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By: ~Donna Heart
(Donna Leatherman Cooke)

I want to take this time to thank Mayor Huitt for proclaiming this day, May 12, as "International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day" in the city of Lincolnton, North Carolina.

This day was chosen because it is the birth date of Florence Nightingale. She was a pioneer in modern nursing. After nursing the wounded in the war, she came down with an illness thought to be "Fibromyalgia" or "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome". Though weary, she went on to create the Red Cross. Making May 12 "International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day" is to honor the accomplishments of Florence Nightingale, as well as her devotion, dedication and courage to all mankind.

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Fibromyalgia was first recognized in the late 1800's. It was originally called Fibrositis. Estimates are that 6 to 10 million people have been diagnosed in the United States, and thousands from other countries. There is no known cause or cure! Women are 10 times more likely to get it opposed to men. Some researchers believe that Fibromyalgia may be caused by injury, physical, or emotional trauma, and the onset possibly triggered by surgery or flu-like illness. It is also suspected the onset may be related to a lack of growth hormone, produced at night by the pituitary gland, which repairs muscles while we sleep.

With the changes happening mostly on the inside, it is very often that Fibromyalgia Sufferers are ridiculed, and at times condemned, hearing remarks like "it is all in your head" and "well, you LOOK fine to me". These remarks hurt, and do great damage.

I must tell you (I do have Fibromyalgia) that hearing you have an illness for which there is no known cause is stressful. But hearing that there is no cure, and the realization of it never going away is frightening. Then the doctor may tell you next, "But, don't worry, it isn't fatal" starts the wheels turning rapidly. It did become FATAL, in my opinion, when I heard on the evening news that Dr. Kevorkian had succeed in helping a Fibromyalgia Sufferer leave this world. With the intense pain, cruel remarks, and often less than compassionate doctors, this was her way out. To the best of my knowledge Dr. Kevorkian has also assisted 2 other Fibromyalgia people reach their goal of "no more pain"!

Treatment methods vary from person to person. Each person/and doctor must use trial and error to find what medications/exercises work best for them. What works for one may not help the next person. There are also trigger points throughout the body. In my opinion, after seeing one knowledgeable doctor who has treated Fibromyalgia, for a long period of time, he can successfully rule that a person does have Fibromyalgia. Many people function somewhat normally after the diagnosis, however, some find it hard to function at all.

Fibromyalgia can be debilitating, therefore, it is important to make your life as stress free as possible. Each individual must deal with it on a "personal" level.

Fibromyalgia robs you of your pride, your value as an individual, but mostly, the promise of your future. This has broken many homes, because it steals the ability to participate in family activities. Family members, friends, co-workers, and even doctors "sometimes" do not understand the pain associated with Fibromyalgia.

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I have been writing a book about Fibromyalgia for 18 months. (when my health allows) This has been a long and most difficult struggle. I have been conducting an Internet Survey. To date, I have received 1,250+ Survey Responses from 12 countries. (Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, Philippine Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United States)

I have heard from several publishers who have shown great interest in publishing my book. I am striving to have the book completed by late summer or early fall. I just have to do my best considering my own personal battle with Fibromyalgia. This has not been an easy task, but I just can't give up. So many people have "thanked me" for asking them how they feel, because others don't seem to care. I suppose because I can relate to their pain, they have accepted me, and I sure have appreciated them! Most of the surveys I have received reveal 'mourning' the loss of the previous person they were (more productive), to accepting the 'new person' they must now reckon with in the future, and deal with the changes introduced into their lives.

Some people have been able to maintain their basic ritual, and then some are bed bound and others need the use of a wheelchair. There is no rhyme or reason for Fibromyalgia. From reading research and the survey answers received, I do not believe Fibromyalgia is "contagious".

Research studies I have read do toy with the idea that it could possibly be a pre-disposed gene in the body, but this has not been proven.

I can PERSONALLY tell you I went to the DARK side of depression before I was able to pull myself back to a semi-normal life. It is nothing short of devastating when the changes occur, and when the only world you've known is ripped away. It is a major battle to find a "new world". But it CAN be done.

It will be easier as more people gain knowledge about Fibromyalgia. Please don't shut us out - we will be glad to share what we know about Fibromyalgia with you.

Personal Information!

It is my personal goal to let the world know... "Fibromyalgia exists and respectable people have it"!

I did not choose Fibromyalgia, it chose me!

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Humor thought of the day - I haven't won the lottery, and I have TRIED to win it. But, I did win Fibromyalgia, and never even knew it existed!
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Laughter will not cure us, but it sure won't kill us!

If you would like to check out any of my Sites, please do... {these links will lead you to my other 10 web sites!}

If you do not have a computer at home, you may use one at a public facility that is connected to the Internet.

*NOTE: These views are my own, and I have provided the most accurate information to the best of my ability.

-Heart To Heart Fibromyalgia Newsletter #2 -
May 29, 1998 - There will be another one in approximately two months!

Most Sincerely,

~Donna Heart - Pen Name

(Donna Leatherman Cooke)

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