T Nation

Telling CFIDS, Fibro and Hashi's to Suck It!


Hi everyone!

I've always had a love affair with being strong and lifting weights. High school was littered with pictures of short lil' me lifting big ol' guys in my arms; college brought a job at the recreation center where I filled the time between my shifts with iron. A career in the software industry brought a whole lot of sitting on my ass, but I still worked to find the time to get a little weightlifting in here and there.

But a few years back, my health started to take a turn for the worse. I started getting unexplained fatigue and pain that made it hard to get to the gym regularly. My doctors said I had CFIDS and Fibro; I made lifestyle changes and took supps to try and get better.

It all went to hell this January, when my thyroid and stomach blew out, putting me out on disability for three months. My current set of diagnoses is:

1.) CFIDS (AKA unexplained neuro-immune dysfunction)
2.) Fibromyalgia
3.) Hashimoto's disease
4.) Autoimmune gastritis
5.) Celiac disease

I found me a good (albeit expensive) doctor, and we've been putting me back together, bit by bit. It's slow, but it's working, and I have begun to feel human again!

Now I'm back at work, and finally back in the gym after two years away. Unfortunately, I picked up a little weight from being hypothyroid and inactive; on the bright side, I managed to keep some lean muscle mass and only went up to the high side of "normal" BMI-wise.

Anyway, this is where I'm coming from. Where do I want to be? That's in the next post. :slight_smile:


So here's where I am right now:

Height: 5'2"
Weight: 130lbs :frowning:
Bodyfat: approx. 23-24% :(((

Here's what I'm doing:

Diet: low-glycemic carb-cycling, gluten-free, corn-free
Training Protocol: Starting Strength (modified because the gym disallows power cleans), M-W-F.

Short-term goals: 22% bodyfat, deadlift my own weight for 3 sets of 5 with good form.
Mid-Term Goals: 20% bodyfat, squat my own bodyweight for 3 sets of 5 with good form.
Long-Term Goals: 18% bodyfat, do chinups unassisted for 3 sets of 5.

I'm being somewhat conservative for my goals, because I am still learning the limits of my body with these conditions! Once I understand a little more about how far I can push myself, I need to set dates for my goals.

Here is where I am in my lifts (total weight with bar included, for 3 sets of 5 reps with good form):

Squat: 80lbs
Military Press: 30lbs (my shoulders still don't fire well at all!)
Chinup: 70lbs (50lb assist)
Rows: 70lbs
Bench Press: 45lbs
Deadlift: 105lbs
Lat Pulldown: 90lbs


Supplementation... ugh, where to begin? Coincidentally, many bodybuilding supps are good for CFIDS and fibro, as they are catabolic states.

EnergyFirst whey protein
ON micellar casein
Kre-Alkalyn creatine
Fish Oil
Magnesium malate
High-potency b-complex
Calcium d-glucarate
Vitamin D (cholecalciferol)
Ferrochel Iron

I may try alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl l-carnitine again and see if they make any difference.

Amusingly, my doctor has laid HGH and low-dose nandrolone as options on the table to treat the CFIDS. I have yet to try either. Would they make me no longer "natural"? :wink:


Sounds like you are dealing with a lot, but honestly, your bodyfat levels aren't that high. Your main goal is to sort your health out.

Glutamine is an excellent amino to take, since it can potentially heal the gut. Take it in warm water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach - then a couple of times more throughout the day.
Fish oil and vitamin D are always good. Any reason why you are taking magnesium as well as ZMA?
I'd also reconsider the casein. Casein is quite similar to gluten and people who have issues with gluten generally don't tolerate casein well. I would stick with whey.

Two people I would talk to: MMGalb727 (Molly) - I believe she has Hashimoto's as well. Also Bushidobadboy. He knows a lot about things like steroids and growth hormone and their application.


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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Interesting, perhaps I need to direct my girl to this thread.


I cast my vote for more info. If you'd rather not get into too much detail here, you can find me on FB through Pegg's page. I know you can't PM.

and I'll be nice to the next newbie question. :wink:


Thanks for the input, everyone!

@Cal Jones: My doc has me taking a lot of magnesium for the fibro pain/spasms, and it is definitely helping. I take the malate in the morning and afternoon, and the ZMA in the evening. I know glutamine is good for healing the gut and for recovery, but I didn't know about taking it in the morning on an empty stomach, I will try that. And you're absolutely right about the casein, I don't know why that didn't occur to me (duh - I avoid soy protein isolate for the same reason). Thanks so much!

@BBB: I actually do take NAC periodically as an anti-allergy supp, I should probably be taking it more often. I know that whey protein helps increase glutathione levels; I have also heard that SAMe can help raise it.

I'm not sure which form of nandrolone they use for the proposed treatment regimen; the doc said that virilisation is rare with the form/dosage they typically use. I'll squeeze more information from him at my next appointment. My free T levels were on the high side last time we tested, but I was also hypothyroid and on hormonal birth control. I would definitely get my sex hormone levels tested again before I'd even consider supplementation. I may actually need progesterone, as I was on hormonal BC for more than half my life (I'm 34, started BC when I was 16 for menstrual problems and acne control - finally managed to get off of it this year.)

I would be super-interested in the GH vs GHRP6 info, if you have the time to share. Thanks for all the great info!


Over the last 6 weeks, I've primarily focused on cleaning up my diet (I get wicked starch cravings) and working my way up to being able to do Starting Strength with an Oly bar. Here are some observations I've made during this time:

  • Cardio/aerobic exercise makes me feel terrible.
  • I do best with high weights, low reps - no more than half an hour in the gym. Endorphins ahoy!
  • I'm seeing some improvements in fibro pain levels and sleep quality.
  • Recovery is somewhat slow, even piling on the whey, glutamine, and ribose.
  • If I'm too fatigued or my immune system is going haywire for whatever reason, I cannot add the stress of lifting on top of it, or I WILL crash and feel terrible for days.
  • A low-carb high-fat diet makes me feel the best in general. I can only tolerate high-GI carbs immediately post-workout. I carb-cycle every few days with a bit of low-GI carbs to raise serotonin and shake up my metabolism; I reduce fat intake during this time.

I really wish I could take Surge post-workout, but maltodextrin is a no-no (it almost always comes from corn, which irritates my stomach even in small amounts).


My own two cents regarding the GH and Nandralone:
Even though you would be using these for health reasons, my own opinion would be that if you are using more 50mgs+ per week of nandralone and 2IU's (average per day) of GH that, yes, you would no longer be natural. Does it matter though; unless you are competing in some kind of athletic/sporting event?

Regarding the nandralone and it's potential for virilization; as far as I know there are two different kinds. Nandralone decanoate, and nandralone phenylpropionate. The decanoate version has a half life of approximately 2, 2.5 weeks; where the phenylpropionate has an approximate half-life of 1.5-3 days.

If you, or your doctor were serious about administering nandralone, it would probably best to be the phenylpropionate version, administered at least once a week? This is just my speculation and opinion, I do not have nearly as much information or experience regarding this drug and it's application for the stated health reason; or for that matter its effect on women (outside of the fact that it is an Anabolic-Androgenic steroid, which all have the potential to masculinize a women.)

Regarding virilization, the most common (and permanent ones) are deepening of the voice and clitoral hypertrophy, I believe. Both of them are very apparent, and as soon as they are detected if cessation of the drug occurs they should stop and can potentially reverse themselves; as long as they are caught soon and are not advanced.


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wow, how did you wrap your head around this at first?

I'm sure it was somewhat relieving to have a diagnosis though, right?..I'll be following along!


@BBB: I know that most doctors are idiots as far as hormonal treatments are concerned, but the clinic I've chosen for my treatment (Holtorf medical group) specializes in the treatment of CFS, fibro, and hypothyroid through the use of bioidentical hormones. I've been impressed so far with the treatments I've received, and extremely impressed with the way my doctor has worked with me.

At this point we're past the standard therapies, which have definitely improved me, but what we have left are somewhat experimental. He'll tell me the options available to us, and let me do my own research before deciding to move forward - he won't push a treatment on me if I'm not on board with it. Usually I go hunting for studies and discuss what I find with him first.

The hormonal replacements we've been using to this point (time-release Cytomel, cortisol, and fludocortisone) have been at physiologic doses - similar to what my body should be producing, but isn't. I'm guessing that the nandrolone dosage would be in the same ballpark - nowhere near what is used for bodybuilding. I'll be seeing him again in a couple of weeks, and I'll bring him some questions based on what you've told me. Thanks!

And the "natural" comment was just me being silly. :wink:

@Mom-in-MD: I might just be one of the best-equipped people to have these conditions - I originally studied biochemistry in college, so I know enough to be dangerous. :slightly_smiling: And thankfully, I was able to fall back on the discipline of bodybuilding to make sure I ate right and took all my supps. I know others who struggle more with some of these conditions because it's difficult to understand what is happening, and because they never had to exercise that kind of discipline before. So in some ways, I consider myself lucky! It could be so much worse.


And on a training note:

I guess my glutes have woken up and are firing again, woo! I discovered that deadlifts had magically gotten way easier since the last time I did them (mid last week). o_O I didn't want to push myself since I had felt poorly on Monday, so I just did 3 sets of 5 at 110 (instead of upping the weight to get the 1 set of 5 recommended in Starting Strength) and continued with my workout. I'm going to have to experiment over the next couple workouts and find out where my new 1x5 deadlift weight is - easy does it.

Anything involving the shoulders (an especially nasty fibro point for me) is still a bitch, and my left one in particular just sucks. So I've switched to alternating DB bench press (and will do the same for military press next workout) so I can get it more in line with the right one. I won't go up in weight until the left one can do its part of the set with good form and no wobblies! (There aren't any structural problems with my shoulders, they just don't like to fire.)

I've noticed that my posture is getting better - my shoulders are starting to pull back from their rounded position (due to my computer-oriented lifestyle) as my upper back gets stronger. My weight is dropping by about half a pound per week or so. My pants are getting a little bit looser in the waist while my shirts get a little bit tighter across the back and arms. :wink: All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with the progress I've made over the last month, even with the setbacks here and there.


I'm a hardcore computer user and PC gamer so I fully understand the shoulder/upper back problem. I've been doing that for over 20 years and when you combine computer hunch with things like heavy benching, dips and the like, and you're cruising for some serious rotator cuff issues (and I can verify that from personal experience).

Do a search in Article for Eric Cressey's Shoulder Savers series (actually there's a link to it from ericcressey.com if you can't be bothered to trawl through the index here) - and there's also a series called Neanderthal No More - both should probe helpful. Basically, do a lot of scap retraction work and rowing. That'll help immensely.

If you sit a lot (which you tend to do at a computer) then you'll likely need to stretch your hip flexors and quads, ITBs and piriformis. As you've already said, such things tend to be accompanied by lazy glutes and really mess up the whole posture (structural issues in the lower half will affect the upper body too, leading to back pain. Oh yes, I have that too).

Sounds like you are making some excellent progress in any case. All the best with it.


Another week; some gains made, and some minor setbacks. I've had increased fibro pain, possibly because the weather has been so wonky. For some reason, fluctuating weather puts me at risk for a flareup.

I had to back down slightly on weight on upper-body lifts to make my 3 sets of 5 with good form, which is unsurprising because the fibro pain is worse in my upper body and it tends to weaken the affected muscles. However, I upped my weight in squats and deadlifts, as my legs were not much affected. Yay!

I'm thinking about picking up some fractional weights so that I can attempt to increase weight more often. The usual 5lb gap seems much wider than before, particularly for the upper body. I find that upping reps does little to grow my strength; it just exhausts me more than usual. If I go for lower reps at higher weight, it's hard for me to maintain good form, and I worry about injuring myself. Grrrr.

Only a few small booboos on diet, just eating carbs when I ought not to have. On the bright side, they were stuff like brown rice, fruit and sweet potato.

My hips are back down to 36" and I fit in my (US) size 4 pants again! :smiley:

Current weight: 129lbs

Current measurements: Hip 36" Waist 29.5" Bust 37" (That measurement won't go down much, sadly. I am made of boobs.)


Well done on getting into the size 4s. Are you more of an apple shape? (Put on weight around the middle).
Your upper measurements aren't to different to mine (37-28.5-) but then it gets downstairs and my hips are 39.5 (sob).


Yup, definitely more of an apple here. I'm also very short-waisted. Add that to my almost total lack of hips and I never do get much of a waist shape; when I slim down I look like a boy with boobs. :confused: Let me tell you, it's plenty awkward to be shopping for clothing in the boys' section and have the clerk ask you about your "son"...

On the bright side, my short waist makes my legs look longer! :wink:


As soon as I read your description I started thinking you must go to Holtorf. Me too I go to Holtorf in Foster City. All I can say is thank god for them and thank god for being able to pay out of pocket for my healthcare. Spent over $5k last year but I'm finally feeling well and able to lose weight thanks to Dr. Camilleri.

Will be following along here...