The road to diagnosis and management of fibromyalgia is different for everyone. Each person has unique triggers behind their symptoms. Learn how Mymee helped Candace identify her triggers, manage her symptoms, and get her life back.
Meet Candace, living with fibromyalgia.
Just over two years ago, Candace and her family took a trip to "the happiest place on Earth." But Candace was in too much pain to enjoy her Disney vacation. Her knees hurt, and she couldn't keep up with her three young daughters as they went through the park.
"I had body pain and numbness at the same time," Candace explained. "I saw a neurologist and a rheumatologist after our trip, but they were unable to put a finger on what was happening to me." Even though Candace didn't like taking pain medication, she took Neurontin but found that it didn't help with her symptoms. "I wanted to figure out how to feel better, not just treat my symptoms."
Candace has fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes constant pain and presents symptoms ranging from soreness, stiff muscles, numbness, and tingling to joint pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. It's a widely misunderstood condition that significantly impacts a person's quality of life.
Candace is not alone – an estimated 10 million Americans have fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose. Nothing shows up on x-rays or lab tests, which led many doctors to discredit the condition. For decades, some doctors told fibromyalgia patients (overwhelmingly female) that the pain is "all in their heads."
The medical community now widely believes that fibromyalgia pain is real, with some health care professionals theorizing that there's a glitch in how the body perceives pain.
Desperate for relief, Candace chose to follow a strict diet and slowly began to feel better. After a while, this elimination diet was not sustainable. Candace could not connect symptoms with her environmental and dietary triggers. She still experienced random flare-ups and had to work too hard to eat the "right" things.
Her symptoms then returned in full force in 2020.
Being in constant pain was hard enough, but it also affected how Candace interacted with her daughters. "I was tired all the time, and I felt like I was losing it all over again," Candace recalled. "I used to say 'patience is a virtue I just don't have,' but not feeling good at all made me even less patient. I was angry and negative and snapped at the silliest question."
Candace felt miserable and was unable to function. She couldn't enjoy herself because she couldn't do anything due to her pain. "Everything hurt... I told my doctor that I wanted my life back."
For example, constipation – which had affected her nearly her entire life - disappeared once she identified and removed the triggers for her symptoms. Not only did she start to feel physically better, but her anxiety level also improved. "Once you understand how good you can feel, it's not hard to say no to foods you can't eat."
Now, Candace is back to playing with her kids.
Candace credits her "incredible coach" for teaching her how to make the important correlations between her diet and her symptoms. Candace says her coach recognized, constructively and compassionately, that while Candace is accountable for her actions, her illness is not her fault.
"First, being able to track was instrumental in helping me understand that I really wasn't treating myself like I thought I was. But having someone hold you accountable for what you do makes you think a lot harder before popping something into your mouth. That someone was my incredible coach, who always gave me great encouragement. Together, we discussed achievable goals that I set for myself."
In addition to feeling better from her fibromyalgia symptoms, Candace says she now has more energy and patience as a mother. "I'm communicating better with my kids, and I am able to play with them. I couldn't even kick a ball before Mymee, and now I'm working out three times a week with my 8-year-old. I think that's amazing!
Not only are we able to do something together, but I can instill healthy habits and teach her how to take care of herself at the same time." Candace also exercises on her own, something she does even though she "hates doing it."
Candace is committed to a personalized lifestyle and credits Mymee for the change. "First, you have to commit to yourself and to your health," she says. "There are so many benefits to the Mymee program - I don't even know where to begin. What I can say is that I love the program and think it's the most wonderful thing, and I recommend it to everyone. It really is possible to get your life back."