“After sustaining sports-related injuries in 2004, requiring intensive physiotherapy, I was in constant, chronic pain, extremely fatigued, and subsequently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (FM) in 2006.
“I joined the first therapy-led Fibromyalgia Self-management Programme (FSMP) at the RNHRD in 2007, where I learned strategies to manage the pain, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunctions (‘fibro-fog’).
“I was delighted to be invited and become a member of the team to support the programme as the first Rheumatology Expert Patient volunteer in 2008.
“The confidence and support that I received, helped me to consider studying part-time for an Open University degree. I achieved my lifetime goal, this July 2017, gaining a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree just before my 60th birthday!
“To say that I was, and still am over-the-moon, is an understatement, proving it is possible to achieve your dreams with the appropriate support.
“The benefit of FSMP being therapy-led, is that it is an educational one, which is based on current research, drawing on the expertise of healthcare professionals. However, it is interactive, requiring patient commitment and involvement, to make the changes necessary to improve their quality of life.
“I owe a lot to this unique programme, and would highly recommend it.”