My Story: Elena Navarro

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

My symptoms started when I was 23. I was in so much pain and was exhausted. I went to my doctor and she took tests then told me it was all in my head and said I should speak to a therapist.

At the time, my daughter was three years old, and it was hurting me to hug her. It was also hurting me to go to work. It was awful. I struggled for years not knowing what I had. I didn't go to the doctor for two years after my bad experience.

When I went to the doctor again, my new doctor listened. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and started to see a rheumatologist.

I, just like many others who have fibromyalgia, can't tolerate medications well. I tried numerous medications, and none have worked for me. I struggled for years to keep a job because I would get into a flare and would need time off.

For years I struggled and was stuck in a rut of attempting to survive. Getting fired because I missed too many days due to my illness. Thankfully, I have found what has worked for me.

I know not everyone is on my path of well-being, but I have found my way. I meditate, I am a Reiki III master, and I sacrifice to get a monthly massage because it helps lessen my pain. Alternative methods have worked for me, but they are not cheap.

I still struggle to get up and go to work, I still have flares and I'm still in pain daily. I am lucky though, because I have family that loves me and supports me when I need it, and friends who are understanding and caring. I hope that a cure is found and that all of those who suffer from this illness find what works for them.

Who has been there for you? How?

My parents are very supportive of me and took my daughter and me in when it was hard for me to support us. I have also had help from my friends who are there to listen to me when I need to vent.

My husband who lets me cry and holds me when I am not feeling well, and my daughter who had to learn that her mommy was sick the hard way.

Sadly, my daughter also has chronic pain, but the doctors have not been able to diagnose her condition as of yet. Hopefully, one day soon there will be a cure.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I had to learn to say no and not feel bad about it. I had to learn to listen to my body and take care of me to avoid having a worse bout.

I try to eat a cleaner diet, I walk daily, I meditate often, and I give myself permission to say out loud today is a bad day, but tomorrow will be better.

I had to learn to say no and not feel bad about it.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

After getting my Reiki certification and discovered alternative treatments, I was able to hold a job at a local health center for four years. I now am working for a large world recognized Medical center. I have found my rhythm to a healthier more rounded life.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

After getting my Reiki certification and discovered alternative treatments, I was able to hold a job at a local health center for four years. I now am working for a large world recognized Medical center. I have found my rhythm to a healthier more rounded life.

I have found my rhythm to a healthier more rounded life.

I have found my rhythm to a healthier more rounded life.

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

Don't give up! Keep pushing and trying new methods of self-care until you find something that works for you. Be open to new ideas... Alternative treatments have proven effective to many of us who suffer from chronic illnesses

Keep pushing and trying new methods of self-care.

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