Suffolk woman aiming to raise awareness of fibromyalgia
PUBLISHED: 15:53 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:53 11 September 2018
A Bury St Edmunds woman is striving to raise awareness of an invisible condition which has "completely changed" her life.
Deborah Lumley-Holmes, 57, says little is known about Fibromyalgia and lots of cases go undiagnosed because the symptoms are so complex.
Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain and profound fatigue, and the pain tends to be felt as diffuse aching or burning – which can change location in the body.
People with mild to moderate cases of fibromyalgia are usually able to live a normal life but if symptoms are severe, people may not be able to work or enjoy a social life.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia but medications, self care strategies and lifestyle modifications can make living with the condition easier in some cases.
Last week Fibromyalgia Awareness Week aimed to highlight the condition and how it can affect people’s lives.
Ms Lumley-Holmes, whose symptoms are severe, said she wants to challenge the misconceptions regarding the condition.
“It was 15 years before I was diagnosed,” she said. “I was told my symptoms were a variety of things and that it was all in my head.
“I was a very active person who ran my own beauty therapy business. But I had to give that up three years ago and now use a mobility scooter and have help.
“My condition can change very rapidly, if I do something active like going into town on the scooter then I’m usually laid up for two or three days.
“There’s no cure, so it’s about how your manage your symptoms.”
Fibromyalgia is a common illness which affects an estimated one million people in the UK.
Last year, pop singer Lady Gaga cancelled a leg of her world tour due to her ongoing battle with the condition.
As well as pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia symptoms can also often include headaches, clumsiness and dizziness and sensitivity to changes in the weather and to noise, bright lights, smoke and other environmental factors.
Ms Lumley-Holmes said: “There is a stigma with invisible illness. Just last month, someone said, ‘you don’t need that scooter’ and they don’t realise how much pain I’m in.
“All the time it’s a fight to get better.”
More information on fibromyalgia is available from the Fibromyalgia Action website at www.fmauk.org