My Story: Marci Clark

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was in the generation of fibro diagnosis when the doctors did not have the knowledge they do today. I kept changing doctors until I found one who looked at my list of symptoms and said, “You have fibromyalgia.” I wanted to kiss him – I was not crazy! I then found a pain management doctor who taught me how to get the best quality of life while living with this. Having to pace myself is, and has always been, one of many daily struggles.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

My Story: Marci ClarkI used to be one of those people who was always doing something. Now I have to pick my activities a bit differently. I have to settle for doing one of my hobbies at a time. I miss being able to ride my horses and give them a bath, and then go home to cook for my family. Now if I want to ride my horse nothing else is going to get done, because I will have to rest for the next two days. I will not stop doing the things I love, I just don't get to do them as much.

Who has been there for you? How?

I’m very lucky to have a really good support system in my family. My husband has been the greatest, and for that I feel very fortunate. I have known people whose marriages have come to an end because their spouse just couldn’t understand, or wouldn’t try to understand, what comes with this. My husband has never told me, "But you don't look sick," or "Just keep pushing yourself and you’ll be fine." I don't know what I would do without him and my two grown daughters, who have also come to my rescue more than once.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I have always done my very best to get myself up and out of bed every day. If I can't keep going very well after dressing and a warm shower then I may have to chill that day. I have had to quit working. I also have back issues but still try to stay active. I have been dealing with this for over 15 years but still will not give up on living as normal a life as I can. I will never give up on living life to my fullest.

I will never give up on living life to my fullest.

Love your body, learn your body and pace yourself.

Love your body, learn your body and pace yourself.

What's your advice to someone else living with Fibromyalgia?

If you're just being diagnosed you need to find a doctor you can trust and speak to freely; be kind to yourself and try to manage your stress levels; love your body, learn your body and pace yourself; education about this is key; and finally, be proactive with your medications. Some doctors will give you meds that only make you feel worse. Educate yourself about what medications have worked for others, but know that you are individual. You will have to try different things until you find what works for your body.

Find a doctor you can trust and speak to freely.

Is there anything else we should know?

I take care of my elderly mother. My husband is also disabled with two knee replacements. I have two dogs who I believe are the therapy that helps me the most. Their love and calming effect on me is one of the highlights of my day. I am a huge animal lover!
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