Who Gets Fibro?

On June 1, 2008 I asked my newsletter readers: "What were you doing at the time you got Fibromyalgia or CFIDS?" Below are the answers I received since then - respondents were both male and female. Many included brief remarks as to why they think they got sick. All can be summarized as either prolonged stress, viral illness, toxic exposure, injury, accident, childbirth or surgery. Half of respondents are now disabled.  Others are struggling to keep their jobs, and a few (very few) are managing okay.  As you can see by the list below, we are a hard-working bunch! We are not hypochondriacs, malingerers or lazy! For most respondents, every day is like rolling a boulder uphill(Personally...whenever I get a "breather" from this illness, I think to myself, "Wow!  It sure is easy to do everything if you are a NORMAL person!"  Then STRESS takes me down once more, and I become one of the "boulder-rollers" again.)  Below is a list of what we were doing when "the monster" got us! Although stress in itself does not CAUSE fibromyalgia, it seems to exacerbate whatever is the underlying cause.


Occupations listed alphabetically--

911 Call Taker

911 Operator - for major metropolitan city

911 Operator - Law Enforcement Dispatcher

Account Executive


Accountant and Quality Manager


Accounting Manager

Accounts Payable Clerk

Accounts Payable Manager

Activities Aide - in a nursing home

Administrative Aide - mostly paperwork

Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant - State of Michigan, Government Enforcement Division for Licensing

Administrative Secretary
Aerobics Instructor

American Sign Language Instructor

Apprentice Tech - installing security systems for jails and prisons

Assistant Manager - unloading a truck and the driver thought women were supposed to be as tough as men and he shoved the boxes at me, then I was robbed in August, and then had a car wreck while going to deposit the store's money

Assistant to the Chairman of an oil trading company



Bakery Freezer Department - 2 weeks of being pushed beyond anyone's strength - developed carpal tunnel, both wrists, then fibro set in.

Bank Teller - in a old building with asbestos


Beauty Therapist

Board Certifiied Music Therapist - busy schedule with lots of demands; however, symptoms began when I was a teenager and worsened in college.

Bookkeeper - full charge

Braille and Adaptive Skills Teacher - working half-time and library science student

Business Owner - along with my husband - I handle administration, human resources, accounting, and do all the work behind the scenes - my husband takes care of the on hand field work


Call Center - Customer Service

Caregiver - for 2 elderly parents

Case Manager Case Manager - working with mentally ill adults



Certified Activities Professional - working with the elderly

Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Charge Med Aide

Checkout Supervisor

Chemical Production Executive Assistant

Chemist in research lab

Chemotherapy for breast cancer

Child - was abused

Child - lived downwind of Dougway Proving Grounds

Children and Youth Caseworker - in a very old building with asbestos

Church Music Director

Cleaning Business

Clinical Research Manager for a large Pharmaceutical Company - did clinical studies in U.S. and worldwide

Co-owner with my then husband of a large Medical Company specializing in Labor & Delivery Products - work consisted of Traveling to Medical Conventions - also wife and mother.

College Professor

College Student

Commercial Real Estate Developer and Broker - in a major city making 6 figures - Masters in Public Administration

Communications Director

Communications Officer - for a State Employee Health Initiatives Department - very stressful

Composer / Songwriter

Computer Engineer

Computer Market Telephone Surveyor

Computer Operator

Computer Programmer

Computer Programmer / Analyst

Computing Professional - computer graphics imaging, animation and digital visual effects, system engineering and software engineering

Construction Manager

Corporate Financial Manager

Corporate Vice President of Human Resources

Counselor / Supervisor (Therapist)

Credit Union - loan department

Crime Analyst - for police department

Customer Retention Department

Customer Service Specialist Cashier

Customer Service Manager - for large hearing instrument manufacturer

Customer Service Representative

Dance Instructor


Data Entry

Day Trader - stock market

Daycare Provider

Degreed Microbiologist/Lab Researcher - in the area of environmental contaminants, collecting and analyzing bacteria and toxic mold samples from water-damaged structures. I was overseeing the entire program and under an exceptional amount of stress. I was teaching continuing education classes and doing public speaking in the arena of environmental contaminants. I had minor surgery where I was heavily over-anesthetized. Also, I was sued for wrongful termination by an employee whom I had justifiably fired. We won, but it was a stressful process. Prior to my fibro onset, I had worked in labs doing genetics/DNA work and utilized mutagens and carcinogens during molecular tests. We were cautious, but one never knows what we were inadvertently exposed to in a lab (chemically or microbiologically).

Dental Assistant

Department Store Manager

Desktop Support (Computer) - for pharmacuetical company employees

Developmental Services Worker - front line direct care for physically and mentally disadvantaged adults in an institutional setting


Direct Mail Advertising Consultant and Sales

Direct Sales Management

Director of Quality Assurance

Disability Examiner

Divorce - going through nasty divorce

Doctors - several M.D.'s receive my newsletter but do not have fibro themselves. However, many M.D.'s have FMS/CFIDS, including Dr. Devin Starlanyl, Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum and Dr. Mark Pelligrino - all who have written books. (Recently, I was surprised to learn that one of my personal health care providers has fibro and misses work frequently.)

Doctor of Chiropractic

Dog Breeder & Farmer - plus homemaker, wife, mother, grandmother - maintained home, paid bills, cooked 3 meals a day, babysat 4 grandchildren, took care of milking, feeding and birthing of 40 goats, brought in hay, lifted 100 lbs of feed, cleaned out stalls, took care of chickens, turkeys, pigs, sheep, and 4 hunting dogs.  Raised toy poodles and sold 40 a year, which involved caring for 25 toy poodles that each in a year's time would get haircuts 6 times a year. Some of the pups when born weighed only an ounce and would need 24 hour care.

Door Greeter

Editor and Publications Manager

Editorial Manager - of financial textbooks

Educator - Literacy Volunteers Trainer / Program Director and Early Childhood teacher

EFL Teacher (High School and College) and Department Head - in Israel, but I probably already had it when I was 15 - went to a very hard, high stress high school and spent 3 hours a day riding on the New York subway.

Electrical Engineer - earliest symptoms around age 11 - problems worsened with car accident

Elementary Deaf Teacher - at school for hearing impaired

Elementary School Music Teacher

Elementary School Secretary

Elementary School Student - with CFIDS (stressful year)

Elementary School Teacher - also mother to 1 infant and 1 teen

Elementary School Teacher- my portable was declared unsafe due to mold

Elementary School Teacher - transferred to Special Education of the Emotionally Disturbed - a/k/a worst discipline problems in the system who should really be incarcerated - job contributed to my illness and I had to leave it and all my benefits behind in 1991.

Elementary School Teacher - 20 years experience - working on Teacher of the Year program

Energy Consultant

Engineering Chief

Engineering Tech or Drafter - didnít have fibro until I started working at a desk

Event Planner - at 5 star hotel properties

Executive Assistant

Executive Director of Assisted Living Company

Executive Director of a Non-Profit Organization

Executive Secretary

Factory Worker - machine operator 

Financial & Operational Consultant

Flight Attendant

Flu shot started FMS/CFIDS

Forensic Expert - for local police department

Freelance Writer

Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment Construction Coordinator - for major hotel

Game Developer

Garage Trade - renovation and insurance repairs - many chemicals used in spray shops

Government Driver

Graphic Designer

Gym Manager

Hair Replacement

Hair Stylist

Hepatitis A - as a child

High School Student - with mono, interstitial cystitis and not sleeping

High School English Teacher

High School Teacher

Home Health Aide

Home School Group Director

Home School Mom

Homemaker / Housewife

Horse Trainer

Hospice Volunteer

Houseparent / Child Care Worker - at a School for the Deaf & Blind in a secondary deaf dormitory

HUD Section 8 Administrator / Payroll Clerk

Human Resources

IT Consultant

Industrial Security Specialist

Inspector / Sewing Machine Operator - piece rate system and 50+ hour work week

Instructor with Developmentally Disabled Adults

Insurance Underwriter 

Interior Designer

International Business Consultant

International School Teacher

Inventory Control Coordinator


Kindergarten Teacher

LPN (Nurse)

Lab Techican

Learning Disabilities Specialist/Program Coordinator - in South America

Legal Secretary

Legal Student

Licensed Massage Therapist

Licensed Massage Therapist


Life/Job Skill Coach

Little kid - living in a house full of smokers, alcoholics, abuse and stress

Living in India - 10 years of possible exposure to viruses and environmental toxins

Living in Pakistan - 5 years with terrorist threats, evacuations and bomb attack which killed or maimed our friends - stress a contributing factor plus viral infections

Living in Southern Mexico - always hot and humid

Loan Officer


Manager, County Auditor's Office

Manager, Insurance Company Call Center

Managing Editor- of a small marketing company

Marketing Communications Manager
Marketing Manager - Fortune 500 company

Massage Therapist

Meat Cook - school cafeteria

Medic - U.S. Air Force

Medical Assistant - cardiology office

Medical Billing

Medical Coder

Medical Researcher

Medical Secretary - to 5 surgeons, plus ran private practice for one surgeon

Medical Transcriptionist

Mental Health Technician  - CMA with psychiatric training


Mobile Directory Operator - also caretaker-mom


Mortgage Loan Officer - at a major bank


Music Professor

Music Student in conservatory


Nanny / Housekeeper

New Mother

Newspaper / Magazine Advertising and Sales

Nurse - at a nursing home

Nurses' Aide in Maternity - working on Bachelors in nursing and social psychology - raising 6 children - career ended in 2000 - was OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner / Educator / Administrator and grandmother

Nursing Administrator - stress level was very high

Nursing Homes - job involved bringing nursing homes up to government regulations and teaching seminars

Obstetrics Technician - 12 hour shifts

Office Administrator / Ward Clerk

Office Assistant

Office Coordinator - for prison ministry

Office Manager

Office Manager - for a non-profit organization

Office Support - must be at work by 8:00 a.m. - very difficult

Office Worker

Operating Room Trauma Nurse;  R.D.C.S. (Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer);  R.V.T. (Registered Vascular Technologist) - I had been in the medical field since 1976 until my total disability in 2001, 3 months after the death of my husband


Outside Sales - Industrial Supplies - Independent Professional

Owner of mural and faux finish company

Owner of music business - buying and selling of name entertainment - very stressful - late hours of work and travel

Paper Bundle Route Carrier


Pastor's Wife

Patent Agent - BS in Chemistry from Columbia University through attending night school while working full-time at a patent law firm in NYC

Patient Care Tech - in a local Hospital

Pharmaceutical Research Scientist


Physician's Office Manager
Piano Teacher
Police Dispatcher - for a 3,000 man police department
Policeman - for 25 years in a large city
Postal Clerk

Postal Employee

Postal Service Mail Encoder

Pregnant - not yet married - got in car accident

Pre-Med Student

Preschool Assistant Teacher

Preschool Teacher

Private Duty Nursing - for terminally ill and specialized in geriatrics

Private Duty R.N. - one patient, and mother of 5

Professional Forester

Professional Sales

Professional Speaker


Project Manager/Program Manager - for IBM

Property Manager - for 300 apartments, 5 motels, and 11 houses


Public Relations - for major car manufacturer

Public School Music Teacher - grades K-8


RN (Nurse)

RN, BSN - Board-Certified in Community Health / Public Health Nursing / Educator

RN - medical/surgical, same day surgery, hospice care, and home health manager

RN, RM, NMN Nurse

Radiologic Technologist

Reading Specialist - elementary school


Receptionist - had just sustained a back injury

Receptionist / Data Entry Clerk - mother and full-time student

Receptionist / Word Processor

Registered Physical Therapist Assistant

Respiratory Therapist

Retail Jewelry Manager

Retail Store Manager

Rural Letter Carrier

Sales Manager - for medical manufacturer

Sales Rep.

Salon Owner

School Bus Driver

Science Teacher - 6th grade



Self-Storage Manager - stress and physical work

Senior Caseworker/Investigator -- Child Protective Services

Senior Designer - for architectural firm
Senior Level Accountant - very high stress

Senior Loan Officer - at one of the largest credit unions in our state - I went to work one morning and felt fine - 3 hours later I became ill and haven't worked since that day - I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Senior Police Constable - 26 years of service - as a result of CFS/Fibro, I had to quit my career

Senior Research Assistant

SeniorTrainer/Manager - for large bank. Lots of standing, lifting heavy printed materials, training and working in a "no window" room with 20 computers going non-stop, overhead projectors, lights on and off, lots of stress on body and eyes. I loved it, but it didn't love me!

Singer / Guitar Player

Social Worker for State

Software Development - enhanced computer systems by programming or develop new software systems.  I was in a bad accident, but tried going back to work part time but had to give it up.

Special Education Teacher

Special Education High School Teacher - very violent and emotionally abusive population and very high stress job - got me so run down, I became ill.

Special Education Teacher Consultant - managed complex alternative school focused on helping severely emotionally disturbed adolescents and adjudicated delinquents with coordination of the Dept. of Social Services

Special Events Volunteer Coordinator - for non profit organization
Speech Language Pathologist

Sports Trainer - first aid for high school sports

Stable Manager

State Loan Clerk with USDA

State-Certified Social Worker and Community Educator

Stress in family from husband's job

Studying Medical Transcription

Substitute Teacher

Supervisor of a Call Center in Workforce Management

Supplier Quality Engineer

Systems Engineer - at IBM Corp.

Surgical Technician

Tax Accountant

Tax Office Secretary

Teacher - MS in education and was a teacher for many years and teacher training for NYC board of education...also working on my doctorate in education at that time. 4 people in the school were diagnosed with fibro and 3 others diagnosed at a young age (40's) with cancer. (2 passed away)..makes me wonder if there is an environmental trigger as well.

Teacher - huge difference in symptoms depending on where I am working. I am also a part-time mortgage broker so when I am at the office doing mortgages, I feel great (can make my own hours or work from home if i need to), but during the school year sometimes it is very difficult just to get thru the day. Stress is a big factor in how well I feel.

Teacher's Aide Technical Consultant - in specialized machine shop equipment - college degree in mechanical engineering

Teaching Assistant

Teaching English as a Second Language.

Team Leader - in an accounting department of a major bank

Technical Project Manager - computer engineering

Technical Sales Representative

Technical Support Staff - I worked with kids who had behavioral problems, one on one, in the classroom

Technical Writer for IBM

Telecommunicator for Verizon Wireless - fast paced with quotas

Telephone Banking

Tool Crib Attendant - at nuclear site

Translator & Language Consultant

Triage Nurse - at Naval Hospital

TV News Anchor

University Learning Disabilities Specialist - high, high stress!

University Librarian

Vice President of a Corporation

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Wellness Director

Wildlife Biologist - contracted Ehrlichia, a tick-born disease, in 1995, was treated and since then developed fibro with symptoms getting worse each year.

Wildlife Rehabilitator

X-ray Technologist

Youth Group Home Counselor

Apparently ANYONE can get Fibromyalgia - it's an "equal opportunity" illness!

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100 Tips for Coping with Fibromyalgia & Insomnia

  My Fibromyalgia Story

  My Chronic Fatigue Story

  My Insomnia Story

  What I Use

II Corinthians 1: 4 - "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."  Visit Dominie's FMS/CFIDS Homepage at www.fms-help.com for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers and their families.

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor. I am a fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue syndrome survivor. The purpose of this website is not to diagnose or cure any disease or malady, but is presented as food for thought.  This information cannot take the place of professional medical advice. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician. No guarantees are made regarding any of the information in this website.