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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is essential, for patients and supporters!
Fibromyalgia The First Year: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, by Claudia Craig Marek. This book is one of the most valuable tools a newly diagnosed fibromyalgia patient can own. The author is a care provider who works with a respected doctor specializing in fibromyalgia. She has fibromyalgia, and has raised two fibromyalgic sons. She has spent a great deal...
Published on July 4, 2003 by Devin J. Starlanyl

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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book with flaws
This was a pretty good book, but the author's bias against opiates (and most meds, for that matter) in the use of the treatment of chronic non-malignant pain and her either ignorance or disbelief of the latest pain research (for example, her statement that those on opiates will be too foggy headed to function, or that it won't relieve the pain all the way so it isn't...
Published on July 24, 2007 by homeschooling mom


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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is essential, for patients and supporters!, July 4, 2003
By 
Devin J. Starlanyl (W. Chesterfield, NH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
Fibromyalgia The First Year: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, by Claudia Craig Marek. This book is one of the most valuable tools a newly diagnosed fibromyalgia patient can own. The author is a care provider who works with a respected doctor specializing in fibromyalgia. She has fibromyalgia, and has raised two fibromyalgic sons. She has spent a great deal time listening to and observing patients, and doing her best to answer all who come to her with questions. Including me. Much of that knowledge she has gathered is within this book.
The book is separated into handy segments. You can learn what you need to know immediately and then build on it. There are explanations on common tests for co-existing conditions that may be adding to your problem. Some of these conditions that may profoundly impact your quality of life. Their descriptions are included,. and advice on how to ease their impact. There are sections on medical insurance, diet, vacations, raising children with fibromyalgia (and what to look for), support groups, work-related problems, and one of the best letters explaining fibromyalgia to others. The description of cognitive deficits (fibrofog), so difficult for us to describe to others, is clear and hits the mark. Here is someone who understands.
One of the biggest problems patients with fibromyalgia face is that it is poorly understood by others. The patient often has to spend valuable energy and time educating supporters and even care providers. This book provides ways to smooth the education process. She also explains many symptoms by giving examples, and they are ones that will resonate with fibromyalgia patients. This book is not just for the newly diagnosed. I believe that all patients with fibromyalgia, and their supporters would benefit greatly by reading this book.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and full of useful info!, June 8, 2003
By 
This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
As the title indicates, this book is geared towards those who are new to fibromyalgia and are facing what I wrestled with when I was first diagnosed: eight million questions about what was happening to me, what do about it, and what my diagnosis meant to me and those around me. Ms. Marek does an excellent job of providing a comprehensive overview of everything I remember wanting to know the day a doctor told me I was one of the millions with fibromyalgia. How could I reduce and cope with pain and fatigue? Why in the *heck* was my body doing so many weird things? Did anyone else feel this way? How could I continue to live my life?
In spite of the book's orientation towards the newly diagnosed, I learned things I didn't know. Therefore, even those who have lived with this illness for a while can benefit from this book. I know I'll find it to be a useful reference to return to, and am happy to have it on my shelf.
What did I most love about this guide? The writing is clear and easy to follow. I'd describe it as conversational, as if Ms. Marek was having a private discussion with me. She illustrates the practical information with her personal experience (she too has fibromyalgia), as well as with the experiences of others.
This book is well-organized, and broken into manageable sections with section headings. If you are heavily fogged, you can read a little, bookmark it, come back to it later, and use the headings to remind yourself of what you were reading.
In addition to a wealth of practical information about managing fibromyalgia, Ms. Marek talks about the emotional aspects of living with the disease. She discusses how it affects not only the person with this illness, but those around them. She addresses things like denial and acceptance, and the role those play in our lives.
So many books I've read mainly talk about our physical symptoms and what to do about them. They hardly mention what it feels like emotionally to live with fibromyalgia. Ms. Marek speaks to the human being underneath the illness...the person who is struggling to maintain their identity in the face of a body that no longer works the way it used to.
In summary, this is a solid, well-written book that I wish someone had handed to me when I was diagnosed. As the title says, this is an Essential Guide.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is essential, for patients and supporters!, July 4, 2003
By 
Devin J. Starlanyl (W. Chesterfield, NH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
Fibromyalgia The First Year: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, by Claudia Craig Marek. This book is one of the most valuable tools a newly diagnosed fibromyalgia patient can own. The author is a care provider who works with a respected doctor specializing in fibromyalgia. She has fibromyalgia, and has raised two fibromyalgic sons. She has spent a great deal time listening to and observing patients, and doing her best to answer all who come to her with questions. Including me. Much of that knowledge she has gathered is within this book.
The book is separated into handy segments. You can learn what you need to know immediately and then build on it. There are explanations on common tests for co-existing conditions that may be adding to your problem. Some of these conditions that may profoundly impact your quality of life. Their descriptions are included,. and advice on how to ease their impact. There are sections on medical insurance, diet, vacations, raising children with fibromyalgia (and what to look for), support groups, work-related problems, and one of the best letters explaining fibromyalgia to others. The description of cognitive deficits (fibrofog), so difficult for us to describe to others, is clear and hits the mark. Here is someone who understands.
One of the biggest problems patients with fibromyalgia face is that it is poorly understood by others. The patient often has to spend valuable energy and time educating supporters and even care providers. This book provides ways to smooth the education process. She also explains many symptoms by giving examples, and they are ones that will resonate with fibromyalgia patients. This book is not just for the newly diagnosed. I believe that all patients with fibromyalgia, and their supporters would benefit greatly by reading this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book for those with Fibro ever!, October 23, 2003
By 
Jenn (Boca Raton, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
I am a newly diagnosed person with this disease called Fibromyalgia since mid summer of this year. I have been searching out on books when I see them at the bookstores about Fibro. I was amazed and grateful for the many books out there for Fibromyalgia. By far this one is the best. Packed full with ideas and at times simple things to do for bad flare ups or painful times. Explains wonderfully in depth what Fibro is all about. Also how it affects us. The author is totally honest and compassionate with her readers. She herself has Fibro. I highly recommend this book for the newly diagnosed and for those that have been enduring Fibromyalgia for a very long time. I have not read this book totally from page to page. I better enjoy going from chapter to chapter to certain subjects I might be enduring on a given day. Overall the feeling I get from this book is comfort. I feel really connected and accpeted by the author. There is help out there and better times to come for those of us that have Fibromyalgia. And this book is one of those things. A great book!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great road map for understanding this confusing condition, May 30, 2003
By 
gretchen (Lexington, SC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
Claudia Marek has surely hit a home run with this her latest book! I would have given anything to have had this information at my fingertips 30 years ago when fibromyalgia began to rear its ugly head in my life. Not only does she give coping strategies for dealing with all aspects of this life robbing disease for the sufferer Ms. Marek also shares ways of teaching those who love or work with us to understand, accept and how to help us. How I wish I had had this information when everyone around me thought I was crazy! This book is packed with great ideas that really help anyone with FMS to actually feel better and rejoin life! Well done Ms. Marek! Well done!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book with flaws, July 24, 2007
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This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
This was a pretty good book, but the author's bias against opiates (and most meds, for that matter) in the use of the treatment of chronic non-malignant pain and her either ignorance or disbelief of the latest pain research (for example, her statement that those on opiates will be too foggy headed to function, or that it won't relieve the pain all the way so it isn't worth the tradeoff) brings it down from 5 to 3 stars for me. That, and for those who are not comfortable with Eastern medicine/religion (which for many has become equivalent with alternative medicine) the sections on alternative treatments will not be very helpful. She also pushes the unproven "guai" protocal. A person could very well walk away from this book wondering why they're in so much pain and so fatigued since fibromyalgia is apparently so easy to control with just some relaxation and tricylics. A much better book in my opinion, although more technical, is Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual (2nd Edition) by Starlanyl/Copeland, or a good book that is less technical but still good is "Living Well with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia" although the same critique about Eastern religion/medicine could be given to both books as well.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, everything she ever told me ......., January 11, 2004
By 
This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
about Fibro, and how to deal with it, is now right here in this book for all to use. What a compassionate and clear writer Ms. Marek is. Everything is so well-formatted, easy to read, easy to find, and above all accurate and well researched. Ms. Marek is co author and assistant to Dr. R Paul St. Amand MD one of the foremost Fibromyalgia experts in the country. I've been on the Guaifenesin protocol for 8 months and Ms. Marek has been my guide toward wellness. What a blessing this book is to all whose lives are affected directly or indirectly with this much misunderstood illness. Thanks, Claudia, you are right on, as always.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars much needed help, March 17, 2006
This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
I found this book very easy to follow when reading.There is so little information on this topic and i needed something which answered alot of my questions and would help me to give me some guidelines off where and what i can do myself. It's a must for any body who think's they have it and for those who do.Am not a big reader of book's at all another reason why i liked this cause i couldn't put it down.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful help when needed, February 1, 2004
This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
This book was a wonderful help for me, being 23 and diagnosed with FMS on top of about a dozen other very painful joint and spine disorders that I have dealt with over the years.
I wish I had this book given to me in the doctor's office after I was sent home knowing I had a silent disease, it would have helped so much. Although at that point I could no longer hold a book in my hands, let alone feed myself. That is the only negative thing I have about this book, since it is written as a day by day guide at first, there was no way I could have read all that information in even the first few months after diagnosis, I was in so much pain and sleeping all the time, I could barely read a page a day without collapsing from pain and exaustion.
Now I have finally caught up to the correct month, month 8, and this book describes me to a 'T'. I kept wondering what all was Fibro, and what was wasn't back in the beginning, and everything is described that I experience, just as if myself was writing it. Being so young and having so many misterious things wrong, this was such a great support, since I knew there were other women going through everything I had to deal with daily.
Amazingly I have gotten back to my regular life of being a professional bellet dancer. It took lots of determination, most days it was difficult to dress myself, let alone rehearse and drive the 30 minutes to the studio. But I have done it, and the pain is still there. Yes, I am still on Vicodin, muscle relaxers, and sleeping pills, but it is amazing, the transformation that took place once I pushed myself back into my old schedule. I am still very weak, very sleepy and painful, and very unpredictable, but I am living, and dancing, and taking every day one step at a time....
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Read With a Critical Eye, August 17, 2007
This review is from: The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Paperback)
While I found the author's explanations of symptoms and ideas for daily life very nice, I quickly grew alarmed by the dietary regulations suggested and pushing of Guaifenesin onto those newly diagnosed. As if the entire chapter dedicated to the Guaifenesin protocol wasn't enough, it was mentioned repeatedly throughout the rest of the book. I don't think it was stressed enough that this treatment was designed by her co-worker.

I realize that some people are helped by the Guaifenesin protocol, and that's great. However, I hope they've come to a fully educated decision to follow these suggestions. I hope they've talked to their doctors. Guaifenesin DOES have side effects. No medical studies have been presented to back up the claims that this drug does exactly what this book claims it does. It completely glosses over the fact that guaifenesin has been shown to have muscle relaxant qualities - And in fact has been used in veterinary medicine for this exact purpose for decades.

Always do your research before blindly agreeing to try any sort of treatment. Always talk to your health care professional (whatever type they might be) before doing something like the Guaifenesin protocol.

I was not impressed with small, rather generic blurbs about alternative medicines, nor the disdain for traditional medicines (even though I've had a lot of problems with them myself). When teamed with the Guaifenesin chapter and repetitive mentioning of it, it's hard for me to not feel that this book wasn't pushing some sort of agenda. It was not written without bias, which is what people freshly diagnosed with fibromyalgia need. I'd go so far as to call it quackery.
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The First Year: Fibromyalgia: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed
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