Stories of Resilience: Deena Nicklefork


Grieve. Allow yourself that. But don’t let yourself stay there. Pick yourself up and move forward. You can still live a very full life.

When I was 19, I was told that I will have fibromyalgia for the rest of my life and there is nothing doctors could do. I cried. I didn’t know what to do. For the next few years, I just tried to live with this new pain and the realization it wasn’t going away. It got bad very quickly and within 4 years, I called my Mom to tell her that I was going to take my life. I couldn’t live like this anymore. My mom was resilient for me – she stepped into action and found me a holistic doctor who helped me figure out how to cope. 

We started attacking my fibromyalgia through diet. I went on with my life. Moved to Toronto. Started the baby steps of my opera career. But I was depressed and when I hit 30, I felt like I was at rock bottom. I knew something needed to change. 

I started working out. Slowly. Something gentle. I came across an online workout that was a mixture of Pilates and yoga. One 20-minute workout would spiral me into days of intense pain. But somehow, I knew it was going to help. So, I kept going. And eventually, I was able to do a workout every day. Slowly I was starting to feel better mentally as well. Then I changed programs and started doing 30 minutes of cross-training. This is where I discovered my love for weights (and my hate for cardio!). 

Then one day, when I was visiting my parents in Alberta, I summited my first mountain. It was a small one – didn’t go above the tree line – but it was a huge milestone for me and a big step. The following summer, I did another one. The summer after that I summited 3 in 3 days. It nearly destroyed me, but I did it. The following summer I completed an 8-day thru-hike, carrying a 50lbs backpack and setting up camp every night. I’ve run multiple 5k’s, one 10k and am training for a half marathon. I continue to hike whenever I can. I workout every day. 

Life went pear-shaped for me 2 years ago again – which led to a diagnosis of PTSD. I’m starting to come out of the most intense depression I have ever experienced. Relationships have been lost. I almost took my life. I ended up in the hospital twice thinking that I was having a heart attack (I was diagnosed with a ‘broken heart’ from emotional trauma). I’m 70lbs heavier. But I’m here. I’m alive. And so, I start again. I push forward. I lean into life and set new dreams. 

Because I am determined. And I am resilient. Since I turned 30, I’ve fought to have an enjoyable life. I give myself grace when I’m having a bad day and embrace the good days. I’m also striving to help encourage others on their journeys with Fibromyalgia through blogging and vlogging.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.