Fibromyalgia For Life: Living Well With a Difficult Disease by Kara Owl
Release Date: 04/04/2013
Many fibromyalgia patients experience symptoms for years before getting an official diagnosis, only to discover that is just the beginning of a life-long journey to dealing with this chronic, and sometimes difficult, condition. Fibromyalgia patients don’t just have the physical and emotional symptoms to handle, they also deal with all the misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding this disease.
The good news is that it is possible to live well with this difficult disease. Fibromyalgia isn’t a “life sentence” to pain and suffering. It does need to be managed like any other illness and there are things that friends and family members can do to help. But people can live quite well with fibromyalgia, and this book, told from the prospective of someone with a fibromyalgia diagnosis, can help not just the patient, but friends and family members as well.
In 1997 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I did as much research as I could, but the information I could get my hands on at the time was sparse and often contradictory. Doctors told me not to do things that hurt, which for me included exercise. They prescribed me medications that made me fat, dizzy, and unable to think. After years of struggling I finally found a doctor who listened to me, and I was able to go off all the medications as she encouraged me to listen to my body and try various holistic treatments. With a change of diet, exercise, and pain management, I finally managed to control the fibro, as much as I can. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through, and that is what pushed the creation of this book.
We are all individuals, and fibro will hurt in different ways for different people. One thing is certain: we all need to learn how to treat our pain in the way which works best for us. For some, diet changes may help, especially if your fibro pain is exacerbated by IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or a food allergy. Fibromyalgia often doesn’t occur alone; it comes with friends, which makes treatment and diagnosis interesting at times. Other individuals may need exercise programs, to help the muscles to stretch and stay flexible. For a few, pain medication may be the only way to treat it. Trial and error will lead us to our way, and once we find it we can live a happy and full life despite the fibro.
This book is not a “guide to fixing fibro,” nor is it a “one true way” treatise. Rather, the one thing I have learned from my decade-plus battle with fibro is that there is no one true way for everyone. I will relate things that other sufferers have told me, cite research that has been done to find helpful practices, and talk of the things that have worked for me, but you will have to find your own path through this wild illness.
One thing I will say: there is a lot of hard, medical evidence that fibro is real. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not. There are a lot of male sufferers out there, too, so don’t let anyone tell you it’s a “woman’s disease.” While researching this book I met a great deal of men with fibro who asked me to make sure that I included them, because they felt invisible both to the fibro community and to some doctors, who were convinced they couldn’t have fibro because they were men. A study done in the 1990s bears out that while the majority of sufferers are women, nearly 14% of those with fibro are men.
This book is for everyone. I even include a few words here and there for the spouses and partners of fibro sufferers, because they are going through this with us as well. Together, we can all find our way to overcome the obstacles this illness puts in front of us.
We may have fibromyalgia, but it doesn’t have us!