Turning the table on Fibromyalgia
Giving back relieves the pain
Since 1995 I have been dealing with chronic pain in my shoulders, neck, hips, chronic fatigue, burnout and depression. In 1997, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia by Dr. Peter Docherty, rheumatologist at Moncton Hospital. I was working full time until 2001 when I had to go on disability. That was a really difficult decision for me to take. I had a good job and a good employer.
There isn’t a lot of information about fibromyalgia so researching the topic was difficult.
For a couple of years I felt like I was on a roller coaster trying to deal with this condition without knowing much about it, but I learned to take care of myself through my journey. I was a people pleaser so I had to learn to say "NO", which was very difficult for me.
With the help of many professionals (psychiatrist, psychologist, massage therapist, family doctor, physiotherapy, acupuncture, reflexology, etc) I tried everything until I started feeling better.
I take Elavil and Clonazepam at bedtime and go to Harrisville Pain Clinic once a month for injections in sore areas of my back, shoulders and neck. I see a psychologist on a regular basis for pain management; I have a massage every 5 weeks, and do chanting meditation twice a week at the pain clinic. I exercise on a daily basis and try to eat a balanced diet.
I still have a social life but like everything else, I have to plan ahead for events. I also plan my household tasks in advance, try to tidy up every day to make sure chores don’t become overwhelming.
I have a good support system and am thankful for it: My parents, sisters, brothers, husband and children have been there for me all along; my close friends are supportive also. I am very lucky!
I have learned to take good care of myself, mentally, physically and spiritually. I know that I am not the only one with fibromyalgia and that it could be much worse; life is too short to dwell on your pain. Volunteering my time to help others helped me to a better place.
Nicole St-Laurent-Ward is coordinator with Peter Sawyer of FibroArth, a fibromyalgia/arthritis support group that she started in April 2004 in Moncton. She is also president of the Moncton Codiac Branch for The Arthritis Society. She can be contacted by telephone at 506-383-9774 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org