From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011
Entrant: Renae Kulas
Nominee: Sharon Ostalecki, Director, Helping Our Pain & Exhaustion
Fibromyalgia has been nicknamed “The Invisible Disease” because it is not perceptible to others. The face of fibromyalgia is every face, and unless you were told, you could not tell who has it and who does not.
Twenty years ago I spent my days searching for a reason for the pain that was taking over my life. My physician and family could not understand why I was in constant pain and lived with constant fatigue. It was difficult because I had begun to question myself, and then one day I heard a radio program about a condition called fibromyalgia. The gal being interviewed not only seemed to understand but also lived with the condition. I contacted the radio station and made contact with Sharon Ostalecki — a patient, doctor and author.
Her story is similar to many of us who have struggled to understand and find answers of how to continue on through the pain and daily exhaustion. But Sharon reaches out through her books, support group, Facebook and endless phone calls to fibro patients to help them on their journey to wellness. She has been a tireless advocate not only for patients but spouses, as well.
Because the condition also affects teens, Sharon speaks to teachers and administrators at high schools, to help them understand the struggles these young adults face and to help them fulfill their dreams of graduating while enduring the pain and fatigue.
We all need someone to help us in our struggle with chronic pain, for it is not an easy road to travel. Sharon is that “someone” in the lives of many fibromyalgia patients.