Imagine having an illness and no one believes that you are sick. You are suffering with a debilitating condition and doctor after doctor tells you, “You’re okay.” This is what Trina Nicole, founder of Fly Girl with Fibro, experienced for years before she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She was persistent in getting the treatment she needed, and now she is on a mission to help others living with this condition do the same. With her book, Fly Girl with Fibro: Pushing Through the Pain, her podcast and her many speaking engagements, Trina Nicole is hoping that Fly Girl with Fibro becomes a movement that changes the way people see fibromyalgia, and those who have it.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a widespread muscular system condition that affects the joints and muscles. It causes pain throughout the body and comes with a bunch of other symptoms like fatigue, headaches and exhaustion. It is definitely not one size fits all. It affects different people in different ways. In speaking with other sufferers, one commonality I hear is that we’ve all experienced some type of trauma in our lives. To me, it’s all of the emotional pain, trauma, and secrets that we keep bottled up inside. That mental and emotional pain has to come out somehow, and if we don’t heal from it, it manifests into physical pain.
Tell us the story behind your diagnosis.
I have been dealing with symptoms of fibromyalgia for a few years. In my 20’s, it started with migraines. I also started having back pain in my right hip. I couldn’t walk. Doctors initially diagnosed me with bursitis in my right hip. I started having a lot of back and forth with doctors in my 20’s. What is this pain? I got dismissed a lot. Tests would show that I was healthy. Doctors would tell me that nothing was wrong with me. They sent me to physical therapy and told me to take ibuprofen. It wasn’t getting better, and no one was taking me seriously. My mom is a nurse, and she brought up fibromyalgia as a possibility. Physical therapy wasn’t working so my PT felt something else was going on with me. After two years and a few doctors, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I also got tested for other inflammatory diseases like arthritis. It was a relief to finally get a diagnosis and start treatment.
How has the condition impacted your role as a mother?
I have three boys. They are 15, 10 and 5. They are all very athletic. They are all involved in physical activity. I can’t always go to the games. They are starting to understand, especially the oldest; they understand mom needs to rest. It impacts our day to day life. I still work my corporate 9 to 5 job and my side hustles. I am juggling several things at once and taking care of myself. Household chores can be so exhausting. My oldest is responsible and helpful. It’s hard, because I don’t want to ask people for help, but I must. That feeling of guilt is the hardest thing to shake. Feeling so exhausted is my struggle right now.
What was the defining moment that inspired you to be a voice for fibromyalgia resulting in a book, speaking engagements and a podcast?
It came from feeling like I always have to defend myself. When you look at me I look fine, like nothing is wrong with me. I understand that people don’t connect with what they can’t see. You feel invisible with an invisible illness. People don’t necessarily believe you. The boss from my previous job said he thought I was faking.
I have always been a writer. I believe writing is therapeutic. Some doctors say fibromyalgia can be caused my stress or trauma. When I came to grips with that, I asked myself, “Why did I develop this?” Maybe being a teenage mother and a single mother in my short 34 years has impacted it. If I am transparent and honest, I can help other sufferers not feel like they don’t matter, or their illness isn’t real. It has been exciting to put the information out there. It has been well received, and it is resonating with other women. It is therapeutic and beneficial to my own healing- helping others to heal.
What do you hope readers get from reading your book, Fly Girl with Fibro: Pushing Through the Pain?
I hope they have a better understanding of what fibromyalgia is so it doesn’t feel like an invisible illness. I suffer with depression and I am very transparent about that. I want readers to know that they are not alone. All suffering doesn’t look the same. I want to break that stigma of what people with fibromyalgia look like. I want to be a voice for anyone who feels voiceless. I believe that our physical, mental, and emotional health is all connected. You can’t heal physically if you don’t heal emotionally.
Where do you see your Fly Girl with Fibro brand in five years?
I am so excited. What is so crazy is none of this was intentional. When I sat down to write my book, it didn’t take me long because it was my story. Within a short amount of time, I have been able to reach many people by being guests on podcasts. I am excited for what the next five years will bring. I want to continue to educate people through my walk in the Milwaukee area People ask me, “Aren’t you Fly Girl?” I want my work to be a movement. It is not just about fibro. It is just seen from the point of view of someone with fibro. I want to create love and support for other people.
Learn more about Trina Nicole and Fly Girl with Fibro at https://flygirlwithfibro.com.