03 Aug Voices of Fibro-Jason Schutz
My name is Jason Schutz, I am from Mertztown, Pennsylvania. I am married with three kids, a dog and a cat. I enjoy family time, camping, football, hockey and gardening.
I first realized there was something different about my health, when I was 13 years old. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2014 at 38 years old. At that time, it gave me a diagnosis and some answers to questions I had been searching for a long time. My kids and current wife have been amazing and understanding to my situation. My ex-wife is a different story. Even though she works in healthcare she was adamant it was all just in my head and I needed to get over it.
The changes I have had to make in my life are that I had to slow down. I recently gave up the Company I owned, as I could no longer handle the work. I am currently applying for disability. The most challenging aspect of Fibro for me is the everyday pain and fatigue. I have few days where I am not in a bad place physically.
I used to not be open at all with friends & family about my illness and symptoms. In the last year and a half, I have opened and am an advocate for Fibro and other chronic pain/ illnesses. My wife and kids are my inspiration. I also have several friends who are patient advocates that truly inspire me!
I have various coexisting conditions: Tourette’s, Trigeminal neuralgia, Occipital neuralgia, Migraines, Degenerative disk disease, Small fiber neuropathy, Depressions, Anxiety, Neuro-bladder issues, Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
I manage Fibro by recently going a healthier route after some serious side effects from Lyrica. My state has opened medical cannabis and it has been a huge help. I am now off 80%of my pharmaceutical meds and still dropping more. I also am trying to eat healthier, exercise when I can, do stretches and such. Every day is different, and I never know what I can and cannot do until that day, but I try and push thru things if I can.
My biggest battle right now is the undesired effects from Lyrica and what it has done to my body. Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice but to confront them head on. I must embrace them and do what I can to live with them now as they are permanent.
The best thing that has happened to me due to my illness was finally having an answer, so I could now treat it and move on without feeling like I was some lost case or screwed up. The worst for me is the side effects and problems with medication. For me they are worse than the symptoms being treated.
I have struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a child. I keep my mental health balanced by practicing mindful meditation, tai chi, and the help of a mental health professional.
My words of encouragement for anyone living with Fibro are “You are not crazy and not alone. Your voice is important. So, act and help us make the world aware and find ways to help us. Speak with your local government. Help the nonprofits. Play a part in research”.
The one thing I have learned most about myself since my diagnosis is that I am stronger than I ever gave myself credit for!!! The most important piece of advice I would give to someone newly diagnosed with Fibro is “Don’t give up! Don’t let your doctor, friends, family or anyone else tell you nothing is wrong. You live with this and know your body better than anyone else. Fight for yourself!”
I am involved in raising awareness, I am a patient advocate for Fibro and other diagnosis. I coordinate a support group locally and online.
I am a Fibro warrior because I try each day to educate and bring awareness to myself and Fibro as well as my many other diagnoses. As a warrior I stand tall.