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Fibro Mama – Book Review

By | Caregiver, ePatient, Family man | One Comment

Fibro Mama: Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia by Melissa Reynolds

Odd, isn’t it? A book review about pregnancy and pain by a guy! Well, I’m a dad, an Opa (grandpa), registered nurse, and a patient activist.  I have Multiple Sclerosis and I know chronic illness and pain management. We had home births with a midwife at one and no midwife at another. Enough about me. I’m reviewing the book because Melissa asked me to.  Thanks, Melissa.

Look, no one knows someone else’s experience, it belongs to them. As Melissa says in her introduction, “I can give you tips about what worked for me. … However, in the end, it’s you putting one foot in front of the other.  That’s how we live, right?”

Lived experience and a dollar fifty will buy you a Pepsi. Lived experience + self-awareness  + systems thinking + good storytelling is golden. Add brevity and it’s priceless. Melissa’s book is priceless. Took me half an hour to read it through once. I marked it up and spent a couple of hours reading it again. Here are the best parts (for me, a guy, who will never be pregnant):

  1. 16 natural pain relief suggestions – I use many of these myself for muscle tension and cramping. Great list. I never tried oils. I may.
  2. The sections about the three trimesters, immediately post-delivery, and the first 6 weeks all include sleep, exercise, meditation, and a pain management plan.  They’re basic and vital. She lays it out for you.
  3. I can’t evaluate the extensive section on nursing except to say that it’s comprehensive and empowering. I always love the response, “there is no wrong choice”.
  4. Using help is big, really big. Melissa has a great care partner. She says to insist that s/he/they be allowed to be with you 24/7 whenever you’re a guest in an institution. Absolutely. Pregnant or not pregnant, fibromyalgia or no fibromyalgia, this is true.
  5. Last, but so not least – Tips to Cope with a Fussy Baby When You’re Sore. She’s buying minutes for you. Dad’s too.

Thanks for the opportunity to review this fine book. You can get it here.

 

See also:

How Many Words for Pain?

Managing Pain

A Caregiver is [Not] a Caregiver, is [Not] a Caregiver

Health Partners

Managing Pain

By | Caregiver, Clinician, Consumer, ePatient, Family man | No Comments
Several blog posts these past weeks on pain management. Read one here from Engage the Patient.  Everyone has pain.  Some are called stoic, some sensitive. I remember when my son, Mike, had a lung tumor removed.  Curled up in a fetal position, hardly able to breathe, he told a nurse that his pain was a 6!! A six?! How could that be? I was talking to someone this week, recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, about a new sensation in her abdomen – a pressure. As we explored the new sensation, she said, it’s not pain. It’s a pressure in the morning. It travels, one day here, the next day there in my abdomen. It doesn’t affect my life. It’s annoyingly noticeable. Gets better as the day progresses. I’ve found for myself, that becoming one with unpleasant, unwelcome, strange sensations helps me manage and not freak out too much. For me its neuropathy – electric, radiating tingles or zaps often in my hands and legs, sometimes elsewhere, lasting moments.  Seriously annoying, but doesn’t affect my life. Nowhere near as bad as a toothache. Acupuncture keeps it at bay, reducing intensity and frequency. It’s good to be intimately knowledgeable about pain and share that with your health team. What’s it like? How has it changed? What works to decrease it? What doesn’t? Some people welcome help understanding their pain better. Shouldn’t pain sensation, what helps and what doesn’t be core health information – included with medications, health team members, diagnoses, and procedures? I have found that people at the center of care get this, most health professionals and information technologists don’t. I’m sure they or their loved ones have pain too. What’s missing here?