a group is also highly advisable, as a support group can usually provide a good network for fibromyalgia patients. This can help them express themselves through talking with others or listening to their own stories.
The disease has already affected some aspects of Blaithin’s life, and this even includes the need to close her own music school in Newbridge. According to her, she spent a majority of her time there, as close to 12 hours a day and six days a week. Despite that, however, the singer was still grateful for everything that happened to her before.
It has been suspected that the inflammations in the brain triggers pain in fibromyalgia patients’ system. Currently, the most effective treatment to pacify neuroinflammation is the low-dose naltrexone or LDN. This is a kind of medication that is prescribed by alternative medicine providers. Unfortunately, most Western doctors are still not aware of its importance in relieving pain.
Naltrexone is a kind of medication that blocks opiate. Usually, naltrexone is prescribed in high doses like 50 mg, but it can also be taken in low doses like 1-5 mg. This eases the inflammation in the central nervous system. LDN does this by preventing some receptors in the brain called “glial cells” from generating inflammatory chemicals. Thus, the nerve cells have the chance to normalize the volume of pain. As a matter of fact, two studies at Stanford University showed how LDN reduced fibromyalgia pain.
Dr. Ginevra Liptan stated that he has found this kind of treatment effective to 60% of his patients. However, one challenge about LDN is that it does not go well with opiate-based pain medications. Yet, there are available ways on how to combine them as well.
Apparently, every circumstance has a corresponding solution or measure. Some solutions may not be that perfect, however, these are at least the pacifiers of a certain disease like fibromyalgia. In Blaithin Carney’s case, like any other victims, she had also undergone the stage of denial before she fully managed to go on with her life while dealing with the crippling disease. So far after the discovery of her disease, she has continued to thrive and show that nothing, and not even the disease, can stop her.
Lady Gaga and Blaithin Carney are so far the most famous people who have shared their experiences about fibromyalgia so publicly. Both have expressed hope, strength, and positivity. You may not be famous or have the resources or financial status that they have but everyone is experiencing similar symptoms. Moral and spiritual support from loved ones are a great source of comfort. Living with fibromyalgia requires both physical and emotional strength because patients and the people around them must help each other to successfully improve patients’ condition. After all, this is just a matter of cooperation between the patients themselves and their loved ones.