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WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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Laura Cerasuolo
Raymond, NH

I am a 24 year old living with Fibromyalgia and Myofacialsyndrome. I was diagnosed at 13. What a rough time!! It's not common for teenagers or preteens to have FM/MPS. That in itself was a battle. A battle for doctors and school officials to acknowledge that a perfectly healthy (in their eyes) girl can all of a sudden complain of pain and be tired all the time. My mother knew me and knew i would not be lying so it never occurred to her to take what these people would say to heart. Thank you mom! She fought for me to get the diagnoses i needed and helped support me in what i needed to do for my education. I had a tutor for a while and even that became too much to handle. I left school early and got my GED. This all contributed greatly to being isolated and I honestly thought for years that I had no future. I thought i would never be self-sufficient and would always be a burden on my mom. I thought i would never go back to school or work "normal" full time hours. I saw my peers doing so much to secure a future for themselves and all I could achieve for years is not being in pain or getting a healthy nights sleep. I am now working because all those horrible lonely years of trying to manage my pain have paid off. I am also investigating going to college. This is only possible because of the fight that many women and men have had to get proper care for FM/MPS and fighting to have it recognized as a debilitating illness. It is because of these people that I am now able to feel confident that I will find a doctor who will respect me and my pain. I see for the first time a future. A future that does not involve (revolve) my constant worry over who will care for me. I now know that I have a community of medical professionals and their patients that will help me. I also know I will help them too. For someone who has been dealing with chronic pain for over a decade it feels good to say you can contribute to someone else's life. That's all i ever wanted was the chance to be a productive "normal" human being with the energy to contribute and the ability to grow in knowledge. I can finally say I think I'm almost there. Not because the FM/MPS has gone away but because my community is finding ways to make the most of our lives. I feel proud to be apart of that community of fighters because everyday I'm reminded that I am not just this illness. I am human too with every right to dream and love and expect more from my life than what is handed to me.

Karin M. Amour, Fibromyalgia
Lyssa Bode, Chronic Fatigue Immune Disfunction Syndrome
Frankie Campling, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Laura Cerasuolo, Fibromyalgia/Myofacialsyndrome
Karen Cerio, Fibromyalgia
Rhonda Dewinter, Various Immune Diseases
Jennifer Embree, Fibromyalgia/Raynaud's Syndrome
Lynne Enman, Turner Syndrome/Various
Fibromyalgia Patient, Covington, KY
John Kennedy, Chronic Fatigue Immune Disfunction Syndrome
Susan Larick, Fibromyalgia
Melissa Lawler, Fibromyalgia
Irene Leeder, Fibromyalgia/Various
Cait Lommel, Pseudotumor Cerebri
Jennifer Munn, Chronic Lyme Disease
Robin Poole, Fibromyalgia/Lupus
Pam Schmidt, Phenylketonuria
Lynn Tonoli, Various
Various Patient, Haughton, LA
Suzanne Witt, Muscular Dystrophy/Fibromyalgia


Jose Pedro Greer, Physician
W.F. Nagle, Physician
Ronda Riebman, Exercise
Cathleen Schilling, Case Manager
Jim Sykes

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