Living with fibromyalgia means every day is a challenge, because I’m in a constant state of pain.
I was diagnosed at the age of 40 and every day I wake up feeling tired and like I have the flu, my whole body is in a dull state of pain, and in some places the pain is excruciating. Showering and dressing is a chore.
My drive and passion for work, and the people I work with, motivate me to get out of the house.
The pain is worse in the evening and presents in my arms, shoulders, chest, jaw and rib area. The chest pain mimics heart attack symptoms and as I have a heart history, every time I get it and cannot manage it, I visit a hospital to make sure it’s the fibromyalgia and not my heart.
Some days the pain gets very intense throughout my entire body. On those days I rest on the couch or redirect my thoughts by sitting in my garden or reading a book.
I’ve tried many treatments—both complementary and medical approaches. I participated in a medical trial for trans magnetic stimulation, which had no permanent effect.
Now I attend a pain clinic, take a mineral supplement and having regular hot stone massages. I focus on positive thoughts and good health.
Sometimes it’s more challenging having a chronic illness when you live in a regional area. Specialists are located in Melbourne, which is two hours away. After visits, I usually have to spend the next day in bed or on the couch, to recover.
Other people with fibromyalgia in my local area don’t bother, as they don’t want to deal with the flare up in pain and fatigue that would result after the journey.
I started the Fibromyalgia Support Group in Bendigo in 2013, to offer a place for people with fibromyalgia to find emotional support and understanding.
Our group has been an empowering experience for individuals challenged by living with pain, and it has also raised awareness.