Her pain is constant.
It could last for a minute.
Maybe an hour.
Sometimes all day.
But one thing is constant; that the deep and nagging pain is a frequent reminder that she cannot exert herself as she wishes.
Karambu Muthaura is a realist. And in the abyss of pain, she still finds time to smile. She walks the extra mile to amenably share her random thoughts on current affairs issues on her Facebook page.
Karambu chooses to smile.
You will not miss her priding in her bevy of sisters whom she occasionally meets for quick coffees, chatty lunches and long weekend catch-ups. Together with her husband and her two lovely children, she has a firm support network as she walks the journey as a Fibro warrior. They all help her to keep her face towards the sunshine.
Today, she chooses to confidently talk about FIBROMYALGIA.
She is a Fibro warrior.
She wears her heart on her sleeve. These sleeves carry the burden of the muscles underneath that feel like they have been overstretched and overworked.
Karambu and her son, Mo. Photo courtesy
Pain is an uncomfortable feeling that even the slightest of it ruins her outgoing nature and dampens her beam. It doesn’t come as a surprise that on some mornings, she wakes up tired even after an entire night of 9 hours of rest.
She is often frustrated by her physical limitations and inability to make plans due to the unpredictable nature of the occurrence of the pains.
On most days, you will find her wearing the ‘Mummy’ cap and indulging in important life conversations with her teenage daughter Cindy and her 5-year-old son, Mo. She takes time to explain that her chronic pain is part of her daily struggle. She smiles anyway.
Karambu and her sisters. Photo courtesy
Away from the world’s preying eyes, she closes her face into her palm in grimace when the pain is too much.
This is a health condition that has largely been misunderstood. Today she opens to us the door to her world. A world of uncertainties, a world of pain but she chooses to punctuate it with lots of smiles.
But what is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is derived comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek ones for muscle (myo) and pain (algia)which translates to a condition that damages joints, muscles and other tissues.
The migratory pain that Karambu experiences is largely attributed to a miscommunication between the nerves and the brain triggering the firing pains.
“Fibromyalgia is a highly misunderstood condition. I have been told to swallow a couple of pain killers and go to bed. But this doesn’t work for this nerve condition,” Karambu explains.
The actual cause of fibromyalgia is not well known, though recent research has shown that it may be due to a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.
Karambu does not know what triggered her condition
Karambu takes a minute to list some of the symptoms associated with this condition.
- Widespread pain
- Jaw pain and stiffness
- Pain and tiredness in the face muscles and adjacent fibrous tissues
- Stiff joints and muscles especially in the morning
- Irritable Bowel syndrome
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Painful menstrual periods
- Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sensitivity to cold or heat
Often, the most common trigger points where the pains take place include;
- back of the head
- tops of the shoulders
- upper chest
- outer elbows
The treatment is an interesting cocktail of painkillers, physiotherapy and physical exercise to manage the pain. The use of opioids has also seen an improvement in the frequency of pain episodes for patients like Karambu.
Opioids are medications that relieve pain by reducing the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain areas that control emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus.
Karambu and some of her siblings
Other forms of treatment include;
- Pain killers and anti-depressants
- Diet control (minimizing intake of foods that could trigger inflammation such as milk, red meats and wheat)
- Physical therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
As the interview draws to an end; Karambu indulges in a quick yet intimate chat with one of her five sisters. She let’s out a hearty laugh and promises to catch up with her for coffee later that day. “My sisters and I meet every week. There is always a reason for us to be together,” she says.
Laughter and love give her a new form of energy and a stronger sense of life.
Why does she tell her story?
”I live my life in light and warmth and I want you to understand me beyond the pain. My story is about embracing my pain,” she concluded.
Drop by her Facebook page, Karambu Muthaura, and drop a word of encouragement for this iron lady.