Living with fibromyalgia and heart disease

“Coping with a chronic illness is work”, Carolyn Thomas

A very new book has just been published by Carolyn Thomas: A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017. It is one of a kind! Finally, a book that allows the woman with heart disease or those with a family history of heart disease, to pour over it and sigh with relief as questions about the leading cause of death among women is now in print as a source of expert information. Furthermore, it is written in a style everyone can understand.

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Fibromyalgia, Heart Disease and Women

“One out of two women are going to have, live with,and/or die from heart disease and stroke,…It is amazing women are still not getting that message, and one has to ask why.” Dr. Martha Hill

On January 19th I suffered a heart attack. For that reason I have not written much in the past several weeks. Writing about the ‘event’ is not easy. I could not have survived emotionally without the wonderful advice, support and  assistance I received from myheartsisters.org.  The owner of this website, Carolyn Thomas is an extraordinary woman and a  heart attack survivor herself. Please go to her website and educate yourself.www.myheartsisters.org.

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Fibromyalgia and major life transitions: accumulated life crises

“When you’re finished changing,  you’re finished”, Benjamin Franklin

It really is all about the brain and how new pathways can become established and old ones can be paths less travelled. So many report their fibromyalgia began with an accident, surgery or another episodic event that was physically shocking to the nervous system. Some call this ‘primary fibromyalgia’. However, fewer report that major life changes like menstruation, graduations, marriages, parenthood, divorces, job losses and changes, loss of dear ones, widowhood, moves, menopause, retirement, even significant birthdays, among many others, can be equally as traumatic to the nervous system. Like long term stress and abuse, generally these are slower processes for fibromyalgia to develop and are often referred to as ‘secondary’ fibromyalgia. The brain needing to adjust to a new life circumstance usually does not do this very quickly. Uncertainty about the new transition develops and for the person with fibromyalgia or prone to it, brings about hyper-arousal of the nervous system, coming from a place of fear. This is not about the separation of mind/body, but rather to point out that while an assault to the body can bring about fibromyalgia for those who are predisposed to it, so too can a crisis in transitioning from one aspect of life to another. It’s about seeing the new with some degree of promise and hope. It’s about seeing the rainbow somewhere on the horizon, even if there is grief, pain and sadness associated with the change.

It might be a good exercise for us to record all the major transitions we have experienced during our life times and how we processed them in our minds. Some were with joy and hope while others were with fear, grief and panic. In fact, many were felt with mixed emotions. But understanding how our brain led us down a certain path can result in interesting insights! I strongly encourage the readership to go to Heart Sisters of Carolyn Thomas’ site because although it is not about fibromyalgia, the blogs and comments are awesome as they focus on positive life transition after a traumatic event.