Friday, November 11, 2016

Facing Forward: Melissa

Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible chronic illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different - and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren't alone!

Name: Melissa
Location: Wisconsin 
Diagnoses: fibromyalgia, SEID, myofascial pain syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, IT Band Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression, IBS, allydonia, migraines, photophobia, TMJ, sciatica, ADD, sleep maintenance disorder, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, mild scoliosis, arthritis, SAD
Age at Diagnosis: Anxiety/Depression - early 20's, The rest of the syndromes/conditions began around the age of 39.

How are you currently treating your condition?
I have found a good balance of prescription medicine and vitamins. They are; Methocarbamol, Gabapentin, Nortriptyline, Citalopram, Adderall, Clonazepam, Tramadol, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Probiotic, Vit. B, Multi-Vitamin. It is important to keep moving. I attend aqua aerobics twice a week. In addition, once a month I go to chiropractor and acupuncturist. 
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
In the beginning it was accepting my limitations. I still have to remind myself that I can do only what I can do. I can't volunteer or participate in every school activity. I had to learn to allow myself to stay home when my body is telling me that it needs rest. It was a difficult time when every time I went to the doctor I was receiving another diagnosis and treatment. 

What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
It is important to have a sleep routine and stick to it. Emotionally it is good to find a support group that you feel comfortable sharing and asking questions. Keeping a daily routine and balancing your activities with rest.

How do you manage to keep facing forward every day? 
My daughter is my biggest reason to keep fighting. Also, I found that using my love for writing and helping others helps keep me positive and determined  not to give up. I started by beginning a Facebook page & Blog (Fibro Warriors ~ Living Life)offering positive encouragement, medical information, resources, and support to others. I  am a co-leader for a group in Minnesota and leader of an online support group. I was very fortunate to be chosen by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association to be a member of their advocate group, Leaders Against Pain. I write for and am an active member of the Chronic Illness Blogger group. My most recent project was publishing my first children's book, Ravyn's Doll: How to explain fibromyalgia to your child. I have been reading the book to preschool & elementary children. It has been an amazing hearing stories from others about how the book has helped children not just understand  fibromyalgia but how to treat/help others with/without invisible illnesses.  It gives me hope.

If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
There are going to be hard days when you wish your life was over but you will survive those days. You will learn that you are stronger than you think you are and like your Dad says; "you will make lemonade out of the lemons". 

Do you have a blog you would like to share?
Fibro Warriors - Living Life

Would you like to be featured on Facing Forward? If so, please send an email to  

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