FACT: “The 18 tender points associated with Fibromyalgia occur in symmetrical pairs from the back of your head to your inner knees.” -Mayo Clinic
As I shared my diagnosis story yesterday, I briefly touched on tender/trigger points. When the doctor was testing my trigger points it was the weirdest pain I have ever felt. Since my diagnosis, when I have a flare up of the tender points I have found that warm showers, heat pads, shoulder massages, and essential oils help.
“Women are more likely to develop FM than men are.” -Mayo Clinic
Isn’t crazy how women are more likely to develop FM than men? I definitely did not know that until I started researching FM. No one knows why this is. Fibromyalgia is definitely a interesting disease that has a lot of weird quirks to it.
Day 6 of Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: The Causes of Fibromyalgia
“Doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together. These may include:
Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
Physical or emotional trauma. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by a physical trauma, such as a car accident. Psychological stress may also trigger the condition.” -Mayo Clinic
Day 7 of Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Fun Fact!
There is a thing called “Fibromyalgia Fog.” It is weird and if you know me personally, you’ve probably have experienced this with me. “A symptom commonly referred to as “fibro fog” impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks.”-Mayo Clinic
I don’t struggle with this as much as some do. However, on days that I’m having a flare up I can’t stay on task. It’s a little entertaining because I find myself trying to do six things at once and accomplish getting nothing done.
That’s a wrap for week one for Fibromyalgia awareness month! I know that I have mentioned that I have a lot of blog posts coming with a little more detail on how I manage my disease. But I want to make clear that my blog isn’t going to changing a whole lot. Will there be some new content? Yes, but I still will be posting life recaps, recipes, and all of the other fun stuff!
Day 4 of Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Honoring your emotions vs. victimization
This is a topic that I was going to talk about later in the month but with a few recent messages and comments from my posts from the past couple of days I think I should address this now because I’m not posting every day this month to come across as a victim. I do not believe that I am. Now, does that mean that having this disease isn’t hard? No. But how I honor and acknowledge my emotions and move forward is what matters. It is so, so, so important to honor your emotions and work through how you feel while finding a way to either re-frame it or make peace with it.
Accepting a challenging life-altering disease isn’t easy but it can be done. It is not okay to victimize yourself because that kind of negativity gets you nowhere.Now, before some types some nasty comment or DM me about how I don’t understand how hard a chronic illness is or that my heart is made outta stone, please hear me out.
Is having a chronic illness hard? Absolutely.
Are your feelings real and valid? Absolutely.
Is living a life full of medications, hospitals, unanswered questions, doctor appointments, and a thousands other medical-related things incredibly hard and emotionally toiling? Absolutely, no question.
But that begs the question: Is throwing it in people’s faces and playing the victim okay? No it’s not.
The victim mentality thrives off of three things:
1. Bad things happen and will keep happening.
2. Other people or circumstances are to blame.
3. Any efforts to create change will fail, so there’s no point in trying.
Playing the victim leads to nowhere. It leads to a path full of negative emotions and a life where all you see is the bad stuff. Now, I need to make it very clear that I am not invalidating what you’ve been through or how difficult it is. It’s hard. It can feel like you’re going to break. Sometimes it feels like it breaks you.
But how I see it, everyone gets to a point where they have to make a choice. You have to choose what space of mind you are going to live in. You have to choose to accept that your body is broken but that doesn’t mean that your spirit is. You have to choose to find the joy.
Life is so short. We all know that. We all can think of people who should’ve lived a longer life but it was stolen from them because of their health.That’s what we sometimes forget: Every life matters. Everyone has value. You’re journey, your experiences, and everything that makes you YOU—it all matters. For those who love and support you, you matter to them.
So, let’s stop this negativity. Let’s come together and find the good. Let’s practice patience with ourselves and remember that everyone’s journey is different. Let’s also find cures for awful diseases such as Fibromyalgia. Rant over.
My diagnosis journey started in 2013 while I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The day I came home, January 1, 2014, is one that I will never forget. So many different emotions were running through my head. I was terrified, humiliated, excited, nervous, sick, happy, relieved, and a million other things. Coming home six months early from my mission was super hard. I had been sick on and off for about half of my mission (I served for 11.5 months out of 18 months). I was serving in the Baltimore, MD area and LOVED sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. I had incredible experiences and met some of the most incredible, Christlike people. As much as I wanted to be there and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, God definitely had another plan for me.
The decision was made over the Christmas holidays that I had to come home early because I wasn’t getting better. The doctors in Maryland had no idea what was going on with my body. In fact, my mission president didn’t even do an official exit interview with me because he was 100% positive that I would be back. Well, that didn’t happen because my primary care doctor said that there was a good chance that I was going to get sick again and that it could really impact me for the rest of my life. Little did I know that those words were so true.
I was so frustrated that I came home early. I hated that I couldn’t give anyone a direct answer on what was going on with me medically because I just didn’t know. Plus all the doctors didn’t know. To capture what was going through my head back in 2014, I posted this on my blog:
As most of you know, I came home six months early from medical reasons. Unfortunately, those reasons have yet to be solved. I keep getting pneumonia or bronchitis and for some reason, I can’t get over it. Many doctors have called me a “medical mystery” and have told me that there isn’t anything that they can do. But I’d beg to differ. There is always something that can be done.
I went to the doctor’s SEVEN times last year because I had bronchitis/pneumonia . This year, I’ve gone three. Three years ago, I went twice. Year before that three times. So on and so forth. You get the picture. It hasn’t been easy and believe me when I say that I’ve gone insane just sitting around watching Netflix. But the one thing that has been consistent is the Lord’s hand in this whole thing.
–My blog post titled, “Lord, Give Me Mountains to Climb”. 
So, being the ridiculously assertive and control-freak that I am, I took matters into my own hands. I gave up on going to the doctors once they told me I just had a bunch of food allergies (molds and a mild chicken, apples, and walnuts allergy) which lead me to going gluten and dairy free. I researched, and researched, and researched during 2014 to 2016. I learned how to eat healthier. I joined Beachbody, and worked as a coach that ran fitness and nutrition groups. I learned about organic foods. I learned how to eat clean. I learned how to actually cook something that wasn’t in a box. I joined my university’s swim team and eventually made captain for marketing. I worked full-time as a supervisor at a girl’s residential treatment center. I dated a lot and broke a few hearts. I was having the time of my life. I loved 2014-2016. I had my challenges like any college student, but I really enjoyed that time of my life.
Then one day during my fall semester of 2016 all of the symptoms came back. The same symptoms that I had while on my mission. My knees started to blow up out of nowhere. My hands were swollen. I was loosing weight rapidly. I was in pain all the time. My legs, hands, arms, shoulders, back, and joints always hurt. It was the weirdest thing I had ever experienced. I stopped exercising and tried to take it easy for a few months. But nothing was helping me. So, I was back at square one. It was so frustrating.
I made an appointment with my primary care doctor. He ran some blood-work and guess what? They finally found something. I was terrified. My doctor referred me to a rheumatologist and then the testing began. I was poked so many times that my really good vein is now hard to find. The results came back inconclusive. Meaning, my c-reactive protein, ANA, and sedimentation rate indicated a inflammation problem but there was nothing definitive. The doctor thought that I had Lupus, a autoimmune disease that attacks your healthy tissues. Since my ANA test was positive, he ran it again to verify the results but they came back inconclusive. This was the moment that having Dr. House around would have been very helpful: “It’s NOT Lupus!”
2017 was the year that I never thought was going to end. Since my ANA was a false positive, and I was still having chronic pain issues with the inflammatory response, my doctor asked me to come back into the clinic for further testing. When I came back, I was expecting more X-rays, needles, and whatever. I was right about some of the testing. He ran an X-ray on my hands to see if I had any damage in my joints which I didn’t. He ran my blood work again and the same CRP and sedimentation rate came back positive. Nothing else showed up. Then the worst part of all the testing happened. He started pushing on my joints. I held back tears as he pushed on my shoulders, hips, hands, feet, and knees. Finally, he took a step back and smiled. He said, “Well, the good news I know what’s wrong with you. The bad news is it’s Fibromyalgia.”
As many of you know, about four and a half years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. May is national Fibromyalgia awareness month. For the next 31 days, I will be posting about Fibromyalgia, and how I manage it in my daily life. I hope to bring awareness and provide helpful information for my friends and family to better understand this disease.
I hope that my sharing will encourage you to donate to research and foundations that advocate for Fibromyalgia. I also hope that by sharing I can express how I am able to manage it, maintain a positive attitude, and live such a full life. I’m very blessed to have it under control; I know that is not the case for many. But I hope that by sharing over the next month, I can shed some light on some of the struggles I’ve had over the years.
So, let’s begin with the basics: What is Fibromyalgia?
“Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.”-Mayo Clinic
My name is Samantha Quinio. I am a Fibromyalgia warrior. I will be sharing information and my Fibromyalgia story each day for the next 31 days.
Please share, comment, and like these Fibromyalgia Awareness posts to call attention to this disease that impacts 2 to 4 percent of the population. Comment with questions, your story, or if you know a Fibromyalgia warrior. Let’s call attention to this disease and fight for a cure!
A few years ago, I shared a lot about my health and fitness journey. I talked about my health struggles, and victories. I talked about the diagnosis process and everything that lead up to getting a diagnosis. Then one a bad breakup, college graduation, my health crashed again later…I took a six month leave from social media which resulted in deleting my old blog account #TheWellnessWarrior
Fast forward two years later, I’m wanting to get back into sharing my health and fitness journey with Fibromyalgia. Guys, I’m totally nervous and super hesitant about talking about it. I don’t want to come across as a victim or anything associated with negativity. That’s not my vibe or the tribe I want to attract. I’m a genuinely happy person. I’m a total spaz and have the kind of outlook on life where the glass is half full and never half empty. I’m an optimist. And maybe a little bit too big of an optimist by default.
I like to be positive and encouraging. I like to share the good vibes and roll with the not-so-good times. I also like being real. I mean, what’s the point in sharing if you can’t get vulnerable every now and then?
This time my sharing is going to be different. There’s no strings attached with Beachbody or asking you to sign up for a fitness challenge group. I’ve walked away from my Beachbody days because the pressure was too much and I just don’t need that kind of stress in my life. I love the tools that Beachbody provides for me. I learned, and grew so much as a person. I still love their products and totally support them. But I’m not coaching anymore nor am I consistently ordering from them.
This health and fitness journey is way more realistic this time. I’m taking a intuitive approach and really taking the the time to listen to my body when it comes to eating well, exercise, and managing my health. I hope you’ll come along and join with me on how I take this new step forward and continue to share. It’s going to be awesome.
For those of you who have been following my blogging journey over the past ten years (yes, it’s been ten years! Can you believe that?!) you’ll know that I’ve blogged on a large variety of topics. I’ve talked about college, my day to day life, health problems, fitness goals, random things on my mind, and so many more things.
I think that my blog has just been a space for me to just word-throw up everything that I want to remember or vent about or document. I think it’s important to look back at all of the times in your life and recall how you got to where you are today. I’m not saying that I live in the past and am constantly looking back. I just enjoy remembering the memories I’ve made, and the things I’ve overcome.
Looking back, I’ve haven’t been blogging consistently for various reasons over these last six months. I’d be lying if I said that these past six months haven’t been full of ups and downs and all sorts of crazy chaos that I wasn’t expecting. But I am so grateful to be where I am today. I’m grateful that I have my husband and that we’re working towards and living our dream of building an incredible life. I know that I’ll get caught up in sharing what has been going on, but for now I wanted to talk about where I’m going to be taking my blog this year.
This past year, I’ve listened to a particular book a few times. I’ve also read it a few times. I’ve also given a few copies out to friends because it’s that good. If you haven’t gotten your hands on “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis then you need to. If you’re clueless on who Rachel Hollis is . . . please, stop reading my blog and go Google her! Your life is about to be changed.
I’m all for the self-help, self-motivating, and self-improvement books. I think they are incredible. I think they are uplifting and motivating. I think that the do change lives. I just love them. There’s no other way of putting it. Rachel’s book is one of those books that digs deep and is so eye opening. It literally motivated me to start making some major changes in my life.
It’s been no secret. I’ve put on about 35 (maybe even 40) lbs the past couple of years. My health has been out of wack and it’s been an uphill battle. I’ve lost a lot of motivation trying to stay healthy, and strictly be gluten & dairy free. It can been very daunting sometimes going grocery shopping when you have a limited budget.
But after reading this book several times, and really digging deep I’ve realized again and again that it’s time to pick up my broken crayons and find a new way to color. It’s time to stop making apologizes for having the health problems that I have. It’s time to embrace the challenge, and find a way back to a healthy lifestyle so that I can live a long life.
Fibromyalgia is a neurological disease that impacts the central nervous system. Your central nervous system is constantly sending pain signals to all of your body thinking that it’s in pain when really it’s just overactive. The migraines, swelling in my hands and feet, and chronic pain make it sometimes impossible to walk around and live a normal life. And let’s not forget about the fatigue–Waking up feeling like you didn’t sleep just isn’t cool.. This usually results in lots of rest, Netflix-ing, and water. Lots of water.
My battle with my health is forever going to be an on-going one. But I try to look at it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to learn how to cook unique things. It’s an opportunity to learn when to say no. It’s an opportunity to learn how to manage chronic pain in a healthy way. I’m grateful that I get to share what I’ve learned over the years, and how I’ve managed it. I’ve grateful that I get to share what doesn’t work and what makes it worst. Not everyone gets an opportunity to share this kind of story.
In “Girl, Stop Apologizing” a huge theme throughout the book is believing that you are meant to be YOU and no one else. You are meant to believe that you are capable of amazing things and that you don’t have to apologize for who you are. That’s something that I’ve really struggle with over the years. It’s hard having to re-explain again, and again my health problems because on the outside, I don’t look sick. #InvisibleIllnessIsReal
Despite having Fibromyalgia, I believe that I am capable of living a full life. I believe that I am capable of getting my health back under control. I also believe that it’s time to give myself permission to move forward with it. It’s been a hard, long road with getting here. It’s been a road full of doubt, and lots of tears. But I’m done fighting for a healthy body that I’m never going to have. I’m done lying to myself that I can have a cheat meal every now and then and that it won’t significantly impact my health. I’m done feeling guilty about saying no to eating certain things at gatherings because it will cause my Fibromyalgia to flare up. I’m done giving up on my health.
So . . . what does this mean for my blog?
You may recall that at one point all I used to blog about was my health, food recipes, and fitness (that blog was hacked into and I never recovered all of the files). I am going to start blogging more and more about living a healthy lifestyle and how I manage my health. I’m going to do my very best to make sure that it doesn’t overpower my blog because I do want to keep the focus on Dale and I. But at the same time so much our lives and decisions revolve around my health.
I’ll do my best to balance the posts out because I don’t want my blog to be strictly a health blog. I want it to be a lifestyle blog about how I live my life to the fullest with Fibromyalgia. I hope that you’ll stay around for the ride. It’s going to be a wild one!