Hannah has Fibromyalgia and it has affected every facet of her life.
When Hannah tried To Better Days patches, she was sceptical – she was fed up with trying alternatives to pain that do nothing. But once she put them on after a day of physical activity, the effects were amazing “not only did I get instant release from the tension of my muscles but my recovery was much faster”.
Hannah’s Pain Story
I’m Hannah and I’m the founder of Not Your Grandma’s. To start this story I first found out I was disabled because I googled it when a colleague at work asked if I counted as “diversity” figure. Before then I assumed someone official might tell you like, I don’t know, your doctor’s when they diagnose you?! The same goes for mobility aids, didn’t you need a licence for one of those?
It turns out no one gives you a handbook for navigating and getting through all of this, even though 80% of disabled people aren’t born disabled. Even if you are born with your disability there’s no guarantee that you have other disabled people around to teach you what it means to be disabled. So I set about creating a place to do just that. Not Your Grandma’s is basically everything that I wish someone had told me about disability.
I have fibromyalgia so when I was diagnosed they gave me a picture of the whole body and asked me to colour in where it hurt. I just drew a circle around the whole thing and called it a day. Even now, Doctors aren’t 100% sure what fibromyalgia actually is and there is no diagnostic test for it so it’s basically a process of ruling everything else out and only after that do they diagnose you.
Fibromyalgia is thought to be linked to the nervous system and it’s like the pain dial has been turned all the way up by accident so even a light breeze can hurt. I am never not in pain.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what caused it as there is still so much we don’t understand about fibromyalgia but it’s likely that when I got a viral infection (glandular fever) it screwed with the wiring of my nervous system and it never really recovered. This is the same understanding we have of M.E and long covid. Some people never recover from this kind of infection but we aren’t sure why that happens and more research is needed in these areas.
How my illness has affected my life
Pain has affected every facet of my life. In the early years I tried to cling onto my career. Towards the end of my days working for other people, I was crawling into the back of the car at the end of the day and hiding under a coat while my partner drove me home. I would cry out every time we hit a bump. It was at that point I realised that pushing myself to work a normal job was ultimately making me more sick.
When I gave up work I spent a year completely housebound. Which means I only left the house for doctors appointments and spent most of my life on the sofa. It was also at this point and just as the pandemic hit that I decided to launch my company; Not Your Grandma’s (not something I would recommend to everyone!).
Learning to adapt
Working for myself has meant that I can work around my illness and be far more flexible but it doesn’t come without its own challenges. I had to scrap everything I knew about working and instead find my own unique way of doing it.
Chronic illness is very much like a bucket. Doing different things like taking a walk, answering emails or getting a bad night’s sleep makes the bucket fill up. At some point the bucket overflows and that’s when the pain becomes unbearable. You never really know at what point the bucket will overflow as some things add more water than others and it also depends on what else has gone into it that day. There are so many different variables and this is what makes chronic illness so hard to live with as there is no one single answer.
There are some ways that I make myself more comfortable and that is with my high pain day kit which includes, heat pads, isotonic drinks, my compression socks, my spikey mat and my To Better Days patches.
My experience with To Better Days Patches
I was lucky enough to get sent a trial pack of the To Better Days patches and I was so impressed that I ended up buying my own supply. I am always sceptical of every health product as there are so many out there that are expensive and do nothing but that’s not the case with To Better Days.
I think the biggest testament to how well they worked was when I was painting my bathroom. Even though I paced myself through this task, painting takes a lot of effort and is really hard on your muscles (even when you aren’t chronically ill). At the end of each day I would stick a To Better Days patch onto my lower back and shoulders (my two main pain points) and not only did I get instant release from the tension of my muscles but my recovery was much faster. An activity like that would normally put me out of action for at least a week! But after using the patches my muscles recovered in just two days. I think that says it all really!
Hannah Hoskins is the founder of Not Your Grandma’s, a disability lifestyle store. She spends her time teaching about what it means to be disabled and providing the handbook you were never given. You can find her on instagram via @NotYourGrandmasUK She also has a podcast called Am I Disabled Now? Which is all about finding your way as a disabled person.
Please note, in consumer testing*, users report ToBetterDaysTM patches work for localised pain where we are able to provide targeted relief. With conditions like fibromyalgia where there isn’t necessarily one specific point of pain, we can’t guarantee our patches will be as effective.
* ToBetterDaysTM consumer study of 29 people carried out across one week during January 2020.