There are approximately six million people in the U.S. today suffering from what is known as the "INVISIBLE DISEASE", or Fibromyalgia. While signs of this crippling disease might not be visible on the surface, the effects are very real.
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I’m Susan Wilson Solovic, the CEO of SBTV.com. You know I often tell people I have the best job in the world, why? Well, because I get to work with innovative, creative small business owners from around the world just like you. I get to meet you and hear your amazing stories and believe me everyone has a great story regardless of what business stage you’re in. And I along with our entire team at SBTV work hard everyday to provide you with the news, information and resources you need to succeed. As they say, love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, I guess I really can’t say what I do as work then because I really do love it and I’m passionate about it. But today I’m here to talk to you about something else I’m passionate about. Something much more personal, something that’s had a tremendous impact on my life and maybe affecting you or someone you know or work with right now too. I’m talking about fibromyalgia or what’s commonly referred to as the invisible disease. I along with approximately six million people in the US suffer from fibromyalgia. It strikes people primarily between the ages of 25 and 55 and the majority is women. But that doesn’t mean men are immune. When you look at me or anyone with fibromyalgia, you most likely never guess there’s anything wrong. However, the debilitating effects of fibromyalgia is something all of us as business owners, employers, co-workers, friends and family members need to be more aware of in order to keep fibromyalgia patients from dropping out of the workforce or isolating themselves in the society. That’s why SBTV.com has created a fibromyalgia awareness series, consisting of video programs, podcasts, blogs and articles. So what is fibromyalgia? Well, it’s not an easy answer but to put it simply, it’s a wide spread chronic pain condition affecting the muscles and joints plus there are other associated problems such as sleep disorders and chronic fatigue. But to give you a better understanding, think back to the last flu you had. Remember how your muscles hurt and ache and no matter what you did you just couldn’t get comfortable. Well, imagine that feeling every single day of your life because that’s a typical day for fibromyalgia sufferers. Certainly some days are better than others and there are certain things that can exasperate the pain, such as cold or humid weather and stress. And because of a lack of understanding about fibromyalgia many patients choose to drop out of the workforce because they can’t cope anymore. The research shows fibromyalgia patients are sick more often and miss more work than their co-workers. Yet, I personally believe if employers have a better understanding of fibromyalgia, they could work with employees to make accommodations to keep that employee in the workforce. Since I was diagnosed a few years ago, I’ve met many other fibromyalgia patients who had given up their careers and are now living on disability. In many cases with simple inexpensive accommodation, many of those people may have been able to remain employed. For me, I won’t deny keeping up with my schedule and the demands of work as challenging and fibromyalgia makes is just that much tougher. Like all fibromyalgia sufferers, there are days when the stiffness and fatigue makes me wonder if I can really make it through the day. I’m lucky though. My husband’s spent time learning about the disease and understand its impact on the quality of my life plus everyone I work with gets it when I come in to work one day and say, “It’s a bad pain day”. All it takes is a little understanding. Fibromyalgia is serious and today there is no cure. All we can do is find ways to deal with some of the symptoms, our having friends, family, co-workers and employees who are sensitive to the challenges fibromyalgia patients’ face makes dealing with it just that much easier. I hope you’ll find our fibromyalgia awareness series informative and helpful and I invite you to participate in all of o

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