Melissa Swanson shares her interview with Brandi Clevinger, creator of Being Fibro Mom.
Who is Brandi Clevinger?
Brandi describes herself as “a follower of Christ, wife to an amazing, supportive husband, blessed mother to four sweet children, and fibromyalgia thriver. I am a Navy veteran living in my native state of South Carolina where I spend my days cherishing the time with my children as well as reading, writing, cooking, baking and just being me.”
Finally an answer…
“After six long years of struggling with body aches, joint stiffness, depression, anxiety, severe back spasms, sensory sensitivities and other various ailments, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic pain in December 2012. From that moment, I embarked on my journey to becoming well again and regaining a ‘normal’ life. Of course, at the time I had no idea what was in store for me along the way. My journey included several successes and many failures as a fibromyalgia patient, but it also led to new friendships all over the world and the creation of a blog that would eventually lead me to become the advocate I am today,” says Brandi.
Since her diagnosis Brandi has tried physical therapy, psychiatrist visits, medications, numerous doctors, and natural living options to find what works for her and her body. With a combination of determination and a strong support system, she has found the best effective natural treatment remedy plan that works for her. She still has flare days, but says “for the most part, I’m healing.”
“It’s been a long and rough road over the last few years, but I’m here and still standing, stronger than ever.” Brandi firmly believes, “Through my journey I have learned that living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain does not have to be merely surviving life, but thriving it!”
Brandi set her sights and succeeded at becoming a writer and sharing her journey with other fibromyalgia sufferers. She created Being Fibro Mom in 2013, providing resources to understand fibromyalgia and chronic pain and parenting while living with these invisible illnesses.
In addition to writing for various websites, she is a regular contributor to the international magazine The Fibromyalgia Magazine. Her articles cover various fibromyalgia aspects with a focus on fibro parenting (parenting with fibromyalgia).
Brandi created a closed Facebook group, Fibro Parenting, which is focused on any parent or guardian looking for support while parenting with fibromyalgia. “Fibro is an intrusive illness that can be complicated enough without the added stress of parenting. Fibro parenting is a creative form of parenting, but does require support and encouragement from other fibro parents. There are so many of us battling fibro and trying to be the best parent/guardian we can be – YOU ARE NOT ALONE!” states Brandi.
It is a team effort. Brandi and her husband launched a live video series called Fibro Live in January 2017 where they discuss the latest fibromyalgia topics, news, research, and more. Viewers can join the discussion each Tuesday at noon EST on the Being Fibro Mom Facebook page.
On the horizon …
Brandi says it is a “privilege and honor of working closely with other fibromyalgia leaders to form the nonprofit organization, International Support Fibromyalgia Network.” As the program director for Families & Fibromyalgia, she is focused on bridging the gap many fibro thrivers’ experience between themselves and their loved ones.
Future Endeavours …
Brandi looks forward to working alongside her husband to create a course that will help parents. “It will be full of videos, short tutorial lessons, mine and my husband’s less-than-successful parenting mistakes and lessons, and more!” Until then, she is creating live videos to interact with other fibro parents and thrivers in both the Fibro Parenting Facebook group and Being Fibro Mom Facebook page.
“Living with fibromyalgia is difficult, and having a support system is crucial in healing. Together with other fibro thrivers, we are building an effective support network that gives the resources and expertise many fibro thrivers and their loved ones need.”
Melissa Swanson is a chronic pain patient, advocate, and author of Ravyn’s Doll: How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Your Child. Through her Facebook page, she offers positive encouragement, medical information, resources, and support to 20,000+ fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients. In addition to her own blog, Melissa has been published in “Living Well with Fibromyalgia” and the NFCPA “Advocate Voice.” She’s a graduate of the 2014 Class of Leaders Against Pain Scholarship Training sponsored by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association and serves as the Advocacy Program Director with the International Support Fibromyalgia Network.