After 9 Long Years - Wife is Cured of Fibromyalgia Pain (A Husband's Story)
My wife has suffered with debilitating Fibromyalgia for 9 LONG YEARS of chronic pain with virtually no relief. Thanks to God's good grace, she has recently found miraculous relief from debilitating and disabling pain.
I am writing this as an extremely appreciative husband who is SO happy and grateful to have his wife back! With newfound success, I feel a deep obligation to share this with as many Fibromyalgia sufferers that I can possibly reach. In good conscience, I could not see my wife get tremendous relief and not share this with the FM community. I am painfully aware of the millions of people (primarily women) who suffer from pain with little or no relief. My wife and I understand that feeling very well as we lived it for way too many years. Thankfully, this is not a story of pain and misery with no solution. This is a story of hope and recovery! I KNOW that the treatment we have discovered WILL help a great majority of people who struggle with the constant pain of Fibromyalgia. My wife could have easily been a poster child for severe Fibromyalgia (FM). For you to appreciate the magnitude of her illness for 9 years, the amount of money spent, and the blessing of finding a "cure" to her problem, I feel a little background is in order. Jackie didn't just have a few aches a pains, she had a horrific case of Fibromyalgia, let me explain.
My wife (Jackie), was a very active and physically fit woman who felt great physically and mentally. She loved life! She worked out 4-5 days a week with hour long aerobics classes and a weight training plan. She ate healthy, didn't smoke, took no medication at all. She cut the grass, washed the cars, cooked every night, and kept the house neat as a pin. In short, she was unstoppable! On July 23, 1995 while looking for a birthday card in a Wal-Mart in Katy, TX, she lifted up her head and "saw stars." She was in so much pain, she had to sit on the floor in the store for about 15 minutes. She left the cards behind and barely made it home. At that moment our lives were instantly changed forever.
I could write a book that chronicled our journey through the healthcare system and all of the medical expenses over the last 9 years. I could write for hours about all of our failed and storied attempts at relief and the hopelessness that we felt. Here is a condensed version:
* Acute, continuous, sharp, shooting, and burning pain in the back of her neck, shoulder blades, and upper back. Debilitating migraine headaches 2-3 times per month. Pain became so excruciating at times she would throw up uncontrollably.
* Muscles in her neck and shoulder blade and upper back areas were in constant states of spasm. Muscles stayed continually "knotted up" escalating the pain levels. Other muscle areas began to spasm beginning with extremely tight hamstrings, and moving down to her calves.
* Horrific migraines - averaging 2 times per month.
* Restless Leg Syndrome developed.
Jackie and I thought surely she had a ruptured disc in her neck pressing on nerves. We had never heard of Fibromyalgia so this was our path for relief.
* Neurosurgeon - Performed Myelogram, MRI, CAT and PET Scans of her entire head neck and back. He pronounced her "Neurologically sound" and that surgery was not warranted and there was nothing he could do. This was shocking to us! We thought surely this was "correctable" by surgery. We hoped he would just "go in there and fix it!" No such luck.
* Neurologist #1 - Diagnosis: Fibromyalgia with Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) - Nothing to be done except treat the symptoms.
* Prescribed: Carisoprodol (a powerful muscle relaxer) and LORTAB (an addictive pain medication). Over time the pain got so bad, Jackie was given stronger and stronger pain medications to keep the pain under control. Also prescribed: Imitrex self injections: 2 times per month at the first sign of migraine developing.
* Internal Medicine (Internist): Diagnosis Confirmed: Fibromyalgia- Nothing to do but to treat the symptoms.
* Neurologist #2 - 2nd Opinion - "This is Fibromyalgia, not much else we can do."
* Endocrinologist - No significant findings. No medicine prescribed. Confirm diagnosis of Fibromyalgia with Myofascial Pain Syndrome.
* Rheumatologist - "No Lupus, a touch of osteoarthritis." Prescribed a TENS Unit (Electrical Stimulation of Muscles) and Celebrex anti-inflammation medication prescribed. Guaifenesin also prescribed as it purportedly helped FM sufferers. None of this provided any measurable relief. Jackie is referred to see on of the top Pain Management Specialist in Houston.
Jackie's pain began getting worse and we were scrambling for any kind of relief. Lortab and other pain medications no longer worked effectively so she was put on a 75 mcg/hr Duragesic (Morphine) Patch that was normally reserved for cancer patients. The patch barely stayed in front of the worst pain. She was completely debilitated.
* Chiropractor: Personally, Jackie and I were not believers in Chiropractors, and we had never went to one before, but decided to try this as the traditional medical community was running out of options. We found one of the best Chiropractors in Houston (the Chiropractor who treated the NBA Houston Rockets Team). Jackie goes 3 days a week for treatment. Relief is minimal and short lived.
* Acupuncturist: World renown oriental specialist who resides and practices in Houston was visited 2 times per week. She experienced some relief, but pain returns within 1 hour of treatment.
* Osteopath: Prescribed "natural hormones" and a very expensive regimen of vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.- no relief.
* Pain Management Physician (Specialist) - Jackie's pain was gradually getting worse (pain scale evaluations indicated a pain level of 9.5 on a scale of 10). This excruciating pain is wearing her down a little more each and every day. This doctor determines that the best next step was to put her in a hospital for 1 day a week for 3 weeks to do the following procedure: Put her under general anesthesia in an operating room, place her on her stomach, secure her hands behind her back, securely strap her body and head to the table, and thread a catheter into her cervical spinal column and inject her with the latest and most expensive, cutting edge steroidal concoction at the "point of pain."
Why tie her down to the table? Because when the catheter is being threaded through her spinal column, there is preciously little extra room at that part of the spine (in her neck). If she were to partially awake in a "twilight conscious" state during the surgery and move her body in any way, the catheter could irreversibly damage her spinal cord. We both signed all types of waivers of liability to protect the doctor and hospital if this happened. This was pretty scary, but what was our option? We happily risked paralysis to get rid of this miserable pain (obviously we were very desperate). It was our only hope at the time. We had to try something!
The outcome? Well, after operation #1, she had no pain for the next week. She was pain free after operation #2 and #3 so we were very encouraged! However after Surgery #3, her pain returned with the same vengeance as before about 10 days after the final (3rd) procedure. The total cost of all 3 procedures: $30,000. Now she had all of the same pain, but she had a nice parting gift. She quickly gained 20 lbs and she now had patches of dark facial hair appearing. One good thing: at least for $30,000 bought her relief for 10 DAYS! (that is $3,000/day!).
We tried other things: Yoga, nutrition, diet, visible light therapy, etc. We tried everything that every quack will sell you for hope. She had no relief and she was still on a morphine patch. She was absolutely miserable.
Neurologist # 3: A great neurologist was recommended so we switched doctors (from Neurologist #1 to this doctor). This doctor put Jackie on a steady "daily cocktail" regimen consisting of: Elavil (4/day), Xanax (5 per day), Lortab 7.5 (4-8 per day), Celebrex (1/day), Carisoprodol (SOMA) - 4/day.
Some details have been removed because of length. For a more complete version, you may buy a copy of A HEALTHIER You!
At that time, it was the summer of 2000 (5 years later) and we had already spent more than $100,000.00 for some type of relief for Jackie. But the good news was that my wife's pain was now "tolerable!" But unfortunately, she was a zombie.
... she had very limited physical activity and was drowsy and "drugged" most of the time. Trying to be as positive as I could, I was grateful that I could talk to her without her either throwing up or being on a morphine patch so there was some improvement.
In March of 2004, even with this steady regimen of drugs she had been on for 4 years now, she had a huge setback. She woke up with incredible pain in her neck and upper back with pain shooting from her neck down her left arm. We immediately went back to Neurologist # 3. The Neurologist increased all of her doses of medication by 50% and added to "the cocktail" the maximum dose of Neurontin (3600mg/per day). Jackie was taking all of this medication and was still really in a lot of pain. She was very afraid that she would be returning to the morphine patch. Her head, neck, and upper back was in constant pain, and her neck, hamstrings, and calves were in knots again. Her ring and middle fingers on her left hand were numb. Her left arm from her hand to her neck hurt so much she could hardly lift it (her arm was so weak that she could not pick up and hold a cup of coffee with her left hand). She was so uncomfortable, she could not sleep in bed and slept only a couple of hours each night "sitting up" in her recliner.
As bad as things were, even with this somewhat successful cocktail of drugs things were now worse. The huge additional daily dose of Neurontin provided no additional relief. I searched the web to desperately find anything new out there that could help Jackie. I found very little new or promising information in FM websites and support groups. I did a very intense and broad search and after hours of searching, I found a little known treatment called "Bio Cranial Therapy." This technique was (and still is) something relatively unknown to most practitioners. After reading more about it, the theory behind it seemed plausible. What luck? One of the best practitioners and teachers of this technique happened to be in the Houston, TX area by the name of Dr. Stuart Marmorstein. I scheduled to take a day off from work and made an appointment to take Jackie there the next morning.
HEART OF THE "MATER"
Once we get to Dr. Marmorstein's office, Jackie explains her history and symptoms. He takes lots of notes and puts her through an evaluation for strength, inflammation, and nerve damage. He proceeds to explain to us this Bio Cranial Therapy program. In a nutshell, the basis of this technique revolves around relieving pressures of the "mater" system along the spinal column.
I'm no expert at this technique, but in layman's terms, I'll do my best. The Dura Mater (Latin translation for "tough mother") is the very tough sheath that covers and protects the brain. This "mater" covers the brain and continues downward through the base of the skull and down and throughout all parts of the spinal column. This same protective sheath connects to the vertebrae, the discs, and the muscles that surround the spine column. All of this "mater" is irrevocably connected, but in different areas it is termed either the Dura, Pia, or the Arachnoid mater. This "mater" actually wraps around and protects the "nerve roots" that come out of each side of the spine and goes to all parts of the body.
The theory behind this "Bio Cranial Therapy" is that over time and aging (or injury) the spine changes and discs begin to thin out and get a little out of place, vertebrae make minor changes in their position, etc. These subtle changes apply slight pressure to the "mater system" that protects the nerve roots causing pain. This gradual degeneration of the bone and discs of the spine happens to everyone as you age. However, for those suffering with FM, these minor changes begin a cascading effect of inflammation and pain that the traditional medical community doesn't know how to treat. This Bio Cranial Therapy actually purports a theory related to the formation and minute movement of skull plates and the effects of this extremely subtle movement. This approach is something that I don't understand and I'm not sure I buy into it. However, the one thing that really hit home for me when evaluating this was that it sure made sense to me the idea that if you compressed or agitated a part of the "mater system" along the spinal column, and you could in some way relieve these minor stresses on the nerve roots, then relief made sense. It also goes a long way to explain "shooting" and "diffuse" pain to certain points in the body (like the inside of the knees or the buttocks).
WHAT IS THE TECHNIQUE?
Dr. Marmorstein travels the country teaching Doctors this technique. After the preliminary evaluation, I watched Jackie go through the technique which in short comes down to this. Jackie laid flat on her back on a narrow padded table that was lowered to about 2 feet from the ground with Dr. Marmorstein standing behind her head. Based on the structure of Jackie's skull, he positioned the fingers of his right hand onto a certain position at the base of her skull. With his right hand in place and while standing behind her, he put his left hand down on top of her shoulder (firmly pinning it against the table). With his left hand now holding her left shoulder down to the table, and with the right hand behind her skull, he then brought her head forward some and placed his chin on top of her head. He then proceeded to very slowly and gradually push Jackie's head further and further forward (chin towards the chest) while simultaneously and gently twisting her head towards the right. With his chin gently on top of her head, he was able to sense how hard he could push the head comfortably forward. After about 60 seconds, Jackie's head was pushed forward and in a somewhat awkward looking forward and twisted position. He then gently released her from this "stretch" and let her lay her head flat again for about a minute in a relaxed position. He then switched hands and did the same exacting technique pushing her head forward and twisting it to the left.
As this is a new technique that is just beginning to get recognition, Dr. Marmorstein does not take insurance directly (however he will give you the paperwork you need to file for reimbursement). The cost for the first visit $130.00 for the evaluation and the first treatment. He explained that subsequent visits would be $65.00 per treatment. Before leaving, Dr. Marmorstein says, "I'm sure that you will begin feeling some relief by tonight…see you next week." I'm thinking to myself, "That's a bunch of crap. I just wasted $130.00!" (of course never saying anything to Jackie).
When we got in the car, I asked Jackie how she felt. She said that the technique was a little uncomfortable at first but got better as he went along. She said that she felt "disoriented" and "lightheaded" which we both thought strange. We arrived home right around lunchtime.
...After the treatment and into the afternoon, she was abnormally quiet and still. She appeared to be a little "out of sorts" and quietly watched TV. At about 5:30 PM, she looked at me and said:
"I don't want to jinx this…. and I'm almost afraid to say it…but I don't have any pain!"
I damn near fell out of my chair! She was so happy that her pain was "gone," she started to cry (and so did I). She told me that even though her next dose of medication was due shortly after lunch she didn't take any medication. It was now 5:30 PM, she had no pain and now she was afraid to move out of her chair out of fear that the pain would come back.
At about 7:30 PM, she looked at me and said… "Hon, I'm so sleepy. I'm going to bed." To bed? Hell, she had not been able to sleep in the bed for 8 weeks! (remember, she was sleeping in her recliner only a couple of hours per night for the last 2 months). She crawled into bed, rolled over on her LEFT Shoulder (the one that hurt so much she couldn't hardly touch it), and immediately fell asleep.
I slept fairly light that evening, and she did not appear to move much if any at all in the night. She woke up at 11:00 AM the next morning (that is 15 1/2 hours of sleep)! She said that she had not slept that well in years. She described a "soreness" in her neck and upper back, but not much more than that. Not knowing what to say and being it was Saturday, and I asked her what she wanted to do that day. She said…"Let's go out and eat lunch, and then maybe we can go shopping." SHOPPING? Hell, for the last 8 weeks, and just yesterday, she had been to the toilet and back to her recliner and that's about all she could do. Guess what? I dressed as fast as I could, jumped in the car to go eat and to go shopping! This was all really very strange, but then again I wasn't complaining! The first thing I thought to myself…"maybe that $130.00 wasn't a waste after all!" We had a wonderful 'pain free' weekend. Early the following week, she had a little pain return just like Dr. Marmorstein had predicted (nothing like it was before) and she went in for another treatment. Each week the pain-free times got longer and longer, and when the pain returned days later…it was less than the previous week. In about 2 weeks, she got her feeling back in her fingers (the neurologist projected that her feeling in her fingers would not return for 4-6 months). Her migraines immediately stopped after her first Bio Cranial Therapy treatment. She had Migraines twice per month over the last 9 years. She has not had one migraine in the 2 months.
...The result: I have my wife back! She hasn't felt this good since before 1995! She now has NO PAIN, she now takes NO MEDICATION and she has NO MIGRAINES! ... Since then, we have been very active and we're playing catch-up. We've done things very quickly like booking a 5 day trip to Jamaica (we hadn't been anywhere like that in years)! Over the last 2 months, Jackie joined the local fitness club, she is back to working out 5 days per week with weights and has resumed doing aerobics and jogging!
Does this sound too good to be true? It's more than that, it's a miracle! I am so thankful and grateful for this gift. I now go to work each day not worrying about Jackie. This cloud of continual illness and pain has been lifted. We are so grateful to God and Dr. Marmorstein for this restoration! Laying out the history of our hopelessness and helplessness with this condition, along with this instant and dramatic improvement, you now know why I feel obligated to tell the world. I am hopeful that many others with FM try this technique. If you get only a fraction of the relief that Jackie has been blessed with, then you know as well as I do that it is worth more than gold itself! My hope is that MANY people with FM will obtain relief from debilitating and painful symptoms and get their lives back! Based on our personal and dramatic experience, I have every confidence that it will!
Dr. Stuart Marmorstein has a simple website that you should take a look at. His website is: www.drstuart.net. Obviously, I think the world of him (who wouldn't). Feel free to send him an email or call. He is very patient, very smart, and you can sense he really wants to help people get better.
I am sure that I will get a ton of emails asking me questions about all of this. Feel free to email me directly. I promise to reply personally to all emails as quick as I can. I pray that hopefully this information helps other FM sufferers. I live in the Houston Area. If I can be of any assistance to any support group, I would be happy to personally meet or talk to anyone about this to share our story and answer any questions.
One very grateful husband's story.