My Story: Adriel Maldonado

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was a sickly child and had frequent bouts of widespread pain. I was told these were simply growing pains and would get better as I got older.

I have had insomnia for as long as I can remember and I frequently suffered with fatigue.

Around the age of 12 I became severely depressed. I have had bouts of depression as well as anxiety ever since.

In my late teen years, the bouts of pain and fatigue became increasingly worse and more frequent. I was convinced no one would believe me if I told them how badly I felt, so I kept my suffering a secret.

As time went on though the extreme pain and debilitating fatigue continued to get worse. For a time I was convinced that I was dying. And I was okay with that; I didn't want to die, but I didn't want to suffer any more either.

I didn't want to go to the doctor and be told I was dying, though; I didn't want anyone else to know about it — I didn't want anyone treating me differently. I was not in my right mind.

I eventually was unable to hide how much I was suffering. It was affecting my life too much to keep it a secret.

I still did not want to go to a doctor though because I had too many bad experiences as a child. I did agree to go to a chiropractor, who suggested some supplements for to take. These seemed to help for a while, but the pain and fatigue would continue to come back.

Later I met a wonderful man, who I married. Just three months after our wedding my pain came back, worse than ever. My husband insisted I go to a doctor and get testing.

I was referred to a rheumatologist, who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia one month after my 22nd birthday.

Who has been there for you? How?

Hands down my husband has been my rock and my support. He is my everything.

He willingly offers me practical support and assistance, taking me to doctor’s appointments, getting my medicine, grocery shopping, making food, helping with household chores, and even literally supporting me when I am weak.

But he also provides moral support, in the sense that he listens when I need to vent, gives me a shoulder to cry on, and prays with me and for me. He is a true blessing to me.

My extended family, as well as my husband's, offer practical help when they can. Things like babysitting my kids while I go to the doctor or to just give me time to rest, or buying and cooking food, all helps out.


What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I have had to learn a lot of lessons. I have had to learn that it's okay to say no. I have had to learn that it's okay if I have to cancel plans at the last minute.

I have had to learn to pace myself. I have had to learn to find balance between activity and rest.

I am no longer able to dance much. I can no longer go to aerobic classes at the gym.

I have had learn to find balance between doctors and medicine, and natural healing and supplements.

I have made major changes in my diet and am still trying to find exactly what foods affect me, which I need to limit and which I need to avoid.

I have had to learn to find balance between activity and rest.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

My boys! We have two wonderful, sweet, funny little boys now and they mean the world to me.

Parenting with a chronic illness is really challenging, but those boys give me a reason to smile every day. Knowing that there are two little ones counting on me gives me a very important reason to keep fighting, and to never give up.

I am also proud that I have been able to take my experiences and share them with others; I hope I can provide hope and encouragement to any others suffering with fibromyalgia or any other illness.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

My boys! We have two wonderful, sweet, funny little boys now and they mean the world to me.

Parenting with a chronic illness is really challenging, but those boys give me a reason to smile every day. Knowing that there are two little ones counting on me gives me a very important reason to keep fighting, and to never give up.

I am also proud that I have been able to take my experiences and share them with others; I hope I can provide hope and encouragement to any others suffering with fibromyalgia or any other illness.

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

  1. You are not alone. You do not have to suffer alone. If you don't have a good support system in your life right now, find one. Social media is full of people going through the same things you are and they are willing to listen and to offer assistance where they can.
  2. Be your own advocate. Not every doctor will be able, or even want, to help you. Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself. Don't be afraid to find a different doctor. Do your own research. Keep pushing and fighting until you find the right treatments that work for you.
  3. You will have bad days. But you will have good days too. Fibromyalgia is not curable, but remission is possible and there are things that can help you better cope.

You are not alone. You do not have to suffer alone.

About Adriel Maldonado

My Story: Adriel Maldonado

Adriel has suffered from bouts of widespread pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety since childhood. In 2010, at the age of 22, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

She has struggled since then with finding the best treatment for her symptoms and is always in pursuit of living a more natural life. Adriel went on to have two sons with her husband. She does her best to make the most of her life, in spite of having a chronic illness. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and sharing with others what life with fibromyalgia is really like.

Adriel's Life With Fibro

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