Fibro Warrior of the Week (#40)
Location: Shropshire, UK
Mantra: Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you’re probably right.
Our 40th Fibro Warrior of the Week is Rebecca Richmond, an author who co-owns a small publishing company among other busy endeavors. Rebecca maintains a healthy lifestyle and a positive, can-do spirit. However, being so busy and bouts of Fibro Fog means she might arrive late to movie previews, but who can honestly say movie previews are worth arriving on time for…?
FD: : Tell us a bit about yourself – Where were you born, where do you live now, family, interests, etc.
Rebecca: I was born in inner city Manchester. Life was incredibly tough as a child and did not get any easier as an adult. I now live in Shropshire with my wonderful husband and lovely daughter. I have had a few health challenges in addition to Fibromyalgia/CFS in that I have also had a pancreatic tumour MRSA, and a malignant melanoma. I enjoy walking, painting, cake decorating, sewing and going to the gym. My family is the most important thing in my life. I run a small publishing company with my business partner.
FD: When did you first suspect that something wasn’t right? What happened?
Rebecca: It kind of crept up on me. I couldn’t understand why I was always feeling so ill, in pain and exhausted. It was so long ago now that I am not really sure when it started, but it was around 1996 when I thought: I am so ill – there has to be something very wrong.
FD: When were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
FD: When you received your diagnosis, how did it affect you?
Rebecca: There were two thoughts that came to mind. First, I thought: well that’s good – at least I know what it is and I’m not dying. Then I thought: What, no cure or effective treatment? Does that mean this is forever?
FD: Since then, how has your outlook on life changed?
Rebecca: At first I just accepted it. I had been fighting all my life and I decided to just enjoy life as best I could. I was so ill by then I had given up my career. Then in 2005, after being referred to a pain clinic, I realised that there might be a way I could control and overcome the condition. I was thrilled and very excited. Facing life three threatening illnesses means I appreciate being alive every day and I know it is possible over come illness no matter how bad things might appear.
FD: How does Fibro affect your day-to-day life?
Rebecca After giving up work, everything changed. I had to spend most days resting, but now I can pretty much do anything I want – apart from get stressed. I firmly believe my Fibromyalgia was caused by extreme stress and lack of restorative sleep. However, I can’t avoid stressful events. I had half my pancreas removed and skin cancer after my recovery, and have faced a whole host of other challenges – but I react to life differently now and I am much happier.
FD: What can’t you do anymore because of Fibro?
Rebecca: Allow myself to take on too much and act like super woman. The tendency is still there, but generally I can reign myself in.
FD: Name something you do now that you never would have imagined happening before your diagnosis.
Rebecca: Writing a book about how to manage Fibromyalgia/CFS. My Guide: Manage Fibromyalgia/CFS (also available on Kindle), or creating my own CD based recovery programme Forget Fibromyalgia (also available on Kindle.) Becoming a qualified life coach and master practitioner of NLP, hypnosis and Time Line Therapy ™.
FD: : What has been your experience with seeking medical treatment for Fibro?
Rebecca: Like most people I was told there was no cure, offered antidepressants and told I needed to learn to live with it. But, thankfully, I was also told three vital things: “No one could go through what you have been through without it having an effect on your health”, “Change your life or you could end up in a wheelchair”, and “Fibromyalgia is not in the mind but you can use your brain to control it”.
FD: How has Fibro affected your relationships, friends, family, partners?
Rebecca: I reached the stage where I did not even want to answer the phone––I was described by someone as having retired from life. I know I was really ratty (my poor husband got it in the neck.) I was definitely not able to be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I tried really hard but sometimes I felt my daughter was caring for me. Now, all my relationships are great – just how I want them to be.
FD: What is the biggest challenge you face living with Fibro?
Rebecca: Remembering that it is still there in the background and might pounce if I let my guard down. Becoming a coach and specializing in stress management really helps me to keep events in perspective. I never underestimate the effect stress has on the body.
FD: What inspires you to keep on fighting?
Rebecca: I don’t feel like I am fighting, but I am inspired to live the way I do by the fact that I am able to live a full and active life again.
FD: What advice do you have for other people who are living with Fibro?
Rebecca Never stop looking for ways to control your condition and remember that the mind and the body can never be separated.
FD: Do you have a funny Fibro story you can share?
Rebecca: When my daughter was four years old, I took her to the cinema and on the way there, Fibro Fog set in and I couldn’t remember the way. Thankfully, even though she had only been to that particular cinema once about six months earlier, she was able to direct me.
Follow Rebecca: Twitter: @thewritershouse
Friend Rebecca on Facebook: WritersHouseUK
Check out Rebecca’s website: Forget Fibromyalgia
Check out Rebecca’s other website: Manage Fibromyalgia-CFS
Contact Rebecca via email:richmondpickering at gmail.com
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