Participants

Lynne Matallana, President National Fibromyalgia Association
Although you usually wouldn't suspect it, Lynne spent two years in bed hardly able to walk to the bathroom due to the pain and fatigue. It took visiting 37 doctors before she was finally diagnosed with fibromyaligia. She went on to co-found the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) and to write The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fibromyalgia. She currently serves as the president of the NFA and feels she has found her life's calling promoting awareness of fibromyalgia and trying to improve the lives of patients. Her husband, Richard, knows that fibromyalgia impacts the whole family. He never gave up hope that Lynne would one day feel healthy and he offers "road-tested" insights for spouses and family members.
Dr. Stuart Silverman, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Dr. Silverman has been a champion for fibromyalgia research and recognition for two decades-long before mainstream medicine accepted fibromyalgia as a legitimate condition. He is a practicing rheumatologist as well as a professor of rheumatology at UCLA and the director of the Fibromyalgia Rehabilitation Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Lauren Armistead
Lauren deals with her frustrations with fibromyalgia by getting physical. A lot of fibromyalgia patients would look at Lauren playing volleyball, hiking, or kickboxing and think, "she doesn't look like she has the same condition that I have!" However, for Lauren, who lost her chance to be a top-ranked athlete due to fibromyalgia, she would be doing so much more if she were healthy. She finds great relief through physical activity and looks forward to the day when she finally feels fully healthy again. "My friends and family are going to look at me and be amazed at how active I am then."
Linda Farwell
It took a while, but Linda has finally made peace with her fibromyalgia. Like many, it took her several doctors and quite a few visits before she was finally diagnosed. She used to be a long-distance bicyclist, but has discovered the beauty in slowing down and not having to always push herself to the limit. While she still struggles with the pain of flare-ups, she credits meditation and a good set of supportive friends with helping her accept fibromyalgia as part of her journey.
Liana Gefter
Liana isn't your typical Stanford University medical student. She has had fibromyalgia since high school and never thought her health would let her pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. Finally, after realizing that every career has its challenges, she enrolled at Stanford. She finds that people respect her condition more now that she is a medical student at Stanford and give her more credibility. Her goal is to be a doctor in the pain-management field who knows first-hand when someone tells her about pain. "I want my patients to realize that I understand," she says. "I get it."
Frances Jenkins
As a model and actress, Francis especially understands the challenges of having an "invisible" condition. On the outside, she looks great, but often on the inside she is hurting. Francis was involved in a car accident several years ago and the pain never quite went away--in fact, it seemed to spread. Finally she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Despite suffering from fibromyalgia, Francis tries to keep a positive attitude and still feels that she is blessed with an abundant life.
Randy Wold
Randy deals with the unique challenges that come from being a man with a condition that is stereotyped as a "womens condition" by trying to still participate in the sports that he loves. Randy was a mechanic with his father and brother since he was a child and it was one of the hardest days of his life when he had to quit because the pain and fatigue were too much. Even though it takes a toll, he still loves to drag race. "It's such a feeling of excitement when you feel the car take off. It wipes me out for a few days, but it's worth it."
Judy Fishman, Michael Gilewski & Mima Siegal, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Judy, Mima and Dr. Gilewski all work with the Fibromyalgia Rehabilitation Program under the direction of Dr. Stuart Silverman at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Their program focuses on an interdisciplinary approach and they work together to try to find solutions.

Judy is an occupational therapist who focuses on finding practical solutions to help fibromyalgia patients sleep better, plan their days, and find solutions to individual challenges.

Dr. Gilewski is a psychologist who helps patients deal with the mental and emotional challenges of a chronic pain condition.

Mima is a physical therapist who wants patients to know that she cares about them personally-even as she is expecting them to be accountable for their physical activity and exercises. She likes to tell patients the story about Rome. "I tell my patients that they need to imagine that they have a vacation planned in Paris. They have tickets, hotel and theater reservations, and all of the museums lined up. They board the plane, and when they land after a long flight, they discover that they are in Rome. Now, fibromyalgia is Rome. It's unexpected and probably unwanted. I tell them they have a choice. They can sit in the terminal and get depressed about missing out on Paris, or they can explore Rome-Rome's not a bad city. They have cafes and good cappuccinos, so, Buon Journo."
Leo the Dog
While Leo might have started out as a rescue dog, it's pretty hard to tell who really rescued whom. He became Darlene's (Mom's) constant companion and friend. He seems to know just when she needs an extra kiss and when she just needs to stay in bed for the day (luckily, he's happy being a couch potato). We've met many "Leos" during the production of this project -- animals that love unconditionally and give fibromyalgia patients a reason to get up on bad days. To read more about Leo and Darlene, see the story "When Hope Has Fur" in the National Fibromyalgia Association's Online Newsletter.