Barbara Keddy, BSc.N., M.A., Ph.D., Professor Emerita, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Contact: bkeddy [at] dal [dot] ca
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I have lived with fibromyalgia for about 40 years. I live in a coastal city in Eastern Canada subjected to dampness and difficult weather conditions which aggravate fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I experience chronic pain and like most women who are often not believed I wonder at the audacity of those who think that since fibromyalgia is not visible it does not exist. Ah! But I no longer believe that fibromyalgia is totally hopeless and I am currently working on a program that is helping me understand the nature of my pain and how best to increase my mobility and turn my life around. It is an on-going journey, a work in progress.
For all of my professional career I had been interested in issues pertaining to social justice and in particular, women and health and the extent to which it has been sorely neglected. Many years ago I therefore began a research study which I had a close personal interest in exploring, given my own history. As the classic feminist saying goes: “The personal is political”. The project involved interviewing many, many women who had also lived, as I had, with the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia for many years, wihout much hope of our lives becoming visible.
The result is two books: Women and Fibromyalgia: Living with an Invisible Dis-ease, and Fibromyalgia: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Dis-ease, both published by iUniverse, and can be ordered here.
I wish now I had been able to meet with and interview the many others whose lives have been affected by this condition, such as men, children, lesbian, gay, trans gendered, bi-sexual, cultural and ethnic groups who differ substantially from those in the book. This could be my next endeavor. However, I have received many e mails and blog comments from people whose experiences have not yet been brought forth and I hope to receive many more.