Fibromyalgia & the Lemon Law

One of the most common questions asked at my support group meetings is this:  What can I do to feel better?

Leader Against Pain Action Network member Tami Stacklehouse of Tigard, Oregon, says, "There are lots of things I could list that have made a difference in my life: supportive doctors, lifestyle changes, correct medications at appropriate times, nutrition, sleep... It’s definitely been more than 'one magic bullet.'  When pressed to narrow this list down to one thing, I say:  'Learning to practice good self care is the key.'"

Self care has been defined as the care of oneself without medical, professional, or other assistance or oversight. [1] This definition feels a little too general and not quite complete.  I like to define self care this way: treating yourself the way that you would treat someone that you love. Self care isn’t about spending money or getting massages.  It's not really about eating nutritious food or going to bed on time, either.  Self care is about the attitude you have towards yourself. 

When you wake up in the morning and feel exhausted, stiff, and like someone beat you in your sleep, do you groan and think, “Stupid body! Why can’t I have just one day where you're not screaming at me?” Or do you offer yourself a little extra care, grace, and support to make the morning easier?

What are the words that you say to yourself?
How do you treat yourself when nobody is looking?

The Lemon Law

lemons 282x284I have always had a body that didn't ​quite work ​ the way it should.  My parents like to say that they took my sister to the doctor for repair and me to the doctor for maintenance.  She was a daredevil tomboy, but I was sick.  A lot.  I distinctly remember getting frustrated as a teenager with chronic headaches.  I visited a neurologist and heard, "There's nothing wrong with you. Everything is perfectly normal; you just have headaches." I thought, "What is 'perfectly normal' about constant, daily headaches?"

I remember praying these words, "God, why did you give me this defective body?  If I was a car, I would have qualified for the Lemon Law by now! Can't you just fix me?"

Now I have a fibro body.  I used to treat my body like it was a donkey that was there to do my bidding.  I would push it and prod it and force it to do what I needed it to do.  In fact, I treated my body just like many people treat their computers or office equipment, “Why won’t this darn thing work? I’ll show it who’s boss!”

No wonder my body often responded by not supporting me the way I needed it to … and by being as stubborn as a donkey!

Whose team are you on?

To live my best life with fibromyalgia, I must pay attention to my body. I have to take care of myself, honor my body, and know my limits.  I need to treat myself the way I would treat my most cherished friend or family member.  I need to remember that my body isn't the enemy -- fibromyalgia is.  My body and I are on the same team, fighting the same enemy, and we need to support each other.  I'll give my body the support it needs so that it can be there for me when I need it.

Coaching for your team

I would like to invite you to join me in February as I talk more about self care and the role it can play in our healing journey.

How to Be Sick without Being a Donkey (or The Fine Art of Self Care)
Free Webinar by: Tami Stackelhouse, Fibromyalgia Coach
Wednesday, February 18th, 6:30-8:00 PM Pacific time

During this webinar, you will begin your own self care action plan, including two separate toolboxes to help when brain fog and flare-ups strike.

You will also learn:
About Tami
Tami Stackelhouse encourages hope and healing for fibromyalgia and ME/CFS patients as a coach, advocate, and co-founder of the Fibromyalgia-ME/CFS Support Center, Inc.  A fibromyalgia patient herself, Tami has gone from disabled to thriving.  Her compassion, gentle support, and fun coaching style help chronically fabulous patients take control of their lives.  Learn how at:

1. “self-care.” The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 18 Jan. 2015. <>.