We talk a lot about how fibromyalgia affects women but did you know that men can have it too? I want to introduce you to Ted Hutchinson, That Gaming Dad! We had a really good conversation about everything from getting diagnosed, living with fibromyalgia as a man, and advocating for our community. He not only tells us how much harder it is to get diagnosed as a man but how to re-create your life after a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Ted explains to us that he initially was treated for “acute injuries” and it took eight years to finally get diagnosed. His symptoms started with back pain and exhaustion. He had to finally find a doctor who had experience with fibromyalgia to get diagnosed. This is when he realized there wasn’t a simple fix he remembers thinking, “cool….we can take care of this and I get back to my normal life, right? Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and it has been a very long road.”
For Ted getting off the pharmaceuticals and finding holistic ways to improve his symptoms has been key. The medicine he had been on had made his life worse than they helped. He has found cannabis and Kratom to be the most helpful for his symptoms. Ted tells me that Kratom is a cousin to the coffee tree and has different strains that have different effects. Some strains help with anxiety and depression, some are like an opiate replacement, and some are a coffee strain. It can be addictive and should be used in moderation. It comes in many forms like powder, capsules, and leaves and can be digested.
“My pain never goes away, but I can take the edge off it to at least know that I’m not going to overexert myself.”
“I was addicted to opiates and that was something that happened through doctor prescriptions…Cymbalta! I would rather go through opiate withdrawals than ever come off Cymbalta…that time of my life was some of the worst hell I ever felt.”
Ted tells us what it is like when there is a stigma around the man being the breadwinner of the house. “There is a myth that men can’t get this type of illness and it just isn’t true. He goes on to tell us how he sees the issue, “You just have to re-create your life. For me as a man, it was important to just put myself out there and share my story and just explain to people why this can affect anybody, really.”
I think you will walk away from watching this video and feel inspired that you can still find a way to live a fulfilling life. I have given some quotes from the video here, but honestly, they are best heard directly from Ted in the video.
“Everyone has a path…you’ve got your own journey to go on. For me it was my gaming, my advocacy, it was sharing my story…I can still do it in this capacity, just when I’m well enough, right to be able to share my story.”
I had to share this quote in its entirety as I felt it was so inspiring. This is Ted’s response to being asked what advice he would give someone with fibromyalgia:
“Have faith in yourself. Have faith that you have the capacity to be able to overcome whatever it is that you have to go on. Does that mean you are going to overcome and go right back to being the construction worker or working 50-60 hours a week? Maybe, maybe not who knows. But Have faith in yourself that you can re-create a life for yourself and create things that are positive influences not only to yourself but the people around you. So, while you may get this heavy burden that has been put upon you. You have a duty to be able to take that burden and hopefully be able to lighten that own load for yourself. You yourself don’t’ deserve to have to carry that all by yourself. There are people out there that love you and people who do support you. You just have to be able to step outside your own self and look at the big picture and have faith that you can overcome anything. Not even in a religious aspect just faith in yourself. Believe in you!”
Ted has built a community with his video gaming on Facebook. His community talks about important issues while playing. He also uses this platform to connect with his kids and bring those in the chronic illness community closer together.
“Even if you are sick, even if you have things going on you can still make a name for yourself and you can still put your name out there and you can still make a life. It just may be a different life than you were used to.”
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