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PATIENT STORIES

LeighAnna’s Fibro Story: I’ve found myself armed with more than just hope

By Nicole Villeneuve

Published June 11, 2024

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2017. My journey with fibro didn’t start off with a bang; it was more like a slow burn. I was diagnosed with mild-moderate symptoms here and there, followed by periods of relief. But as time marched on, that relief became shorter, and the pain more intense.

Then, in 2023, COVID came knocking, bringing a resurgence of agonizing flares and suffocating brain fog. Maybe the most crushing aspect of fibromyalgia is the relentless pain, an ever-present companion that chips away at your resilience. It’s a weight that only those who’ve experienced it can truly grasp.

Navigating the medical world with fibro is like traversing a minefield. Each new doctor’s appointment or visit to a physical therapist was fraught with apprehension. Would they truly comprehend the depth of my struggle, or would they dismiss it as figments of my imagination? Would they trust that it was real?

So when I saw an ad that Swing Care took my insurance I thought: What’s the worst that could happen? I get the same care as always and I never go back … so I decided to try it. I did have hope that they understood the disease since it is the sole focus of what they do.

Now, I’ve found myself armed with more than just hope. I’ve been equipped with a toolbox filled with practical strategies to navigate the stormy seas of fibromyalgia, from techniques to manage flares to a trove of resources and treatments aimed at easing the burden of this relentless condition. My doctor actually listens: I feel heard, seen, understood, and treated appropriately to my situation and not anyone else’s. My doctor explains why she thinks a medicine would work for me based on the symptoms and issues I expressed having and how those medicines directly help those things. There are very few doctors in my life to have made me feel this way about my “invisible” pain, fog, and symptoms in general.

I think the thing I like most about Swing Care is that they treat the whole you. We’re not just throwing medication at the symptoms; we are also trying to work at the core of the issues. Medicine is great; I highly recommend it and I take it myself. However, when you deal with the pain literally all the time, and the option isn’t whether I am in pain today or not, but what level of pain I am at today, it really wears on the mental. It makes it harder to have the capacity to deal with the higher pain days. Swing Care uses a guided digital therapy app that helps you think about your pain differently and learn to move past the negative messages you have been telling yourself so long because of it. When I first started, I don’t think I would have believed that.

To my fellow sufferers, who bear this burden: I see you. I understand the the toll it takes. But amidst the shadows, there is hope. I feel empowered and in control of my treatment plan, with the knowledge that there are things out there to help us navigate this journey.

Nicole Villeneuve

Swing Marketing Director

Nicole Villeneuve is a Marketing Director at Swing Therapeutics, which develops digital therapies that help people with chronic illness live their best lives. She has written about behavioral health and chronic conditions for over a decade, and is a CDC-certified lifestyle coach for the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

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