International Fibromyalgia Coaching InstituteI am very honored to introduce you to the third graduating class of the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute!

I highly recommend each Fibromyalgia Coach and Advisor on this list. If you are looking for someone to help you with your fibromyalgia diagnosis, please reach out to one of these lovely ladies. You can find out more about the work I’m doing training new Fibromyalgia Coaches and Advisors at FibromyalgiaCoachingInstitute.com.


Meet the Newest Fibromyalgia Coaches and Advisors

Ceci Lebiecki (Argentina) is our first graduate from Argentina!

Ceci has always been passionate about helping people, especially women. She believes that the energy that women have, and the unique brightness that characterizes each, can be present in all. Regardless of the health condition, or the moment that the person is going through, it is always possible to be happy if you decide to be.

Ceci was born in Buenos Aires, where her days were very intense. She attended a prestigous school, took English classes, played guitar, had a love of dance and a large group of friends that were very close. Ceci majored in marketing and advertinsing, and had a very successful career at a young age. At the age of 25 she was Brand Manager in a major pharmaceutical company. At the age of 30, she was working in a dream company, with an important position and living her desire to have a “successful” life. It was at that time that she began to question herself. She wondered if that was really happiness …. And when she woke up, she developed Fibromyalgia.

Ceci was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after almost a year. She traveled around the world in search of answers. She went to a pain doctor, traumatologist, rheumatologist, psychiatrist, nutritionist, endocrinologist, orthopedist, ATM dentist. She tried acupuncture, tibetan medicine, ayurveda, homeopathy, Bach flowers, yoga, chiropractic, osteopathy, psychological therapy, and the list goes on…

On a very early Monday, almost without being able to walk, she introduced herself in Art of Living ONG. And with much effort she did a course of breathing and meditation techniques. At the end, something had changed. She traveled to India for two months to get an Ayurvedic treatment, and meditate. She became vegetarian, a lover of life in all its shapes. She began to like the avocado and strawberries. She returned to work in a manager position in a multinational company. She met her current husband, with whom she lives a great love. And she is immensely happy and knows you can be too.

 

Erin Reimer (Oregon) learned the importance of leaving a legacy of helping others from her father. Since his passing in 2008, Erin has dedicated herself to making the world a better place through her work at local and international non-profits and now as a personal coach. In addition to her Fibromyalgia Coaching Certification, Erin is a Certified Integrative Wellness and Life Coach through the Integrative Wellness Academy. Her coaching approach involves bringing balance to all four body systems, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual in order to achieve wellness. Her desire is to help people with fibromyalgia, chronic pain and fatigue rediscover their passion for life through self-discovery, self-healing, and small life modifications.

Erin experienced being a fibromyalgia caregiver as a teenager when her mother was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 46. Erin herself was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at age 22 and eventually fibromyalgia at 27. As a single young female she struggled to find peers who could understand her situation.

Six years after being diagnosed and experiencing very little improvement, Erin switched to functional medicine doctors that embraced complementary and alternative medicine and began working with her Fibromyalgia Advisor. Through these changes she has finally begun to thrive again. She decided to become a coach so she can help others follow in her footsteps to recovery.

Erin lives in Portland, Oregon with her two chubby tabby cats, Linus and Dexter. She is active in her local fibromyalgia and chronic pain support group and recently spoke on a panel about chronic pain at Oregon Health & Science University. When she is not coaching she likes to spend time with her family, attend gentle yoga classes and social meditation, go to Sunday brunch, and curl up with a good book with a purring cat on her lap.

 

Karen Brinklow, B.A., B.Ed., (Ontario, Canada) is our first Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor in Canada!

Karen helps women with fibromyalgia take control of their health and life. She brings years of business, teaching, and life experience to support her clients on their journey of recovery. Karen believes in and is eager to share the importance of stress management and self-care, and the benefits that can be achieved by doing so. Karen understands her clients’ needs from her own struggles with fibromyalgia and major depression and her challenges toward recovery. Karen is particularly passionate about the effects of chronic stress both in the workplace and life and the harm that it does to individuals and families. Karen is looking forward to helping you be the best “YOU” can be.

 

Karen Gerhardi (South Africa) is our first Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor in South Africa! 

Karen experienced pain in her legs from an early age but was only diagnosed with fibromyalgia in her late twenties. After years of not listening to her body, it finally spoke clearly enough for her to hear. It took a few years of trial and error for Karen to find the solutions that worked for her. She believes that she can help people find their solutions sooner.

Strangers have always felt very comfortable confiding their most personal issues to Karen and she finally realised that perhaps life was trying to tell her what she should do with her life and get the tools to ease others’ journeys.

Karen is a dog trainer and has learned that there is more than one way to look at a situation and that persevering and being open to new approaches will provide a solution. She’s also learned that positive reinforcement is just as important for people as it is for their dogs! Her principle role as a Fibromyalgia Advisor is to provide information and be a cheerleader.

 

Stacy Koch (Illinois) has had fibromyalgia for fifteen years. She has two teenagers: a son who is 17 and a daughter who is 13 years old. Stacy understands the difficulties that you have and the daunting task that it is to raise children with this condition. As a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor and social worker, Stacy brings insight and tools that can help you grow and meet your goals. She offers a supportive atmosphere where you can feel comfortable embracing changes and taking back control of your life.

 

Tarvia Kelly (North Carolina) is a passionate Fibromyalgia Advisor who helps moms with pain learn to live life again. She has years of experience being the backbone of her family, having been a single parent for many years and a spouse of a active duty soldier who has deployed several times leaving her to hold down the fort.

Tarvia worked in the insurance industry for over 20 years dealing with Medical benefits, Claims, Auto, and Home. This knowledge is just another benefit for her clients. Her patience and transparency create a safe environment for healing. Tarvia knows she has truly found her purpose in life helping moms in pain take control of their lives by teaching them self care, motivation, and encouraging them one day at a time.

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Join me on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 as I go LIVE with Norman Hanley from Men with Fibromyalgia. I’ll also have a special gift for everyone who is listening live!

I know my website is pretty “girly”… but men have fibromyalgia too! Norman is doing a fantastic job getting the word out on the fact that fibromyalgia isn’t “just a woman’s illness.” He has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Osteoarthritis, Migraines, and Cluster Headaches, along with other chronic pain issues. Norman shares his journey and that of other men and their families on his website and in his Facebook support group, to educate and inspire others who are dealing with similar health issues.

RSVP for this special Facebook Live event!

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Ravyn's Doll: How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Your ChildHave you ever struggled with how to explain fibromyalgia to the children in your life? Maybe they are your own kids, or grandkids, or maybe they are students or nieces and nephews.

Ravyn’s Doll: How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Your Child is written by Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor Melissa Swanson. She is a graduate of my first training program and a close friend. I had the privilege of watching the development of this book, and talking with Melissa about her dreams before it was ever written. I couldn’t be more proud of her and how her book turned out. Ravyn’s Doll is visually stunning and also emotionally powerful.

Ravyn’s Doll is one of the best resources I’ve ever found to help explain fibromyalgia in a way that young children can understand. It can be used in a very interactive way that will bring kids into what might have been a difficult conversation otherwise. As a coach, I often talk with clients who are struggling with how to explain fibromyalgia to the children in their lives. Even if they don’t have small children living at home, there are always young ones around: grandchildren, students, nieces and nephews, and so on. I believe that this book is the answer to their struggle.

The beauty of Ravyn’s Doll is that you can recreate the story in your own interactive projects, creating and decorating paper dolls to illustrate any illness, invisible or visible. I believe that Ravyn’s Doll, and the paper doll project in the story, should be used with every child, in every classroom. This will help our children be more understanding of people who have different needs than they do — which will help them to grow up to be more understanding adults. I often have clients who wish there was something like this for the adults in their lives. I say we start here, and raise up a new generation who is understanding of those who live with illnesses, visible and invisible, acute and chronic. This book is a required resource for my coaching students.

I really do think that everyone should own a copy of this book. I know that’s a pretty bold statement, but it’s true. This book may be about fibromyalgia, but it teaches so much more. It teaches children to look beyond the surface to be understanding of invisible illnesses. The lessons in this book apply to things like migraines, diabetes, depression, and so much more. If you have young people in your life, you need to read this book with them. And gift this book to anyone you know who has young ones too. It’s good for family members, teachers, physicians, and more.

About Ravyn’s Doll

All the kids in class made paper dolls to show someone they love who is hurt or sick. When it’s Ravyn’s turn to share, she shows a paper doll of her mom — and it looks like there is nothing wrong!

Ravyn teaches the class that even though her mom looks healthy, she’s not! Ravyn’s mom suffers from fibromyalgia and its evil sidekicks. Ravyn’s Doll is a simple and effective way to explain fibromyalgia to your child. In a way that is understandable to children. it shows that not all illnesses are visible and explains how living with an invisible illness affects families’ daily lives. Ravyn’s Doll describes and illustrates why mom or dad can’t do the things they used to do — things that other moms, dads or other family members can do.

Other Resources Contained within the book are internet sites and books to read to learn more about Fibromyalgia and other Invisible illnesses, such as Lupus, Lyme Disease, ME, CFS, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, chronic migraine, and others.

You can purchase Ravyn’s Doll on Amazon here as both a paperback and an ebook.

About Melissa

Melissa SwansonMelissa Swanson is a chronic pain patient, advocate, and author. Through her Fibro Warriors ~ Living Life Facebook page and blog, she offers positive encouragement, medical information, resources, and support to 18,000+ fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients.

I first met Melissa when we both attended the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association’s Leaders Against Pain Scholarship Training Program in October of 2014. We instantly hit it off. She was one of the first people to register for my new Fibromyalgia Coach / Advisor training program.

Ravyn’s Doll is named after her daughter, Ravyn. Which makes the mom in the story Melissa herself.

Melissa now works with clients as a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor helping them learn tools to live with the chronic illness fibromyalgia. If you’re looking for a cheerleader to be in your corner with a little bit of “tough love” when needed, Melissa is the one for you. She understands the struggles of trying to balance family life and work while living with the challenges of fibromyalgia and its evil sidekicks.

To learn more about Melissa and Ravyn’s Doll, visit the Fibro Warriors ~ Living Life blog and listen to my interview with her below.

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International Fibromyalgia Coaching InstituteI am very honored to introduce you to the second graduating class of the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute!

I highly recommend each Fibromyalgia Advisor on this list. If you are looking for someone to help you with your fibromyalgia diagnosis, please reach out to one of these lovely ladies. You can find out more about the work I’m doing training new Fibromyalgia Coaches and Advisors at FibromyalgiaCoachingInstitute.com.


Meet the Newest Fibromyalgia Coaches and Advisors

Emma Christensen, CPAEmma Christensen (Illinois) is a Certified Public Accountant employed full time at a University. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2000 after a whiplash injury from a motor vehicle accident. After two decades of living and coping with the condition, Emma decided to become certified as a Fibromyalgia Advisor. She is passionate about helping other professional people and parents currently working and coping with Fibromyalgia in their lives.

Emma is solutions oriented. She started her Fibromyalgia Solutions Facebook page in 2010 after she turned a corner in her pain situation and became passionate about letting others know that they too can increase their freedom from pain. It took Emma 15 years of trial and error to find the right help. Fibromyalgia Coaches did not exist when Emma was diagnosed. She believes that if she had had a coach, she might have been able to find her own solutions sooner. She is passionate about making sure others don’t have to go it alone and waste time. Emma is looking forward to helping others navigate their way through treatments in order to feel and be better. You can find her online at: FibromyalgiaSolutions.net.

 

Jane Holmes Martin, RN

Jane Holmes Martin, RN (Oregon) worked in the nursing profession for 44 years before retiring in 2015. She now volunteers, takes care of her 94 year old mother, enjoys spinning yarn, sailing and playing with her three grandchildren.

Jane has always liked to encourage and help people grow spiritually, emotionally, and physically. In 1990, Jane was in a car accident which started her fibromyalgia. This was before fibro was understood, so she went many years without being treated properly. Jane is looking forward to integrating her knowledge of medicine with coaching — and her gift of encouragement! — to help active women with fibromyalgia so they don’t have to wait years for help. Learn more about what Jane has to offer at: JanesFibromyalgiaSupport.com.

 

Kate Chamberlin, RN

Kate Chamberlin, RN, (Oregon) is a practicing RN who provides care management for patients with complex medical conditions. She has been a nurse since 2002. Kate has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Certificate in Public Health from OHSU, in addition to being a Certified Fibromyalgia Advisor.

Kate founded her business, Northwest Health Insights, to help patients understand their health conditions, find the care they need from providers, and work through the complex health care system. She has a particular interest in helping women cope with chronic illness and pain, and wants them to continue following their dreams. She has a heartfelt compassion for women struggling with the anxieties that come with chronic illness.

Kate has been meditating for 20 years, and still finds it has a lot to teach her. She learns from Zen and Insight meditation traditions, and often goes to retreats and educational offerings. Her meditation practice has helped her find wisdom, perspective, and a deep enjoyment of life, even with chronic illness. She has MBSR training through the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, founded by John Kabat-Zinn.

Kate loves nature, and is happiest when she is outside moving. She has found ways to stay very active, and wants to help others be active also. Some of her favorite things are the beach, the mountains, and the sky, wildflowers, birdwatching, hiking, biking, and a good book. She wants to help others find hope, peace in what is happening now, and reconnect to their dreams for the future. Contact Kate through her website: NWHealthInsights.com.

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The FibroManual, by Dr. Ginevra LiptanI am so excited to introduce you to Dr. Ginevra Liptan’s newest book:  The FibroManual: A Complete Treatment Guide for You — and Your Doctor.

The FibroManual written by Dr. Ginevra Liptan is truly one of the best books available on treating fibromyalgia. It is a “must read” for every fibromyalgia patient and treatment provider. This book lives on my desk because I look things up in it constantly. I’ve also made it required reading for my Fibromyalgia Coach training class.

There are a few things in particular I love about this book:

First, Dr. Liptan includes all of the little things that have made the biggest difference in my fibro healing. These are all things that took me years to discover on my own — and you’ll have them all right here in one place!

Second, there is a section at the end of each chapter that outlines the things you can do for yourself, as well as the things your doctor needs to help you with. This makes it a very effective book for you to use on your own.

Third, there is a bullet point guide at the back of the book specifically for your doctor. It includes the research and studies that support her treatment recommendations. This means that our busy doctors can read the “cliff notes” version to know how to treat you.

Many people have asked me how The FibroManual differs from Dr. Liptan’s first book, Figuring Out Fibromyalgia. I’m also often asked if they should buy The FibroManual if they’ve already read the first one. If you’re wondering the same things, here are your answers. You can also find my review of Figuring Out Fibromyalgia here.

Figuring Out Fibromyalgia is limited to what we knew about fibromyalgia at the time it was published (January 2011). As you might imagine, we have learned a lot more in the six years that have passed. Studies have been done and drugs approved (or not approved!) that have changed our treatment strategies. While Figuring Out Fibromyalgia includes more of Dr. Liptan’s personal fibromyalgia journey, The FibroManual was written with your doctor in mind. As I mentioned above, Dr. Liptan includes bullet points at the end of every chapter and a “cliff notes” section in the back for your doctor with all the research links and information he or she needs to treat your effectively.

Ginevra Liptan, MD

I highly recommending getting a copy of The FibroManual — and sharing it with your fibromyalgia team. It truly is a complete fibromyalgia treatment guide that is written for both you and your doctor.

To learn more about this fantastic doctor who is a fibromyalgia patient herself, visit Dr. Liptan’s blog and listen to my interview with her below.

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