I was reading a recent post from my friend Donna, over at FibroGeek, and she said something that really got me thinking.
I see fibromyalgia as being a puzzle. When you are suffering badly from the symptoms of fibromyalgia, your puzzle has broken apart into various pieces. Sometimes it is hard to know what these pieces are. Sometimes you know what the pieces are but you don’t quite know how to fit them together.- FibroGeek
I started thinking about the pieces of my Fibromyalgia puzzle, and what it’s taken for me to put that puzzle together. As Donna pointed out in her post, there’s so much more to dealing with Fibro than just one thing, yet it’s so easy for us to blame just one thing when things slip off track. A flare pops up and we are quick to say that whatever treatment that’s been working is no longer working, but there’s so much more to it than that, and so many facets to the Fibromyalgia puzzle. I can think of six pieces that make up my puzzle, I’m sure there are probably a few more that just aren’t coming to mind.
- Puzzle Piece #1 :Stress – Stress should be the first puzzle anyone with Fibromyalgia looks at, and yet it’s typically the last. I typically find that when symptoms begin to flare again I can usually find that my stress levels have also increased for some reason. Stress and Fibromyalgia have a circular relationship; not only does stress increase Fibro symptoms, but when our symptoms increase stress goes up as a result. The importance of learning to limit and deal with stress can not be over-stressed (no pun intended). I’ve learned to control stress through meditation, exercise, focusing on the positive, and forgiveness.
- Puzzle Piece #2: Diet – This is another puzzle piece that I didn’t find early enough, in fact I purposely avoided even looking at this piece of the puzzle, deciding instead that it must belong to someone else’s puzzle. When In finally took the time to look at this piece I realized that it did fit my puzzle and not only did it fit but that it made up a huge part of the picture. 6 Easy Diet Changes to Help Fibromyalgia.
- Puzzle Piece #3: Supplements – This is a piece of the puzzle that I’m still learning about, still playing with it, moving it around, and trying to figure out exactly how it fits. When it comes to supplements it seems like there are a number of pieces that could fit in my puzzle, and a number of different ways that they could all fit together. I’ve found a number of supplements that I know are important to making sure that I feel the best that I can, but I also continue to learn about others that I feel I should try. Sometimes I try them and rule them out quickly, other times I try one and find I need to keep it in m routine for a while, or for every.
- Puzzle Piece #4: Pharmaceuticals – As much as I hate this particular piece of the puzzle I have found it is necessary to pull my puzzle together. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different medications, and I continue to try new medications to treat different symptoms that arise. Some work and some don’t. I’ve found a few that I believe will likely make up part of my complete puzzle forever.
- Puzzle Piece #5: Education – Since day 1 I’ve felt that education needed to make up part of my puzzle and I still firmly believe that. While doctors go to med school and know a lot about all that entails, they do not know my body or my specific symptoms as well as I do, nor will they ever. It’s important for me to stay up to date on new research and new treatments, so that I can have educated discussions with my doctors, and so that I can present them with info they may not even be aware of. Most doctors see patients with many different disorders and diseases, even a specialist treats many different issues. They can not be up-to-the-minute on every single illness they treat. I have a much better chance at that.
- Puzzle Piece #6: Support – The support of my family and friends is a huge piece of my puzzle. I don’t know where I’d be without my husband, my mom, and all of my friends (and that includes those I know personally, and those I’ve met online –through this blog, my Facebook, or wherever). Having someone to turn to, to help me through a problem, to hug me, to just say “I understand” is priceless. My puzzle would never be complete with each person that is a part of my life.
I’m sure that in the years to come I will find new pieces and figure out how they fit in. What pieces have you found? What steps have you made towards solving your own chronic illness puzzle?