How My Marriage Survived Fibromyalgia


How My marriage survived fibromyalgia marriage survived fibromyalgia How My Marriage Survived Fibromyalgia mccullough wedding photoMy Marriage Survived Fibromyalgia

“In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, in good times and in bad…”  The reason those phrases are part of the marriage vows is because those are some of the top reasons people break up.  So when people are experiencing sickness, lack of money, and are in bad times, how do they stay together?  How did my husband, Carl, and I stay together and still get along during the years of me being ill

If you are not aware of my story, I’ll tell it here briefly.  I started to feel the effects of fibromyalgia in my early twenties.  A year before I met my husband, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which was over seven years after I started experiencing symptoms.  At that time I was able to work and carry on a fairly normal life, but I was in quite a bit of pain and sometimes the fatigue was overwhelming.

My husband and I had been engaged to be married for only a week when I was injured in an accident at work.  That was the start of me becoming disabled from working.  That was about fifteen years ago now and I have not worked at a “nine-to-five” job since.  For the first eight years it was because of necessity, fortunately now, it is by choice.

At the time, even before we were married, I actually had to resign from my job.  It was one of the worst days of my life.  I felt defeated.  Some “well-meaning” relatives, in an attempt to buck me up, I supposed, said hurtful things to me like, “Carl doesn’t want to marry a sick woman.”  How did they presume to know what Carl did or did not want?  Fortunately, Carl wanted me and the feeling was sincerely ret

I know that being ill breaks up marriages and relationships.  When I was sick I pretty much lost all my friends and it strained my relationships with my family.  Really the only person I had in the whole world was my husband.

I felt like a modern-day Job, from the Old Testament of The Bible.  In that story he lost everything, his children, money, health and all of his possessions.  The only things he had left were his wife, a few judgmental friends, and his faith.  Some theologians suggest that the reason he still had his wife was because she was there as a mirror to reflect and magnify his suffering.  I can identify with this because when I imagined myself through my husband’s eyes, it made me feel even more depressed.

I give my husband all due credit for keeping our marriage intact through the years of my illness.  He is a person of high integrity and very little ego.  He is a mellow sort who takes life as it comes, but even he would get frustrated at times and feel helpless.  He really is very agreeable and the nicest person I have ever had the pleasure to know.  He is consistent and nurturing.  Getting to know one human being on such a deep level has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life.

1. We are nice to each other – We really try to be as considerate as possible to the other.  We still say “please” and “thank you.”  We always kiss each other hello, goodbye and goodnight.  We say “I love you” every day.  This may not seem like an astounding secret, but I have seen many couples lose their spark due to this.

2. We are Cooperative – My husband and I strive to be cooperative with each other.  If one wants something done a particular way, the other tries to respect that.  We also support each other’s goals.  You will NEVER hear me say anything negative about my husband to anyone.  Period.  It is not a topic of discussion.  If I have an issue with him, I speak only to him about it and no one else.  I also strive to tell him as soon as possible, before it escalates into a big deal.  However, I will sing my husband’s praises to anyone who will listen.  In this way I minimize the negatives and maximize the positives of our relationship.

3. We take time for Intimacy –  is more than sex and it is an important part of a marriage.  When a person is sick, sex may not only seem like a hassle, but painful as well.  People may start to resent their partner.  This is poison for a marriage!  First, find a way to forgive yourself, then find a way to forgive your partner.  Make time for yourself and for each other.

If it has been a while since you have been intimate, take it slowly.  Start with holding hands or gentle hugs.  When there are times when you feel less bad than others, this is the time to try to initiate or accept intimacy.  Let your partner know that you want to have an intimate relationship with him/her, but you don’t know what you can and can’t do.  Let the partner know you will just have to go by how you feel.

There may be times when a person is in so much pain they can’t even hold hands.  Try to have a conversation by candle light together.  Do things to connect with each other.  Intimacy doesn’t have to include sex, just take the time to make the connection with your partner.

4. We respect our Commitment – For people who are married or in a long-term committed relationship, it is important to realize that illness not only affects you, it affects everyone who lives with you.  That thought may make you feel worse at first, but remember, you hitched your star to your partner’s wagon too.  You are in this together, come what may.  So when you share your burdens they become lighter.  When you share your happiness it becomes magnified.  Celebrate the smallest victories!

5. We love each other deeply –  I take that as a given if you are married.  Life can be so hard sometimes that the only thing left to cling to is the love.  Always, always, always turn to each other; there is strength in two together that is not present in two separately.

So there you have it:  our marriage survived fibromyalgia, because we were nice to each other, we cooperated, we kept intimacy at the forefront, and we stuck to our commitment to each other.  And all along the way we have truly loved and still truly love and appreciate each other.  When I recovered from fibromyalgia we had a great foundation to build the good times to come.  We know we can depend on each other forever, and that is a prize worth pursuing.

In the month of February we celebrate love, and it is my sincerest hope for you to have all the love you want in life!

Yours in joy and health,



A Reader’s Question: Natural Solutions to Pain

Leah Answers Questions natural solutions to pain A Reader's Question: Natural Solutions to Pain Reader QuestionsA Twitter follower reached out with this question: “What is the best natural pain med you have found? I’m a Veteran with fibro. The #VA has taken away all my pain meds. PlzHelp.”

You might be shocked by my answer…

I asked this veteran if he had tried medical marijuana, if he lives in a state where it’s legal.  He responded that he had tried it to 80% reduction in pain but no longer lives in a state where it’s legal.

Medical marijuana, while based on an herb, is still a pharmaceutical and should be taken under the supervision of a qualified health care professional.  Today’s hybridized marijuana is nothing like the herb my great-grandmother occasionally collected in the mountains of Tennessee where it grew wild.  She made an herbal tea when someone had pain.Option for Natural Pain Relief natural solutions to pain A Reader's Question: Natural Solutions to Pain MedMPhoto

The other suggestion I gave him was to try California Poppy Extract.  This solution is not supposed to make you feel euphoric, or high, but it can help you to relax.  You can get it o
n the internet or from a health care professional that sells Standard Process.

In the longer term, natural solutions to pain are getting rid of toxins in your body, eliminate pain-producing foods such as sugar and grains, and heal your gut.  I talk about this extensively in my book Freedom from Fibromyalgia: 7 Steps to Complete RecoveryYou can read the introduction here. 

Until then, realize pain is a symptom your body is giving you to tell you something is terribly wrong.  It is important to listen to your body, even if it’s giving you bad news.  Where there is life, there is hope.

Nominated for the WEGO Health Activist Award – Vote Until Jan 31.

Vote for The Fibro Lady!  Nominated for the WEGO Health Activist Award - Vote Until Jan 31. Screen Shot 2015 01 16 at 7Hi, all!  I’ve been nominated for the WEGO Health Activist Award for 2014!  I am deeply honored by this recognition and for the opportunity to get the message out to more people that fibromyalgia recovery is possible.  Please take a moment to vote, or as they call it, “endorse,” me at this link before January 31st .  The awards are not solely based on the number of votes one receives, but it is a determining factor.  Also be sure to let your friends know about this too.  This is a fantastic opportunity to spread the word! I am so humbled and grateful to be a part of it!

Yours in joyful health!