So, you think you know all about fibromyalgia?

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There’s always one clever friend who starts a conversation with…

‘You know, I think I had fibromyalgia years ago.  I was sick for months with pain as a child……but now I’m fine’.  

I get exasperated when I hear someone say something like this; I want to say to them,

‘Noooooooo,  You cannot be serious’,

in my best impression of John McEnroe!  

But I just remain calm and agree with them 

‘O, yes you are probably right’, 

thinking to myself, why did I agree when I know there completely wrong? I now realise they’re not as clever as they think they are!

Fibromyalgia is an illness with NO CURE, it’s not possible that you had it ‘years ago and are now cured’.  

The best doctors in the world have not found a cure for fibromyalgia yet. Look it up on google as, ‘fibromyalgia cure’, it will say there’s no cure.

For anyone who is confused and does not know anything about fibromyalgia, I will run through the main symptoms.

The main symptoms are:

Pain throughout the whole body 

Joints and muscles feel stiff

Quality of sleep can be poor

Feeling tired and fatigued 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Extreme Sensitivity 

Cognitive problems, feeling confused, or dazed, sometimes called Fibro fog

Headaches

Depression 

Anxiety 

Painful periods in women 

The symptoms can vary from person to person.

Symptoms can get better or worse from time to time.

 

Factors that influence this are:

  • the amount of stress you are experiencing 
  • how much daily exercise you have
  • and changes in climate and temperature 

Further information is available on the NHS website.              

If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, consult your doctor or health professional.

Going back to the fact there’s no cure.

I’ve lived with fibromyalgia for 14 years and found some times are really tough. I have been able to boost my general health through diet, exercise and meditation.

The positives are my symptoms are still there, but have improved greatly since I was first diagnosed.

If you would like to read more about how I achieved this have a look at my Fibromyalgia Self Help or contact me via the link below.

Decoupage Christmas Tree

For the start of Advent, I’ve got my tree ready……..

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I decided to base my tree design on more traditional colours.  I began by painting the tree with white acrylic paint and then covering it partially with triangles of two different coloured green papers.  Adding finishing touches of brightly coloured gems. As always please contact me if you are interested in purchasing any item.

I love trees as you will see in my work next year. As a designer they are so visually appealing at all times of year.

This week also happens to be Plant a Tree week  organised by the Tree Council.

Trees provide so much for us and the environment we live in. We often hear about trees being cut down and vast areas of forest being destroyed in other parts of the world.

 Trees really are important for our future and the generations to follow us here on earth. This is especially important for those of us living in urban spaces. Trees provide oxygen for us, food and a habitat to live in for many birds, animals and insects. Please have a look at the Tree Council website and take part if you are able.

Fibromyalgia cure…someday?

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I had a strange thought today…. What would it feel like to be completely cured of fibromyalgia?  

In a fleeting moment of feeling better I started to imagine how different my life might be…..

I could do any job, I choose without feeling tired, and aching.  I could be a landscape garden designer, maybe doing a show garden for the Chelsea flower show.

Travel to places I can only dream about.  Visit New York and see the Statue is Liberty would be amazing.

Eat whatever I want without it making me feel ill and incredibly tired. Go to a restaurant in the evening and eat a Mexican meal.

Take up proper exercise; perhaps running and train to complete the London marathon.

The possibilities are unlimited and mind-boggling.  Probably similar to the feeling lottery winners experience.

If you are reading this and don’t have fibromyalgia you’re probably thinking. These aspirations could be within my grasp.  I agree they are for you, but for us Fibro sufferers not so. 

So far fibromyalgia has no cure. We will live our lives never experiencing things most people take for granted every day.

We cannot plan; we don’t know how our illness will be on a particular day.  All of these aspirations are not possible for us.  We end up feeling bad because we’re not able to participate. Or are letting others down as we are not well and cancel at short notice. Resulting in a lot of negative feelings, making us feel even worse.

I’m not going to descend further into a spiral of doom; as you will stop reading this.

Going back to the dream of what might’ve been, keeping the positives of hope, optimism and excitement I was able to feel. Carrying those thoughts and feelings forward into the future.

What if scientists found a cure for fibromyalgia tomorrow? Yes, I could do everything I mentioned above if I wanted. Being realistic it’s not that likely, so what’s left?

Having a goal, to work towards is important for me. Something to plan for and look forward to in the future. 

To be relevant goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time limited; according to a friend. This sounds very business like, so I would suggest this format could be used very loosely.

My top five goals are:

1. Keep a positive attitude to all things; having  a positive mental attitude and planning to do things within my capabilities.

2.  To look at situations in an objective way; looking objectively at what is possible and building on this.

3.  Take care of myself by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and trying to get enough rest and sleep.

4.  Learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby is a really good way to feel a sense of achievement.

5.  Daily meditation practice for de stressing the mind.

To kick-start this positive frame of mind, I practice  Meditation  every day.  If you have not tried meditation, it’s a great way to free the mind from stress.  If you practice regularly you will notice you’re ability to concentrate and remain calm increases. If you want to learn Meditation  have a look at my page on this.

What are your aspirations for the future? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

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Please contact me via the form below.

 

“You are what you eat”

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Make of this what you will. For me, this phrase sums up a lot.

Does it really matter what I eat? Or could I phrase that differently?  

Do you know how much Cholesterol is in your body?  

I can see you thinking how does this link to Fibromyalgia? Or even, why should I be interested; I’m not changing what I eat. I don’t want to eat a boring diet for the rest of my life. Living with pain I need some treats.

Well, maybe that isn’t necessarily what you would have to do. What could happen if I ignore it and just carry on eating what I like anyway?

I was shocked to find out this week that my carer has high cholesterol. Looks can be deceptive as this news reveals. I thought they were super healthy, not visibly overweight; they exercise and visit the gym regularly.  Perhaps more surprising, they rarely go out to restaurants or visit fast food outlets. Preferring to eat a modest meal at home.

What is cholesterol? It’s a fatty substance in the blood, produced by certain foods which can cause arteries to be blocked.

Why is high cholesterol a serious health concern?  If you have high cholesterol levels, your chances of suffering a heart attack or cardiovascular disease are much greater.

What can be done to lower it?  Changing your diet to a healthy balanced one, stopping smoking and regularly getting exercise.

My carer went for a free NHS Health Check which is available to UK citizens between 40 – 74.  It checks if you would be likely to develop heart disease, kidney disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes or a stroke.

Imagine if it was your carer, what would your reaction be?

If you think your cholesterol could be high, your doctor or health professional can arrange a blood test to check these levels. They will be able to discuss a plan to help you lower it, if it is high.

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What is an invisible illness?….fibromyalgia

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When I created my blog, one important aspect of this was to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia.  Since being diagnosed 14 years ago, I have found. I need to explain to everyone I meet, how fibromyalgia affects my day to day living.

Because my illness is not a visible disability, I look normal and people are sceptical about the validity of it.  In contrast, if a person with a visible illness such as a wheelchair user, drops a bag, the people around them rush over to help them.

As a fibromyalgia sufferer I have been asked…..

‘Why can’t  you do the shopping in the supermarket instead of getting your husband to do it?’  I am unable to carry heavy shopping bags and walk around a shop for that long.

‘It must be great to have such a long time away on holiday ‘  During this time I was in terrible pain and had to cancel my trip at short notice.

People judge others in a critical way sometimes. If they have no relatives or friends with a chronic illness, like fibromyalgia their understanding is limited.

I may not look in pain. I have found it easier to not complain or make others aware of it. No one wants to be around someone who is constantly moaning.

Fibromyalgia is a real medical condition, which can be referred to as a disability for some.  It causes chronic pain and fatigue throughout the whole body. The pain can be debilitating and constant. Some days it can get better or worse. It is not visible for most sufferers.

You may ask, if you know someone or meet someone with fibromyalgia. What should I do?  Showing them compassion and learning about their symptoms can help a lot. Just taking the time to talk about it with them will make a big difference.

For more information about fibromyalgia look at my other web pages and on the NHS Choices website.