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About Felicia

I’m a married 31 year-old who has been diagnosed with fibromylagia for 12 years. I am on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. Read more
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Felicia Fibro - Life with fibromyalgia, EMPOWERED!

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Finding a New Way to be Me

Often times I am contacted by people who have recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I always ask how they are feeling about their diagnosis, as it was a bittersweet diagnosis for me. I share with them that the first few years are the hardest, as it takes awhile to figure out what works best for you, as an individual. I tell them it gets better and for me, it was all about finding a new way to be me. In a previous post, Why not be Cheerful & Friendly? I talk about how being diagnosed so young (age 19), may have helped me only see a positive future as my destiny. There is more to it than that though and I hope that by sharing a bit more of my story it may help others.

For most of my life, I’ve been a independent, social, smiley person who likes to please others. Before fibromyalgia, I got much of my feelings of accomplishment by volunteering, working hard (physically, mentally) and playing often with friends. After fibromyalgia I physically wasn’t able to do all of those things to the extent that I wanted to. After figuring out which actions and treatments helped my fibromyalgia the most, I began finding a new way to be me.

For years I wasn’t able to volunteer at all, but I slowly eased back into it, first volunteering at one time/annual events (opposed to many programs at once, like I used to) and then settling into my role on the planning committee for my local Arthritis Walk. This involves commitments throughout the year, but also means my volunteer work is spread out nicely. While I can’t be as active socially as I once was, I’ve realized that asking people to meet for dinner and drinks is an activity that works well for me. I try to initiate plans for that and I get a break from cooking, get to catch up with friends and I’m home before bedtime. We throw one annual party, so I can give back to my friends who are usually throwing the parties. The theme is always the same, so I can build on my previous plans from year to year. I also try to make sure to interact with my friends online and through texting and offer my support anytime I feel they need it.

It wasn’t until a few years after my diagnosis that I realized two activities I’d randomly done before were things I wanted to do more of. I began fully appreciating the beauty in nature and wanting to be in it more – walking/hiking, biking, hanging out. I’d been taking photos since 4th grade, but in my mid-20s I realized I actually thought it was fun and rewarding. I always enjoyed looking at my own personal photos, but when I expanded my subject matter and others started commenting on it, it began feeling rewarding too.

I could write much more on this, but the point is that when limitations are part of the equation, we have to find new ways to do the things we love and new things that we love. Sometimes that takes awhile, but we can get there!

What has helped you be you?

monarch butterfly

We find a new way to be ourselves, like caterpillars transform into butterflies*

*Image Credit: from www.flickr.com by quinn.anya



Comments

Comment from Karen
Time June 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

Doing small things that I enjoy. I can’t do the hiking thing that you can, my body just won’t let me do that level of physical activity (which sucks). I do other things, short walks, shopping trips (which I also have to keep short), and I spend a lot of time with friends having coffee or just hanging out. One of my friends is a potter and she is teaching me pottery, which is soothing and fun and requires very little of me except for the sitting for long periods. It is frustrating not being able to do the physical things my friends can do but I just have to make peace with myself and deal with my limitations. I know what happens when I over-do it (there is fibro-hell to pay) so I try my best to pace myself and stay in relative serenity as much as I can.

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

I often can’t do the hiking that I do either! hehe! Oh, pottery does sounds like a good match in small stints. Does it hurt your back? It’s so neat you can do that with a friend.

I agree, it can still be frustrating at times (I’ve missed many friend day-trips that were too physical), but I still try to convey my interest in their activity, say I wish I could join in and ask how things went. That isn’t something I did in my first years after diagnosis and I think it led my friends to believe I didn’t have fun anymore.

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