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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Well, here I am writing for the first time. I plan on covering fibro issues and topics on green living, saving money and stories related to my past as they affect my health and fibro status. Here goes!

I have had fibro for at least 15 years that I know of for sure. Oh, there were weird signs prior to that, like the time I could only walk on my toes for 30 minutes after waking up in the morning, but my official dx was 15 years ago. The usual triggers were there for me, such as stress (3 marriages will do that to you) 4 babies (a good stress) little money and poor care of self. However, I believe I overworked to the point that I broke my own body down to the point it could not recover. To this I will elaborate.

When I was in my late 20's, I worked as a route driver with a vending machine company. This job involved lifting 8 pound gallon jugs of syrup in cases of 4, pushing 300 pounds of product up ramps at factories, and driving an old, stick-shift panel truck. In many of those factories, I breathed in countless fumes and often coughed for hours after leaving my job. I worked in a union job so I was not allowed any slack as a woman. The other drivers (all men) also gave me no slack. I was often hit on by fac!tory workers, union reps and my fellow drivers which was not, by the way, a complement. So stress was built into this job for me along with poor air quality, physical stress and caring for my then 3 children as a single parent. If I had known that I would be compromising my health so bad I may have done something different. But then, hindsight is everything, isn't it!

Fast forward a few years now and the wierd, random symptoms of the monster to come appeared. First, the toe walking, later extreme dizziness and vertigo followed by debilitating headaches and fatigue. Then, 15 years ago, after falling down the stairs at home, I could not stay awake. Muscles ached all over and I could barely move. Working became harder and harder. A string of jobs followed due to layoffs and facility closings. Then, 4 years ago, I landed a great gig in my field of Occupational Therapy working with acutely ill patients. At first, the stress was tolerable, but it quickly became tougher and tougher to drag myself in to work. When it became clear that I needed to lose some hours for my health, fate intervened. I fell in my yard, rolled my ankle completely over and fractured a bone in my foot. The fragments of this bone tore through my tendon, shredding it almost beyond repair. Only with the assist of a plastic graft can I walk without a brace. This put me on short term disability where my health continued to decline. Now I am on SSDI and looking at double knee replacements.

Well, this is my story of my fibro experience. What do you think? Did I work myself sick? Was it the environmental exposures? Personal issues?

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