I love sharing the stories of some of the amazing Fibro Warriors that are out there. This week we are getting to know Christianne McCall from Cheswick, PA (suburb of Pittsburgh). She’s married and has three daughters (Dylan is 16, Zoey is 10, and Lillian is 5) and two cats (Willow and Spaceman). She’s an Architectural Rep for a formica company and she loves yoga, reading, sewing, and bargain shopping. And, She’s a HUGE Star Wars fanatic! She was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia if July of 2015, at the age of 40.
Let’s get to know more about her Fibro story….
What lead up to your diagnosis?
I came down with mono back in April of 2014 and never got well. I had a ton of doctor appointments; getting a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue first. Then my former PCP told me “It is psychosomatic” basically telling me it was all in my head. That led me to a rheumatologist who diagnosed Fibro.
How did your family initially handle your illness?
My mom was relieved for an answer, but sad for the diagnosis. My dad was very sympathetic. He has MS, which isn’t the same but we do share similar symptoms. My husband is still confused by it, I think. I don’t “look sick” so I think he forgets I am. My oldest daughter understands but my younger two are not totally aware.
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of Fibro?
THE FATIGUE! OMG, there are days where I wake up more tired than I went to bed. And never knowing HOW you are going to feel day-to-day. Some are good; some are not so good!
Do you have any other coexisting conditions?
Ah yes…I have had anxiety, OCD and depression for as long as I can remember, as well as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I have TMJ and ringing in my ears. Some days I am OK. The anxiety and depression really take a toll though. It is easy to get stuck in a loop of negative thinking.
What (if anything) have you found/ done that has improved your symptoms?
Yoga helps; non-impact exercise. I can’t do what I used to. I eat as clean as I possibly can; that helps. Lots of water. I do have Tramadol to take on bad pain days. That works well for me.
How open are you with friends & family about your illness & symptoms?
Very. Most are very sympathetic. My husband just looks at me. He is a quiet person though and I think he worries more than he lets on. I passed out one morning and he had 911 on the phone in minutes. He is the silent type. LOL.
What is the best advice you’ve received about Fibromyalgia?
Well, it affects everyone so different that I don’t know anyone has given me advice. From what I see from my experience, I know I have to rest more. I just have to. It is so hard for a Type A person. My counselor has told me to ask for help more often and that has been tough for me. But I do it.
What is your favorite way to cope with your life as a spoonie?
Hmm, I read a lot. I research this illness out the wazoo! I also take time for exercise and my hobbies.
What is it that inspires you to keep going, despite your illness?
My kids. I have a lot of responsibilities to them. My future. I still want to travel around the world so I try to stay as mobile as I can.
What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself since your diagnosis?
That I do way too DAMN much! I have control issues for sure so I am learning how to let go as much as I can. The OCD kicks in and I want everything to be perfect. I am trying to relax.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to someone newly diagnosed with Fibro?
Don’t give up. Search for a doctor that will work with you. I have finally found a team I like. Also, find what works for YOU. I like hot baths, massage, and Yoga for pain and stress relief. Keep trying meds until you find one that works. They affect everyone differently so don’t let someone else’s side effects deter you. And pray. Never stop praying.
Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?
I’m still learning about this. It is such a crazy illness. Sometimes I wonder why I have it. I’m glad to know that I am not alone and there are so many other SPOONIES out there! I’d love to meet you if you live in the Pittsburgh area!
Please feel free to contact Christianna via email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.