The first aim of the Fibromyalgia Support Network is to provide support networks and education for people diagnosed with the condition of Fibromyalgia
Functions such as our High Tea on International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day meet this particular aim. We are supporting each other by being involved with these important events. We can observe how wonderful we are all looking; confirming for us all that it is possible to live a good life despite the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. This support is also evident through our monthly meetings and online forums, newsletters, coffee mornings, and Facebook group.
The second aim of the Fibromyalgia Support Network is to educate health professionals in the management of symptoms of Fibromyalgia
We are increasing the knowledge base of many health professionals by being the face of Fibromyalgia at our medical consultations, by asking difficult questions and by requiring answers and referrals. As a health professional myself I can tell you that much of my clinical knowledge and wisdom over the years has come from my patients. Many GPs would not yet be aware that the first medication for Fibromyalgia, Milnacipran (Joncia) was approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia in November 2011. When the drug becomes available in mid-2012, the publicity around Fibromyalgia will be enormous as the drug company starts its educational campaign. The education of Health Professionals is ongoing. We can all play a part in our accurate descriptions of symptoms of Fibromyalgia during medical consultations.
The next aim of the Fibromyalgia Support Network is to increase community awareness of the implications of a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia
Increasing community awareness is a quiet ever moving invisible force that again comes from us as we talk to our neighbours, friends, family and work colleagues. Anybody really! We need to talk about what Fibromyalgia is; we need to educate our communities that for many of us with this condition, we may not always be at our best, at our most reliable. We have to overcome the stigma of our supposed hypochondria and educate the uneducated in this matter. This is what increases community awareness. I know it is sometimes easier to just be quiet and adjourn to wherever without an explanation. I encourage you all to start talking!
Another aim of the Fibromyalgia Support Network is to continue with the organisational development of the Fibromyalgia Support Network to ensure the provision of updated research information and associated management strategies for Fibromyalgia
We are developing a voice! The membership of the Fibromyalgia Support Network is now over 1,000. In our efforts to increase awareness of Fibromyalgia and maintain support for members, we as a committee have decided to not have membership fees so we can continue with our information distribution to you all. I know that with the cognitive dysfunction that accompanies Fibromyalgia, many of us may forget to send in the renewal membership anyway! Our Patron Associate Professor Geoffrey Littlejohn, Rheumatologist is a wonderful resource re the latest research within the Fibromyalgia area. We will continue to disseminate this information to members.
Developing awareness of a medical condition in any community is a mammoth task. Eleven of our twelve committee members have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. We figured that with 12 committee members, there should be 6 of us standing at any one time to form a quorum for our committee meetings. My thanks go to all of these amazing committee members. They are just so appreciated!
Finally, we need your assistance, your understanding, your patience, your talent and your support as members of the Fibromyalgia Support Network to continue this awareness campaign. Be patient with us, be one with us, support us where and when you can so we can learn from each other as to how to positively manage and live contentedly with Fibromyalgia. Remember we have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia; we are NOT Fibromyalgia!
C Kaye Brand PhD
Founder Fibromyalgia Support Network Inc.