Fibro Warrior of the Week (#21)
FWOTW: Simenona Martinez
Location: Orange County, CA, United States
Mantra: Some Where I Belong…
Simenona Martinez is our 21st Fibro Warrior of the Week. Simenona works as an actress, recording artist, writer, and more; in 2012, she played Pop Pop Jones in the feature film Alex Cross, starring Tyler Perry, Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, and Rachel Nichols. Despite her Fibromyalgia, Simenona leads a full and busy life, though Fibromyalgia does lead to unusual scent selections during industry events and on the red carpet…—FD
FD: Tell us a bit about yourself – Where were you born, where do you live now, family, interests, etc.
Simenona: I am of Cuban and Honduran decent. I was born in Los Angeles, California. I have been on my own since I was twelve years old. I got my first job at 12, cleaning floors in a bar in exchange for food. I grew up all across America, but if home is where the heart is, then San Francisco is where I am from. I live in Southern California now. When I am not in the studio or on set, I spend a lot of time helping my Grandma.
I am a Christian, and I am currently living The Blessed Life. I have always enjoyed horseback riding, yoga, sports, documentaries, reading, anything random, music, history, facts, scrapbooking, surfing, skateboarding, paintballing, volunteering, writing and traveling. I am a performer by birth. I’m an actress and singer by profession.
FD: When did you first suspect that something wasn’t right? What happened?
Simenona: I have always been active my entire life; however, in retrospect I can see how the Lupus and Fibromyalgia was always present. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 16, when my older sister became ill.
FD: When were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
Simenona: I was diagnosed at 16 years of age. It was a complete shock as I was a competitive gymnast and a skilled dancer.
FD: When you received your diagnosis, how did it affect you?
Simenona: It was life changing to say the least. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Neuropathy and Lupus all at the same time. My life changed dramatically. I couldn’t walk so I used a wheelchair. I couldn’t see, so I listened. I had no hair, so I felt exposed. I couldn’t have combed my hair anyway because I couldn’t even hold a cup to my mouth. However, I stayed in good spirits and always smiled in my chair with my eye patches on. I knew this disease would try to take everything, physically. If it wanted my eyes, then take them, my legs, go ahead, but it couldn’t have my heart nor my smile. In reality, the only real thing I had control over was my mind and I wasn’t going to let that go.
FD: Since then, how has your outlook on life changed?
Simenona: It has made me a stronger person. I wear it as a badge, not a disability. As I said, my mind is one thing that I can control and if I have a choice to be sad or happy, I choose happiness. I am not defined by my diseases, the twenty-some pills or the intravenous treatment I take for them.
FD: How does Fibro affect your day to day life?
Simenona: Everyday when I wake up, I am in pain. Yes, there are days when I can’t get out of bed. Sometimes, I sit in bed and cry. There was a time when I didn’t leave the bed for 3 years. Yes, 3 years. Though I am more active today and work on various projects, that’s the reality of these diseases. Honestly, I have broken many bones in my body as a gymnast and just by being a “wild child.” However, I must say Fibromyalgia is a severe pain to cope with. It feels like your body is being ripped apart, like raw chicken detaching from the skin. There’s numbness, shooting pain, fatigue and it goes on and on… But I don’t dwell on those things and I force myself to get up. Fibromyalgia affects my body, but not my voice; I still have my voice.
FD: What can’t you do anymore because of Fibro?
Simenona: I can do anything. Even if I had limitations, I wouldn’t know because I do not think in terms of “cannots.” I will get things done one way or another. I always do.
FD: Name something you do now that you never would have imagined happening before your diagnosis.
Simenona: Using Bengay and Aspercreme! Haha, I used to always tell my beautiful Grammy how smelly it was. Now, Aspercreme in many ways has become my fragrance of choice
FD: What has been your experience with seeking medical treatment for Fibro?
Simenona: Diagnostically speaking, Fibromyalgia is somewhat of a controversial “condition.” Some doctors debate whether or not it is a “valid” disease, which is a slap in the face to many people who suffer from chronic pain. I have an AMAZING medical team, and amazing doctors. They are incredible. However, even with amazingly talented doctors and cutting-edge medication, the pain is still present. There is no cure, but there is constant hope.
FD: How has Fibro affected your relationships, friends, family, partners?
Simenona: Truthfully, it takes a lot out of people who care for you. The fact of the matter is, people don’t want to see you in pain, especially, when there is nothing they can do to help. “Friends” will disappear because they can’t handle it. You always find out who your real friends are in situations like this. I have learned to appreciate and value the people who stick by my side during these times.
FD: What is the biggest challenge you face living with Fibro?
Simenona: I suppose wanting a family. I know that I will have to work twice as hard, but I am not a quitter. I will be a mother.
FD: What inspires you to keep on fighting?
Simenona: God. The passion which He has given me for people and that hunger for “better living” for everyone. Look, there are people suffering all over the world and I have found out the best way to get over my pain was to “get over me.” Of course, there are times that I become sad. Regardless of that, I still keep going because I can’t focus on all the pain I am in because that is counterproductive. I know in my heart that someone will inevitability travel a similar path, and I don’t want to be the one who quits. I don’t want to be that girl. We all have choices in life and I keep fighting even with tears in my eyes, I am fighting.
FD: What advice do you have for other people who are living with Fibro?
Simenona: Allow yourself time to mourn. People have to understand when you become sick, the old you is dead. You have to come to terms with that and then do your best to rewrite your life, the way you want it. You can still achieve what you desire, you just have to be patient and damn creative. You have to do things in your time, and in your own way.F
FD: Do you have a funny fibro story you can share?
FD: Do you have a funny Fibro story you can share?
Simenona: Of course! I was invited to this important event so I dressed up really nice. I remember entering the event and people staring. I thought “Wow, my hair must look really good.” Then an nice lady walked up to me and asked “Are you wearing Bengay?” I just smiled and laughed. Then I looked up and said “Why yes, yes I am!”.
FD: Watch Simenona being interviewed for her role in the new Tyler Perry movie.