07 Sep Voices of Fibro-Jesina Colbert
My name is Jesina Colbert, and I am from Baton Rouge, LA. I am married with 2 toddlers. I am a substitute teacher when I’m able to make it to work, and I enjoy painting and dancing.
I first realized there was something different about my health when I was 19 years old. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia when I was 22 years old. The Fibro diagnosis has definitely changed my life. It has changed a lot. I know I’m not crazy now… and the doctors know it, too. I finally know what I have, and I’m able to find a way to treat it.
I have had to make changes in my life such as working full time and the way I play with my children. I have had to change my sleep time in hopes of getting any. Even my marriage has been affected because I’m often in too much pain to want to be held.
So, my family initially wasn’t really affected by the news of my illness. I didn’t share it with everyone initially. The only person I told was my Grandma. She was very supportive because she was dealing with something similar.
The most challenging aspect of Fibro… That’s a hard one because it’s all difficult. I guess it would have to be the fatigue. I have two toddlers so it’s hard to not have the energy to do things with them.
I’m somewhat open with friends & family about my illness and symptoms. I don’t volunteer to speak about it if I’m not asked. Just because of the stigma that hangs over it. I don’t want everyone to feel like I’m “always” hurting or complaining.
Beside Fibro, I have been diagnosed with IBS and chronic migraines.
The best advice I have received regarding Fibromyalgia I’ve gotten has got to be to relax, because I’m not going to be able to do it all, all the time.
I hardly manage my Fibromyalgia, honestly. I haven’t found anything or anyone that knows how to really help. I’ve been put on a medication regime, but it’s hard to remember to take it, or to take it at all because it makes me more fatigued.
My biggest inspiration was my Grandma. She just passed from having Sarcoidosis. She had been struggling with it for a while, but she never let that keep her from being the best person she could be. She was always there for my kids and I, she never missed a beat.
My biggest battles now are my depression and trying to get up and staying active. I force myself to get up honestly. I tell myself you don’t have a choice, because people depend on you. I also pray daily. Works without prayer is dead, so I do both consistently.
The best thing that happened to me due to my illness is that I know I’m not alone, that they’re others out there. The worst thing is when everything hits at one time, I go down like a ton of bricks. It makes my family feel like I’m not interested in them when all I want is to get up and be with them.
I balance out Fibro with my life by knowing that the pain I may be feeling at the moment is temporary. My professional life has taken a bigger hit because it’s hard to stand up and be involved with children when I feel like I’m falling apart. I’ve had to go part time.
I struggle with depression and anxiety, and it’s gotten worse over the years. I pray first, and I take medications to help balance me out when I feel like I’m going off the deep end. I also do things that calm me, like dancing or cooking.
My words of encouragement for others living with Fibro would be that it does get easier to manage. You will always have tough days, but with prayer and exercise you will have more good days than tough ones. The one thing I have learned about myself since my diagnosis is that I’m a so much stronger than I knew. I am resilient and tough.
The most important piece of advice I would give to someone newly diagnosed with Fibro is “Do not let anyone make you feel like you’re crazy or like you don’t know your body. Find a good routine and a great support system.” I want people to know that I am not my conditions, and I don’t see myself as a victim or patient and neither should you.
I raise awareness through social media and by speaking to others that are struggling to see a light at the end of their tunnels. I am a Fibro warrior because I am not allowing my conditions to beat me. I am not my conditions, I am ME. I push myself ahead despite the difficulty of it.