7 Lessons in 7 Years of Being Sick

Choose to find value in your struggle and never surrender to your fibromyalgia.

7 Lessons in 7 Years of Being Sick

A week after my youngest son was born, I awoke to all-over body pain and the inability to walk or use my hands. That was nearly seven years ago and I have learned a lot about being sick, especially as I face daily challenges both physical and emotional.

Here are 7 lessons I have learned in 7 years of being sick.

1. This is your life — you don’t get to give up

This is my life and I will make best of what I have been given. On good days, I can manage my morning routine with little trouble, including taking medication, stretching and getting to work on time. Other days, I want to give up and let my illnesses walk all over me, but an inner voice whispers, “Don’t you dare.” I try not to respond with “It’s not getting better,” or “I just want to give up.”

Giving up is easy, and finding a reason to keep going is difficult. Find those reasons why you need to keep going.

Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/459-7-lessons-in-7-years-of-being-sick?category=lifestyle


Being Hopeful in the Face of Chronic Illness

Learn how to hold on to hope even when faced with the challenges of a chronic illness

Being Hopeful in the Face of Chronic Illness

Ever since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia in 2007, I have wondered what keeps people hopeful in order to successfully cope with and overcome challenges that illness brings. It is fascinating how some people can bounce back quicker than others when it comes to personal challenges, illness, and other tragedies.

On the surface, it would seem that some of us are just more resilient, but if you dig deeper, you find that is not the case. What these experts of resilience have is hope—for better days, for overcoming setbacks, and for dealing with uncertainty. But hope isn’t naturally felt, it is something we learn through choice and experience.

What is Hope?

Everyone has the ability to feel hopeful, bounce back from setbacks, and become stronger as a result. Unfortunately, too many do not know what hope actually means and what to look for when being hopeful.

Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/449-being-hopeful-in-the-face-of-chronic-illness#Ax4x6ELWwVaEKSDY.99


Guest Post: Winning Social Security Disability Benefits for Fibromyalgia

If you suffer from fibromyalgia and can’t work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. But winning disability for fibromyalgia is more complex most people realize. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has special rules for determining if your fibromyalgia qualifies for disability benefits.

First, you must have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia as defined by the 1990 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) for the Classification of Fibromyalgia or The 2010 ACR Preliminary Diagnostic Criteria. It’s very clinical so you may want to consider consulting with a disability attorney if you have questions.

As complicated as it is, you can still win Social Security Disability benefits for fibromyalgia.

How the SSA Defines A Fibromyalgia Disability

In the past, SSA disability examiners would only rule in favor of your fibromyalgia disability if it was accompanied by another medical condition (such as arthritis).

Fibromyalgia was known as a subjective condition. Even now, the causes of fibromyalgia are not understood.

To win disability benefits when you have fibromyalgia, you must have a history of widespread pain. This must include pain in all parts of the body (both the left and right sides of the body and above and below your waist) and skeletal pain. Your pain must be present (or must have been present) for a minimum of three months.

On top of these qualifications, the SSA will ask you to undergo a physical examination to test 18 tender points on your body. These points (nine per each side of the body) are:

  • Shoulder muscles
  • The muscle near your shoulder blade
  • The outer portion of your elbow
  • The base of your skull
  • Your second rib
  • The back and side of your neck
  • The area below your hip
  • The inner portion of your knee
  • The top of your buttock.

A doctor will test all of these points on you by applying a force of nine pounds (approximately the amount of pressure needed to make a small indention in your skin) to determine your pain level in each area. To qualify for Social Security Disability, you must test positive for pain in 11 of these 18 areas.

In addition to this test, your treating doctor must rule out other physical and mental disorders.

As you can see, getting approved for disability benefits when you suffer from fibromyalgia isn’t easy. If you have questions or need help, call Gary Sells in New Orleans for help with your case.

Important Things to do if You Have Fibromyalgia and Need Disability

The most important thing you can do is work very closely with your doctor. In doing so, the goal is to get as much medical evidence as possible to prove you suffer from the symptoms of fibromyalgia. You will also need to show that your fibromyalgia is severe enough that it will prevent you from work for at least 12 months.

If you have fibromyalgia, winning disability benefits is going to be a tough battle. You may be turned down on your first try. If you are denied, you can appeal to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If you do appeal and get a hearing, it’s important for your medical evidence and work history evidence to be organized and presented to the ALJ in a way that will prove you can no longer work because of your fibromyalgia.

Winning disability benefits is never easy – and if you suffer from fibromyalgia, it can be even more difficult. If you can’t work because of your fibromyalgia consider working with a disability attorney.

About Social Security Disability Attorney  David Tuggle

David Tuggle attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he earned his bachelor’s degree and his law degree. He is currently licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana.

He is a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Indiana State Bar Association, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) and the Vermilion County Bar Association.

David has been voted by other attorneys at being in the top 5% of attorneys practicing Social Security Disability and Personal Injury law.

He lives in Danville with his wife, Sharon, and their four children.


Topical Pain Agents for Pain Relief

Learn your topical treatment options to manage painful fibromyalgia.

Topical Pain Agents for Pain Relief

When you’re experiencing pain in your joints and muscles, topical pain relievers are a good alternative for pain management. These medications are delivered through a variety of dosage forms, including patches, gels, lotions, creams, sprays, and ointments. Topical agents have been used for decades to help prevent and treat a wide variety of health conditions, including pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions.

Topical pain medications are absorbed through the skin and are best for relieving joint and muscle pain close to the skin’s surface, including the hands, elbows, knees and feet. If you are reluctant to take pills, you may opt for an over-the-counter cream or patch or to have your doctor prescribe a stronger topical medication.

What are your options? And will they work to manage your pain?

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents

Diclofenac is a topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication available for topical pain management. Diclofenac is available in both patch and solution/gel formulas. The patch (Flector Patch) was first approved by the FDA in 1998 and can be used for the treatment of sprains and strains, but the solution/gel (Voltaren Gel) was designed for arthritis pain. Diclofenac works by reducing substances that cause inflammation and pain in the body. It is only available as a prescription and carries the same risk as other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/452-topical-pain-agents-for-pain-relief#hHpOFBVR6WYaH1v6.99


Five Truths about Fibromyalgia and Pain

Five Truths about Fibromyalgia and Pain

People who live with persistent pain can be suffering from a specific condition, whether it is arthritis, fibromyalgia, MS, or something else. But when you are living with pain that has lasted several months, you are actually suffering from another condition too — chronic pain.

Despite decades of study, chronic pain still seems to be misunderstood and hard to manage. As a result, there is much misinformation about chronic pain and stereotypes about the people that live with this condition.
Here are five truths to dispel the myths about chronic pain.

Pain is Real

For so many that live with illness and chronic pain, the pain they feel is often questioned. Doubt and misunderstanding come from loved ones, acquaintances and even members of the medical community. The reality is that pain is experienced differently by each individual.
Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/441-five-truths-about-fibromyalgia-and-pain#l8fUUt0JbGaFZB4W.99


7 Strange Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Learn about fibromyalgia symptoms that are rather bizarre.

7 Strange Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are pain, sleep disturbances and chronic fatigue, but these are not the only symptoms. In fact, there are many others that aren’t visible and aren’t easy to describe. These symptoms make daily living harder and they can affect patients on a psychological level.

Here are seven of the most common strange symptoms of fibromyalgia, the effect they have, and how they can be managed.

1. Allodynia

The medical definition of allodynia is pain experienced from non-painful stimulation, such as light touch, according to Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary. Many fibromyalgia patients experience this symptom, but its extent depends on the frequency and severity of symptoms and the number of years living with the disorder.
Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/442-7-strange-symptoms-of-fibromyalgia#cDe5egryhkvIdc3R.99


Recognizing and Dealing with Toxic People in Your Life


You deserve to surround yourself with people who love, accept and encourage you and your fibromyalgia diagnosis.

Recognizing and Dealing with Toxic People in Your Life

Living with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses means minimizing the things in your life that make your symptoms worse. Sometimes, it might even mean eliminating people, especially if those people stand in the way of your health. Other times, it means recognizing the ways in which you can minimize their effect on your life.

Toxic Relationships Worsen Your Health

People can be as toxic as chemicals. Toxic people will run drain your energy and ruin your self-confidence if you let them. “This person is not your cheerleader,” explains Ann Clark, MFT, a San Diego human services expert who has authored books on toxic relationships.

Steve Albrecht, PHR, CPP, BCC, instructor of stress management programs in San Diego, defines toxic relationships as being dominated by hurtful comments, constant sarcasm, passive-aggressive encounters and belittling behaviors.

Numerous studies have shown the damaging health effects of toxic relationships. One study from Michigan State University found out that people in toxic relationships have a 34 percent increased risk of heart disease. Another study out of the University of Copenhagen found that constant conflict in relationships was a cause of early death.
Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/445-recognizing-and-dealing-with-toxic-people-in-your-life#L786MXfvuHa5ZfBI.99


11 Part Fibromyalgia Guide

Fibromyalgia Guide Part 1: Overview

In this guide you will find the latest information about fibromyalgia symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and how fibromyalgia affects other aspects of your life. You will also learn how to feel better and be active despite symptoms and pain while focusing on the future with hope and purpose.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common musculosketal conditions in the United States, after arthritis. According to the American College of Rheumatology, two to four percent of Americans have fibromyalgia, and the majority of that population is women. Fibromyalgia is seen in all age groups, from children to the elderly. Most patients, however, begin to experience symptoms between ages 20 to 50. Fibromyalgia occurs worldwide and there is no specific ethnic predisposition to the syndrome.

Read More in this 11 part series.


Acknowledging The Monster of Fibromyalgia and Pain


Learn how to accept chronic pain in your life with humor and gratitude.

Acknowledging the Monster of Fibromyalgia and Pain

My world has changed considerably since chronic illness. But even though I have had rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia for nearly eight years, there are still times where I view my body as my enemy and I don’t know if I can be the “me” that I need to be.

How can I have a normal life, raise my kids, be successful professionally and find love again when my life is consumed by the monster that is chronic illness and pain?

It is has taken me time and real life comedic moments to come to terms with that monster, whom I call RAF (an abbreviated combination of my RA and fibromyalgia). And lucky for me, RAF is always around.

My Revolving Door Plight

RAF is part of my biggest daily challenge — that revolving door in my office building that I can’t always push. The non-revolving door, I feel, is for people with visible disabilities and I am not part of that reputable group. Most of the time, it takes all the strength I have to push my way out through the revolving door. And, there are times when I need help.

Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/425-acknowledging-the-monster-of-fibromyalgia-and-pain#cq0USJXBP3g5cDU2.99


How to Handle Depression and Fibromyalgia

Learn the triggers of depression when living with fibromyalgia and how to overcome the symptoms.

How to Handle Depression and Fibromyalgia

For so many with fibromyalgia, depression is a fact of life. In fact, depression is one of the most common complications of chronic illness. Just the idea of facing a long life with illness brings about uncertainty, grief, anger and sadness. While some of this is a normal part of living with chronic disease, it is when you continue to experience these feelings and they start to affect your daily life that you should seek medical help.