Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2

K.S. Mueller's bio

My name is Kathy Mueller. People call me "K2", because there are so many Kathys out there!

I created this web site, Fibro Works, because I'm a working woman who has Fibromyalgia, and I realize that most people have no idea what Fibromyalgia is, or if they have heard of it they don't believe it's a real illness or don't understand the debilitating nature of this invisible disease.

A typical response to the announcement that I have Fibromyalgia is "You look fine."

No stranger to the affliction, I have lived with mild-to-moderate chronic body-wide pain since 1971 which became more chronic in 1980 after a serious automobile accident.

In 2003, after two back-to-back overseas trips followed by a three-week bout with the "the worst cold I ever had", I began experiencing daily chronic severe widespread pain and indescribable fatigue, plus other multiple symptoms characteristic of FMS which did not go away. Despite visiting a total of eight doctors in four years, all of my tests came back "normal".

Having researched FMS and its mimicker diseases (chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis and others) while being treated dismissively and even laughed at by several doctors, I was pre-diagnosed with FMS in 2006, and ultimately diagnosed with FMS in 2007.

A self-described workaholic, I went from working 12-hour days, 7 days a week to barely making it through three hours in the office a few days a week, and struggling to make it to work on time because of severely disordered sleep and excruciating pain. In the last three years, I have managed, with the help of doctors and the support of my wonderful boyfriend, to work my way back up to 6 hours a day in the office, two hours a day working at home "telecommuting", and most weekends off. I have not traveled overseas since 2004, because time zone changes and climate changes make my symptoms flare up very seriously.

Always a bit of a "class clown", before my diagnosis I often joked: "I haven't slept in years". My sleep disorder was so severe that I was startled awake 15 - 20 times a night for no apparent reason. I suffered from nocturnal bruxism which aggravated the TMJ I had developed after dislocating my jaw in that drunk-driving car crash many years ago (I was a passenger in the car). Anti-depressant medication for sleep and pain has helped, and I now sleep most nights 5 or 6 hours straight without waking up -- a miracle for me, since I had forgotten what it felt like to really sleep! We're still working on getting me up to 7 or 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

My active life as a canine enthusiast, vice president of a major student tour company, and companion to a great guy for 23 years was profoundly affected by my inability to make it through a day without bone-crushing fatigue and constant muscle and nerve pain that migrated throughout my whole body all day, every day. I was already living the life of Miss Polly Purebred, having given up cigarettes, alcohol, other drugs, and being a vegetarian for several decades! What more could I do to revise my lifestyle? It became as if I could do nothing because the slightest activity would put me into a flare.

Once I started to get the help I needed from a very bright and understanding physician, I decided I wanted to help others with FMS and similar chronic conditions. I started a Yahoo group focused on hard-to-diagnose syndromes, but still wanted to do even more. I realized that everything I read and saw about fibromyalgia seemed to have been "done already." I wanted to come up with a new and different focus, for women only, and for those like myself who have built successful careers that they want to keep despite the crushing daily pain, fatigue and often embarrassing other features of FMS.

Fibro Works was borne out of a need to do "something different" for myself and others living and working with FMS. It's now very trendy to "give back" to the community or the world at large, and that's what I'm doing. I don't have illusions of saving the world, but anything is possible!

A recent widow, K.S. Mueller writes short stories about dogs, cats and other topics during her spare time from her "real job" as a travel executive. Mueller lives in the farm country of central Massachusetts, with her dogs Charlie Brown and 3-legged Cooper; and three cats: Cali, Tux and Newman. Mueller has shared her life with dozens of dogs and cats since childhood, and volunteers for several animal-related non-profit organizations. She has lived with chronic pain, migraines, dysmenorrhea and fibromyalgia since childhood. In 2010, she discovered a box of letters written by her late parents during WWII, and is currently publishing those letters in a three-volume biography of the Mueller family.

Visit her web sites at www.ksmueller.com, www.k2k9.com, and studiowner.com

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