My Story: Laura Junio

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

In my early 30's I would not be able to sleep at night due to restless leg syndrome, I would hurt all over and get angry if someone touched me in the arms or other parts of my body because it hurt so much.

I was always tired, and I started having back pain and leg pain. I would get dizzy, and I had two doctors believe that I had MS. One of them sent me to a neurologist who tested me and told me that I had fibromyalgia. Though it is tough to deal with it, I was glad it was not MS. My diagnosis was in 2002.

I was never treated for the illness even after being diagnosed with it. I was sent to a psychiatrist and then a counselor. None of them were helpful at all. Nothing relieved my pain but Pepsi which would give me a natural high and make me into a whole other person. I would be happy and energetic. I used that, about one to two 20 to 44 ounces a day with ice.

Others told me that they wished it would work on them as it did me. I knew it was not good for me, but I did not want to take pain pills which did not work anyway for me. I started joining research groups for fibromyalgia, and some of those studies helped me until they were over.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband gives me massages and he supports me financially the best he can, and my adult children pitch in with their jobs. Also, God gives me the strength to get through each day.

My daughter and son try to clean when possible, but I still need help.

My animals support me by making me forget about the pain for short periods of time, they help me with my mood swings, and they comfort me. I am training my dog to become my service dog.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I can no longer eat certain foods, I used to be very athletic, and now I am not able to walk that far. I do not have a social life. I am unable to work, I get no relief from the pain, and I become tired easily.

My quality of life is very poor, however, I can still write and I take it one day at a time.

On the bright side, my relationship with Jesus is stronger than ever, and he has made me fill up with joy that others cannot believe or understand.

I have other health issues that are bringing me down.

I broke my arms, I had Cellulitis, and now I have reoccurring C-Diff (which is life-threatening), neck injuries, back injuries, and a hard time sleeping. I also have tenderness in various areas of my body, and I have to avoid a lot of my favorite foods and beverages.

I hardly have a sex life that I can enjoy; I do not have the strength to do house cleaning.

I had two doctors believe that I had MS. One of them sent me to a neurologist who tested me and told me that I had fibromyalgia. Though it is tough to deal with it, I was glad it was not MS.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

My accomplishments in sports and career are in the past.

So my accomplishments today are about how I can still write, drive and research ways to make even small areas of my time more enjoyable, even if it's just for a little while.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

My accomplishments in sports and career are in the past.

So my accomplishments today are about how I can still write, drive and research ways to make even small areas of my time more enjoyable, even if it's just for a little while.

[I] research ways to make even small areas of my time more enjoyable.

[I] research ways to make even small areas of my time more enjoyable.

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

Find out what brings you relief and go for it. It can be different for everybody, and we all have extra health battles as well.

Do your research then tell the doctors what you want. Let them know if they stink, and ask them to learn more or find a new profession.

Find doctors that will listen and that have compassion, change your insurance if you have to, but try different things like massage, heat, ice, stretching, and meditation.

Get involved in a good movie, take a nap. Try a CPAP to help you breathe and sleep.

Try to stay active even if you are sitting so that you will not be so tight and stiff. Eat something you enjoy, but take care of yourself.

Lastly, do not let anyone bully you whether it is family, friends, doctors or a know-it-all.

Do your research then tell the doctors what you want. Let them know if they stink, and ask them to learn more or find a new profession.

Is there anything else we should know?

I try to be the most positive I can be.

I deal with anxiety issues, neck and back injuries, reoccurring C-Diff, osteoarthritis, endometriosis (though I had a hysterectomy and one ovary removed), two broken arms I was unaware of until now that healed badly.

I also deal with degenerative discs, ruptured discs, prolapsed disc, carpal tunnel release injury that didn't heal right, TMD, and severe sleep apnea.

I was also diagnosed with COPD from secondhand smoke, asthma, head pain, psoriasis, non-ending urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence, knee pain in both, ankle and feet pain with stiffness, and swelling.

I am obese because it hurts too much to get around like I used to. I am not giving up hope, and I am looking forward to feeling better some day.

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