Friday, October 21, 2016

My Story

My thoughts for Fibro Brave are partly to get my swirling thoughts on 'paper' and out of my head. Although it would surely be great, whether or not Fibro Brave ends up with an audience doesn't entirely matter...I find writing a form of therapy, like playing with my puppy or taking hot, soothing baths. Yet it would be awesome to hear from readers and compare stories and experiences. So much of the time I feel alone with my doubts, concerns, my frustrations and my fears - so hearing other Fibro Brave stories would help lessen my sometimes feelings of despair. So I'm crossing my fingers and putting myself out into blog land to help myself, and to see if anyone else feels as I do when living in chronic pain.

My story is probably not that different from others who live with fibromyalgia.   I've read there are two categories of fibromyalgia; one where a physical and/or emotional trauma was the cause, and the other where fibro manifests without any known cause. My diagnosis falls in the trauma category when at the age of 37, I was in a head-on car accident in 1994, and although it sounds serious and my car was damaged enough to be towed away, I really only suffered a soft tissue injury of the neck. I say "only," and yet this accident changed the direction of my entire life.

After the auto accident, I attended physical therapy three times a week for three years to reduce the headaches, and to try and gain some level of strength in my neck. At the end of three years, my headaches were mostly under control...meaning I no longer had them daily and nearly always knew what my limitations were to keep them in check.

Meanwhile, during this time, I had what I've come to realize now as fibromyalgia symptoms. Every couple of months I would have no fever, yet experience severe flu-like symptoms and extreme fatigue, laying me out for a couple of days. At the time, I chalked it up to a busy life style; working full time, attending one or two classes a semester at the university where I worked, being a mom to my beautiful daughter, and sharing a life with my husband.

Fast forward to March 2008, when I began having constant, ongoing headaches again, this time with migraines, too...which became the beginning of my serious health battle. To add to the mix, I started into menopause and began having intense, deep-body hot flashes. This is where my body pain became so extreme that I finally realized I needed to get my butt to a doctor...and with it a diagnosis of fibromyalgia was discovered. I remember prior to the diagnosis, lying in bed at night trying desperately to sleep despite the bone-deep pain coursing through my body, wondering whether I had some sort of cancer, yet too afraid to verbalize my fears, even to my husband. A fibromyalgia diagnosis was almost a relief...

To spare you, I've abbreviated my story of diagnosis, but along the way I had plenty of tests performed and saw two docs for diagnosis; my primary care physician and a rheumatologist. And today, life continues being an ongoing challenge, dealing with constant and chronic headaches with migraines, and body pain that sometimes feels totally debilitating. And along the way, like you, I've experienced a mountain of lows and even a few highs.

In no particular order, my goal in future posts is to share some of my life challenges and celebrations . Here are some blog thoughts:

- My settling into life with a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
- My self care; what has worked and what hasn't.
- My self confidence.
- My friendships and social life.
- My life challenges.
- My goals and triumphs.

What do you want to hear? Want to share? I'm interested in YOUR stories, YOUR challenges, and YOUR triumphs. My blog door is open and I'll always share openly and honestly.

Much love and many thanks for reading. ❤️


  1. Oh dear sister! Repeatedly in life I fail to understand others until I "walk in their mocassins". A perfect example is the blessing of a child with a disability.... A continuing health dilemma left me wondering about you. Thinking back to the wedding and our days at the Seattle house. How must it be for Gretchen? Continually? For years now? I have been reading articles. I have tried to keep up with the ones you comment on. I particularly liked the one that explained that "how are you today" is so inaccurate. It's more like howz it going at this moment.....Chronic pain pervades many disorders/diseases in various ways and every part of the body. So....quite frankly....please educate me. Share. I am interested in everything...but wondering also about homeopathic methods you employ...are there foods that help? hurt? light influences? I love you!

    1. I truly appreciate your response, Jenny. And appreciate your accurate insight that living with debilitating chronic pain is a minute by minute situation.
      Because symptoms and results for lessening pain vary greatly for everyone, I'll share that I've tried probably everything a person can think of in the homeopathic arena...acupuncture, natural supplements, acupressure, gluten-free diet, essential oils, etc. Some I still continue to use and some, like acupuncture and a gluten-free diet, I gave up after faithfully following for one year without positive results. The thing is these options work for some Fibromyalgia sufferers, just not all. What I have found is that one mustn't employ only one or two takes implementing a number of options to live in decent health or to pull oneself out of a flare.
      I'll expand more in an upcoming blog.
      With much love.