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IWA209 Evaluating Information

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In September 2021, I was enrolled in the third semester of Indigenous Wellness and Addiction Prevention program at Canadore College and one course was Evaluating Information, we were to conduct a study and evaluate the information that we collected. These are my findings and my written paper for my major assignment for that course. 


I knew immediately that the mini survey that I would be conducting, the topic would be about Fibromyalgia. In 2018, after several years of “being healthy” by all medical tests such as blood work, x-rays, CT scan, and doctor’s opinions but living everyday in extreme fatigue and pain, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The questions that were on the survey were as followed:

  1. Gender 

  2. Age

  3. What year were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia? 

  4. How long did you wait for a diagnosis? 

  5. Do you have a family physician or general practitioner? 

  6. Have you heard the term "Flare Survival Kit"? 

  7. What products are in your Flare Survival Kit?  

  8. Do you have a support system?  

  9. Do you practice daily Self Care? 

  10. What Self Care tasks are part of your daily routine? 

I decided on these questions because I was curious to know if there was a common scenario for women of my age that have Fibromyalgia or who Fibromyalgia effecting other genders of different ages. I wanted to find out tip on self care because I do not put it into my daily practice to take care of myself. I was also curious about people using cannabis to ease pain and/or aid with sleep. Because I don’t have a general practitioner, I decided to see if others have this problem. The process to create the survey was very easy, the flow of the questions was simple for me: we were completing the class on October 4, I was able to jot down eight of the 10 questions in my notebook after my class notes. I feel that I could have asked a few different questions to get a better understanding of each participant such as average pain level, a person’s nationality, or more questions about cannabis use since that was an item of interest.

I had 130 participants that completed the survey on October 12, 2021. The majority of participants were female (96.92%) and the rest were non binary and male (each had two participants). The ages of the participants were 45-54 (38.46%), 35-44 (29.23%), 55-64 (19.23%), 25-34 (9.23%), 65+ (2.31%), and 18-24 (1.54%). I was not surprised to see that most participants were female and that my age category was second in the six age groups indicated in the survey. It is more common for women 40+ to be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, men who experience Fibromyalgia pain usually don’t get diagnosed or treated for the illness, there is a stigma about this illness and what gender and age it affects. When I set up the survey, I had mistakenly entered the wrong formula for people to input their year of diagnosis for question #3. The survey had limited the years to 1960 to 2001 and the first three people that participated in the survey emailed me right away to inform me that question #3 would only take their birthdate as the answer, not their diagnosis year. I immediately found the flaw and updated the years to include up to 2021.

Only six participants (4.62%) had no family physician or general practitioner. Of the 130 participants, 127 answered the ninth question Do you practice daily Self Care? Of the 127 participants, 93 of those practice daily self care. In the last question, 112 participants answered the question and gave some excellent responses. Some self care suggestions that were mentioned by the participants included rest, nap with dogs, forgive myself, running, CBT, painting, routine, practice being in the moment, reiki, praying, 4th step of AA, crafting, spiritual reading, bike ride, qigong, tv, crocheting, aqua fit, gambling, smudge, and knitting. ​I was very happy that I had great reception from the Fibromyalgia community including my peers from the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute, that I was able to analyze and discover some common knowledge within the fibro community and some new tips regarding self care. ​A question that I loved to ask someone with Fibromyalgia is if they have a support system in their lives. I was pleased to see that most participants of my Fibromyalgia Study survey have support systems such as their families, friends, medical team, support group(s), counseling services, fibromyalgia coach, and/or naturopathic clinic. I am drawn to this question when I am supporting someone with Fibromyalgia. The illness is very tiring and dark at times, it can feel like a person is alone in their struggles, it is important that people with chronic illnesses do not feel isolated and supported by people who love them. 

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