With Fibromyalgia Awareness Day and Mother’s Day both falling on Sunday, May 12th this year, I’ve found myself reflecting on what it means to be a mother of five who is living with a widespread chronic pain condition known as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that is estimated to impact more than 5 million people in the United States, with a disproportionate number of those being women. The sometimes mysterious persistent pain symptoms that define fibromyalgia, including fatigue, muscle pain, and soreness (among others), can make caring for children extremely difficult.
My own fibromyalgia story began in December 2005. I underwent surgery, and when I woke up from the operation, my world was forever changed. I had electrifying, shocking pain going through my body, and my left leg was numb. I kept saying that something felt terribly wrong, but my doctors told me it was just the after-effects from the anesthesia. When I went home, I was still hurting everywhere. I stayed on my couch for the next 16 months. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t allow anybody to touch me, and I slept with pillows all around me to keep my arms and legs from touching each other. The pain became so debilitating that I contacted my physician. I ultimately found out that these symptoms were due to fibromyalgia.
Living with pain, and not knowing why, can be incredibly frustrating. Millions of Americans live in the limbo of not understanding their persistent pain symptoms. Since being diagnosed, I’ve learned how to manage my fibromyalgia symptoms, which includes an effective treatment plan paired with education, perseverance, improved lifestyle changes and a positive attitude. These are some of the best tools a person facing fibromyalgia can be equipped with every day. If you think you may have fibromyalgia or another chronic pain condition, I encourage you to speak with your primary care physician, a rheumatologist, or a neurologist about your symptoms. Discuss your symptoms in a clear, organized way, and explain how they are impacting your daily life. Ask questions. The key to managing fibromyalgia is education and early detection, so you can find a treatment plan that works for you.
In honor of the many moms – like me – who are living with fibromyalgia, I ask that you show your support this Fibromyalgia Awareness Day and Mother’s Day by raising awareness of this difficult condition. Visit www.Fibrocenter.com, a website provided by Pfizer, Inc., to send a special e-card to a mom with fibromyalgia. You can also find more information about the condition on the site, as well as at www.fmcpaware.org.
I wish all of you and your moms a very happy and healthy Mother’s Day and Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.
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