Parenthood is enough of a challenge when you’re healthy, and with an illness like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, it’s especially difficult. I know it’s something I struggle with every day, and a recent comment left by a reader put our common struggle into words really well:
“I still feel like I’m letting my kids down because I’m not able to do/be/have enough energy to give them everything they need. But at least, I guess, they’re learning that when Mom says in answer to, ‘Can we go/do…….?’ ‘It depends on how I’m feeling’ really means just what it says. I try to say ‘yes’ some of the time for little things and make sure I’m able to follow through, but I feel like I’m saying ‘No’ constantly.
I’ve lost many so-called ‘friends’ because of my inability to make plans, but it’s with my children that I *really* feel guilty.”
Like her, I try to say “yes” and give my children fun times, but unfortunately they have to settle for “I’ll try” far too often.
I’ve said before that we have to learn to accept certain things, and this is another one of those things. It may well be the hardest one to accept, though, because we all want to give our children so much, and it’s hard to think about them missing out on meaningful experiences because mommy or daddy is sick.
While I can’t always choose fun activities for the kids over things like laundry and housework, I do put off the mundane now and then so that I have the energy. I also look for things that they can enjoy that are also low-key for me — a play area at a park or inside the mall, a children’s museum we have in town, places where I can sit and watch them. My kids are also lucky enough to have a dad who’s great about taking them to do stuff while I stay home, or who involves them in household projects and makes it fun.
I don’t know that any of us can ever truly get past feeling like we’re short-changing our children, but I think kids with chronically ill parents probably do learn some valuable skills. My kids have had to be especially self-sufficient and learn to entertain themselves. Having seen kids whose parents do every little thing for them, I’m proud that mine are able to do so much for themselves — and you know what? They’re proud of themselves, as well.
My kids have also learned early that illness is just part of life. They’re very compassionate, and they aren’t uncomfortable around sick or injured people. They’re at the doctor’s office with me enough that it’s not a strange or scary place for them. They’ve even seen acupuncture and cupping performed. I do think it’s possible, however, for kids who are around chronic illness to worry too much about their own minor illnesses and bumps and bruises — that’s something we’re working on with my son.
In some ways, I think it’s been easier on my kids that my fibromyalgia developed when they were little — my son was 4 and my daughter was 1.5. They don’t remember the year I spent laying on the couch in excruciating pain, and they don’t remember when I was healthy. This is just how mom is to them. In my forum, we’ve talked about the differences in how kids react based on age, and it seems like teenagers have the hardest time. That makes sense; they’re going through major changes already, and then all of a sudden a parent can no longer fill the accustomed role. That can create a lot of insecurity. No matter the children’s ages, though, family counseling might be something to consider, so that everyone can work toward acceptance of the situation.
I think we need to remember 2 things when raising children while living with a chronic illness:
1. We cannot judge our parenting skills based on other people’s expectations, and
2. We need to be honest with our children.
I know, number 1 is easier said than done, but it’s crucial. It doesn’t do us any good to beat ourselves up over what we can’t do. I’ve had to ignore my mother, who tells me I “just can’t be on the couch all day” when I’m home with my daughter. It’s easy for her to say that from 670 miles away, when she’s still has the energy at 64 to babysit my niece and nephew, but what can I do about it? Some days, it’s all I can do to provide basic meals for my family, and if I don’t rest in between I won’t even be able to do that. I have to focus on the basics, and anything beyond that is a bonus. Martha Beck, who’s now a life coach (you may have seen her on Oprah) and fibromyalgia advocate says she raised her children from a king-sized bed. Do what you can, and make sure they know they’re loved. That’s all any parent can do.
As for number 2, I think it’s important not to underestimate our children. Now 5 and almost 8, my kids can tell you a lot about anatomy because we’ve always explained as much to them as they could understand. They know I have limitations, they’ve seen what happens when I do too much, and they rarely seem upset when I say, “I can’t.” While just saying that makes me a little sad, I have to wonder if it’s not a good lesson, in a society where instant gratification is the norm.
How has your illness impacted your parenting? How has it effected your children? What has helped? Do other people give you guilt trips over what you can’t do? Leave your comments below!
Article source: Being a Parent With Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Living with Fibromyalgia (Overcoming Common Problems) by Christine Craggs-Hinton
The Fibromyalgia Handbook: A 7-Step Program to Halt and Even Reverse Fibromyalgia by Harris H. McIlwain and Debra Fulghum Bruce
Fibromyalgia for Dummies by Roland Staud MD and Christine Adamec
Fibromyalgia: Simple Relief Through Movement by Stacie L. Bigelow
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (The Facts) by Frankie Campling and Michael Sharpe
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for Dummies by Susan R. Lisman M.D. and Karla DoughertyJoyful Recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME by Sasha Allenby
In medical terminology, fibromyalgia is actually categorized as a syndrome, rather than a disease. A syndrome is a collection of common symptoms or characteristics that, when combined, constitute a disorder. Premenstrual syndrome is also defined in this way is it refers to the combination of symptoms (irritability, tension, headaches, bloating, gas, depression, fatigue, breast tenderness, and weight gain,) that affect some women prior to menstruation. The most common symptoms of Fibromyalgia syndrome include muscle pain, aches, stiffness, difficulty sleeping, and fatigue. Here’s a closer look at each of these symptoms, and the treatment methods you can use to alleviate them.
The pain from Fibromyalgia is both widespread and localized. This condition usually results in a general achiness and stiffness throughout the body. In addition, sufferers may feel pain at one or all of the “tender points” on the body. These “tender points” are designated sites on the body where tendon connects to bone. They are found in the areas of the shoulders, neck, back, arms, and buttocks. Many people have described the pain of Fibromyalgia to a “stabbing” pain that occurs all over the body. It can also be likened to the soreness and tenderness of the flu.
Treatment: Treating the pain of Fibromyalgia is a complex and lifelong journey. Talk with your health care provider about the diet, exercise, medications, and supplements that may work best in alleviating your pain.
Symptom: Sleep Disorders
The pain, stiffness, and aches of Fibromyalgia often make it difficult for sufferers to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. One recent study found that Fibromyalgia is associated with a period of restlessness that disrupts REM sleep and diminishes deep sleep. As many as seventy percent of Fibromyalgia sufferers also suffer from sleep disorders, leading to chronic fatigue and exhaustion.
Treatment: Be as consistent as possible about your nighttime routine. Try to go to sleep and wake at the same times each day and stay away from long daytime naps. Avoid any caffeine or stimulants that could affect your sleep. And talk with your health care provider about other treatment methods that may help your sleep disorders. We also recommend the product Fibro-Balance available at http://www.fibromyalgia-support.org
The fatigue that accompanies Fibromyalgia is pervasive and all encompassing. The sleep disorders that accompany the condition make it very difficult to obtain a restful night’s sleep. Many Fibromyalgia suffers have noted that they wake up in the morning more exhausted than when they went to bed. More than ninety percent of people who are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia are also suffering from chronic fatigue. This fatigue and exhaustion can also lead to other symptoms such as a decrease in sexual desires, and lack of interest in daily activities, and a general feeling of malaise.
Treatment: As with the treatment for sleep disorders, it’s important to be consistent with your nighttime routine, and limit daytime naps to one or two fifteen-minute naps. This may take a period of adjustment to get used to, but after a few days, it should help you sleep better at night and reduce your overall fatigue.
Symptom: Digestive Disorders
People who suffer from Fibromyalgia tend to reduce their activity levels in response to the pain. This in turn slows down the digestive system and could set the patient up for a roller coaster of constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion. One recent study found that thirty percent of Fibromyalgia sufferers also have trouble with digestive disorders.
Treatment: A healthy diet and exercise are the best medicine for digestive disorders. It can be difficult to keep moving and to eat healthy when the pain of Fibromyalgia sets in, but the benefits will far outweigh the pain in the long run.
• Tension or migraine headaches
Approximately fifty five percent of Fibromyalgia patients also report suffering from chronic tension or migraine headaches. These headaches can be a direct result of the pain and fatigue that also accompanies Fibromyalgia.
Treatment: Talk with you health care provider to determine the types of headaches you are experiencing and the best method for treating them. He or she may recommend dietary changes, medication, or nutritional supplements.
• Anxiety and depression
Anxiety, stress and depression go hand in hand with Fibromyalgia, but it can often be difficult to determine which illness is the cause and which is the result. Regardless, the pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, and general feelings of malaise that accompany fibromyalgia can often trigger feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. Many Fibromyalgia sufferers feel hopeless and helpless in their condition.
Treatment: Don’t try to go through this alone. Fibromyalgia can be a physically and emotional exhausting illness. Stay connected with family and friends that can help you work through the emotional burden of your condition. Also, locate a Fibromyalgia support group where you can meet other people that can empathize with your symptoms and offer guidance for your recovery.
Dr. Group recommends three products for Fibromyalgia relief; GHC’s, NOPAINE, the TERMINATOR II, and FIBRO-BALANCE, which are available through our Homepage or GHC Health.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, D.C., Ph.D. is an internationally recognized natural health and fibromyalgia expert and the President of Houston-based Global Healing Center. For more information on fibromyalgia treatment, visit The Fibromyalgia Treatment Center at http://www.fibromyalgia-support.org
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Fibromyalgia can affect every aspect of your life, including your relationships. It’s important to develop a strong network of support to help you cope with the physical, emotional, and mental symptoms of this condition. As part of this support group, you should seek out a Fibromyalgia network that can connect you with others who can empathize with your condition.
A Fibromyalgia network found at http://www.fibromyalgia-support.org can help improve your life in a number of ways:
1. Improves Your Quality of Life: Fibromyalgia can change or limit your physical and emotional life. It can be difficult to remember what life was like before you became a “Fibromyalgia sufferer.” Connecting with others who have been in your position can help you remember that there are many aspects of your life that are not affected by your condition. Your values, your character, your imagination, your generosity, and your creativity are just a few of the factors of your life that are not disabled by Fibromyalgia.
2. Uncover New Skills and Talents: People who suffer from Fibromyalgia tend to focus quite a bit on the skills, talents, and activities that they can no longer do. But a Fibromyalgia network can connect you with other people who have Fibromyalgia and still continue to try new activities and skills. Through you Fibromyalgia network you may discover new talents and skills that you never even knew you had.
3. Increase Self Esteem: Fibromyalgia can be a very debilitating condition, not just physically, but emotionally as well. It can be difficult to constantly rely on others for help with physical tasks. Many people who suffer from Fibromyalgia have low self-esteem as result. A strong Fibromyalgia network can help you put your problems in perspective. And through the network, you meet even meet other Fibromyalgia sufferers that need emotional support from you. There’s nothing better for your self-esteem than helping others in need.
4. Take Control: The pain and fatigue of Fibromyalgia can make you feel like you have completely lost control. It is so important for you to take control of some aspect of your life. And a Fibromyalgia network can help you accomplish this by putting you in touch with others who have been where you are. Whether you decide to run the church choir, or create a beautiful herb garden, you can share your success with those in your network.
5. Understand Your Symptoms: Fibromyalgia seems to affect so many aspects of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can be difficult to understand which symptoms are actually caused by your condition, and which ones are actually cause for concern. Symptoms of Fibromyalgia can sometimes mimic or mask the symptoms of other conditions. You should keep in close contact with your health care provider, to inform him or her about the status of your symptoms. But a Fibromyalgia network can also give you a better idea about which symptoms you should pay closer attention to.
6. Manage Your Time: It can be very difficult to manage day to day activities along with the pain and fatigue of Fibromyalgia. A good Fibromyalgia network can help you connect with others who have been in a similar situation and can offer tips, ideas, and suggestions for effectively prioritizing your tasks and accomplishing the necessary tasks.
7. Take Care of Yourself: Caring for your medical needs can seem like a full-time job. You need the support of a Fibromyalgia network to remind you to take care of yourself beyond your medical condition. What are the other interests or needs in your life? What do you want to do more or less of?
8. Evaluate Your Health Care Professional: Fibromyalgia can be subjective in its symptoms and its diagnosis. And it can be very difficult to find a health care provider who thoroughly understands your condition. Talking with others in your Fibromyalgia network can give you a better idea of quality of recommendations your health care provider is offering.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, D.C., Ph.D. is an internationally recognized weight loss and fibromyalgia expert and the President of Houston-based Global Healing Center. For more information on fibromyalgia treatment, visit The Fibromyalgia Treatment Center at http://www.fibromyalgia-support.org
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Fibromyalgia is a serious neurological condition that causes pain in the musculoskeletal system. People who suffer from fibromyalgia also feel pain in the tendons, ligaments and the areas of the joints. Another characteristic of fibromyalgia is a pronounced state of fatigue that takes over the entire body. The symptoms of fibromyalgia resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis and due to this fact, fibromyalgia may be misdiagnosed. However, unlike people with physical illnesses, the people with fibromyalgia seem to be in perfect health. Although the pain reported by people with fibromyalgia is present, it occurs on the premises of abnormal brain activity. People who suffer from fibromyalgia have a very sensitive nervous system and a low tolerance to external stimuli. Increased nervous excitability is considered to be the cause of the intense, recidivating pain experienced by people with fibromyalgia.
Statistics indicate that more than 3.7 million Americans are diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This is a disturbing fact, as modern medicine hasn’t yet discovered a specific cure for this type of neurological disorder. In fact, although scientists have established a connection between abnormal brain activity and the symptoms of fibromyalgia, the exact causes responsible for the development of the disorder remain unknown. In present, fibromyalgia treatments are solely focused on ameliorating its symptoms, instead of overcoming its causes. Although most fibromyalgia treatments can ease the muscular pain and discomfort characteristic to all people with the disorder, these symptoms seem to reoccur on a regular time bases. This is due to the fact that fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder and therefore it needs ongoing treatment.
Fibromyalgia treatments mostly consist of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs (used solely for their analgesic properties). However, apart from intense pain, many people with fibromyalgia complain about having trouble sleeping and feel a pronounced state of fatigue throughout the whole body. Therefore, in some particular cases, fibromyalgia treatments may include sedatives in order to correct the patients’ sleeping problems.
As a consequence of the fact that modern medicine is unable to trace the actual causes of the disorder, the symptoms of fibromyalgia can only be corrected by prescribing a certain treatment for each individual symptom. Therefore, the majority of fibromyalgia treatments consist of many types of medicines that target different aspects of the disorder.
Other physical symptoms of fibromyalgia are: migraines, lack of concentration, body weakness, decrease of the short-term memory, accelerated heart rate, nausea, abdominal pain and bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. When patients are confronted with these symptoms, the fibromyalgia treatment includes medicines appropriate for each particular problem. Fibromyalgia can even cause depression and in this case the fibromyalgia treatment will include anti-depressives.
The multitude of fibromyalgia symptoms requires a multitude of fibromyalgia treatments. Due to this fact, many people who follow ongoing medication either develop increased tolerance to drugs and need higher doses (especially in the case of analgesics and sedatives), or they start feeling even worse than before due to the side-effects of the fibromyalgia treatment.
However, there are other forms of fibromyalgia treatments that can relief the symptoms of the condition without relying on drugs. These fibromyalgia treatments involve kineto-therapy and massage therapy. By stimulating the trigger points on the body (the places where the pain is the most intense) and through the means of therapeutic massages, the muscular pain and fatigue can be diminished. Medical experts strongly recommend these forms of therapy instead of ongoing fibromyalgia treatments that involve drugs.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition causing pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints. Fibromyalgia is also characterized by restless sleep, awakening feeling tired, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and disturbances in bowel function. Fibromyalgia is not progressive,it is not life-threatening, but it is as yet incurable.
Fibromyalgia is not new, although awareness of it is now growing rapidly. Fibromyalgia is challenging to diagnose because the only physical findings are generalized pain and tenderness.
The name fibromyalgia, introduced by Muhammad Yunus MD and his colleagues in 1981, literally means pain in the muscles and tissue. No ethnic group seems any more likely to have fibromyalgia; however women develop it approximately 8 times more often than do men. While the medical community does not yet understand the pathology underlying fibromyalgia, more and more information about this condition is becoming known.
Medical researchers are now actively searching for the cause, mechanisms and best treatments for fibromyalgia and related conditions. To keep abreast of scientific studies on fibromyalgia, you can search and read the abstracts of articles on MEDLINEplus,the National Library of Medicine’s database of medical journal articles.
In 1990, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia entered the mainstream in the United States. These diagnostic criteria provide an important empirical basis to diagnose fibromyalgia. People affected by fibromyalgia may not realize they have tender points until someone familiar with the condition applies pressure to them. It has been the case that people with fibromyalgia see an average of five physicians before receiving the proper diagnosis, but as physicians become more familiar with the tender point exam, diagnoses are made more quickly.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia relies not only on tender points, but on a thorough medical history and appropriate lab tests to rule out alternative diagnoses. Until recently, however, the cluster of symptoms that comprise fibromyalgia, or fibrositis one of its former names, were largely considered psychogenic. This has been the case for fibromyalgia because it lacks a clear test to verify its existence, its sufferers “look fine,”and are predominantly female, a group less likely believed. This skepticism began to change in the late 1970s and early 1980s when more research became available about sleep abnormalities and reproducible tender spots in fibromyalgia.
Treatments for Fibromyalgia
The good news about fibromyalgia is that there does not seem to be any underlying pathology that worsens. Treatments therefore focus on alleviating symptoms of pain and sleeplessness. Treatment may include: Medicines to help you sleep better, relax muscles, or relieve muscle and joint pain. Treatments and self-care steps can improve fibromyalgia symptoms and your general health. Treatment may be different for each person.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term problem that causes pain in the muscles and soft tissues of your body. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome (a set of symptoms that occur together but do not have a known cause). Fibromyalgia is gaining respect in both the scientific and the lay community because of all the research that’s been conducted – first, showing that it’s a real disease, and second, showing that there are drugs that specifically work to treat fibromyalgia.
An article, suggesting that fibromyalgia is not real, has appeared in the New York Times recently, and has certainly opened a can of worms among the FM community. Instead of helping dispel the myth that those with fibromyalgia are crazy, lazy, or depressed, they have elected to focus on the minority of doctors who think fibromyalgia is not real.
I encourage you to write The New York Times and let them know that fibromyalgia is real and is only made worse by arrogant doctors who help perpetuate the idea that the syndrome is psychosomatic in nature. For instance fibromyalgia is recognized as a diagnosable disorder by the National Institutes of Health, the American Medical Association, the American College of Rheumatology and the Social Security Administration.
Whether you are a health professional or a person who has fibromyalgia, it is important to understand what fibromyalgia is and how it can be effectively managed.
Submitted by Richard H. Ealom Author of this article and the creator of “Free Articles On Diseases: How To Prevent and Cure Them” website. 93 Disease specific websites with extensive information on Alternative and Orthodox methods and products to increase your understanding of treatment and curing diseases. Please visit http://rainydrops.com/alternative-orthodox.php
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