Thursday, May 12, 2011
Today is fibromyalgia awareness day! I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia over 15 years ago and and choose not to define myself by this but decided that today of all days I should share what I know to be true and how fibromyalgia and I have learned to walk peacefully together. For any of my sparkfriends who do not know what fibromyalgia if you "google" it you will find many articles and definitions. The most important thing for you to know is that it is a disorder that causes muscle pain throughout the body. There is no definite know cause and there is no known cure. It can be totally incapacitating at times and at other times be totally in hiding. One of the most difficult things about fibromyalgia besides the pain and random nature of episodes is the culture that we live in today. Our world has expectations of productive and active and controlled lifestyles. The diagnosis of fibromyalgia takes away the ability to be in control, takes away the ability to be active and though one day you may be productive there is no guarantee that you will be able to function at the same level tomorrow or that you will even be able to get out of bed. Finding peace in the midst of this world requires a change of lifestyle and a change of life values.
I have learned to not define myself by what I can do. I have learned that I am valuable just by being Barb. A unique woman with a heart to love. a capacity for friendship and a gift of listening and supporting and encouraging. All of these are important qualities that do not require physical activity. I have been supported by a loving husband and family as I have walked this road and am blessed that they and my close friends believed in me and supported me in getting treatment and finding a healthy way to live with this pain.
I was also blessed by being able to participate in a fibromyalgia study group through the University of Washington where I live and have received much help from natural treatments to help me on this road. Exercise, learning relaxation techniques, changes in how we live our life and proactive planning and goal setting all have helped me to learn to live a life of joy and peace amidst the pain. My parents helped us to purchase a hot tub and that has made a huge impact on shortening the length of my pain episodes as well.
Fibromyalgia will always be a part of my life and though pain has the power to stop me in my tracks some days I have learned to live with it and not let it define who I am. On this day of Fibromyalgia awareness I hope to share with my sparkfriends that it is real, it affects many people in the world today and that you can make a difference by being aware of those around you that may have this pain disorder and give a gentle hug or a word of encouragement to brighten their day. If you have fibromyalgla yourself use this day as a day to read something new about this disorder and chose to be proactive yourself in setting goals and starting a new thing today to help yourself toward a healthier life. Thanks for reading and thanks for the support of all my sparkfriends as I have added in new goals with sparkpeople.com and am working on living a healthier lifestyle and losing some weight as well. Happy Fibromyalgie Awareness Day!!! Smiles and Hugs Barb