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FMAWARE INTERVIEW


In the Spring of 2003,  I received a wonderful call from Lynne Mattallana,  president of FMaware Magazine.  She was interested in doing a featured article about my life entitled,"Fibromyalgia On The Set Of The West Wing". With ample time, I was able to put together answers to the many questions she asked. Below are the original interview questions and answers for the FMaware Magazine Interview. Obviously all of this could not be put in the magazine (because of it's volume). I was very grateful , however, that  she was able to put as much as she could in the magazine ....3 full pages along with my photo on the WW2 Ship, "S.S. LANE VICTORY". (To view magazine photo, click on "Fibro Magazine" on this web page)   

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WW2 BATTLE SHIP "S.S. LANE VICTORY" IN SAN PEDRO, CA

www.lanevictory.org

 

1) HOW DID YOU GET YOUR DIAGNOSIS AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD FM?

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia by my doctor in Del Mar, California in 1996. However, I was aware of fibromyalgia symptoms since I was 28 years old (late 1980's), although at the time I didn't know what it was. Before I get into the details of it's development, I want to mention that I was very energetic and athletic growing up. (I literally grew up on the trampoline and was very acrobatic).
       During my 20's I went to college for 7 years (University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona... Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma...and Point Loma University in San Diego, where I received a Masters Degree in Education). During my early years in Arizona, I decided to do the "Greg Luganis" thing....I worked out with the University of Arizona diving team. My specialty was 3 meter diving with very sophisticated maneuvers (2 1/2 somersault, 1 and 1/2   layout-somersault with a double twist, a back one and a half- layout with a 1 and 1/2 twist...all landing in the water without a splash!) We had a great coach; in fact, one of the girls I used to dive with (Michelle Mitchelle) would later end up winning 2 Olympic Silver Medals. I later got into platform diving which was even more dangerous and "dare-devilish".


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During my early years, I also became a professional ballroom dancer. I had 3 different dance partners (a blond, brunette,and a red head) and we would compete in ballroom competitions. Our feet just could not dance enough!

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A few years later, I ended up doing the "Indiana Jones" thing and went off to Africa, hacking my way through jungles and preaching to thousands of people.

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After this whirl-wind of events, I decided to settle down (a little) and worked on a Masters program at a University in the San Diego area. I would later end up moving to Florida to teach and spend some time with my family (who had just moved there). During our summer breaks from teaching, I would go down to the "Florida Keys" or visit Miami. During one summer, I worked briefly with a modeling agency in Miami....  

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MICHAEL JAMES IN MIAMI 1990

I was a ball of energy during all these years, but then something tragically happened......When I was 28-30 years old, I noticed a drastic drop in my energy level (my brother Jack, had the same phenomenon happen to him at this age as well). When I would exercise, it seemed it was very difficult for my muscles to recover from after a workout, even if it was a light workout. By age 30, the muscles in my feet became unbearably tight. It was very difficult to stand or even walk very far. I had my feet X-rayed, and they said nothing was wrong. I really thought I had some rare type of foot disorder. Dancing became extreemly painful and I had no idea why. Below is a video clip of my final dance days with my beautiful dance partner, Jennifer Galle (1993).



We would teach ballroom dancing during the fall, and for our graduation, we would have our "Cinderella Night" at the magnificent "Hotel Del Coronado" on Coronado Island. The women would dress up in their beautiful gowns and the men would dress up in their tuxedos. Below is a picture of the historic hotel along with the Grand Ballroom where we danced....

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grand ball room




I thought my health could not get any worse, but I had no idea of what was ahead....When I was 35, I took some anti-biotics to get rid of a cold I had contracted, and I ended up with a severe reaction. The anti-biotic (eurythromyacin) caused my stomach to swell up like a balloon and my entire stomach became unbearably "tight".....I thus began my journey into IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). My food would no longer digest and I developed  severe food and chemical sensitivities. I could no longer digest vitamin B properly. I would be in excruciating pain for 2 hours after eating almost anything. This went on for 2 years! The best way to describe the pain would be as if someone was putting knives into your stomach. The only thing that would not cause pain was tuna fish and lettuce. I had to leave my teaching position and ended up being practically bedfast for 2 years due to exhaustion and the inability to digest food.
        I went to 20 doctors....I had colonoscopys, endoscopys, barium x-rays, thyroid tests, but the results were all normal....They said nothing was wrong with me. Their prescription for my situation: MORE PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE AND ANTI-BIOTICS. NOT ONE OF THEM MENTIONED PROBIOTICS OR ANY FORM OR REBUILDING THE FLORA IN MY INTESTINES THAT WAS DESTROYED BY THE ANTI-BIOTICS! AMAZING! OUTRAGEOUS! ..........BUT UNFORTUNATELY, ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

 

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While lying in bed one day, a girl from my church came over with some herbs for killing parasites. Since I was a missionary in Africa, we assumed that some parasite had gotten the upper hand due to my weakened immune system from the anti-biotics. I took the parasite herbs and they gave me tremendous energy (Thanks Sheri!) I was able to get out of bed and at least half-way function. (The main herbs were black walnut and cloves which are common in many parasite formula's you find at your local health food store....I recommend taking "Paraherbs" by the company, "Michaels"). www.michaelshealth.com

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That day I discovered the power of herbs and began seeking doctors outside of my HMO. I continued on the parasite cleanse for 2 years, but was still very sick. I was just stumped. Meanwhile, symptoms of fibromyalgia seemed to develop in other parts of my body. It reminded me a lot of the sinking of the Titanic. Water kept pouring into one compartment after another, causing the ship to sink deeper and deeper into the ocean. My spine  would later become stiff as a board, and my upper back and neck area became very painful. I later lost the ability to rotate my head. It was horrible! In the midst of this I became "hypoglycemic", had memory loss, and lived in and out of a "fibro-fog".  This went on for a number of years. It was a horrible "lot" for anyone to bear and I never thought I would live to the age of 40 (You can ask my friends...They felt the same way!)

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But I didn't quit.....Somehow after loosing my job, friends, and all of my possessions, I was determined to find some answers to this "invisible disease". Instead of going down with the ship, I climbed into a lifeboat!...I would end up going to 40 more doctors. All helping a little here and a little there. When I was diagnosed with FM, it at least helped me narrow in on what was really going on. (It wasn't a rare foot disease, a stomach parasite, aids, or whatever). I want to encourage men and women who are diagnosed with FM to not see it as a "death notice", but rather a step in recovery...


DEATH NOTICE

NOT A "DEATH NOTICE" , BUT RATHER A STEP IN RECOVERY...

 

In 2002, I went online and submitted my medical history to Dr. Teitelbaum's Diagnosis Program (www.endfatigue.org). His computer spat out about 200 pages of very insightful information on what my body was deficient in. I began taking some of the supplements and began to see some definite results.
    What struck me was that Dr. Teitelbaum believed that many people who had  Fibromyalgia were actually having a thyroid problem, even though their thyroid tests came out "normal". I had a number of thyroid tests over the years, and they were all normal. I went back to my doctor and pleaded with him...even mentioning that there was a history of thyroid problems in my family tree. Despite all of this, he still refused, simply because the tests said "normal". Finally, after much debate and arguing, I was able to get a prescription for a small dosage of thyroid medicine. I began taking the thyroid medicine, and after 2 days , I began to feel a difference. I think Dr. Teitelbaum is onto something, and we should give him our ear......In Dr. Teitelbaum's book, "From Fatigue to Fantastic", he mentions other supplements for helping people with fibro and chronic fatigue. I noticed that these supplements helped me. They were: NADH, Glutathione, L-Carnitine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, revitalizing sleep formula, daily enfusion powder...etc....If you are fatigued, you may find some solutions in his book too!

 

DR T BANNER

DR T BOOK

DR. TEITELBAUM'S BOOK

 

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Other doctors who have helped are Dr. Elrod, author of "Reversing Fibromyalgia"(http://www.TheBodyAdvantage.com) and Dr. Wilson an adrenal specialist in Tucson, Arizona.( www.adrenalfatigue.org). I highly recommend visting their webpages and trying their protocols.

Thanks to these doctors, my health is much, much better. Most people would have never guessed I went through such an ordeal. I still, however, have to pace myself, and  not push the limits. Staying healthy and maintaining my energy is a priority, so I've learned not to over-extend myself.  I've learned to say "no' to some projects and activities and not feel guilty about it. :)

 

REV FIBRO

 


2) WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO TALK PUBLICLY ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA?

Believe it or not, it was the day FAYE DUNAWAY punched me in the stomach! I know this sounds a bit like a tabloid headline, and a tad out of the ordinary, but let me first explain.....To start off with, Faye is a wonderful woman and the whole incident happened by accident. (I don't want any of you to get any "MOMMIE DEAREST"" ideas!)


 

JOAN

 


Anyway, a couple of years ago, I was working on her production of the "YELLOW BIRD" at Warner Brothers, and I was chosen to be a "Stand-In" for her co-star, JAMES COBURN. I thought it was a little ironic since James had severe rheumatoid arthritis and I had FM. I could really relate with him. He gave me a lot of confidence to keep going on and not quit. His hands were deformed, as you can see in his later films, but that did not stop him. He didn't hide his illness, and Hollywood used him anyway. That gave me a lot of hope. If he could go on acting in his condition, then so could I. What was wonderful about Faye was that she didn't let Jame's handicap interfere with their personal friendship or working relationship. I think that says a lot! Anyway, back to our Drama........
     Faye  was very busy that day....producing, directing, and acting. She was a little rushed that day, like all directors, when our "worlds collided". When I was rehearsing the scene with Faye, I was not standing on my "Camera Mark". In the midst of the busy film schedule, Faye had to move me back quickly. Faye is a very strong woman and when she placed her hand swiftly on my stomach and pushed me back a couple of feet to my camera mark, it was quite a "jolt" to my stomach! Many people with Fibromyalgia have  IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Your stomach is very sensitive and delicate. It can be painful just wearing a belt around your waist. Anyway, to a healthy person, the incident wouldn't have registered anything at all. It just so happens that with FM and IBS, it felt like a one-two punch!* Although it was a bit of a discomfort, I didn't want to say anything, simply because I was so honored to work with a Hollywood legend like Faye......

 

FAYE


3) HOW IS YOUR STOMACH TODAY?

The good news is that my stomach has improved significantly since my work on Faye's Production (2000). My digestion is still slow, but it is not interfering with my cognitive skills, as it did before. The IBS had really robbed me of all my confidence for many, many years. Through some herbal remedies and a wonderful Probiotic (Primal Defense by www.gardenoflifeusa.com), I have made some great gains in regards to intestinal health and fortitude. My confidence is back again! The IBS would often trigger panic attacks on stage, but now I have none. It's astounding that I can go on stage and not have my adrenal glands explode into a "4th of July Celebration". It's really a true blessing.

 

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4) HAVE YOU MADE PROGRESS WITH YOUR FM?

Yes indeed. When I came to Hollywood at age 40, I was actually quite ill. I had lost a lot of strength in my upper arms and back area. It was very painful to type on the computer even for one minute. It was very difficult to work even one day...It was just so exhausting!  It was also very difficult to carry a light garment bag over my shoulder too. Carrying my garment bag from the car to the studio was very painful. The pain was so bad that I had to go to acupuncture twice a week and the chiropractor twice a week to relieve the pain.
       Fortunately, Los Angeles has a Chiropractic University (Cleveland Chiropractic) and an Acupuncture University (South Baylo University) that will treat you at a very low cost. This is actually one of the reasons I have stayed in Los Angeles. For me, Los Angeles has been a town full of answers! The good news is that I have regained strength and stamina, and am doing much better.
      A few months ago, I was working on a Feature Film with Jaime Lee Curtis, called "FREAKY FRIDAY". (Hits theaters August 2003... I play the doorman at the ritzy hotel at the end of the movie). We had to work 4 long (12-14 Hour) days in a row. I would have never been able to do this 2 years ago. Although I feel greatly encouraged by the progress I have made with my health, I still realize that I need to be careful and not extend myself too much, which would result in a relapse. Just as MICHAEL J. FOX is the "Michael J" for "PARKINSON'S", I would like to be the "Michael J" for "FIBROMYALGIA".

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5) WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST FUN ABOUT BEING ON WEST WING?

I am somewhat new to the cast of WEST WING, and came on  the show in Septemer of 2002. When I first came on, it was like stepping into one of those CARY GRANT movies...You know, like a clip from "North by NorthWest" or something...Better yet, it was more like stepping into the Military and Christmas Classic, "White Christmas" with Rosemary Clooney. I suppose running into GEORGE CLOONEY on our lunch breaks is what sparked that. Anyway, we have had a lot of fun on WEST WING, but we also have had to work very hard as well...(Lots of long, long hours!).
         My Dad was in the Navy during WW2 and was just south of Hiroshima when they dropped the A-BOMB. WW2 and the navy years are very important to my Dad. When he saw me on one of the West Wing episodes as the Navy Captain in the White House, he was very impressed. As a result of that, my Dad had become the BIG-SHOT and the talk of his retirement community! Needless to say, my role on WEST WING has made my Dad very proud. 
       When I was a child, my father reminded me a lot of Cary Grant in many ways. The movie, "Father Goose" starring Cary Grant,  reminds me of the time when my father was trapped on a deserted island in the South Pacific for 9 months during WW2.(The Russel Islands).

 

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CAPTAIN MIKE'S FATHER IN 1942

The cast has been wonderful and Martin Sheen has been very out-going in reaching out to all of us. I've worked at many studios and on many shows here in Hollywood, and this is a wonderful group of people to work with. I worked on many episodes during season 4, such as "Debate Camp", "Process Stories", and "Red Heron's on Fire". My best clips are seen in the episode called "Process Stories". Season 4 should be out on DVD sometime soon. For more details about "The West Wing", visit  the link below: 

 

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West Wing Info: http://www2.warnerbros.com/web/westwingtv/index.jsp

 

 

6) WHEN DID YOU BECOME AN ACTOR?

I was a teacher in San Diego for about 10 years. During one of my vacations, I decided to earn a little extra money by being an extra in a feature film that was being shot at La Jolla Cove. I was cast as an Itallian swimmer in a swim suit. A week later, I received a call from Warner Brothers. The agency that had booked me on the La Jolla Shores Film had faxed my picture up to Warner Brothers.
         I ended up being picture-picked for a film project up there. When I arrived in Hollywood, I asked a lot of questions and found out a number of things about the entertainment business. I learned that a lot of older people who were on retirement did background work to supplement their pensions and social security. When I was diagnosed with FM and had to go on early retirement, I decided to follow their footsteps. When I moved to LA, I signed up with Central Casting and began working. After a couple of years, my wonderful Mom (who looks like VIVIAN LEE) lent me some money to join the screen actors guild. If it wasn't for her, I would have not landed the role on WEST WING, nor the opportunity to share in this interview. I owe it all to her! THANKS MOM!  

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MIKE'S MOM IN THE 194O'S

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LA JOLLA COVE

 

7) HOW DID YOU GET THE ROLE ON WEST WING?

I was "picture picked" from the SAG/CENTRAL casting computer. When a person joins CENTRAL CASTING or SAG (SCREEN ACTORS GUILD), your picture is scanned into the computers. You then have the opportunity to be picture picked for projects. I don't believe it was all of a coincidence however.....
      A year prior to being "picked", I had moved into a little apartment across the street from Warner Brothers. My roommate and I had decided to start a little Bible Study. We invited our neighbors and we prayed for many things. One of our requests was for a door to open at Warner Brothers. Within a short time, our Bible Study grew and our home couldn't contain all the people. A year later, the doors opened for me at Warner Brothers, and I was working on West Wing. During this same time, I had to move out of my apartment, so my roommate (Matthew Eason) placed an add looking for someone to move into my room. What most people don't know is that the guy who moved into my room was Joel David Moore, who would later become one of the stars of "AVATAR" (See images below).

In addition, my roommate Matthew Eason would have an amazing answer to prayer and have his story aired on the show, "It's a Miracle" narrated by Roma Downey from "Touched by an Angel". Click here to watch Matthew's story of how he was led to Cristina, the love of his life:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8uyQZuVjts&feature=youtu.be

 

 

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8) HAS FM EVER INTERFERED WITH YOUR WORK IN HOLLYWOOD?

Not really, but there was one time that was a bit of a fiasco. I was working on the set of "Ally Mcbeal" and I had to run to the bathroom (due to IBS). When I came rushing back, I dove right through some cameras and ended up crashing right into Ally!....She was running too (for some reason) and the impact was tremendous. Our heads had just missed each other by a fraction of an inch, and we both were stunned and shocked. I thought she was going to to throw me out of Hollywood, but she ended up apologizing first!

 

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"ALLY"

9) WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHER ACTORS AND CELEBRITIES WHO HAVE FM?

We need to have wisdom in every situation we face. How one person responds publicly to FM may be a good thing, whereas to another it could be harmful. WISDOM involves 3 things: KNOWLEDGE, TIMING, and THE RIGHT APPROACH. Any one of these elements being out of place could bring unfruitful results. Thousands of years ago, Queen Esther and her husband lived in Persia (near modern day Iraq). Esther had wisdom to know "WHEN" to share certain information about herself. Because of this awareness, she saved the lives of many, many people. If she shared it too early in her marriage (and career) with the King, history would be completely rewritten, and many lives would have been lost in war. There is a time to speak and there is a time to be silent. Sharing FM, like other things, is an individual and personal issue. We need to HONOR people's choices and each others privacy. An additional note: There's no reason to battle Fibro alone. Being connected to a Fibro group either on-line or in your local area is very beneficial. Two heads are always better than on, and there is a good chance there is someone in the group that has something that will really help you.

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     QUEEN ESTHER

 

10) WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT HAS HELPED YOU LIVE WITH CHRONIC PAIN?

The answer is real simple: PEOPLE WHO REALLY CARE.
People who ask me simple questions each  day help me feel I am not carrying all the pain alone. If you know someone who is suffering with fibro, you may want to ask them questions like these:

How are you feeling today?
What seems to be bothering you the most today?
Have you tried any new supplements that have helped?
What doctors have helped? Have you shared that with others?
How is your exercise/stretching program going?
What projects are you working on (apart from fibro)?
Is there anything I can do to help?

It is important, however, for the person with fibro to reciprocate the questions. Relationships are not a one way street....Good relationships involve stepping out of "our world" and into the world of others, reciprocating questions back and forth (like a ping pong game). There is a time to focus on our fibro world, but then there is a time to focus on others. I know this is difficult when you are in chronic pain, but it is essential for healthy relationships. It shows both parties that they are loved and cared for.

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11) WHAT MAKES A PERSON STRONG?

A) Choosing the right leaders. That includes spiritual leaders as well as health leaders.

B) Choosing the right friends. The company you keep, will be the company you will be.

C) Being a person who talks and walks with GOD. This is not always easy, and I am the first to admit that I fail at this many times...especially with Fibro! I do know, however, that praying keeps our hearts open to God. It then helps us to TRUST GOD and trust the direction he has for our lives, especially when the going gets tough. WHEN WE FOLLOW HIS PLAN, GREAT THINGS HAPPEN AND UNEXPECTED DOORS OPEN.

D) Get a prayer partner and also ask others to pray for you. Many of the doors that have opened in my life are a result of "prayer warriors" praying them open. We need to realize that we will never achieve great things alone. Getting a "prayer partner" and praying with them often helps tremendously. When I'm busy, I just call my sister, Mary, or one of the guys from my "men's group" at  church.

E) Know what God wants you to "FOCUS" on. As an actor, "FOCUS" is very important. When I go on stage before a live audience, I can't be thinking about what the audience may be thinking. I have to focus on my lines, or my "moves", etc....If I'm consumed with what the audience is thinking, I will fail. In each moment in life, there is a proper focus. Are you focusing on the right thing? If not, know that God can help. He is just a prayer away.

F) Hold your plans lightly in your hands. When we do this, it gives God the opportunity to either take them out of our hands, or to bless and multiply them. If we walk around with a tight fist (a hard heart towards God and people), we block the answers we so desperately need, and we limit the progression of our own healing.

G) Accept constructive criticism; There is always room to grow.

H) Don't be cocooned in anger and bitterness. With FM, we must be patient. When it seems like we are making no progress, it is easy to be upset...even angry. We must be careful not to be emotionally enwrapped into a cacoon of bitterness and anger where there is no light nor answers. Step out of the cocoon. Know that bitterness and anger interfere with finding answers and solutions. Don't waste your good energy and time on these evil twins. With FM, we have to conserve our energy supply and use what we do have for developing good emotions and finding positive solutions. Our emotions can be weights or wings. We choose what they will be, and ultimately, what we will be. Life has many problems, but there are solutions to many of them. I believe breakthroughs for FM are right around the corner.

I) Know that much of life is made up of "HOLDING ONTO" and "LETTING GO".  Our emotional health and inner peace all depend on this fine balance. We often find ourselves in emotional turmoil when we are holding onto something that we really need to let go of. This could be anything from a person, a place, an object, or even a thought. Yes, even a memory or our past can be something that we need to let go of. We can not move forward to embrace the new, the good, and the healthy, until we let go of some of these other things. Saying "Goodbye" to things we want to hold onto may be difficult, but remember: What may seem like an END is really just a BEND. God is bending us in another direction and we need to pay attention. Why? Because there is life and answers in the new direction (and we need answers!).

 

niagara

 

SPIRITUAL LEADERS THROUGH THE YEARS:

 

HENRY CLOUD AND JOHN TOWNSEND (Authors of "Safe People"). http://www.cloudtownsend.com/
JOYCE MEYERS (St. Louis, Mo) http://www.joycemeyer.org/ 
RICK WARREN (AUTHOR OF "THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE")....http://www.rickwarren.com/
TOMMY BARNET..http://www.phoenixfirst.org/
CHARLES STANLEY ( Atlanta, Georgia)......... www.intouchministries.org
ROBERT SHULLER    (Garden Grove, CA)...... www.crystalcathedral.org
MARILYN HICKEY     (Boulder, Colorado)....... www.mhmin.org
ORAL ROBERTS       (Tulsa, Oklahoma).......... www.oru.edu
JOHN CASTEEL         (Tucson, Arizona)
MARK FORMAN         (Carlsbad, California)....www.northcoastcalvary.org
SCOTT BAUR / JACK HAYFORD  (Los Angeles, Ca)......... www.tcotw.org


Whenever I loose my sense of "Focus" or Direction, I find that attending a Spirit-Filled Church can get me back on track. Two churches in Los Angeles that have helped me are: Jack Hayford's Church, "Church on the Way" in Van Nuys, and "The Malibu Vineyard" in beautiful Malibu! Below are pictures of the Crystal Cathedral, a church that I visit from time to time for some spiritual uplifting.....

 

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CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL IN GARDEN GROVE, CALIFORNIA

 

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CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL (INSIDE)

 

HEALTH LEADERS:

Dr. Teitelbaum (author of "From Fatigue to Fantastic")
www.endfatigue.com / www.vitality101.com

Brenda Watson (author of "Gut Solutions")
www.renewlife.com

Jordan Reuben (founder of "Garden of Life")
 www.gardenoflifeusa.com

Donna Gates (Body Ecology Diet)
www.bodyecologydiet.com

donna

DONNA GATES


12)  ARE THERE ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN HAVING LUNCH WITH A REAL PRESIDENT AND A TV PRESIDENT?

Both Presidents are very gracious and welcoming. They both have the gift of hospitality. When I had lunch with the President of Kenya (President Moi) at his home in Africa, I was impressed at his concern for educating the young people. Every year he would send students to America to some of the finest Christian Universities. They would come back to Kenya as doctors, nurses, business men, theologians, etc...Kenya is a better place today as a result of his plan. Having lunch with the WEST WING cast and MARTIN SHEEN is a blessing too. Martin is a definite "People-Person" and truly reaches out to the cast. Martin makes you feel like a "Team-Player", not someone lost on the side lines.


moi


sheen

PRESIDENT MOI
MARTIN SHEEN

 


13) DO YOU HAVE A BATTLE PLAN FOR CONQUERING FIBROMYALGIA?

Yes. When I was a missions director in Kenya, E. Africa, I would read "Joshua" Chapter 1 everyday. It was my daily newspaper. It kept me very focused. In the following chapters of Joshua, we see Joshua as a military man who spent time with God and obtained "Blueprints" for conquering the cities that layed before him. Each city had a different "blueprint" and strategy for victory. I feel the same is for us, with our battle against fibromyalgia.
     Like Joshua, we must be disciplined and spend time with God, as he did. God is very real and very much alive, willing to communicate to our hearts the blueprint for our healing. We just need to listen. We need to have a daily "QUIET TIME" with Him. That means turning off the TV,  the radio and even putting away the books we enjoy reading for awhile, and opening up the Bible. I highly recommend getting the "Life-Application" Bible. The footnotes, alone, are a royal treasure in themselves! As you set aside a "Quiet Time" each day, you will be amazed to see God's hand at work in your life....not only intervening, but healing as well.....

 

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MIKE AND THE GIRLS CANOEING ON "LAKE VICTORIA" IN AFRICA

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MIKE PREACHING WITH JEREMIAH, THE PRESIDENT'S COUSIN



14) WHAT HAS HELPED YOU PHYSICALLY WITH FM?

See "SUPPLEMENTS" on this web page for a detailed acount.

 

15) DO YOU THINK IT IS MORE DIFFICULT BEING A MAN WITH FM?

I think it's difficult for anyone who has FM. Since only 1 out of 10 people who have FM are men, we may seem to feel more isolated. Sharing with other fibro men has definitely helped me. Please vist the other categories on this web page, such as "Fibro Web Pages" and "Fibro Groups". We continually add new links to help people find answers along with others who they can identify with. 

 

 

16) GIVE ME AN ANALOGY OF WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE FM.

On some days, it feels like being 99 years old, trapped in a 40 something body. Your blood does not flow or "pump" through your body. You feel stagnant and lifeless. I sometimes feel like a "mummy". My muscles are like bandages tightly encasing and entombing me within my physical body. Sometimes my muscles have been so tight that they felt like they were crushing my organs. When I see pictures of Pompeii with the "plaster-body casts" of the people lying in agony, that is what I can relate to at times. 

 

pompeii

 

With Fibromyalgia, sometimes you can be caught in a "BRAIN-FOG" that doesn't seem to want to leave...It can leave a person somewhat "direction-less"  making one feel a bit like the 3 stooges in the picture below:

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17) DO YOU THINK ACTING HELPS YOU WITH YOUR FM?

Yes and No.

The good side is that working on the sets and being caught up in the production of the day can completely remove me from the reality of FM. It's a great distraction! When I'm NOT working, I seem to be more cacooned in my Fibro world. Getting out and being involved is very emotionally healthy, whether it's at work, the gym, or even church.
        On the other hand, people can look at you and think you are healthy. They can end up expecting and demanding way too much from you. When you don't meet their expectations, they can get mad and angry. They don't believe you are ill, and they think you are lying to them. It can be very frustrating. There are days that I look great..even radiant...But I may feel horrible inside. People believe what they see, not what you say. It's frustrating! I loved the headllines on one of your Fibro issues: "BUT YOU DON'T LOOK SICK!"......

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 18) DO THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH KNOW THAT YOU HAVE FM?

Some do. Sometimes I leave the Fibro magazine out in the holding area, and I find people very intrigued by it. I'm shocked at how supportive and inquisitive people are about it. I'm finding that when I "open-up" about Fibro, I find that other people with fibro open up too. I thought I was all alone!


19) WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS?

I just want to be well. It's amazing how future goals have no meaning or substance when your health is faltering. There are a million things I would love to do. With FM, you often feel you can't do anything, but that is a flat out LIE!  Whatever you set out to do, you just have to realize that it may take 2,3, or 4 times longer than a healthy person. You may have to take a lot of breaks...That's O.K.....With FM, I've learned not to compare or compete with other people. I'm on a completely different schedule. I've learned to just go at my own pace and do the best I can. In the final analysis, I know my work will have some significance and meaning. 
            Today my health is much better, but until my health is fully restored, I'm not going to 'RACE' to get anything done. I'm going to take my time and pace myself with every project. With FM, I've gone through such great loss...Loss of career, loss of possessions, loss of friends....It's given me a heart for those who are chronically ill and homeless. If I ever make any "real" money in Hollywood, you better believe I'm going to help these 2 groups of people.
     Ideally, I would like to talk more publicly about fibromyalgia and health issues...Perhaps as a guest speaker on "Oprah" or perhaps hosting a talk show on health and nutrition with someone like AJ!  As for now, I would just be happy getting some more "lines" on some shows so that I can pay off some of the medical debt which I've accrued from FM. (Remember...I went to 60 doctors!..Yikes!)...Well, that's all for now....Love from L.A. and Bon Voyage! Captain Michael James.......

 

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