When life is just a pain
My mother-in-law had to mind him for me when he was younger. I am lucky to have great family support around me. I have two sisters and two brothers living within a three-mile radius with their families.
There is no one cause for fibromyalgia, the doctors can’t tell you why you got it but from my own research and talking to people who have it, it seems to be triggered by some trauma or stress like a car accident or depression. I went through two very difficult pregnancies and suffered pre-eclampsia which I reckon brought it on in my case.
I worked in insurance for 12 years and it was a really difficult decision for me not to go back to work and a big step to take in the current economic climate.
After giving up work, I decided to do a Living Well with Arthritis programme with Arthritis Ireland. It’s a six-week self-management programme run over two and a half hours one evening each week. They literally go through everything from pain management and depression to healthy eating, keeping fit and balancing rest with activity.
Every Sunday, I do up my plan for the week. Before, I would clean the house from top to bottom in one day but I can no longer do this, so I might do the living area on a Monday. I did get very down about it initially. It’s like grieving for the life you had and can’t have any more.
I had never even heard the word fibromyalgia before I was diagnosed with it.
I have had great support from my husband, family and friends and outside that, there are support groups like Cork Fibromyalgia Support, FibroIreland and Arthritis Ireland.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can dip and soar but this is something I will have to manage for the rest of my life. By exercising, I can keep my muscle strength from deteriorating. I swim and walk on alternate days and also do pilates which is great for strengthening the core muscles. I do special exercises with dumbbells for my hands twice a day and I eat healthily.
When I had to give up work, I found it very hard being at home all the time so I did a diploma in image and fashion styling at Cork Institute of Technology. I always had an interest in fashion and had the opportunity to do it when I was off work. I qualified as an image consultant and have done a bit of charity work since. It’s something I would love to work at in the future on a part-time self-employed basis.