Fibro Put Me On My Life Path ..and.. Hysterectomy A Positive Fact

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JLH, Jul 1, 2006.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Fibromyalgia and One's Life Path
    (Note: This is NOT MY Story!)

    It was written by Catherine Taylor, a Columnist by

    I have had fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome for over half my life. I started to have symptoms when I was around 17 years old. I am now 48. Before my diagnosis, like so many others, I desperately searched for answers, hopped from doctor to doctor, and spent a lot of money trying many things that did not work and some that did. Doctors, friends, and family would suggest I was just depressed, lazy, a hypochondriac or maybe all three! Not being believed only added to my sense of helplessness and depression.

    I spent most of my 20’s and 30’s feeling ill almost every day…I was lost. When friends and family were developing a sense of identity, I was just trying to make it through the day. Having a chronic illness interfered with my career goals and I often found myself on the sidelines while watching others pursue their dreams and goals. I felt so alone. It wreaked total havoc on my self-esteem and I suffered from serious bouts of deep depression. I developed an eating disorder as I used food to manage my anxiety and other emotions. I started self-medicating with alcohol to deal with the physical pain, and I spent years angry, hopeless, and depressed.

    At age 33, I developed and was diagnosed with full-blown Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It was so bad I stopped functioning. It took about two years to get back to a functional level. Then it went into remission, which lasted about 2 years, and I thought I was cured. However, in 1995 I woke up and could not walk. Chronic fatigue syndrome had come back with a vengeance and brought fibromyalgia with it. That was a horrible time in my life. I was bedridden for a while and it took over two years for me to feel better. I can remember not being able to make it from one end of my house to the other, and I don’t live in a mansion! Over the years, I have had other associated problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and repetitive stress injuries.

    Today I am doing really well. I am no longer surviving…I am thriving. My flare-ups get fewer and farther between and don’t seem to last very long. Stress is always the trigger. Having a hysterectomy at 47 and taking estrogen has made a huge positive difference for me as hormone fluctuations really exacerbated my symptoms!

    One of the gifts of the illness is that it put me on my life path. I think it is very helpful to look at chronic illness as a path. I think that illness is ultimately a spiritual dilemma. It makes us ask the big questions. Why me? Why now? What is my purpose? Healing and recovery became my passion, a calling. I have always possessed a love of learning so when I was diagnosed I decided to become an expert on my illness. I took courses in nutrition, stress reduction, hypnotherapy, fitness, and meditation. I became certified in everything that I learned. I went into recovery for addiction. I was trained by a major health maintenance organization (HMO) in a Stanford based mind-body health program and taught workshops in coping with chronic illness. Today I am a life coach, and utilizing everything I have learned. It is sharing my knowledge with others that makes the journey rewarding to me.

    Illness has been a great teacher. I was forced to give up various behaviors that were killing me. These changes did not happen over night. I had to change the relationship I had with my body. I had always thought of my body as something to whip into submission and ride roughshod over. I learned to let go and go with the flow. To just be, and become mindful. I learned the power of optimism and to be resilient in the face of adversity. I became a creative problem solver. The illness stripped away the inessentials in my world and helped me find what my true values were and to live them. Ultimately, it taught me I had worth just because I was alive and not because of what I did or who I was.

    I wanted to become a RemedyFind columnist so that I could be a source of support, knowledge, and inspiration for others walking this path. This path requires strength and courage but we never have to do it alone! I hope to share my experience, strength, and hope with you in the coming months. There is a saying that the ego enjoys accomplishing the goal and the soul enjoys the journey. I have found the joy in the journey, and I look forward to sharing that with you.


  2. spmary

    spmary New Member

    Thanks Janet. This gives hope and perhaps a misson.
  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

  4. tandy

    tandy New Member

    Wow! I loved this lesson 'whoever' learned from having these DD.
    Where did you find this?? who is it about?

    I only wish I could look at all this as a learning experience and try to get better.
    Its rough for sure

    Thanks for sharing
  5. achy

    achy New Member

    I needed that. Thanks for posting!!
  6. tandy

    tandy New Member

    talk about Fibrofog.
    I found who wrote it and so on.
    senior moment :)

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