Fibro Daily

FWOTW Simone (FibroModem)

Fibro Daily January 7, 2013

Fibro Warrior of the Week (#4)

Simone fibromodem

FWOTW: Simone (FibroModem)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Twitter: @Fibromodem
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FMawareness2012

Mantra: This cannot be ALL there is – it must get better than this!

Our fourth FWOTW is nothing short of a triple fibro threat! Simone (aka FibroModem) does more to give back to the fibro community than just about anyone. Between blogging, creating her cartoon, running her online fibro awareness store, and promoting her Visible Army campaign, she hardly has time for flare ups! Most of all, we love her ability to find humor in fibro, make us laugh, so maybe we can even forget about it for a minute. -FD


FD: Tell us a bit about yourself – Where were you born, where do you live now, family, interests, etc.

Simone: I was born and bred in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. I am single, live alone and I have Fibromyalgia. I was 40 before I had even heard about Fibromyalgia.

I used to work in hotels, on cruise ships and in casinos. Then I decided (at the age of 34) that this kind of work was not challenging enough so I spent 6 years working (in the ‘real’ world – Crown Casino) and studying (in ‘academia’) to get my law degree. About halfway through my studies, I had (what I call) a major breakdown.

I stopped working – I was broken. No getting out of bed. No getting in the shower. No getting dressed. I was depressed. I had depression. It took about 3 years to swim out of those murky waters (with lots of drugs acting as my life preserver!)

For some reason the only thing that kept me going was my studies. Maybe it was the opportunity to start a new life, to get away from shift-work, or to live within the mainstream – but whatever it was, my studies saved me (I was never suicidal. I always thought that it had to get better than THIS otherwise how did other people survive. My psychologist said I was a very positive depressed person!) and I made it through.

Finally, with the help of my family, drugs and counseling – graduation!

I was able to ‘practice’ law for one whole month before the debilitating purple wave took over my life – FIBROMYALGIA!

fibro modem butterfly

Unlike many, I have NOT learned to manage this condition (don’t talk to me about pacing! I have too much to do!) so I am not working and I spend a lot of time on my couch sharing my thoughts and attempts at a life with my new friends on Facebook, Twitter and my blog: fibromodem.wordpress.com.

I love trying and learning new things – I really believe that I can do anything! So I try everything (and there’s the reason we won’t talk about pacing!) I love my nieces and nephews (and their parents) beyond anything I could ever imagine. I love my Mommy – who is the best and most supportive mother (and person) in the entire world. And I love being able to link up with people all over the world to support each other.

FD: When did you first suspect that something wasn’t right? What happened?

Simone: In about 2007, about halfway through my (mature-age) studies, I had (what I call) a major breakdown.

I stopped working – I was broken. No getting out of bed. No getting in the shower. No getting dressed. I was depressed. I had depression. It took about 3 years to swim out of those murky waters (with lots of drugs acting as my life preserver).

For some reason the only thing that kept me going was my studies. Maybe it was the opportunity to start a new life, to get away from shift-work, or to live within the mainstream – but whatever it was, my studies saved me (I was never suicidal. I always thought that it had to get better than THIS otherwise how did other people survive. My psychologist said I was a very positive depressed person!) and I made it through.

With the help of my family, drugs and counseling – graduation! But I never got back to full throttle.

I was only able to ‘practice’ law for one whole month before the debilitating purple wave took over my life – FIBROMYALGIA! I believe that the depressive episode was the beginning of my fibro onset.

FD: When were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?

Simone: November 2011.

FD: When you received your diagnosis, how did it affect you?

Simone: At the time, I let out a big sigh of relief – I finally had a diagnosis: I wasn’t crazy; but, little did I know that a diagnosis wasn’t going to lead to an immediate, successful treatment.

FD: Since then, how has your outlook on life changed?

Simone: I still believe that ‘it has to get better than this’ so I have not returned to my depression at all (knock on wood!). There just MUST be something out there in the whole wide world that can help – we just have to find it.

The part of fibro that I have appreciated is the time it has forced upon me: time to walk up the street and meet all the local shopkeepers, time to spend time with my nieces and nephews, time to try lots of new things.

FD: How does Fibro affect your day to day life?

Simone: I wake up – it feels like my body has melted into my mattress, so it is with great difficulty that I drag myself up and out of bed. Sometime during the night, the bones in my feet broke while I was sleeping (yes! that’s the only description I have for how my feet feel while I try to get them moving in the morning). And up. Head spinning. Need to wrench open door with two hands as power has not been fully restored to my wrists. Guess what? The bones in my hands (what’s the area between your wrists and your fingers called?) were in the same tragic accident as my feet.

fibro modem butterfly

Slowly, I move towards the kitchen for my medication, then to the couch – for about 2 hours – until my body catches up to the waking up process.

I no longer work as I cannot offer any reliability to an employer or clients but I have kept myself busy with my Facebook page, blog, Fibromyalgia Awareness Shop and Twitter. I have a continuing awareness project called the VISIBLE Army for all sufferers and supporters.

FD: What can’t you do anymore because of Fibro?

Simone: No more playing squash with my father; no more working; no more all day shopping trips; and, limited driving.

FD: Name something you do now that you never would have imagined happening before your diagnosis.

Simone: Lots and lots of things: many of us think we’re stuck – nothing is going to change, this is it, this is my life! But why? There are still so many things we can do – and, for those of us stuck at home, perhaps an opportunity to try something new.

Since being diagnosed, I have:

  • Attended my first burlesque performance
  • Attended my first hydrotherapy class
  • Started my first Facebook page
  • Attended my first Bowen therapy treatment
  • Went to the Doggy beach for the first time
  • Wrote my first Blog post
  • Made my first video
  • Opened my first Fibro awareness store
  • Attended my first Pilates session
  • Attended my first Yoga session
  • Attended my first Tai Chi class
  • Had my 2 year old nephew sleep over for the first time
  • Produced my first cartoon character (FibroModem Girl)
  • Published my first E-mag – LIVING WELL with FIBROMYALGIA
  • Attended my first Shaitsu treatment
  • Attended my first reflexology session

FD: What has been your experience with seeking medical treatment for Fibro?

Simone: The medical professionals, who I have seen, have been very helpful for diagnosis but are too ready to give up – the number of times I have heard ‘that’s all I can do for you’ can lead to depression! We NEED a young, motivated doctor – some-one who is still positive and wants to be the best! some-one who wants to discover new things, who wants to be published, who is willing to experiment with new things! It seems that the older the doctor, the more jaded he has become! We need a few “CHANGE THE WORLD” kind of doctors!

FD: How has Fibro affected your relationships, friends, family, partners?

Simone: I have become even closer to my Mommy AND I have been lucky enough to re-discover a friendship that means the world to me. BUT other than those two relationships, everyone else has disappeared – sad but true.

FD: What is the biggest challenge you face living with fibro?

Simone: Loneliness.

FD: What inspires you to keep on fighting?

Simone: Actually I don’t know – perhaps it is the nagging thought that ‘it has to get better than this!’

FD: What advice do you have for other people who are living with Fibro?

Simone: Put an end to family secrets. Don’t try to protect your friends and family from bad news – communicate directly and openly with family members.

Include your children – even though their understanding of the illness may be limited, children appreciate being told what’s going on around them. Otherwise, children may believe that they are the cause of the serious illness or other events around them. Be open and honest with them, and allow them to ask questions.

fibro modem butterfly

Be selective about who you talk to about the illness. Choose carefully those with whom you’d like to share information about this illness. What matters is that sharing the information about the illness will provide a stronger sense of support and strength.

Be clear about how friends and family can help you. People love to feel useful, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Be your own advocate. It’s so hard to learn to speak up about your condition. It’s hard to talk about it sometimes. And it’s really hard to ask for special treatment if you’re not that kind of person. But be brave, and learn to ask for help when you need it.

Find a support group. Go to it. Take a family member or friend if you’re scared. It’s okay to be scared.

FD: Do you have a funny Fibro story you can share?

Simone: I find most things funny (mostly in a sad way) so I started a comic called FibroModem Girl – if you can’t laugh, you will only cry!

fibromodem girl - loved ones

fibromodem girl - insurance

fibromodem girl - invisible illness

fibromodem girl - yoga pain

Need to laugh? See more FibroModem Girl.


Follow Simone on Twitter: @Fibromodem
Like Simone on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FMawareness2012

Check out FibroModem online:
FibroModem Blog
Fibromyalgia Awareness Shop
FibroModem Girl


Want to suggest someone you know to be the next FWOTW? Send us an email at fibrodaily@gmail.com or direct message us on Twitter at @FibroDaily.


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