Sharon

IMG 7252
  • Location Slough
  • Type of Arthritis Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia just over a year ago, but a headache specialist believed it has been part of my problems for over two years.  I saw a rheumatologist around two years ago, I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis throughout my body. I’ve had problems with my knees since I was about 16 to 17 years old as I used to run.  When I was 16 years old, I got hit by car when I was on my bike. It wasn’t severe enough to go into hospital but ever since then I’ve had a constant ache in my back which I think was the start of my mobility problems.

I also have epilepsy & chronic migraines. With the drugs I take for epilepsy it’s hard to know if it’s side effects or something going wrong. The new epilepsy drug I’m taking often gives fibromyalgia like symptoms. Sometimes I think it’s a side effect so let it run for a bit and then realise it’s my health.

I’m not a woe is me person. I like to have fun as much as my body allows me. I’ve been with my husband Mark for 21 years; we go on holiday when we can, unless I’m really feeling low but most of the time you won’t get me feeling low.

I’ve been drawing for a long time. I used to sketch in hospital. People would know I was feeling really bad if I wasn’t sketching. My hands were hurting but I didn’t want to lose the ability to draw. I wanted to find a way of continuing to draw, even though I might have to changes things. Some days are good but some days I daren’t do anything but then again, it might seem foolish but I’m if the mood to paint I just go with it.

If you saw me 18 months ago my hands were really stiff and I had such pain in my elbow. I had things to go over my elbows which I still use when the weather is really cold. Sometimes the pain goes right through me and it won’t budge. The warmth helps alleviates the pain. I have 4-6 showers per day to help ease the pain.

I try and get out as much as my body will allow. We go out to take photos which I use for inspiration. Sometimes I don’t feel well enough to get out of the car so Mark goes out and does it. It’s all about getting out and experiencing life and not letting it pass you by.

I don’t get out every day but most days. Mark has changed his hours at work so he has the middle of the day free. If the weather is nice and we have a window we’ll try and get out. It’s just adapting what you can do. If it’s difficult to walk I’ll stop and Mark will go and get the car.

I had a wheelchair for a bit but I thought the problem with using a wheelchair is you get used to not using your legs properly and although it hurts like hell sometimes I’d rather try to walk and do as much as I can. I used it recently so I didn’t have to use my sticks and put my shopping in it!

I’ve been supporting Arthritis Care for about a year and a half now, by donating money raised from some of the artwork I’ve sold. I think it’s a really good support resource for people with arthritis and although I haven’t used their services yet it’s good to know it’s there if I need it.

My advice to people would be to make the best of it. Do things because you don’t know when you’ll get the chance to do things if it gets bad. It hurts but it’s a balance you need to know how much to do and when the pain starts to get bad, know where to stop. 

  • You can see Sharon's amazing artwork on her website.
  • If you'd like to do something yourself to donate to Arthritis Care, you can download our fundraising pack

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