Editor's Note: ProHealth is pleased to welcome Sue Ingebretson* as a regular feature writer for our fibromyalgia community. Sue is a certified holistic health care practitioner and the author of FibroWHYalgia, an Amazon best-seller that chronicles her own personal journey from chronic illness to chronic wellness. Here, Sue shares how her journey began.
I never set out to write an Amazon best-seller. In fact, I never set out to do anything other than save myself a little bit of time.
What am I talking about?
Let me go back to the beginning. Many years ago, I was sick. Not just a little sick, very sick. My list of symptoms kept piling up. Ultimately, they accumulated into a murky jumble of unrelated signs.
I suspect you know the drill. I saw dozens of doctors. I had dozens of tests. I took dozens of pharmaceuticals. I looked for answers, but only found more questions. What was the cause of my crippling chest pain? Why did I always feel fatigued no matter how much I did or didn’t sleep? Why did my bones, muscles, and joints scream out in pain with every move?
While the diagnosis of fibromyalgia may seem obvious now, it certainly wasn’t then. No one had heard of it. No doctors, health practitioners, or authorities that I sought out, ever mentioned it to me. I tripped over the term myself while doing my own research. After reading the definition … I hoped I was wrong.
My journey to uncover a name for my condition was so difficult that once it was confirmed, I thought I’d done my job. I thought I was at the finish line. Instead, I realized I was only at the starter’s gate for another race.
I’d figured out what was wrong – but then I had to figure out what to do about it.
It took a lot of research, trial and error, tenacity, and patience, but I did manage to heal my symptoms. I’m not 100% better, but I’m very grateful to live about 95% pain free every day. My symptoms ebbed away as I began the process of rebuilding my body.
I guess it’s no surprise, that when I got well, people noticed. They’d seen me disabled enough to require a cane to walk. Seeing me sprinting home from the gym was quite a change. When people see change – they want to know how it happened. They also want to know if it can happen for them.
I was asked to speak at local women’s events, hospitals, and support groups. Because I was so passionate to share the good news of health and healing, I wanted to go beyond scratching the surface. I wanted to dive deeper into more information than I could share in a brief 30 minute lecture. I also wanted to stop repeating myself at every event. I was so worried about forgetting something important!
That’s when I started writing FibroWHYalgia. I filled the pages of my notebooks with details of my personal healing story. I wrote about implementing lifestyle changes that transformed my life from chronic illness to chronic wellness. Here’s the bottom line of what I learned:
When you discover the WHY’S of becoming sick, you’re better able to tackle the HOW’S of becoming well.
At this point in time, my book has been a #1 Amazon chronic illness best-seller. I believe this demonstrates the hunger of the fibromyalgia (and chronic illness communities) for information that’s encouraging, supportive, educational, and even a little humorous. I continue my own healing journey as well as help others to personalize and map out their own paths.
I was tickled pink when ProHealth’s Rich Carson recently responded to one of my social media posts. You see, I’ve been a big fan of Rich’s story for more than a decade. In fact, reading about his health journey online all those years ago gave me the precise emotional support I needed at the time. It was wonderful to feel that someone else (like me!) was dealing with the same health concerns and successes.
It’s therefore an honor to now be a part of the ProHealth community. I’ve been invited to share regular feature articles on a wide variety of health-related subjects. And, isn’t that what a supportive community is all about? Communicating shared experiences is a great way to express like-minded goals and plans!
In the months ahead, look for articles that dig deeper into subjects such as nutrition, digestive health, fitness regimens, stress-relief, emotional wellness, relationship issues, and much more. My next article will dig deeper into the applicable subject of nutritional supplements – why I credit them in large part for my healing success and why I continue to use them.
I extend the invitation to join me in learning more about my healing journey and I look forward to learning more about yours.
* Sue Ingebretson (www.RebuildingWellness.com) is an author, speaker, certified holistic health care practitioner and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. She is also a Patient Advocate and the Fibromyalgia Expert for the Alliance Health community of health conditions website.
Her book, FibroWHYalgia, details her own journey from chronic illness to chronic wellness. She is also the creator of the FibroFrog™ - a therapeutic stress-relieving tool which provides powerful healing benefits with fun and whimsy.