Thursday, 4 February 2016

Spoon Art

My name is Nick Lutes.

I'm from the Milwaukee area in Wisconsin. I'm in my mid thirties and have had fibromyalgia most of my life. I wasn't aware of it until about six years ago when I first started missing work because of it and also chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. By late 2010, I was unable to work at all and started seeing specialists. I was bounced around from one doctor to another because no one had a definitive answer or diagnosis for me. I felt like a guinea pig and a pin cushion because of all the tests, blood work, and trial n error with pharmaceuticals. I eventually made my way to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 2013, where I got an official diagnosis of severe fibromyalgia and moderate chronic fatigue syndrome (also known now as Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease, or SEID), and irritable bowel syndrome. Other doctors have made mention of restless leg syndrome, Raynauds, and a few other things, but not officially diagnosed.
Since the trip to the Mayo Clinic, I've continued to research things on my own and have made progress by finding several supplements and other various treatments that have helped me find get some relief from the pain and fatigue. I'm nowhere near pain-free, but I'm not always maxed out on the pain scale.

Another revelation made at the Mayo Clinic is the fact that I've had fibromyalgia (and possibly CFS, too) since I was about 10-11 years old. I was always told to "suck it up", or the pain was downplayed as something more logical, like growing pains or sports injuries instead of chronic pain. I've had many doubters as well. I've always been one to help others and take on a lot of responsibility. I worked in the heating/air conditioning/refrigeration trade for nearly 15 years consecutively, I coached youth hockey for almost 9 years, played hockey for 20 years, and was always very busy with home repairs and renovations. Over the past year,  with the help of my very supportive fiancée Kim,  I've been able to increase my energy some and got sick of letting my skills and talents go to waste.  I decided I wanted to try and generate some income for my household again (still waiting on SSD), but since I'd be unable to hold a job with scheduled hours, I'd need to do something where I work whatever hours I want/can. I also thought making things for Spoonies (chronic illness fighters) would not only help raise awareness, but they'd be an understanding and forgiving customer base when I'm not feeling well. I make dog tags out of spoons that have inspirational things stamped on them. I also make bracelets, keychains, and several other spoonie items. I also utilize other silverware to make stainless steel sculptures like flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, and more. I make the personalized items to order, AND also make custom spoonie items and sculptures on request.

You can find me on Facebook at
I run two fibromyalgia pages on Facebook as well:
I'm on Twitter: @NickFFU & @SpoonArtNickFFU