My Life…My Fibro

It’s proven that when you smile, physical pain decreases. Well, we know a woman who has a smile that is beautifully addicting and she’s helping her fellow Fibro warriors nationwide!

Meet Bri Crofton: Talented, Spirited, and Full of Love.

Even thought Bri has been dealing with Fibromyalgia symptoms since the age of 21, that hasn’t stopped her from living her best life!

We were honored to sit down with Brie and have her answer some of our questions…including, where to buy her GORGEOUS jewelry.

Meet her here:

Where do you live? I live in Tacoma, Washington, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I’m a transplant, originally from Boston. I love the vibe here, feels like it fits me better than anywhere else I’ve lived. It very quickly became home.

Bri-Laugh

Are you single/married/children? I live with my best friend and partner of 10 years, in a tiny studio apartment where we both also work. An entire wall of our bedroom is filled with supplies and stock for my shop. It’s a good thing we really like each other, with how tight the quarters are. 😉

Describe what a typical day is like for you? I get up, take OTC painkillers and some of my herbal supplements. We have tea and breakfast, usually a big salad. I take the rest of my meds, put diclofenac gel on my hands and knees, and watch something for an hour while it soaks in. After washing the diclofenac off and/or showering, I’ll head outside to take photos if I have new jewelry made and weather permits. Most of the remainder of typical days are filled with making jewelry, listing items in my shop, scheduling Facebook posts, etc. I also love to cook, and I do it often when I have the time and energy for it.

Bri2I try to find time to do something silly with my sweetie and just unwind a bit, too, when we have dinner and later head to bed. I slather Fibro Cream on my problem areas, especially my hands and back, before bed.

I try to give myself a day off whenever I start feeling like I’m flaring, so that it doesn’t hit me as hard as it would if I kept pushing, and to not get too frustrated with myself when I hit a wall and need to recover.

What inspired your jewelry making? I actually tried a couple of different things before I happened upon making jewelry. I’d been trying to get approved for disability, and I was just done with the whole process after being denied multiple times. I also wanted to be able to work, I just wasn’t sure how to make that happen. I tried to work at a traditional job, but I was always in so much pain that I’d end up calling out sick too often and would end up losing the job. So I tried baking for events and I loved it, but having to push myself so hard to do so much work in a very short period of time just didn’t work out very well. I did videos of events for a little while and truly enjoyed that as well, but it was so hard to plan in advance with no idea how well I would be feeling when the date rolled around. Finally, I came across some beads that my honey’s mom had given me and started playing with them. I picked up more supplies as soon as I could, and everything just kind of snowballed from there.

When did you start Baubles & Blessings? I started making jewelry at the end of 2010. I can’t believe that it’s been 6½ years; it’s been a wild ride, and my style has evolved so much over time!

brie11How did you come up with the name Baubles & Blessings for your jewelry site? My spirituality is a huge part of who I am, and I have always put a lot of love and positive energy into every piece that I make. I don’t remember how I first thought of the name, but once it was on my radar, there’s no way I could have chosen anything else. I have since become a Reiki practitioner and I also infuse every piece that I make with Reiki energy, so it’s become even more appropriate as time goes on.

What were the first signs/symptoms something was physically wrong, and at what age? It was right around my 21st birthday that I was in two accidents that triggered chronic back pain. In the first, I was in a car that was rear-ended at a stop light. Two weeks later, I was hit on foot while crossing the street. I flew up onto the windshield and then fell to the ground. It was crazy. It happened so fast that I thought I was hit and just fell. Thinking back, it seems likely that I briefly lost consciousness. I was seeing a chiropractor regularly for quite a while and I had radiofrequency ablations done, but nothing seemed to help the pain enough for me to be able to function normally. Over the next decade, I started dealing with more symptoms that gradually got worse and limited my functionality more. Finally, I had a doctor start mentioning fibro about six years ago, when I was 30, but it took a few more doctors to get me an actual diagnosis.

How and when you were diagnosed with Fibromyalgia? Finally, after years of desperately wishing for a diagnosis, I was referred to a rheumatologist because blood tests showed elevated ANA levels and what was later determined to be a false positive for Sjogren’s. It took the rheumatologist just a few minutes to confirm my long-held suspicion that the illness causing all of my pain and fatigue was indeed fibromyalgia. This was about a year and a half ago. I have to admit that, with some people insisting that I was faking it for years, it felt good to finally have a doctor confirm that I’m not insane, lazy or imagining things. It’s a tough road, dealing with this illness at all, but even more so when no one seems to believe that you’re actually sick.

Bri1Has having fibromyalgia challenged you? Absolutely. As the illness progressed and went undiagnosed, I had many people vocally doubting that I was actually sick. That might have been the most difficult thing to deal with. I’ve since walked away from toxic people. I work hard to surround myself with kind, compassionate, non-judgmental people now, and it’s much easier to thrive in life with an amazingly supportive chosen family. I still have plenty of bad days and weeks when I’m flaring and I get depressed about my limitations, but it’s easier now that I’ve been doing my thing with Baubles & Blessings for over six years and I’ve fallen into a routine.

What were you using for pain relief before trying Fibro Cream? I’ve tried so many different things. There are a number of vitamins and supplements that I take, and I find that they give me some relief along with other alternative therapies. It’s been about a year since I finally got completely off of duloxetine and gabapentin, after they made me really sick. I’m still dealing with intense daily nerve pain in my hands that started as a side effect of duloxetine. That was such a nightmare that I’m simply not willing to take any of the pharmaceutical drugs approved for fibro any longer, so there’s pretty much nothing that doctors can or will do for me at this point.

How did you discover MyPainAway® Fibro Cream? I’ve actually been using various Topricin products for five years or so. My sweetie and I were introduced by a massage therapist, and we have always been impressed by its healing power. I was regularly using Topricin when I went to order more and stumbled across Fibro Cream.

Were you skeptical? I’m a big fan of a lot of homeopathic and alternative healing modalities, so I was pretty open-minded about what Fibro Cream could do for me, especially after having already fallen in love with Topricin.

FRC3What was it like after the first time you tried Fibro Cream? I immediately fell in love with how easily Fibro Cream absorbs into the skin. I can’t recall that first experience of using the product, but I do know that it’s always given me relief from pain and inflammation, especially when I stay on top of using it regularly.

What is your daily/nightly pain management routine? Aside from my morning meds, diclofenac, and my bedtime Fibro Cream, I tend to use OTC pain relievers, essential oil blends and Fibro Cream throughout the day. I try to get up and move around regularly to keep from getting too stiff and sore while I’m working. Hot showers and soaks in epsom salt and essential oil baths are amazing when I really need some serious relief. I also have a heating pad and TENS unit that I use when I’m flaring

Any tips you could give to other fibro sufferers? Do everything you can to relax. Stress is so hard on your body when you’re already worn down by fibro. Try not to let the small things upset you. Surround yourself with people who take you and your illness seriously, and who are happy to lend their support when needed, rather than acting put out. We deserve to be respected and taken seriously. Being honest about your struggles does not mean that you’re being negative.

What inspiring words/sayings do you live by? I’m pagan, and I’m devoted to the Celtic goddess Brighid. The prayer that I utter most frequently is

heart

“Brighid, please be in my head, heart and hands. Help me to be wise, glad, grateful and useful to you.” That’s how I live every day, trying to make wise, kind decisions, keep love and joy in my heart, and to be of service to others and my goddess in whatever ways I am able.

List social media links where warriors can follow:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blessedbaubles/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/blessedbaubles

My shop: http://baublesandblessings.com

WordPress: http://blessedbaubles.wordpress.com/

 

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Christina Wood

Director of Development and Public Relations

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