Fibro Warrior of the Week (#71)
Location: Cavan, Ireland
Facebook: Terri Lawlor
Mantra: “‘Life is a waste of time, and time is a waste of life. Get wasted all the time, and you’ll have the time of your life!’ -Billy Connolly
Terri Lawlor is our Fibro Warrior of the Week #71, and she has a great sense of humor. (Hey, she’s a Billy Connolly fan, and I love Billy Connolly!) She also has a colorful personality and a really cool way of just going with the flow with Fibro. Just don’t ask her to keep up with the milk… ~JC
FD: Tell us a bit about yourself – Where were you born, where do you live now, family, interests, etc.
Terri: My name is Terri and I am from Dublin, Ireland. I’m now living in Cavan with my wonderful boyfriend. I have two beautiful sisters that I love more than anything. I love animals and my house is slowly turning into a zoo because I have three dogs, a turtle and goldfish. I want more pets, but my boyfriend is close to banning me from even going into the pet shop.
FD: When did you first suspect that something wasn’t right? What happened?
Terri: I used to be very fit and athletic but over time I was finding it harder to walk. I stopped being able to sleep and I was in constant pain. I knew something was wrong but I was scared no one would believe me because it just sounded crazy. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and I went to see a doctor who told me it sounded like Fibromyalgia.
FD: When were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
Terri: I was diagnosed around a year ago, give or take. I had been referred to a rheumatologist who ran all the usual tests and then confirmed the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.
FD: When you received your diagnosis, how did it affect you?
Terri: I felt glad to have a diagnosis because it meant my pain was real and that I wasn’t alone, but at the same time, I felt so hopeless because I knew it wasn’t going away. It was hard to accept. I’m still finding it difficult to change how I do things to accommodate my illness. But I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge, so I know I can do it.
FD: Since then, how has your outlook on life changed?
Terri: Before I got ill, I was on the go all the time. I was always out with my friends, and just going out and having fun. Now my definition of fun has changed. Instead of big nights out, I look forward to cosy nights in. I love nothing more than putting on my comfiest pjs and watching a good movie… Maybe even with a bottle of wine if I’m really feeling wild. I’ve definitely learned to slow down and enjoy the little things.
FD: How does Fibro affect your day to day life?
Terri: Fibro is a big day-to-day struggle. I wake up exhausted, so it’s hard to find the motivation to do anything. I can’t always do everything I should be able to do so I feel quite guilty sometimes, but I try not to beat myself up to much because I know it’s not my fault.
FD: What can’t you do anymore because of Fibro?
Terri: I never knew how much I took for granted before I fell ill. I can’t really take showers anymore because I get quite dizzy—even on the cold settings— and the pressure of the water on my skin causes a lot of pain. Luckily, it turns out that I love bubble baths. I also can’t walk very far without being thoroughly exhausted and in terrible pain. At least I have a boyfriend to boss about!
FD:Name something you do now that you never would have imagined doing before your diagnosis!
Terri: Have candlelit bubble baths! I know that sounds silly. I don’t know how but I convinced myself I hated baths, but then they became my only option and I’ve fallen in love. I feel like I’m on one of those bathroom ads on TV.
FD: What has been your experience with seeking medical treatment for Fibro?
Terri: Below average definitely. The first doctor I saw told me Fibromyalgia was a glorified flu. The rest of them refuse to give me painkillers because they say I’m too young. It feels like I’m just a number at times, and that I’m not actually being listened to.
FD: How has Fibro affected your relationships, friends, family, partners?
Terri: I’ve lost a lot of friends recently. I know it’s because I don’t go out to nightclubs very often anymore, and also because I cancel a lot of plans so I don’t blame them. It hurts anyways. They tell me they will come and see me, but why would they want to come and sit in a house with me if they can go out dancing and having fun?
FD: What is the biggest challenge you face living with Fibro?
Terri: Having the strength and positivity to get up and go every day. It’s hard to keep a healthy outlook on life when you’re always in pain. It’s very easy to become depressed but I get out of bed every day and I do my best and with my boyfriend and my family by my side I know I’ll be okay.
FD:What inspires you to keep on fighting?
Terri: My mam is my best friend, and I have watched her overcome many challenges and struggles in her life and not only get through them, but also come out stronger. If I could be half the woman she is, I figure I’m doing alright. Also, my friend Bonnie whom I met on a group page for people with Fibromyalgia…her strength never ceases to amaze me. She has the most positive attitude that I try to channel in my everyday life.
FD: What advice do you have for other people who are living with Fibro?
Terri: Listen to your body. It will tell you when something is wrong. Never feel guilty for needing to rest a lot, or not being able to do everything you feel you should. It’s hard work being as awesome as us! Don’t bottle up your feelings. There is always someone who cares.
FD: Sometimes humor provides relief when dealing with chronic illness. Do you have a funny Fibro story you can share?
Terri: I have become so ditzy in the past year. Forgetting my own age. Spelling my name wrong. Getting lost in places I know like the back of my hand. I think my favorite is trying to hunt down the milk for some tea… I had made some tea and I was convinced I put the milk in the fridge. I looked everywhere and finally found it in the high press. I still don’t remember putting it there.
Friend Terri on Facebook: Terri Lawlor
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