My Story: Pamela Jenewein

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I visited yet another new doctor to discuss pain management. My hips ached continuously even though I performed exercises to strengthen that muscle area. My hands were in chronic pain, too, however it was the fatigue that dominated my life. Naps and 8-9 hours of sleep never refreshed or energized me. Immediately, the new doctor ordered blood tests for Lupus, RA, Lyme Disease, Inflammation, even Addison's Disease. After insurance and $2,000 out-of-pocket, the results came back negative for those, leaving Fibromyalgia as my diagnosis.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

It took me nine months, while using Venlafaxine ER for the pain, to finally accept and act on my "new lifestyle". I quit all low impact aerobic activity, but continued strength training. With my four dogs, I leisure walk around my ten acres, while researching Tai Chi for overall body health. Performing everyday tasks: what took me several hours to complete now takes several days... the same for what took me a couple of days to complete now takes me a week or more. As for the chronic fatigue, that I take one-day-at-a-time, as no remedy is available for that.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband and youngest daughter are my support network. They were there from the beginning, before and after the diagnosis, listening to me complain/cry daily about the pain and fatigue. Both help with housework, yard work and just listening as I forge a positive pathway into this new lifestyle.

One of Pamela Jenewein's dogs, Sabrina

Don't let one person decide everything.

It took me nine months to finally accept and act on my "new lifestyle".

It took me nine months to finally accept and act on my "new lifestyle".

What accomplishment are you proud of?

Pamela Jenewein with her dog, BearRemaining positive and active; negative self-talk (mental speak) cannot wander into the "what-if's" or "remember-when's" of my past life and activity level. No more comparing myself to other people, including those with Fibromyalgia - I'm an individual and unique. This new lifestyle is all about me and what works for me. Since I cannot return to work I reinvented myself; I am establishing a nut and hops grove. It forces me to "get busy" every day no matter how I feel. But those days that I cannot do it, the nuts and hops are waiting for me, patiently.

Learn about YOUR body and how it functions for YOU.

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

Education, education, education. First, learn about Fibromyalgia until your eyes bleed and your brain fries. Second, with the same tenacity, learn about YOUR body and how it functions for YOU. Third, learn how pain medication and herbal remedies work within the body. Many times medication/supplements only "take the edge off" any level of pain. OWN your medical care and your body; don't let one person decide everything regarding treatment.

Is there anything else we should know?

I'm an identical twin, and my sister suffers none of my medical issues. However, my mother is a cervical/uterine cancer survivor and suffered with hypothyroidism. As of today she manages RA and Fibromyalgia while enduring breast cancer. Other medical conditions I've dealt with in my life: PCOS, Hypothyroidism and Pre-Diabetes.

About Pamela Jenewein

My Story: Pamela Jenewein
A happily retired quinquagenarian, as well as: entrepreneur, agriculturalist, greens keeper, animal-lover, multifaceted craftswoman, historian, lobbyist, and bibliomaniac. Also a lover of cool words, an empty-nester now ruled by four Toy Fox Terriers; keeping me happy, healthy and in the “real”. Lastly but not least: Married over 20 years to Vernon who is my rock and all-round-go-to guy.
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