by Kate Snider
Cindy Amante has had fibromyalgia since she was 7 years old. She gets severe pains in her leg, and sometimes it even hurts to walk. When she was young, one doctor told her not to run because he thought she had arthritis.
Since her childhood, Cindy has used that doctor’s advice as a crutch so she wouldn’t have to run. As she got older, her leg started to hurt more so she backed off on nearly all physical activity. When her leg pain flared up, she’d curl up on the couch. She wouldn’t walk. She wouldn’t run. She’d just sit.
Last year, Cindy was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She tried to find something to help her deal with the pain of fibromyalgia. Cindy doesn’t like being on medications, but she tried one prescribed by her regular doctor. Unfortunately, she was allergic to it.
She saw a specialist who referred her to The Pain Center at Mary Free Bed. Cindy liked that the clinicians at The Pain Center helped her find alternative ways to manage the pain, such as stretches and relaxation techniques.
As part of the Fibromyalgia Program, Cindy learned that the endorphins released during physical activity would help with her leg pain. This served as a motivating factor to make exercise a part of her life and she soon took up running.
A former smoker, Cindy remembers feeling like she was going to die during her first mile. Despite difficulty breathing and feeling out of shape, she continued running.
Now, just a few months after that first run, she runs almost every day with a personal record of 15 miles in one run. She plans to compete in the 25K at the Fifth Third River Bank Run. After the River Bank Run, she plans to run a half marathon and the Grand Rapids Marathon.
- Widespread pain
- Persistent fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
- Morning stiffness
- Bowel and bladder irritability
- Mood disturbances