Living with Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia has forced me to make many changes in how I attack life; it has taught me compassion, balance, and self-control. For that, I am grateful! Find out how to cope better with your condition from these inspiring perspective! http://www.groundedandsurrounded.com/living-with-fibromyalgia/

By: Sarah Koontz

When I was 19 years old, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It is a pain and fatigue syndrome that can really cramp my style! I have a type A+ personality, and “driven” is a mild term to describe my way of attacking life.

Because of my limited energy, and the fact that my pain levels go through the roof when I am stressed, I have been forced to learn the art of rest and balanced living.

In the decade (ok, more than a decade….I am getting old!) since my diagnosis, I have experienced many highs and many lows when it comes to my health. At my worst, I am only able to function a few hours a day. At my best, I can almost convince myself I am normal.

My constant aim is to eliminate the lows, and unfortunately, when it comes to fibromyalgia, that means eliminating the highs as well. You see, when I feel great…I just want to go, go go! But if I do that, I am setting myself up for a crash. Slow and steady is the absolute best approach for me.

Fibromyalgia has taught me a lot about myself.

It has taught me to be humble, because I honestly can’t do all of the things I want to do. It has taught me to listen to my body, because there are always signs when I am pushing myself too hard. It has taught me to cherish and respect my down time, which includes getting 8-10 hours of sleep every single night without exception.

Fibromyalgia has forced me to make many changes in how I attack life; it has taught me compassion, balance, and self-control. For that, I am grateful! Find out how to cope better with your condition from these inspiring perspective! http://www.groundedandsurrounded.com/living-with-fibromyalgia/

I have learned that stress is a huge trigger for me, and because of that I have to protect my mind and my schedule so I don’t become overstressed. When life corners me, and there is no way to eliminate the stress, I have to be extra cautious with my scheduling and plan a lot more time for rest.

I have also learned that few people will understand me and my unique limitations. This used to make me sad, but now it just makes me cherish the few friends and family members who really get me.

I especially appreciate my husband who has seen me at my worst and chose to marry me anyway! I often choose not to talk about my pain, but rather focus my energy on all of the beautiful things in my life! When I get trapped in self-pity, or I try to live my life like everyone else….I lose.

My way through this trial is to choose health every moment of every day. Health for me starts with my relationship with the Lord. If I am not healthy spiritually, I will not be healthy physically.

Next, I focus on healthy relationships. Nothing will zap your energy more than poor, unbalanced or negative relationships.

After that, I have to eat right, get moderate exercise, and take high quality nutritional supplements. I don’t always succeed in this area, but my body thanks me when I do!

Finally, I have to be diligent with how I manage my time and my stress levels.

If I can do these things well, I can be well.

Fibromyalgia does not define who I am, but it deeply impacts the way I live my life. I am so grateful that I have fibromyalgia, because I would not be the person I am without it.

My body, and my symptoms, have become my guide. When I am making healthy choices, I feel health in my body; but when I am making poor choices, my health quickly declines.

My limitations have forced me to rely on others more than I would like, and created within me a desire for simple living. Although I never give up hope that someday I will overcome this disease, in the meantime I am finding reasons to be grateful for it.

Fibromyalgia has forced me to make many changes in how I attack life; it has taught me compassion, balance, and self-control. For that, I am grateful! Find out how to cope better with your condition from these inspiring perspective! http://www.groundedandsurrounded.com/living-with-fibromyalgia/

Fibromyalgia has forced me to make many changes in how I attack life; it has taught me compassion, balance, and self-control. For that, I am grateful!

If you are suffering from fibromyalgia or some other chronic illness, I highly recommend that you consider purchasing and reading one of my father’s books.  My dad, Dr. Ray Strand, is a MD who specializes in Nutritional and Preventive Medicine.

He is the most amazing man, who cares deeply about his patients and his work.  If it were not for him, for all that he has taught me about prevention and healthy living, there is no way I would have the HOPE I have in spite of my medical condition.  

Dr. Ray Strand is one of the most knowledgeable doctors in the ENTIRE world when it comes to nutrition, supplementation, and overall wellness! groundedandsurrounded.com

In all of his books, he teaches us about the Triad of Healthy Lifestyles (Low Glycemic Diet, High Quality Nutritional Supplements, and Moderate Exercise).  This First Step Therapy is crucial for anyone who is hoping to combat chronic degenerative disease.

If you have a medical condition, and are interested in learning what you can do to optimize your chances of regaining your health, I recommend you start with “What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine.”

If you are generally healthy and are looking to learn what you can do to prevent disease, and become more proactive in protecting your health, I recommend you read “Bionutrition.”

If you are wanting to develop a healthier lifestyle, and wish to learn how you can decrease your risk of diabetes and heart disease while at the same time experience permanent weight loss, I recommend “Healthy for Life.”

Have you been “blessed” with physical limitations?  If so, what has helped you to stay positive and live life to its fullest?

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Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

Sarah Koontz is a freelance writer and regular contributor at Grounded & Surrounded. If you are interested in growing your faith, nourishing your family life, and discovering the beauty of God's design, be sure to follow her personal blog at SarahKoontz.com. When Sarah is not writing, you are likely to find her covered in dirt, sitting in the middle of her garden, adoring her beautiful flock of backyard chickens. She is eternally grateful for her husband and two little girls, and revels in their simple, uncluttered life. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

21 thoughts on “Living with Fibromyalgia

  1. Thank you so much for sharing so honestly. I know it will help both those who suffer from fibromyalgia and those who don’t really understand it. The advice you give is actually so good for all of us – to listen to our bodies and to take care of ourselves. I’m so grateful you shared this post with us at Hearth and Soul.

    1. I find that people who suffer from medical conditions like fibromyalgia often lose hope. It is my heart to encourage them & let them know they aren’t alone. Thanks for visiting our site!

  2. I am also type A personality and also had a very difficult time adjusting to my diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I lived with it for years before being diagnosed so I assumed everyone experienced the same pains and fatigue, but that I was weaker than others because I couldn’t function as well. It was a huge adjustment to learn how to not do it all at once and to relax on not being able to get it all done at once. Deep breaths much of the time.

    Thank you for sharing your experience!

    1. Deep breaths for sure! And it isn’t an exact science, is it? What works perfectly one day doesn’t the next. It is very difficult to communicate our unique limitations with others. I will be sure to check out your blog Brandi! Thanks for visiting us.

  3. This is a beautiful article! Your sentiments, struggles, and hope are truly inspiring. As I read this, I saw and heard my own daughter and her life-long struggles with a mitochondrial disorder, which includes all of the symptoms of fibromyalgia and so many more. Rory is a lovely, strong, intelligent 19-year-old, who hasn’t always learned to listen to her body yet… a mother’s struggle. Thank you for sharing your story at the #HomeMattersParty 🙂

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai

    1. Lorelai, I am so honored that my story impacted you. Your daughter will learn to listen to her body. At 19 I just wanted to be like everyone else. I pushed myself too hard, and drank way too much caffeine to keep up! It is so difficult as a parent to let your children learn and grow in their own time. My battle with fibro has really impacted who I am. Encourage your daughter to check out our blog, maybe she will follow us and learn a few things about “finding your own healthy” along the way. Blessings!

  4. Sarah, great tips! The one that eludes me is the 8 to 10 hours of sleep. No matter what time I go to sleep, I’m awake by 4 or 5 am! So I’m pretty much running on 6 hours of sleep all the time. You have the right attitude! Can’t fight it, have to work with it.

    1. Jean, I wish I could get by on less sleep. But to each his own, I guess 🙂 My mom has fibromyalgia and she sleeps far less than I do. Developing the right attitude has taken me a long time, and I still find I fall into the trap of trying to fight it sometimes. Thanks for visiting our blog.

    1. That is a very interesting read. Yes, Fibromyalgia is a simple “catch all” diagnosis these days. People who are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia often have other things going on in their bodies. I will definitely share this article with my father, he would be interested in learning more. Black mold is the DEVIL!

  5. Our bodies really are amazingly beautiful and limiting at times. What I have learned over the years is that my body is my friend; a friend that is honest when I listen. It has a lot to tell me too; like when I need sleep and food. In addition, if I really listen, the Holy Spirit guides me with a twinge of uneasiness when people are unsafe, a butterfly feeling when I’m excited and a holding of my breath when things are quite right.

    God was wise when he asks us to take care of the temple we live in. Our temples are very special!!

  6. I was diagnosed when I was 29 w fibro (almost 20 yrs ago) and did really well till about 12 years ago. Tried the prescription route (I don’t tolerate very many medications – my poor Dr!) and really have noticed a few things that help me control my symptoms: 1) it seems to be hormonal – my symptoms are their worst about 7-10 days before my monthly starts. 2) Stress makes my pain levels get BAD & my migraines are triggered. I now work from home watching a few kids, am careful about over exerting myself and try not to worry about income. I also discovered Lavender essential oil. I started using it for sleep issues (I started tossing & turning due to pain at night so wasn’t sleeping) and discovered Lavender has pain relieving properties. Its been an answer to prayer! This week has been very difficult for me – I’m exhausted & aching. But life is still good. 🙂

    1. Tina, I will have to do some more research on lavender, that sounds promising. Stress is my biggest trigger as well, and I agree that there are few meds that truly help. Good for you on looking for the best! I always say that life is all about what you focus your energy on. Rather than focusing on the pain, the best thing we can do is focus on the things that make us feel healthier! Thanks for visiting our blog.

  7. Yes! In more than one way. I was born with a physical disability called Arthrogryposis, but started developing a bunch of these invisible symptoms about 4 years ago…that was hard and is still hard, unlike the condition I was born with. People can understand that because they “see” it. I was diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease and with it has come multiple food intolerances…more limitations. Thankfully I found doctors to give me some answers and I have learned a ton, especially how to listen to my body even more and definitely get the rest I need. So your post resonates with me quite a bit! There are still people who don’t fully understand the invisible side of energy crashes and just having days where I don’t feel right. God has taught me a lot too…like the lesson, one day at a time. 🙂

    1. Listening to your body is such an important skill for anyone to learn, but for those of us who suffer from medical conditions it is imperative. It sounds like your journey has been far from easy, but I am glad to know that you trust the Lord with your life. He is ever so faithful, and even in the midst of the pain, He ministers to us and cares for us in a way that no one else ever could. Focusing on today is a skill that is challenging to develop, but well worth the effort. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story with us, Laura.

  8. I understand so much of what your wrote here. I have not been diagnosed with fibromyalgia but, at a friend’s suggestion, I looked up the symptoms and it is possible that I have it. Perhaps my most challenging struggles, though, are a generalized anxiety disorder which I’ve had probably all of my life, and Seasonal Affected Disorder which is relatively new in my life. These can cause a lot of symptoms that could look like another illnesses. My pain issues don’t seem to be like what I read about fibromyalgia, but I have a lot of other similar struggles to yours – need of rest, low stress, moderate exercise, down days, balanced living, good nutrition and supplements, and so forth. (I also have a lot of food intolerance and some female issues.) So….I really hear you. And, yes, people don’t understand. I also have a wonderful husband who married me knowing quite a bit of my “mess” already. 🙂 And, most important of all – I know the comfort and blessing of a merciful, gentle, and strong Savior!

    Oh yes, and listening to our bodies – such an important skill. I have a friend (now in heaven) who was a trained herbalist and that was one of the best health-related lessons she taught me. 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to write up your story.

    1. Can you imagine weathering this storm without a supportive spouse and the love and acceptance of the Savior? I CANNOT! I am grateful you stumbled upon my post today and encourage you to keep pursuing your best life one painful step at a time (no matter how it compares to others). Herbs are powerful and I am always learning more about how to utilize them in my prevention and health strategy. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story with me today. I pray the power of Jeremiah 7:5-8 over you. That you would no longer be a bush in the desert, but rather a tree planted by the living waters. Blessings!

  9. Sarah, you have no idea how encouraged I was by your post and even more so your attitude to life with illness. I have been living with chronic fatigue for 6 years so I understand to some extent what you’re going through. I love how you focus on those who love you and do understand, other than those who don’t … a great reminder for me! Thanks again! I really needed this ray of hope today 🙂

    1. Sam, we are so thankful this article blessed you. Sometimes it is just nice to know you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings. Fibromyalgia can be isolating, we are so glad you reached out to us today!

  10. I gave my life to the Lord in 2013, lost my job in 2014, diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2015, back surgery in 2016 and going back to Cleveland clinic soon about having a hip surgery. The enemy…Satan himself is trying himself to hold me back but it’s not going to happen, I will prevail and overcome because I am a child of God and I am surrounded and protected by his Amazing Grace 🙌🏻🙂✝️

    1. Wow, Jennifer! What a testimony! Thank you for sharing and I am standing with you in belief that health and wellness will prevail. God is faithful. Love to you! <3

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