My Story: Palmira Cohn

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

In September of 2013 I started to feel tiredness, tingling, and heaviness in my legs to the point that I could not stand. In November I started having severe pain in my neck and back. I didn’t know what was happening and I cried because I thought I would die. I had a headache like nothing I’d ever experienced before – it was like my whole scalp hurt, and no painkiller helped. I could not bear the light, my blood sugar levels were low, and I had strong pain in my legs and neck.

I went to the emergency room and the resident doctor saw me and told me it was a simple flu. But because I was in so much pain, the resident doctor called the doctor on duty who, thank God, was a rheumatologist. I had all kinds of tests done, and I tested negative. Then the doctor tested the fibromyalgia tender points, and gave me the diagnosis. He said I had saved 10 years of medical bills as it is a difficult disease to diagnose. So I knew I had fibromyalgia.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband has been supportive. He takes me to the hot springs and helps me do some exercises. But my family still does not understand, and sometimes it makes me angry. It's really hard to cope.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I had to stop working because my job was teaching people with conditions like diabetes, gluten intolerance etc. to cook, and meant spending seven or more hours in the day on my feet. It was sad because I liked my job but it was impossible for me to stand for so long. I have concluded that I cannot work, and that has cost me a lot, but I'm trying to accept it. Maybe it's time to have some time to myself – fibromyalgia forces us to think about ourselves.

I am currently in physical therapy but that does not lessen the pain in my back. The only thing I've found that relieves the pain is to go to the hot springs. I go once a week, but it only gives me relief for two days, and then the pain returns. I try not to take drugs, but use natural medicine instead. I am currently taking soursop juice in the morning because it is thought to help with cancer, and this problem is an immunological disease.

I have concluded that I cannot work, and that has cost me a lot.

Getting up each day is the challenge now, and when I succeed it is motivation to continue.

Getting up each day is the challenge now, and when I succeed it is motivation to continue.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

Now I understand that a small achievement is a great goal. Getting up each day is the challenge now, and when I succeed it is motivation to continue. I no longer have future plans, instead concentrating on the day-to-day and being happy with daily achievements.

But the best treatments come from nature, not unnatural chemicals.

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

First you need to understand the disease, accept the changes that come with it, thank God for every day you have and strive to improve. Change your diet, do gentle exercise when you can, and try hydrotherapy. I do not recommend massage – it hurts you every inch of your skin and leaves you weaker and in more pain. Use warm or hot water to help moderate pain. I recommend taking guanaba and turmeric and adopting a gluten-free diet without sugar. The recommended diet is more alkaline.

Is there anything else we should know?

Fibromyalgia patients should not be the guinea pigs of science. Doctors do not yet know how to treat this disease, and they give us medicines that have side effects to our bodies. But the best treatments come from nature, not unnatural chemicals.

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