My Story: Tiffany Brown

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was 22 years old and fresh out of college. My back, neck, and shoulders always were so tight and sore. I would pull a muscle by doing simple things like sneezing or blowing my nose.

I had injured my back and was in physical therapy. My physical therapist evaluated me and told me I had fibromyalgia. I drove home laughing and thought, "How could a fit, active 22-year-old have something like fibromyalgia?" Twenty years later and I still active and fit – although not as fit and active as I used to be.

My fibromyalgia seems to get worse and worse every year. Most all aspects of my life are affected by fibromyalgia. I struggle with keeping a job because I'm a zombie because of my brain fog. The pain is so distracting that my ability to concentrate is close to impossible some days.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I need to listen to my body. I have cut back a lot of hiking and biking. I took a part-time job because anything more than 25 hours a week hurts me. My level of interest in most everything has gone way down, and I spend some weekends in bed or on the couch.

Who has been there for you? How?

My husband has done a lot of research on fibromyalgia. He pushes me to get light exercise daily and is a sounding board when I'm having a high pain day.

I'm not sure that any of my other family members understand. I'm kind of embarrassed about that too. I feel like people think I'm just a complainer.

Don't blame yourself or be angry with yourself when you have a day where getting out of bed seems impossible.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I'm proud that I have been an active mom and wife. I'm not as active, but I'm still out there sledding in the winter with the guys.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I'm proud that I have been an active mom and wife. I'm not as active, but I'm still out there sledding in the winter with the guys.

I'm proud that I have been an active mom and wife.

I'm proud that I have been an active mom and wife.

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

My advice is to be easy on yourself. Don't blame yourself or be angry with yourself when you have a day where getting out of bed seems impossible. Those days happen. Be kind to yourself.

Be easy on yourself.

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