Before I was ever diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I was very skeptical. We had a few friends who claimed they had Fibromyalgia, and I always told them, "It's all in your head. Just get over your whoa-is-me attitude, and you'll be fine." OK, so I never actually spoke those words to any of my friends, but I thought them. It's got to be God's sense of humor that I now suffer from the chronic syndrome I used to make fun of. I have to admit, though, that even as I have endured the many symptoms of Fibromyalgia, I have often wondered if these things aren't all in my head, a figment of my hypochondriac imagination.
That is until I read FibroWHYalgia by Susan E. Ingebretson. I'm thrilled to have come across this book because I finally feel validated. I am almost relieved to know that the things I have felt have not just been my overactive imagination, that I'm not, in fact, going crazy.
Not only do I feel validated, but I feel almost a comraderie with Ms. Ingebretson...she's someone who understands what it feels like to wake up almost every morning feeling like you've been pavement for a dozen mac trucks during the night; she knows about missing out on getting down on the floor to play with the kids because you know that when you try to get up again, you will feel like your body is going to break in a million pieces; how carrying a purse or camera slung over your shoulder for an hour can give you neck, back, and shoulder pain for weeks after; she knows what it's like to try to open those blasted save-the-planet smaller caps that top water bottles; she would probably even understand how a haircut can help alleviate headaches because just the weight of hair can cause pain; she understands why I'm cold all the time and why I have to change seats in church if anyone around me is wearing perfume.
These are all things I experience from day-to-day, usually with no rhyme or reason. I joke that I have a Pain of the Week - some joint or area of my body that hurts for no apparent reason, and the pain comes and then leaves very abruptly, also for no apparent reason. I truly, honestly thought I was somehow conjuring these pains up from my mind. It's good to know there are other people out there like me!
Ms. Ingebretson offers some great tips for fibrofolk, as she calls us, to work toward wellness. Of course, the two main areas she focuses on are nutrition and exercise. I'm grateful that I am already well down the road toward good nutrition and exercise: after all of my previous reading and documentary viewing, I have been eating a lot more healthfully, and I have been faithfully achieving my 10,000 steps per day. So hopefully I begin to see some positive changes in my health.
In the meantime, I desperately want my children to be healthier. They don't know this yet, but we are about to embark on a study of nutrition for science! I'm going to use Michael Pollan's kid version of The Omnivore's Dilemma and throw in lots of other fun science things like studies of food chains, cows, plants, dirt, and anatomy. Maybe I'll at least plant a seed (pun intended)!