Fibromyalgia Study

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by mjfalke, Oct 29, 2002.

  1. mjfalke

    mjfalke New Member

    Hello everyone.
    I have Fibromyalgia
    myself and am currently a student at the University of Calgary in the Education
    program. One of the requirements this semester is to complete an independent
    study on a subject that effects us. My study is the implications of Fibromyalgia on
    Teachers as well as learners. I am looking for anecdotal evidence for my study,
    stories from real people.
    I was hoping to get some stories from message boards on the internet to use in my paper. Any teachers with FM, parents of students with FM, or students with FM who are willing to share a bit of their story with me would be very helpful.

    Thanks,
    Marsha

    To help, please reply to this message. I dont want to violate protocal and communicate via email.
  2. mjfalke

    mjfalke New Member

    Hello everyone.
    I have Fibromyalgia
    myself and am currently a student at the University of Calgary in the Education
    program. One of the requirements this semester is to complete an independent
    study on a subject that effects us. My study is the implications of Fibromyalgia on
    Teachers as well as learners. I am looking for anecdotal evidence for my study,
    stories from real people.
    I was hoping to get some stories from message boards on the internet to use in my paper. Any teachers with FM, parents of students with FM, or students with FM who are willing to share a bit of their story with me would be very helpful.

    Thanks,
    Marsha

    To help, please reply to this message. I dont want to violate protocal and communicate via email.
  3. allhart

    allhart New Member

    its grate that your doing this im just not sure you can post this here,
    good luck with the study
  4. JP

    JP New Member

    Hi Marsha,

    I would be happy to share as I fit into one of your parameters.
    Take care,
    Jan
  5. mjfalke

    mjfalke New Member

    Just so you know, I have been cleared to post this here. Any stories I get will be anonymous and will help me personally as well as in my research. So if you have a story for me and don't mind sharing just reply to the posting. Any response is greatly appreciated as I need to learn both how to cope as a student and teacher with fibromyalgia as well as how to help my future students who may have fibromyalgia.

    Thanks so much,
    Marsha
  6. Myth

    Myth New Member

    I am a graduate student (U of A) with FMS. I do not know specifically what you are looking for but I can share my problems as a student with FMS. More so that anything it is the fibro fog that bothers me when it comes to school. I used to have such an exceptional memory, now- not so much. I graduated with my B.A. with honors. I found it difficult to study back then but I developed some coping strategies.

    First I did not work while an undergrad. Weekends were reserved for catching up on sleep and catching up on things I had not been able to accomplish during the week. Second I chose to study during times of the day when I was at peak mental functioning. When studying I took numerous short breaks, and ate many small snacks. I made lists of things I had to finish, by prority- and this saved me from feeling overwhelmed, I just knocked one thing off at a time. I had to learn to edit my papers more extensively, because sometimes they were written when I was not consentrating well. I also found it important to attend all classes and do all the readings- because when your consentration is bad if you encounter the same information more than once and in different ways it will sink in.]

    I just recently finished my M.A. and my marks have fallen quite a bit. Primarily this is because (due to lack of finances) I am forced to work and go to school full-time. Which means in order to get work done on time, I was forced to work when I was not thinking all that well. And sometimes I got behind because I simply could not consentrate at all (You know reading the same paragraph over and over and still forgeting what it was about- the concepts simply melting from your min). So I still think it is vitally important not to work while going to school- we simply need time to recover and catch up on things. I also discovered eating small meals during the day helped me consentrate in classes. I also discovered that I need to really outline and plan my papers more (because they now lack clarity, and thought are not linked at well as they should be). Sometimes this means I need someone to look over my roughs to see if it is all linking together coherently. My thesis for instance, I was told the argument is great, the idea is great, but the writing lacks clarity and at times they found it difficult to follow. So I find outlining helpful now. I also take more time at the research level, because I find I have to write extensive notes to remember what theory came from what book, and what particular points I need to remember. And then I also spend extra time in the editing of papers. If I enter the phd program I plan on implementing these new paper writing techniques. (Athough it might be too late for that, since my GPA dropped to a 7.5, and I am not all too sure if I can get into the program now).

    All in all I find it takes more time (spread out over days) to accomplish tasks I used to accomplish in hours. My consentration levels are low. My memory is faulty. It is very stressful when you can recall how you used to function compared to the level you are now functioning. I put a lot more work into papers now, and the result is not as clear and precise as they once were. I rarely inform my instructors that I have FMS- that would require too much explaination and little understanding. But that is up to the student I suppose. Sometimes it helps to have people aware that you are dealing with a lot of pain, sleep deprivation and fatigue, and may require extensions on papers or may require a prof to read over your work. It is depressing to know that your quality of work and marks are being affected by something out of your control without anyone aware of the fact that you are a chronic pain sufferer and that it is harder for you. So stress and depression are elements in the life of a student with FMS. I tell you though, you can get a lot of work done in those moments of clarity that shine through the fibro fog. So I do work that requires little consentration when I cannot think straight, and I do most essay work and research when I am running at optimum levels.

    That is all I can think of for the time being. If you have any direct questions based on what I have written here, just ask.
  7. mjfalke

    mjfalke New Member

    Myth,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You should be very proud of yourself for obtaining a MA! As a student myself I understand the frustrations. I also don't normally tell people I have FMS. I suppose I'm afraid they'll tell me I should find something else to do because university or teaching is too hard for someone like me. When I let the cat out of the bag here I got some support from my colleagues but one of the "big guys" told me that teaching was a very physically demanding job and I might have trouble getting hired. Not what I wanted to hear. Everything is hard enough already without people telling you you can't do it.

    How do you think your prof's would respond if you told them you had FMS?
    I hope you can get you phd. Good for you for trying and good luck.

    Marsha
  8. karen2002

    karen2002 New Member

    Hi Marsha,
    I wasn't sure if you are in need of less conventional teaching/learning situations. I have four children, and I am down to teaching two of them at home, as the others are now grown. I have a ninth, and eighth grader, each using an accredited, grade level curiculum.
    This is the first year I have experienced Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue symptoms, while overseeing my children's education. They greatly affect my cognitive skills, thus altering our homeschooling experience. I would have to say, that this is our biggest setback. Since we are not on a fixed schedule, school work, can be positioned during the day, utilizing the hours I am feeling best. Also, unlike a teacher in a conventional setting, I do not have to be on my feet. I also suffer from sensory overload, my children are old enough to understand this, and assist me. I cannot imagine, being in a classroom situation, with 25 first graders.
    As I state earlier, most difficulties arising from my symptoms can be circumvented, all but the reduction in cognitive skills. The ability to pick and choose words, using them in their correct context, has been severely compromised. Spelling, which at one time, I took pride in, has become increasingly difficult. Math computations require extreme effort. Reading skills have been impaired, as I must re-read continuously due to lack of comprehension.
    What once came easily, is often frustrating and painstaking work, now.
    Karen
  9. mjfalke

    mjfalke New Member

    It's great to hear from the homeschooling perspective. I'm sorry to hear that it is becoming increasingly difficult. It is good for me to hear the things that make it possible for you to continue to teach. If the flexibility was removed would you be able to continue teaching your children?
    It would be interesting for me to know as I will not have so many flexibilites.

    Thank you for your reply, I would be interested to hear more about how FMS effects your admirable job of homeschooling your children.

    Marsha
  10. DebraP

    DebraP New Member

    Hi there, It's interesting to read the study you're doing. And, I commend you for taking this on!

    I homeschool my 8 year old daughter. She is bright and wonderful. But sometimes I feel overwhelmed because of fibro and I honestly consider putting her into traditional school. But, because I know her personality and her abilities so well, I know it would be an incredibly horrible thing to do to her. And, I would probably hate myself for doing it!

    Anyway, there are days that we don't get as much "book" work done as I'd like. But I can lie down and have her read to me. And learning games can be played laying on the living room floor (our big dog makes a great pillow! LOL). When I just can't make it without a nap, I let her watch animal planet or play an educational game on the computer.

    Luckily her martial arts class is in the evening so if I'm totally wiped out, Daddy can take her instead of both of us.
    Her morning art class is once a week for 2 hours so sometimes I take her to class then go back and lounge in the van (reclining seat) while she paints away. :)

    There are ways of getting around the disease, and in order to "LIVE" that's what you have to do. Sometimes the house isn't as clean as I'd like, or dinner isn't "perfect", but that's okay. My daughter comes before any of that, and if I have to skimp on something, it won't be her. :)

    I'm so thankful my husband is understanding and loving and absolutely agrees on the priorities.

    Hope this helps a little with your study. Hang in there! Debra
  11. karen2002

    karen2002 New Member

    One of the complications of this disease, is that it does wax and wane. One day, I am almost incapacitated, and the next, I almost feel normal again. I think having the flexibility is what enables me to continue. In addition to that, the age and intelligence of my children is another factor, which favors our homeschooling. Both children are of the age that they already have the basics in place. Since both are gifted children, they have a hunger for knowledge, thus are self motivated. They also have the abilities necessary to investigate and research, enabling them to work by themselves on many projects.
    A traditional setting, in my opinion, would be very difficult, but a possibility, with a certain mindset, and great determination. One would have to be very diligent, pacing themselves carefully. I do, think there would be alot of recouperating taking place in the "off" hours; thus limiting free time, greatly. I would be willing to bet that you already knew all that, though, as a student with FMS. The heart's aspirations can overcome most obstacles.
    Best Wishes in you pursuit Marsha.
    Regards,
    Karen

    [This Message was Edited on 10/31/2002]