Fibro Warrior of the Week (#68)
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Mantra: Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming. —Myrna Loy
Kimberly A. Gaines has faced many medical battles in her life, which makes her the perfect choice for FWOTW #68. She focuses hard on making her life enjoyable, and not being consumed by illness. Just don’t hug her too hard; she might call the police on you…
FD: : Tell us a bit about yourself – Where were you born, where do you live now, family, interests, etc.
Kimberly: I was born and raised in the ‘burbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve lived outside the state a few times, in Tennessee, but always end up back here.
FD: When did you first suspect that something wasn’t right? What happened?
Kimberly: In my early 20’s, I started noticing a painful stiffness that seemed to start in my joints, and made it painful to move or even be touched. I tried to be dismissive about it at the time, but it got to the point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore.
FD: When were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
Kimberly: I was diagnosed when I was 22, and I’m 40 now.
FD: When you received your diagnosis, how did it affect you?
Kimberly: I had never even heard of the disease before. At the time, so many doctors thought it was “in your head”, and were very dismissive of it. I got lucky and had a doctor who realized what was going on and acted quickly.
FD: Since then, how has your outlook on life changed?
Kimberly: In the years since, it’s been a whirlwind, to say the least. I’ve battled cancer more than once, and one of the many effects of the treatment has caused damage to the nerves in my body. It’s almost a running joke know when I’m asked “Are you in pain?” because I can’t remember a day when I haven’t been. But, you have to look at things one way when you get handed a crappy card. You can sit in a corner and say, “Why me?” or think, “You have picked the wrong person.” I try to focus on the latter.
FD: How does Fibro affect your day-to-day life?
Kimberly: I try not to let it. It was one thing having Fibro, but when cancer came in, the warrior in me really came to light. I will get up and move, even if it’s slow…my family is great about it because they know I will do all I can to participate. They just know that I will probably be moving a little slower than the rest of ‘em.
FD: What can’t you do anymore because of Fibro?
Kimberly: The first thing that comes to mind is run. I can’t run, I can’t bend over, or do a lot with my hands.
FD: Name something you do now that you never would have imagined happening before your diagnosis.
Kimberly: Wear a wedding ring. This all started before I met my husband, and I thought with Fibro plus post chemo issues, I was doomed to be alone. He knows all of it and is still right there with me, being my biggest cheerleader.
FD: : What has been your experience with seeking medical treatment for Fibro?
Kimberly: In the beginning, it was shocking how little info there was. The only treatment that there was then that was showing any promise was to put people on anti-depressants. It seems like now I have more issues with my insurance company paying for treatment then having a doctor understand it.
FD: How has Fibro affected your relationships, friends, family, partners?
Kimberly: I have been very lucky. Sometimes my husband can be a bit over protective, but it’s because he doesn’t want to see me in extreme pain. My nieces and nephews, and now their significant others, are all so very understanding and cooperative.
FD: What is the biggest challenge you face living with Fibro?
Kimberly: The first thing that comes to mind is the days that it’s really, really bad and I can’t deal with a simple hug or touch. It crushes my soul.
FD: What inspires you to keep on fighting?
Kimberly: Fibro, then cancer, and all that has come my way will not claim me. When the lights dim on the show that’s my life, and I take my last breath, it will be with the comfort of knowing I did everything possible to experience life and all it has. I don’t want to just exist.
FD: What advice do you have for other people who are living with Fibro?
Kimberly: Don’t let yourself be claimed by this. Don’t let it define who you are.
FD: Sometimes humor provides relief when dealing with chronic illness. Do you have a funny Fibro story you can share?
Kimberly: Hmm…probably has to be when a former coworker saw me out once..had no idea, obviously, of my medical situation, and ran up and gave me a massive bear hug. (I swear my lungs squeezed.) I cried out in sheer pain. While I was trying to recompose myself, the police showed up. Quiet a site. He knows now so when he walks up to me he’ll ask first, “All good?”
Follow Kimberly on Twitter: @greetings4u”
Powered by Facebook Comments