I experience a range of symptoms that fit within the neuromuscular condition ‘fibromyalgia’, which is characterised by regular widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and occasional cognitive fog.
Fibromyalgia gives me ongoing and unpredictable musculoskeletal symptoms, which created challenges growing up. A simple hug on occasions caused nerve pain and rib displacement requiring physiotherapy rehabilitation. The unknown of whether movements were helping or hindering my body caused regular anxiety.
I constantly sought control and assurance that I was doing the right things to stay healthy and functional. This propelled my interest in the human body and led me to undergo a Medical Science degree and Masters in Dietetics.
I began contact martial arts in 2013 to increase fitness to in an attempt to re-train my brain to the responses of pain. I feel like my body gave me a ‘break’ for about a year.
Towards the end of 2014 I started experiencing unusual nausea and pelvic pain, which was worst when I was menstruating. Almost a year later this was diagnosed as endometriosis and required minor surgery. I am now on the Microgynon pill and Implanon to manage further endometrial growth. Although the medications have minor side effects, they are necessary to manage my symptoms and are just one part of my pain management.
In the past 10 years I’ve become more attuned to my body and realised my perspective is key. My pain gets worse if I’m anxious so mindful breathing has become a valuable practice in my day.
I’ve also learnt to cut myself slack if a flare up occurs. In these times I give myself a pep talk to get moving and practice basic mobility movements, knowing this will assist my functionality long-term.
I cherish the support and understanding of those around me and the ability to be open about my capabilities day-to-day. Despite the pain, I’ve chosen to live a full life. I’m proud of myself.