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Living the Best Life with Fibromyalgia – A Book Review

Last summer I was contacted by Alisha Nurse. She’d written a short handbook based upon here experiences of living with fibromyalgia and asked if I’d have a read to see what I thought. Well, the months ran away with me in a blur of flare ups, hospital appointments and a few stressful events, and I never got round to reading the book. I never forgot about it though, infact I thought about it quite often. I made it one of my New Years resolutions to read the book, and last night I finished it.

The book isn’t too long, 78 pages on my Kindle Fire, and it’s clear from the beginning it’s written by a fellow sufferer. I instantly found I could relate to the author and this made me want to keep on reading and not put my Kindle down until I was finished. Many books I read on health subjects tend to be patronising, use positive thinking and distraction to make it go away kind of books, but not this one.

Alisha is honest about the ups and downs of life with both fibromyalgia and clinical depression. She begins by telling us about her childhood, family remedies and about her battle in both getting diagnosed and getting the help she really needs. The fact this books touches on her ongoing fight with depression is a good move in my view, lots of people with fibromyalgia have depression or know someone who has it, so it makes it even more informative to read, leaving you feeling closer to Alisha and like you really know her.

My favourite part was the recipe section for her healthy, clean diet, and the fact that it includes so many recipes based on her family history in Trinidad. Ginger tea, garlic tea, fish, burgers, soup, there’s something there for everyone, even fussy old me.

She also details the supplements she takes, some of which I take too, so it’s great to know we have quite a lot in common and I’m heading for the right track. She talks about pacing, getting back to work and meaningful living, all of which is not necessarily new to us, but combined in a great little handbook together like this, is just the thing I personally have needed to re-evaluate where I am with my health and what I can do to improve things without waiting for the help of the NHS on my months long waiting lists.

Ultimately the book details how Alisha has learned to live her life as full as possible, whilst managing the symptoms of her illnesses as best she can. And I think she’s cracked it. It sounds like after much trial, error and a little help from her friends, she back on track, and she knows exactly what she needs to do to keep it that way.

I personally have found the book empowering and, as I said above, it’s made me step back and take a look at how I am dealing with my health, what I can do to improve it and how I can keep it that way.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia I would strongly recommend this book to you. It took me just a couple of short evenings to read, was fibro fog friendly, and is something you can constantly refer back to if needed, if not just for the yummy recipes.

You can find Alisha’s website here and it’s also worth giving her a follow on Twitter if you’re a Twitter gal, or guy, and of course there’s Facebook.

I really hope you all find the book as interesting and useful as I have.

Happy reading!

Karen xx

 

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Ambitions and Chronic Illness

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Like any other 29 year old I have hopes, dreams and expectations of what my life should be like. Most of these ideas and expectations have come about since I became ill four years ago. Until then I was just plodding along with life. I left school before my sixteenth birthday and have mainly worked in admin roles which left plenty of time, and just enough money, for fun; shopping, baking, gardening and evenings out.

Chronic illness means I now spend most of my time at home with more time than ever to think about what I really want my future to hold. I started an Open University degree in politics, started this blog, and realised I’d like to run my own little business.

I’ve always been a stationery addict. I blame my mom and her pencil collection! After much thought, chewing the ears of my wife, friends and family, I decided I wanted to try and start and online stationery business, with a stall a few weekends at my local market in Brighton too. This would fit around my day job and maybe bring in a little extra income in addition to my part time wages.  The hope in the long run was that in a few years maybe I’d be able to reduce my working hours and be able to work from home, giving me a little more flexibility with my illness. If I was too sore to get dressed, then I could work in my pyjamas. If I’d had a bad night, I could pack orders later on in the day. No set nine to five and no travelling would make my life much less exhausting.

But there have been many hurdles. This year my health has worsened, and trying to plan and set a business up, live with chronic fatigue and pain and work a thirty hour week is completely impossible. Throw my degree into the mix. No way was this going to work.  Attending tutorials, trade shows, conferences and networking events was completely draining. I’ve had to take the tough decision to defer my studies for a year and put the business trinnys.co.uk on a back burner.

In one way I feel lucky to have had the time to realise what I really want to do with my life and notice that opportunities for people like me really are out there. If I hadn’t become ill, would I have realised what I wanted to do, or would I have just continued plodding along nine to five in a dead end job that I hated? I need to stop agonising over the potential future I may have lost through illness and focus on the present. For me that means spending the next few months learning to manage my illness as well as possible. This will involve routines, addressing sleeping problems, rest breaks and most importantly I feel, pacing. Hopefully I’ll be able to merge my studies into my routine next autumn and maybe one day, my little business too.