Tag Archives: fibromyalgia

Drop the Label!!

A reoccurring theme in my writings whether career or personal is my hatred for labels especially those that are damaging. Whether on this blog or in my essays I have long since made it clear that when you label me, you are limiting me and creating a barrier of understanding. Sure, I can have opinions that can be easily tagged but that says more about the needs of the reader or listener than my own experience.

Why am I exploring this issue? Well, there are days when I have felt exposed to criticism that is unfounded and pigeon holed for convenience.  Simply put, I feel a need to wipe clean any labels attached to me that are serving the agenda of someone else who wishes to define who I am or why I think the way I do.

As a person who happens to have Fibromyalgia, it is easy for anyone to put any discomfort I may be experiencing directly to my condition. Whether warranted or not, many times when seeking medical assistance I  have opted out of revealing my condition because of bias and judgements that can lead to misdiagnosis. That is dangerous and practitioners would be wise to not “label” everything as a symptom of Fibromyalgia. In fact, I manage my condition well without the aid of conventional medicine and can fully discern the differences in my body.

Though openly regarded as “a feminist” it is a disconcerting habit of people (mainly men) to attach the stereotypical labels to just about anything I talk about, do or not do. As if I am incapable of having strong opinion or feeling without it being attached to the feminist majority, “My God, could it just be that I think, as Jennifer!” Not everything that passes through my mind or mouth has a feminist slant to it but here comes the label anyway. Mostly it is attached when the aim is for me to respect or accept something I can’t. I may not accept something in my life or society for a myriad of other reasons but “feminism” is as good a reason as any to negate my position rather than open ones mind to the possibilities.

When I was in grade school I was labeled an “average student”, below average if you check out my math scores. It was not easy for me, school never was a place where I felt comfortable. My learning styles are visual and auditory, show me how to do it or talk to me and I will get it, plop that book in front of me and I will be there awhile. The label of being less than average made for some difficult decisions when exploring further education as an adult. Despite the label I managed to move beyond it and did extremely well as an adult learner in college/university. My average is high and I am proud of it!

It is by no accident that I cringe when, as I have mentioned before, a student, client, friend or family member is assigned a label I know will cause a barrier where one should not exist. My disdain causes me to work even harder to break the cycle a psychological limitation. It is in our nature to want to make sense of something and in this day in age we are given plenty to research once the label has been summarily assigned. Hence, why there are so many people out there sharing before they even start an activity all the reasons why they won’t succeed.

I’m about to be 45 years of age, another detail about me that now hits the masses. For my 45th year I would like all labels to be dropped, I am no longer wishing to be defined by any of the above or anything else in the future. I have earned the right to think what I think, feel what I feel and do what I do without the convenience of attaching labels. I hereby state that if you choose to assign a label to me I will no longer honor it, nor respond to it, it is irrelevant.

My name is Jennifer. My professional titles are career and self esteem coach, workshop facilitator, writer and blogger. My personal titles are friend, daughter, sister, wife, cousin and aunt. Everything else means nothing to me.

Massage Therapy

Due in large part to Fibromyalgia my muscles can seize up quiet a lot and massage therapy is the primary source of relief. I refuse to take medication and believe strongly that diet, exercise and a more positive outlook are essential to my pain management.  Everyone is the best judge of what works for them and so it is no surprise that there are multiple therapies from which to choose.

My massage therapist, Candice, is fabulous! So, I asked her to share with you some points about Registered Massage Therapists and what to discuss before your make an appointment. (This information may also be helpful to those who are considering a career in this field.)


The Registered Massage Therapy program is a 3000 hour program in British Columbia, Canada. BC has the highest accreditation for Massage Therapy training in North America.  Although the program is an extensive amount of work, we come out of it highly qualified and with clinical experience. It is interesting that all Registered Massage Therapist’s (RMT’s) in BC receive the same training and have the same clinical hours but all practice so differently. I have yet to experience the same treatment from two different RMT’s.

RMT’s in BC are required to obtain a certain amount of credits every year to remain registered. There are a magnitude of courses to choose from including craniosacral, sports injury, systemic illnesses, reflexology, pregnancy and so many more. This is where we extend our knowledge and experience in different directions for our individual practices.

With so many people giving treatments I think there are a few important things a person should discuss before booking an appointment:

1. Are they registered? A person who is considered a RMT has completed the 3000 hour program in BC and passed the board exams. They are a member of the College of Massage Therapist of BC. You can contact this association to check if someone is a RMT in good standing with the college.

Many places, generally spas, offer massage but they may not be registered. The training for a spa massage is different than an RMT. RMT’s are trained to treat conditions specifically and safely for each individual. There is nothing wrong with spa massage treatments, I am simply stating the difference in the two types.

2. Tell the person the general reason for booking an appointment. Although we are trained on all conditions we often focus on an area of interest or have particular strengths. Giving a brief description on the condition you have, insures you will be put with the appropriate therapist. Ultimately, it’s our goal as RMT’s to ensure you receive the best care for your condition that we can provide. This means listening to your concerns and booking you with the most suitable person.

3. If your RMT isn’t the right fit, seek out another. All therapists are different and all patients are different. We do not get offended if a combination doesn’t fit, or if a patient sees another RMT. Look for someone who has a particular interest in the treatment of your condition.

It is the combination of preventative health care along with rehabilitation that leaves people feeling healthy and cared for. Our main focus is to ensure that all patients receive the attention and care that they deserve.  When a patient doesn’t need to book any more appointments and is feeling healthy, we consider the treatment a true success!

Candice works in South Surrey, BC at Karen J. Smith and Associates.

Fibromyalgia Battle

I don’t normally take the time to talk about my own health but lately my body seems to waging a war inside. It appears that due to some unexplainable reasons there is a war erupting within my body. It is a battle of the muscle groups!

From what I can gather from my intelligence, each group is jockeying for power and control. The sources conclude it may be due to weather changes, but that has not been confirmed. What I do know so far is:

The calf muscles decided that the morning is a good time to attack thus rendering me unable to properly put my feet on the floor. The neck muscles thought it would be great to go on the offensive with the inability to turn my head without major restrictions. The hips are a night time stalker, waiting until midway through my sleep to tense up, causing me to flip sides every twenty minutes or so. The knees have been put out of this bedtime battle with the long time use of a pillow between them. A pillow my husband likes to jokingly refer to as my “crotch rocket” but I tried to explain the pillow is for my knees, not my crotch.

The shoulder blades are restricting some natural movement with the left side showing off its unique ability to protrude out from time to time. Not very stealth like. The hands amazingly have remained fairly cooperative, hence allowing me to send out this message. I’m trying not to antagonize any remaining muscle groups given that the battle for pain supremacy could get worse if I do anything to provoke the body.

Good eating habits have been implemented, a stand by on all athletic missions that may lead to further injury. Stretching is permissible and light weights have been dispatched in an effort to give each muscle group a sense that they are being listened to. What I am hoping to accomplish is some peace, an end to the conflict.

All of this has caused some exhaustion due to sleep irregularities, but I am confident this too shall pass. A peace agreement will be drawn up yet again, and I will hopefully obtain yet another seize fire. Fibromyalgia is an ongoing battle but I always manage to eventually get all sides to at least work together…until some symptom decides to crop up and spoil it.

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