Reprinted with the kind permission of Lynn Lennon and Fibromyalgia-Fitness.com
“It took a few years for my fibromyalgia diagnosis. I was in constant pain and suffered from a horrendous sleep disorder. Since I had dealt with a lot of my stress by eating tons of sugar, I gained a lot of weight.
I was put on a host of medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Morphine…
I was later told by a well-known doctor that anyone having a predisposition to depression should never take synthetic pain medication. My weight had gone up to 220 pounds and I was a size 20. I was miserable; everywhere I went I remember sweating, even in the winter time. One defining moment in my life came when my doctor told me he wanted me to become a “jock,” an athlete. I was truly offended; he had been my doctor for five years and he knew that I could barely walk. I used a cane and I had a handicapped placard for my car. In August 2007, I was in blinding pain for four days. I couldn't take it anymore. But I soon realized I had my two boys to look after. I did not have the luxury of dying.
That's when I came up with “every choice equals the best choice!” Making different choices should equal different outcomes.
I started with baby steps, just making small positive steps one at a time. Sleeping, hydration, exercising, vitamins, flossing my teeth. Anything and everything I could do positive in a day – I did it.
I felt as if I had become "comfortable being sick." I had to stop identifying myself as being sick. I had to change the things I attached pleasure to.
I lost 40 pounds the first year and stopped using my cane. I became motivated by feeling so much better so quickly that I started walking for 10 minutes a day. Then walking on a treadmill, then walking on a treadmill with an incline, then walking holding weights.
I quickly learned how to do things by actually doing them. Can't simply means won't. Fibromyalgia sufferers must be willing to take millions of little baby steps. You will be encouraged by your own progress.
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Your choice should always be the best choice. From what you put in your body to exercising everyday.
When I was in pain I would use excuses like, “I’m in so much pain, I deserve to eat this cookie or that dessert.” Now I find pleasure in riding a bike down hill at 35 miles per hour. You must change what you attach pleasure to.
After I reached a certain amount of fitness, I made it my goal to compete in a triathlon. Unlike a marathon where you only run, a triathlon is running, biking, and swimming. I have competed in two of them.
I no longer have fibromyalgia; I don't take any medication and have zero pain.
My advice is that you decide who you want to be. Do you want to be medically dependent on narcotics or do you want to be healthy?
I am a nurse and can tell you firsthand that Western medicine is terrible. Your doctors will tell you that you need more medicine, that there is no hope, that you only need light exercise. It's a business and they are in the business of making money off of your illness. Don't become one with fibromyalgia. Shift your identity to something more powerful! It can be done – I am proof!”
Lynn Lennon, RN and Triathlete.
Lynn Lennon, RN, is a 44-year-old fine artist, photographer, Olympic-distance triathlete, registered nurse and neurofeedback practitioner. Her incredible passion and dedication to total health began with her personal recovery utilizing a natural, holistic, multi-modal recovery program to end a debilitating seven-year bout with chronic pain. To find out more about her current role in holistic neuro-rehab see http://www.richmondchironeuro.com/about/
Eric Suarez is a certified fitness trainer who has always loved helping others get in the best shape of their lives. In 2009, after becoming fed up with the lack of fitness advice out there for his clients who suffered from fibromyalgia, he created Fibromyalgia-Fitness.com, a free exercise and diet website for clients and others suffering from fibromyalgia. He has created two fibromyalgia exercise programs: Fibromyalgia Fitness: 12 Weeks to a Healthier You! and Fibromyalgia Fitness: How A Little Exercise Can Make a BIG Difference, which can be downloaded from his website or Amazon.com.