Fibromyalgia warrior, Melissa Reynolds suffers from Fibromyalgia. Melissa has added her face and story to Faces & Stories of Fibromyalgia. I am so grateful that Melissa has shared this, as each story told raises awareness and helps fellow sufferers.
Melissa Reynolds is a mama to three small boys, wife, yoga teacher, Fibromyalgia and mindfulness coach, founder of MelissavsFibromyalgia.com and a passionate advocate for simple, sustainable changes to manage chronic pain and fatigue as well as possible.
Pain, fatigue and insomnia has permeated my life since before I can remember. For many years I just tried to carry on. There was no support from my doctors and no information available to me. I was trying too hard to be alive to even think of internet searching for help. I wouldn’t have had the ability to sift through the good and the bad.
In 2013, at 28 years old, when I found myself pregnant, I knew it was time to figure it out myself.
The doctors still had no idea about what to do with me. They didn’t know what to tell me about pregnancy with fibromyalgia. One intimated I ought to be feeling better.
Realizing that no doctor would be coming on the white horse to offer me anything of use, I took over my healing journey. I began reading anything I could find about fibromyalgia, about pregnancy and made my own summations of the combination.
I also started to share diary like blog posts to vent my feelings and share my story in case it helped someone else. After my pregnancy I compiled what I had learnt and shared tips posts, hoping to save someone else the information void I had faced.
I began to more actively try new things, I tried gluten free, various supplements, hundreds of dollars with a naturopath who swore she could cure me (note to self: run far away when the c word comes up) and more. As I began to feel a little better I was able to research even more and share even more.
By the time I was pregnant with my second baby I had shared quite a few posts about how to cope with pregnancy and tiny babies. I took my own learning and had a vastly improved second pregnancy.
It was at this point I decided to publish Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book, a compilation of all of my blog posts about pregnancy with fibromyalgia. It was only the second book available on Amazon (or in any bookstore) on the topic. I did it very slowly, with my brother doing the lion’s share of the editing and formatting. I just knew this knowledge needed to be out there.
Shortly after this I found low dose naltrexone and, over a period of several months, experienced marked improvement in sleep and then other symptoms. So, of course, I increased my researching and blog writing so that I could share what I was learning with others.
Around this time I began regularly meditating because it helped me rest in a way I had never been able to do so before. I also met a pain specialist who introduced me to the idea of central sensitization and the central nervous system’s involvement. This idea has slowly developed over the years.
Now I meditate daily, practice yoga, particularly restorative yoga (a type of yoga that helps calm the central nervous system) and plenty of deep breathing. I have really calmed my central nervous system. And I have been sharing all about that on the blog for this entire time. I am also able to teach other people how to do these things, through my programs.
We have over 800 women in the Pregnancy and Parenting with Chronic Pain, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia Facebook group where we chat trying to conceive, pregnancy, nursing and parenting every day. Having a community at my fingertips during my second and third pregnancies was such a blessing and the members love being able to chat and ask questions of other mamas with the same experience (it isn’t the same in the general pregnancy groups). We also have over 150 people in the Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Inner Circle Facebook group where we chat managing chronic pain, fatigue, fibromyalgia every day. I love being able to chat with other proactive people and share my learning with them!
I continue learning and applying my knowledge every single day because I want to stop others having to become the “expert”. I want to cut down other people’s journey so they don’t have to work so hard to improve.