Fibro Warrior of the Week (#8)
FWOTW: Rona Berry-Morin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Mantra: Live your life, the best that you can.
We’re excited to bring you a very candid, personal interview with our 8th FWOTW, Rona Berry-Morin. She generously shared her story with us, how she came through bad times to better times, found a way to help herself heal, and won the battle against the purple monster… meaning, she’s here with us today! Without further ado, we’d like to introduce a truly courageous Fibro Warrior, our girl Rona! -FD
FD: Tell us a bit about yourself – Where were you born, where do you live now, family, interests, etc.
Rona: I was born in on Dover AFB, DE, grew up as an Air Force brat, met my husband in Portland, Maine, moved to San Diego, and now live in Las Vegas. We have 1 son, who’s attending college. I’ve been a homemaker since 2011 when my pain conditions caused me to resign from my work at home job. These days I keep busy with reading, blogging, and managing my chronic pain.
FD: When did you first suspect that something wasn’t right? What happened?
Rona: After a car accident, in 2001, I began to experience lower back pain. Then I suffered a work related injury in 2003, which caused me additional chronic pain conditions.
FD: When were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
Rona: In 2007, I was assigned a new pain management specialist. He asked me if anyone had ever mentioned Fibromyalgia to me. I said no. His response, “You have Fibro”.
FD: When you received your diagnosis, how did it affect you?
Rona: Initially, I was very angry but then I realized nothing was going to change. I was already on several medications at the time so my doctors weren’t going to change my treatment plan.
FD: Since then, how has your outlook on life changed?
Rona: Great question! It’s been a fantastic rollercoaster ride. 2010 I attempted suicide and was committed. That’s where I was diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder. 2011 I finally came to terms with my opioid addiction and got off of all my meds. I decided that I was going to stop ignoring my body’s signals, resigned from my job, changed my diet, and began to seek alternative treatments for dealing with my chronic pain.
FD: How does Fibro affect your day-to-day life?
Rona: Well, everyday tasks are approached and done in pain. For example, washing the dishes can take me a 1 hour because I have to take multiple breaks because of the pain from standing, hand pain, etc. Now that I’m in my 50’s, I’ve noticed I tire more quickly so I need to rest more. And don’t get me started on trying to tackle complicated tasks! Ugh!
FD: What can’t you do anymore because of Fibro?
Rona: I am unable to work because I can’t sit for any length of time. I can’t sleep because I unable to get into a comfortable position in bed. Because I am in constant pain, I expend most of my mental energy dealing with that, therefore by the middle of the day I find it hard to concentrate, focus or multi-task. I can’t walk for any distance, I can’t reach for high placed objects, I can’t lift anything over three pounds so chores like hauling laundry is done by either my son on husband.
FD: Name something you do now that you never would have imagined happening before your diagnosis.
Rona: I actually took up swimming during this year. I find a Zen moment because I can float and get in some low impact aerobic exercise during that time. I also have tried yoga but I have to be very careful, because if I manage to strain anything I can be bed ridden for a few days afterwards.
FD: What has been your experience with seeking medical treatment for Fibro?
Rona: Very disappointing. In dealing with my pain issues I quickly discovered that traditional medicine has little answers or any effective treatment. The many doctors that I went to either want to perform surgery or prescribe pain meds, neither of which they can give a guarantee that it would be effective even in the short term. Yet traditional doctors are much closed minded on trying any alternative pain management methods. In short, modern medicine has few answers or any long term hope. The best thing for a pain sufferer can do is to conduct his own research and be open minded on different methods.
FD: How has Fibro affected your relationships, friends, family, partners?
Rona: Yes, it has been hard on everyone. There are different rules in relationships between pain suffers and other people. Family members have to be aware of your limitations and they must make adjustments accordingly. As for friends and others, they find it hard to relate to you because pain is invisible. Try as they might, friends and others can’t understand on why you can’t participate in various activities because of your pain issues not being able to join in is a bummer.
FD: What is the biggest challenge you face living with fibro?
Rona: Trying to live some sort of “normal” live. All the things that able bodied peoples take for granted, walking, sitting, sleeping, playing, resting, all the things that non-pain suffers really don’t think about during the course of the day is a constant concern for not only the pain sufferer but the loved ones surrounding her. It makes for a whole different way of living life.
FD: What inspires you to keep on fighting?
Rona: My family is what is my strength during this time. Plus the fact that despite my condition, I love to live life. In refuse to give us to this condition. I know that carving out a life for me involves a drastic change in the day to day operations, but when there is a will there is a way. And dealing with chronic pain requires a lot of will.
FD: What advice do you have for other people who are living with Fibro?
Rona: Constantly research on what can be done with dealing with your pain issue. Is opening minded on the various alternative methods in dealing with YOUR particular pain issue? There is no such thing as a cookie cutter method for dealing with pain. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. In this I mean keep your family informed on what you are dealing with and maintain an open dialogue on what you require as so far as helping you cope. Keep your doctor informed on what you want to try when comes to handling your pain issue. And remember that there are people that care and love you and will support you during this crisis, let them help.
FD: Do you have a funny Fibro story you can share?
Rona: I have none. In dealing with this medical issue, I have run the gambit in both physical and mental hardship, plus the fact that I know that there is really no end in sight. I find it hard to remember anything funny about it.
FD: In this video Rona talks about her new Aloe Vera treatment regimen, her past experiences with opiate addiction, and why Huff Post Live is a great place to hang out.
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