My Story: Michelle D. Hamilton

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I can remember having symptoms of fibromyalgia as far back as 12 years old. I was a chronic insomniac even back then, and I had “growing pains” that I now know were not normal. I was tired all the time and had trouble concentrating on anything for very long. Somehow though I got through school and started a career in restaurant management.

I was a superstar in management. It was my niche. I rose quickly from shift leader to assistant manager to general manager in a little over a year. I made really good money. I was number one in my entire company in sales and speed of service. I won many awards. I was an overachiever, a type A personality, which is what 99% of people who get fibromyalgia are. I was never lazy, even though I was tired almost all the time. I pushed myself anyway.

I was at the top of my career, on a fast track program to becoming a district supervisor, when I fell at work. I slipped in some water and hurt my knee and my back. I had to go through workman’s comp to see a doctor. I had to take medical leave. During this time my usual aches and pains became worse. I started hurting all over. I felt like I had the flu all the time. I was diagnosed after that.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I literally stopped eating anything that was bad for me. I learned that gluten was causing practically all of my IBS symptoms so I eliminated it from my diet. I learned that sugar made my pain so much worse so I got rid of it too. Next, it was sugar alcohols. I went off meat to cleanse my body and I liked the feeling so much I never went back, though I do on occasion eat wild caught fish. The more I learned, the more I changed.

Now I have lost over 100 pounds and have kept it off for over a year. For over four years I barely left my house and when I did I was on a cane or in a wheelchair. Now, I am going to school full-time studying web design, and I graduate August 15th!! I am working an internship for the local sheriff’s office, rebuilding their current website and building a site for all of middle Tennessee’s law enforcement. Hopefully after graduation, it is going to lead to a full-time job.

The more I learned, the more I changed.

Never give up, and take control of your own health.

Never give up, and take control of your own health.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband, my son, and my mom. They have given me emotional support during my darkest times.

The only way to have control over this illness is to take it.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

Losing the weight and taking my life back through diet and supplements. Starting a Facebook page that has over 2200 followers with no advertising. Going back to school and getting ready to graduate in August. And going back to work full-time soon.

What's your advice to someone else living with Fibromyalgia? Never give up, and take control of your own health. Doctors do not have all the answers. The only way to have control over this illness is to take it. You have to live healthy and eat healthy to be healthy.

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