Blog, Chronic illness, Fibromyalgia, Florence Nightingale, Invisible illness, Nursing

Discovering Florence…

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Sometimes it’s easier to focus on others to put your own problems into perspective.

You may of read about Florence Nightingale as a student, but you may not be aware of her link to fibromyalgia or indeed Florence, Italy.

She was an inspiring person who despite illness and injury, lived an exceptional life.

Florence was quoted as saying

There is no part of my life, upon which I can look back without pain”

Florence was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy, after which she was named. She was the youngest of two children.

Florence was born into a wealthy family and was expected to get married and have a children. Florence rebelled against this stereotype. She had always helped to care for sick people and started working as a nurse.

Florence was sent to nurse injured soldiers during the Crimean War. She proved to be a very dedicated nurse; visiting the injured every evening on a regular basis which started the phrase ‘the Lady with the Lamp’.

Because of her influence in nursing practices unsanitary areas were improved which increased the survival rate of patients.

Florence wrote about her nursing techniques from experience, which formed the basics for standards in nursing care adopted for the profession.

During 1860 St Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale School for Nursing was opened.

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Florence and fibromyalgia

Florence suffered from an invisible illness after she returned from nursing solders in the Crimea War.

Her symptoms are reminiscent of fibromyalgia; which was not a recognised condition at the time. Florence spent prolonged periods in bed, due to her illness. This was probably triggered by excessive stress carrying out her duties nursing in terrible conditions.

In recent years soldiers from the Gulf  War have gone on to develop fibromyalgia after they returned from war. The unbearable stress they were exposed to at that time triggering fibromyalgia.

Florence died on August 13, 1910; she received the Order of Merit in 1907 for her contribution to modern nursing practices. Florence was an amazing woman who cared for others and put others health before her own.

Blog, Chronic illness, Diet, Exercise, Fibromyalgia, Invisible illness, Meditation

It’s #Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

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Fibromyalgia affects around 1 in 20 people. Although most people have no idea what fibromyalgia is; let alone what it’s like to live with.

So, here’s a brief guide for anyone who doesn’t know anything about fibromyalgia.

What is fibromyalgia?

Its a long term chronic health condition characterised by pain. The pain ranges in severity on a daily basis from mild symptoms to severe pain in changing areas of the body.

The main symptoms are:

Pain throughout the whole body 

Joints and muscles feel stiff

Quality of sleep can be poor

Feeling tired and fatigued 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Extreme Sensitivity 

Cognitive problems, feeling confused, or dazed, sometimes called Fibro fog

Headaches

Depression 

Anxiety 

Painful periods in women 

The symptoms can vary from person to person.

Symptoms can get better or worse from time to time.

Factors that influence this are:

  • the amount of stress you are experiencing 
  • how much daily exercise you have
  • and changes in climate and temperature 

Further information is available on the NHS website.              

If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, consult your doctor or health professional. They will run a variety of tests to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

There’s no cure….Yes you did read that correctly; there’s no cure, but…

I’ve lived with fibromyalgia for 15 years and found some times are really tough.

The single most upsetting factor for me has been other people’s perception of ‘living with fibromyalgia’. They almost always get it wrong. So, if you meet someone who has fibromyalgia, tread carefully. Don’t jump to conclusions about how they feel. Listen to them. After all they are living with it on a daily basis.

The positives are my symptoms are still there, but have improved greatly since I was first diagnosed.

I have been able to boost my general health through diet, exercise  and meditation .

This is a short post about symptoms, living with fibromyalgia is another story…

If you would like to read more about what helped me, follow my blog and have a look at my Fibromyalgia Self Help Pages.

Blog, Books, Chronic illness, Coronavirus, Crafts, Fibromyalgia, Flowers, Gardens, Invisible illness, Writing

Is it possible to stay positive and motivated?

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It’s difficult enough at the moment with Covid19, but when you have a long term condition like fibromyalgia it’s added stress. Especially if you suffer from constant pain on a daily basis.

My most FAQ as a fibromyalgia sufferer is….

‘Why am I in pain again and what will make me feel better?’

In truth there’s no quick fix. It’s going to vary quite a bit from person to person, what can help. How much pain I’m in has a huge impact on this.

“Personally I have found any form of distraction helps.” 

When my pain is very bad watching a film or tv program helps. Even though it is only for an hour or so; if I can be pain free just for an hour it’s really helpful. 

Listening to your favourite music, talking to friends or family via the phone, looking at photos and reading a gripping novel are all ways to distract the mind.

“Another way I motivate myself, particularly at the moment is to set myself small achievable challenges or goals.”

I recently set myself the challenge of growing my own plants from seed this year. I was lucky to be able to buy some seeds and compost, and get them delivered. After sorting out some old plant pots; I filled them with compost and sowed the seed. When my seeds germinated, I was able to watch them grow into mini plants. In a few weeks time, my carer will plant them in the garden.

It’s a great feeling to watch something you have sown yourself growing into a beautiful plant”

My carer set himself the challenge of cooking an authentic Italian meal with ingredients from a restaurant that had closed in the lockdown.  The result is a delicious meal.

“It could be time to try out a new hobby or something you have always wanted to but have never taken the time.”

I enjoy being creative, spending an hour working on making a simple greetings card or learning to paint using a new technique. Being absorbed by a hobby for me really lifts my spirits. Working on a project and seeing it through to completion is really exciting for me.

Even writing my blog is a great way to help put things into perspective sometimes. I’ve written a few emails and letters to friends recently and found it gets me thinking, and distracting the thought process.

Do you have any ideas on how to feel better you could share?