For most of you with Fibromyalgia it may be almost impossible to imagine that there could possibly be an “upside” to having this condition. You owe it to yourself to please take a few moments to consider what I am about to explain. Maybe you will be able to see some light through the darkness. I must admit that this is just my personal theory but please understand that it has evolved over 14 years of my dedication to research and the study of Fibro. As many may know from reading my blogs, I also have the condition myself and completely understand how bad the pain and uncertainty can become, especially during a flare.
I have also examined, treated, advised and counseled hundreds of patients and have observed the results by being able to follow most of those patients for many years. I hope this doesn’t seem like boasting when I make the claim that this gives me a very big advantage and also a rather unique perspective when it comes to assessing what the long term prognosis is with patients that suffer from Fibromyalgia.
Now I realize this may seem like a generalization but it is definitely my absolute observation that most of my Fibro patients are more “health savvy” than the average patient. Sometimes this is because they were undiagnosed for so long and or “blown off” by several doctors therefore had to do extensive research on their own to figure out what was going on and what to do about it. Other times it is out of sheer desperation due to the severity of their symptoms and lack of relief found with their current therapy.
Local Fibromyalgia support groups, the National Fibromyalgia Association and many other organizations have been a huge help for those looking to become proactive and more educated about Fibro. The internet has also been an extremely valuable tool for those patients as long as they understand that they must go to “reputable” sites and not believe the hype that some sales sites push. Because of these reasons many of my Fibro patients have come to understand their conditions better than their own doctors. Unfortunately this can sometimes become a wedge in the doctor patient relationship. This becomes especially apparent if the doctor is unwilling to listen to what the patient has learned because they believe that they must know better. Doctors should always understand that being a “team player” is incredibly important with Fibro and that the patient who has done their research often can teach them a thing or two. After all, they have a lot at stake and pain is an incredible motivator to educating oneself. How often I hear from my patients “If only my doctor walked a day or two in my shoes they would understand”.
My point with this is that when people are “health savvy” and proactive, as with most of my Fibro patients, they often begin to lead healthier lifestyles. In actuality they are often forced because that is the only way for them to find true relief. People with Fibromyalgia usually realize that they need to eat better, reduce stress, rest more and adapt a “system” where they prevent or at the very least minimize their flares. This way of living is obviously more conducive to the avoidance of even more serious illnesses in the future. I am sure you understand this principle I am speaking of. It should be very obvious that good nutrition, being proactive and educated about health, sleeping or resting better, exercising correctly, taking the appropriate nutritional supplements and also understanding what is normal or abnormal for your own body will always lead to decreasing the risk of severe illness.
I would love to see some long term study that helps me back up my theory but I truly believe that this seems totally logical and should be apparent. While dealing with my many Fibromyalgia patients I spend a great deal of time explaining and educating them. I try to encourage them to see the bright side of this condition, as difficult as that may seem during times of severe pain. There often can’t be a 100% cure with Fibromyalgia but that does not mean that healing cannot take place. It certainly doesn’t mean that one is doomed to a lifetime of pain and frustration. When we fully understand what is necessary to manage this condition and help live a more comfortable and complete life we often become healthier overall. With this healthier lifestyle comes more balance and a fuller, richer life. To use a much overplayed cliche’ “whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”. Well, with Fibromyalgia I have found this to be incredibly true with the vast majority of my patients. Once a complete understanding takes place and stronger attitudes develop, a much better sense of control arises. If people are willing to then let go of the negative side of Fibro and not dwell on certain issues that may still be frustrating, a much happier fulfilled life is possible.