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Seminar focuses on fibromyalgia

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By Chris Sardelli

Christopher Sardelli

csardelli@thelancasternews.com

An informational seminar aims to educate local residents on the symptoms and effects of fibromyalgia.

Lancaster resident Sandra Sims is organizing the event, called “Walk In My Shoes,” to address questions and concerns about what it means to have fibromylagia, a condition that involves chronic muscle and joint pain that can be difficult for doctors to diagnose.

It can also lead to difficulty swallowing or breathing, and has been linked to numbness and stomach problems. Sims was diagnosed with the condition in 1993 and said she knows how difficult it can be to manage.

“When I was diagnosed, I never knew about it. I had never heard of it. I had to dig and find out what it was,” Sims said. “This will help people to walk in my shoes. What I want to do is to help educate people with fibromyalgia, as well as their families who don’t understand what it means when a loved one develops this.”

Sims said often family members and friends of those afflicted with fibromyalgia will get frustrated because they can’t participate in the same activities they did before. The condition can strain these relationships, and Sims said the seminar will be important not only to provide comfort to those with the condition, but also offer tips on how to help. She said her own husband, who passed away a few years ago, understood how complicated and frustrating the condition could be, and said the support was very helpful in getting through some difficult times.

“He was very understanding, one of the few,” Sims said. “Some people’s families just don’t understand. I want to get across to people that it is real. Do they think millions of people just get up one day and decide to have these symptoms?”

The free event takes place Saturday, March 21 at 11 a.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church on 4206 Old Church Road. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions about the condition, and discuss its symptoms and effects.

Sims will provide informational packets about fibromyalgia to those interested.

While there have been several fibromyalgia seminars held in the county over the last few years, Sims said hers is unique because it offers a patient’s perspective.

She said the condition is more widespread than people realize, and hopes to let people know about available medicines and treatments, as well as meet others with fibromyalgia.

“This is what I wanted to do,” she said. “The Lord sent me to do this.”

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at 416-8416