Fibro Warrior of the Week (#41)
Location: New Britain, CT USA
Mantra: It will keep because there’s always tomorrow.
Our 41st Fibro Warrior of the Week commands national recognition as a blogger and author. Kimberley Linstruth Beckom also offers some of the most fun and invigorating advice about reinventing yourself in the face of Fibro that we’ve heard! All you need is a great retirement plan…
FD: : Tell us a bit about yourself – Where were you born, where do you live now, family, interests, etc.
Kimberely: I’ve lived in New England all of my life. I’ve moved around a bit in Connecticut, but I’ve made this state my home for a little under forty years. I happen to have been born in the same city that I live in now so I guess I’ve come full-circle so to speak. We moved back to help care for my ninety-three year old Grandmother and my seventy year old Mom with Alzheimer’s. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters ages five and thirteen, as well as a ton of furry and finned friends. Sport is my three year old Cocker Spaniel, Onyx is my one year old kitten, Goldie and Pinkie are our two year old tropical fish, and Peanut and Pumpkin are our six month old hamsters. I have many interests and some include gardening, yoga, and writing.
FD: When did you first suspect that something wasn’t right? What happened?
Kimberley: I was sitting on the floor one day chatting away on the phone and when I tried to get up I couldn’t because I had lost all feeling in my body from the waist down. This sensation lasted for about twenty minutes. I then scheduled an appointment with a rheumotolgist.
FD: When were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
Kimberley: October of 2005 was my official diagnosis. I had seen many doctors prior to that for various symptoms like migraines, fatigue, pain, and anxiety, but those symptoms were never linked to Fibromyalgia until 2005.
FD: When you received your diagnosis, how did it affect you?
Kimberley: I was actually relieved. Prior to seeing my doctor, I had gone on the internet to see what diseases I could have. I thought I could have MS or RA and those scared me because I had heard that those could cause death if left untreated. I had already had my first child who was three at the time, and the thought of leaving her motherless scared me to no end. Getting the diagnoses of Fibro made me feel much more at ease. I knew it would be a challenge to feel better, but I honestly felt I could handle Fibromyalgia much easier than any other disease at the time.
FD: Since then, how has your outlook on life changed?
Kimberley: It hasn’t changed much at all. I’m still relieved. I must admit that at times my limitations are annoying, especially when I want to open a jar of pickles, but I still feel relieved
FD: How does Fibro affect your day-to-day life?
Kimberley Stress is a major factor for my flares. I had to retire from my Retail Management Career at the age of thirty-two because the stress of the long hours, pressure to have things done/sold in a timely manner, and the constant hours on my feet, put too much pressure on me where I had zero energy at the end of the day. I’m now a stay-at-home mom and am a caregiver to my grandmother and mother. I also write. These jobs are a lot less stressful for me because they allow the breaks I need during the day to either sit or take a nap.
FD: What can’t you do anymore because of Fibro?
Kimberley: Heavy lifting, walking fifteen miles a day, standing/sitting for extended periods of time, landscaping, sewing, and dancing. I can still pretty much do everything else, but it takes me longer to complete it.
FD: Name something you do now that you never would have imagined happening before your diagnosis.
Kimberley: Being a nationally recognized blogger and a published author.
FD: : What has been your experience with seeking medical treatment for Fibro?
Kimberley: Some doctors are wonderful. They have a great bed-side manner, can sympathize with your pain, and are really willing to help you as a patient. Others live by their prescription pad, and there are still some that don’t believe that Fibromyalgia exists. Before I got a good medical team in place, I kind of treated my doctors like I would a first date. I told them about all my baggage up front. If they squirmed, I ended the date and didn’t go for a second.
FD: How has Fibro affected your relationships, friends, family, partners?
Kimberley: My husband and I have always had open communication when it comes to my Fibromyalgia. He knows that there are days when I just need to find time to relax and he’s more than willing to offer a massage or give me time to jump in a hot shower. Many of my friends are very understanding, too. There was a time when that wasn’t as true and I had to come to a decision. Sometimes you just have to part ways with people. My grandmother gave me a perfect mantra about friendship and I now live by it: “If you get rid of the weeds in your life, your flowers will bloom beautifully.” The rest of my family is very understanding and encouraging, too, especially my children.
FD: What is the biggest challenge you face living with Fibro?
Kimberley: Probably society’s expectations. Our lives are filled with basketball practices, games, jobs, doctor appointments, etc., and it can be hard to cram everything in a day. I find that I have to make sure that I schedule in some rest time every day so I don’t overdo life.
FD: What inspires you to keep on fighting?
Kimberley: My kids. I want to show them that you can do anything you want to do—even if you happen to have a disability. I truly believe you can feel fabulous despite having Fibromyalgia.
FD: What advice do you have for other people who are living with Fibro?
Kimberley We Fibromites tend to have a Type A personality. We are great at wanting to get everything done yesterday so if that bath tub needs scrubbing, we tend to want to scrub it despite how we feel physically. Sometimes, though, our bodies are screaming at us to slow down. It’s then that you should say to yourself, “There’s always tomorrow,” and not beat yourself up about not being able to get everything done in a day.
FD: Do you have a funny Fibro story you can share?
Kimberley: I don’t really have a funny Fibro story, just a cute one. Right after diagnosis, my husband had gotten a better job. He was going to school to become a truck driver when I was getting a series of tests to find out what I had. This job had allowed me to be able to stay home for the first time in my daughter’s four years of life and when we told her that mommy didn’t have to work anymore, she put her arms around me and said she was so glad that I could retire. My husband and I both laughed because it’s kind of weird to think that a thirty-two year old could retire, but I’ve always liked that story and I now use the word “retire” when I talk about my life BF (Before Fibro). Many people with Fibro feel like they have lost themselves, or worse, they feel dead because they can’t do what they used to. I think of Fibro a little differently… I feel like I’m a Diva. There are many Divas out there like Cher and Madonna that are fifty or better and have had to reinvent themselves to stay “alive” in the music business. I don’t see myself as any different. I have reinvented myself to stay “alive”, too. So the old me is still me, but I’m just retired. The new me is living life to the fullest by enjoying what I hold dear while doing other things that are just as incredible as what the old me did.
Follow Kimberley on Twitter:@KimberleyLB
Friend Kimberley on Facebook: Author,Blogger,and-Publisher Kimberley Linstruth Beckom
Check out Kimberley’s website: Kimberley Linstruth Beckom
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