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A ‘Fibro Faire’ to remember

Posted: May 12, 2008 3:10 a.m.
Updated: July 13, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Laurie Millard, left, and Karen Jeffries of the Santa Clarita Valley Fibromyalgia Support Group co-emceed the Fibro Faire at the Senior Center on Saturday, May 3. The Faire marked the second annual Fibromyalgia Awareness Day which is intended to provide information, support and hope to those who suffer from the disorder.


Today, May 12, has been named National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day by the National Fibromyalgia Association. And while many folks might yawn and wonder what day isn't some national something-or-other day, this day is significant to the estimated 10 million Americans who are affected by this disorder. Not coincidentally, the SCV Senior Center and the SCV Fibromyalgia Suppport Group hosted Fibro Faire, the second annual fibromyalgia awareness day, on Saturday, May 3 - to spread the word about this "hidden" disease and to offer hope and education to local residents, seniors and otherwise, who suffer from it.

What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia has symptoms such as widespread body and muscle pain, moderate to severe fatigue, sleep problems and environmental sensitivity - and that's just scratching the surface. Because the symptoms can
sometimes be transitory, and also mimic those of so many other disorders, fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose and even harder to treat.

As stated in the Fibromyalgia Treatment Center literature, "Despite decades of research and thousands of published articles, there remains no accepted treatment for fibromyalgia and the cause is still unknown."
According to Karen Jeffries and Laurie Millard of the SCV Fibromyalgia Support Group (the co-emcees of Fibro Faire), some doctors still don't believe the disorder exists at all.

A day at the Faire
While you might think something called Fibro Faire would have roaming minstrels playing Medieval music, there was none-such. The day was all about the dissemination of information and hope, which was a far better music to the ears of those who attended. Exhibitors set up informal information tables to display their treatment options, ranging from massage to special foods and medication, and knowledgeable speakers let the audience know what the latest research and options are.

Those exhibitors included the Fibromyalgia Treatment Center (support and education,; Physician Therapeutics (pharmaceutical and medical food convenience packs,; FluidEssentials (supplements to promote sleep and ease joint pain,; Achieve Optimal Health (colon hydrotherapy,; John Rowinski Massage (; and chiropractor Dr. Gil Kajiki (

Debbie Bullias, director of the Medical Liaison Group, Physician Therapeutics, spoke first. She noted that women suffer from fibromyalgia more than men and explained how "targeted cellular technology" uses low
concentrations of amino acids to help the body create the precursers of neural transmitters and ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Claudia Marek of the Fibromyalgia Treatment Center spoke next, on the use of guaifenesin for reversing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. She explained that she, as a fibro-sufferer, takes a range of clothing with
her wherever she goes because fibromyalgics can comfortably tolerate only about a five degree temperature range.

Jill Redfern, an RN and certified enzyme nutritionist, was the final speaker. Her topic was the possibilities offered by healthy foods in the treatment of fibromyalgia and other problems affecting women,
particularly menopause. She noted that she had "decended into menopause hell at age 40" and that, because of the body temperature issues associated with that, for her, "the season was always summer."
She emphasized that "food is fuel" and that true lacto-fermented foods offer exceptional benefits for the body.

Co-emcee Laurie Millard said she has been a fibro sufferer for eight years and that she and Karen Jeffries had taken over the operation of the SCV Fibromyalgia Support Group when the women who founded it moved on. She said the focus is on providing information as well as support.

Jefferies said she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 10 years ago, but has had symptoms for 20 years. "Working through pain is normal for us," she said. "You learn to create a new ‘normal.'"

Millard noted that maintaining a routine is "really important for someone with fibro," and both she and Jeffries said they carry "tool kits" to help with symptoms. Jeffries said the stress of putting on the Faire would probably knock her down for a couple days, but it was a good stress.

As the day's events came to a close, those in attendance had a lot to think about. Juanita Hill of Canyon Country was one of them. She said she has been a fibro-sufferer for more than 12 years and that it is very
painful and debilitating. Because of that she has to use a walker to get around.

"It's a miserable disease," she said.

She described how, when she baby-sits her grandchildren, and the pain brings tears to her eyes, the young ones don't understand. Though he doesn't know what's wrong, her grandson will try to comfort her and tell
her, "It's all right."

For many of those who attended the Fibro Faire it may never "be all right," but the day left them knowing it can be better.


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