Location: Perryville, Missouri, USA
Mantra: I think I can, I think I can…
Fibro Warrior of the Week #64 is Tracey Julian, who comes from a family that has a lot of experience with Fibromyalgia. Like so many Fibromyalgia patients, she’s always been the kind of person who works hard and pushes to get what needs to be done done. Furthermore, she tries to avoid giving the neighbors a pigeon’s eye view…
FD: : Tell us a bit about yourself – Where were you born, where do you live now, family, interests, etc.
Tracey: I was born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. I now live in Perryville, Missouri with my husband. We are recently new empty-nesters. My youngest left for college on August 21st. I’ve been married for twenty-three years and have two human children, three furbabies, one of which has recently crossed the rainbow bridge. I work full time as a ward clerk in a small county hospital, straight nights after working two years of swing shift. I commute about thirty minutes one way. I enjoy hanging out with my family, and reading.
FD: When did you first suspect that something wasn’t right? What happened?
Tracey: I’d been experiencing pain for some time, but I’d just sucked it up and pushed through. One day after an incredibly crazy day shift, I could barely move by the time I got home. I took some Tylenol and went to bed. The next day I work up and everything hurt except for my hair, and that’s probaly because I hadn’t brushed it yet. I called the doctor and got in that day. He did the touch test and diagnosed me with Fibro. He immediately prescribed me some pain meds and sent me to a rheumatologist.
FD: When were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
Tracey: November, 2013.
FD: When you received your diagnosis, how did it affect you?
Tracey: It was relief…because something was wrong with me. It wasn’t all in my head.
FD: Since then, how has your outlook on life changed?
Tracey: I’ve learned I have limits, that when my body needs to rest I have to listen or pay for it later.
FD: How does Fibro affect your day-to-day life?
Tracey: I have to listen to my body. I can’t go 100 mph in a 100 different directions anymore.
FD: What can’t you do anymore because of Fibro?
Tracey: Crochet. It kills my hands and the Fibro Fog messes with my ability to focus and count stitches.
FD: Name something you do now that you never would have imagined happening before your diagnosis.
Tracey: Not pushing thru the pain. I now have to stop and rest. I have to admit there are just some things I can’t do.
FD: : What has been your experience with seeking medical treatment for Fibro?
Tracey: Really great! I’m lucky to have gotten a diagnosis so quickly. I’ve read horror stories of others going years and years without a diagnosis, doctors putting patients off telling them to deal with it. I’m lucky my GP is awesome.
FD: How has Fibro affected your relationships, friends, family, partners?
Tracey: My little sister was diagnosed with Fibro first, about six months before I was. My sister-in-law was diagnosed years ago. So my family and in-laws understand. My husband is amazing and supportive. When I’m feeling horrible, he takes care of me. My children are compassionate and know I feel, bad but I don’t think they understand what I go thru on a daily, hourly basis. My friends and work family are awesome as well. I have a co-worker that also has Fibro and we watch out for each other.
FD: What is the biggest challenge you face living with Fibro?
Tracey: Getting up and going to work when I’m flaring. Putting on a happy face, when my body is screaming, “I hate you!”, and smiling while trying to hold the tears back.
FD: What inspires you to keep on fighting?
Tracey: My family.
FD: What advice do you have for other people who are living with Fibro?
Tracey: Don’t be afraid to say no. Listen to your body. Keep pushing if your doctor won’t listen to you.
FD: Sometimes humor provides relief when dealing with chronic illness. Do you have a funny Fibro story you can share?
Tracey: I have recently discovered yoga helps a lot with pain. One night, I was home alone and was doing some yoga. I got into pigeon pose, my hip locked, and I stuck. I could hear neighbors outside. The door was unlocked, and I was pretty sure I could yell loud enough that they would hear me. What stopped me was I was wearing shorts and a sports bra. I slowly started to rock myself from side to side, and I fell over. Luckily my husband came home a few minutes later and helped me unfold. Pigeon pose is one leg extended straight behind you, and the other bent underneath you, and you lay your torso down. My straight leg was the one that locked.
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