Posts Tagged ‘Understanding’

Fibro Sucks! But My Friends Don’t!

May 31, 2021

so we have finally reached the 31st of May, the final day of fibromyalgia Awareness Month. I know I’ve been posting a little extra and almost exclusively about fibromyalgia this month but but else would I do? LOL

what I would like to thank all the people in my life who support me. I made masks for those closest to me as well as myself. I would like to thank each and every one who wore these masks & I hope will continue to wear them until we no longer need them.

This lad is on of my guy friends whom I am fairly close to, but I was surprised when he said he wanted a mask. Apparently he knows others (including 2 mutual friends) with Fibromyalgia.

Tony.

The only one I made a mask for who I do behave an image of is my nephew cuz he couldn’t find his (not surprising, cuz his mom’s wearing it!) But my sister, her 2 daughters, and my Mom & Dad. I thank my family for their support

Cassie & Kyah, Wendy, Dad and Mom

My best friends and their partners.. I’ve known both Catherine & Gerry since high school. I’m lucky to have maintained their friendships after 30 years. I thank them & their partners. Cath’s masks read “I wear purple for my BFF” & “I wear purple for ME”.

Catherine & Brett and Sara & Gerry

As many of you know, I’m involved in Scouting & I had some of my fellows outer request masks as they know how much it impacts my daily life.. I worked with Rainbow 13th directly for 2 years in Beavers & she is our outgoing group chair for one group. Raksha 13th has worked with me at Cub level for 3 years now& is out incoming Ng chair. She has seen how it impacts me and the improvements I have made over the last few years. Rainbow 1sy, well.. I’ve only been working in tandem with her since Covid hit & we initially amalgamated the groups, but like the bffs, I’ve known her since highschool and we did Venture Scouts together as youth.

Rainbow 13th (Charlene), Raksha 13th (Jen) & Rainbow 1st.(Jenn)

& I support me. Some days I have to remember that.

i have 4 masks.. 2 that say Fibromyalgia Awareness, but different patterns.. one that states “I wear purple for my BFF” (cuz my bff has fibro too) & “I wear purple for ME”. Mine, I will have in regular rotation – good thing purple is my favourite colour..

4 different days 4different masks.. & Yes, each has been worn several times over the last few weeks. Very rarely was I not in a fibro mask. & If not, I had purple butterflies!

So everyone who supports someone with Fibromyalgia, on their behalf, I thank you. Whether it’s doing our groceries wearing a mask for Fibromyalgia Awareness or just checking in to make sure we’re ok,, we do appreciate you & your support.

Thank You!!

The Fibromyalgia Letter

December 8, 2020

The Fibromyalgia Letter
~Author unknown

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points – places on your body where slight pressure causes pain.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a chronic form of muscle pain. The pain of Myofascial Pain Syndrome centers around sensitive points in your muscles called trigger points. The trigger points in your muscles can be painful when touched. And the pain can spread throughout the affected muscle.

I want to talk to you about Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS). Many have never heard of these conditions and for those who have, many are misinformed. And because of this, judgments are made that may not be correct. So I ask you to keep an open mind as I try to explain who I am and how FM/MPS has assaulted not only my life but those whom I love as well.

I cannot show you a physically open wound to show how much pain I’m in. If I could you would take one look at that, tell me to sit right down, get me a pillow, offer me something to eat or drink and have that concerned and understanding look on your faces. However with Fibromyalgia, you will hear from many people that they would rather have a broken leg any day than suffer the kind of pain these disorders inflict. To me, a broken leg is even a poor example to compare suffering to these disorders and an insult to those of us with those disorders.
You see, I suffer from a disease that you cannot see; a disease that there is no cure for and that keeps the medical community baffled at how to treat and battle this demon, who’s attacks are relentless. My pain works silently, stealing my joy and replacing it with tears. On the outside we look alike you and I; you wont see my scars as you would a person who, say, had suffered a car accident. You won’t see my pain in the way you would a person undergoing chemo for cancer; however, my pain is just as real and just as debilitating. And in many ways my pain may be more destructive because people can’t see it and do not understand….

You must see with your ears and your heart what your eyes cannot see. You must listen carefully to what I am telling you. What I describe to you may not make much sense to you and may be difficult for you to understand. Sometimes it may seem to you to be a different universe that I discuss. Know that it probably is. You don’t have to fully understand my universe and you cannot possibly. However hear my pain, listen for red flags always of any danger signals where you may need to help with added assistance. I like to call it “sending in the troops.” Anytime I do not seem in touch with reality.
Please don’t get angry at my seemingly lack of interest in doing things; I punish myself enough I assure you. My tears are shed many times when no one is around. My embarrassment is covered by a joke or laughter, but inside I want to die. You will hear many things from me that to you seem as easily resolvable. You may wonder why I make the same “wrong” decisions over and over again. Why haven’t I learned by this time? Why can’t I see the senselessness of my behaviour? I may seem to be getting my life together and them bottom out all over again.
Please understand the difference between “happy” and “healthy”. When you’ve got the flu you probably feel miserable with it, but I’ve been sick for years. I can’t be miserable all the time, in fact I work hard at not being miserable. So if you’re talking to me and I sound happy, it means I’m happy. That’s all. I may be tired. I may be in pain. I may be sicker than ever. Please, don’t say, “Oh, you’re sounding better!” I am not sounding better, I am sounding happy.

What is happening here? Am I lazy, stupid, etc? Nope. My physical brain and body is very different than yours. I experience life different than the way you do. I feel different than you do. Most of my “friends” are gone; even members of my own family have abandoned me. I have been accused of “playing games” for another’s sympathy. I have been called unreliable because I am forced to cancel plans I made at the last minute because of the burning and pain in my legs or arms and shoulders. The pain can be so intense that I cannot put my clothes on and I am left in my tears as I miss out on yet another activity I used to love and once participated in with enthusiasm. Do I experience mood swings? If I am hurting I may be angry, sad, depressed, or any of the hundred moods in the world. I’ll never know what mood I will wake up with? I may treat you cruelly and say horrible things to you; I may ignore you completely, or cry on your shoulder unstopping when I’m in Fibro Flare. You may wonder what you said or did that made me this way. Well you did nothing it’s the Fibromyalgia and all its underlining factors causing this.

While the most predominant symptoms of fibromyalgia include widespread pain and persistent fatigue, the resulting cognitive impairment of this condition may be its most maddening. Commonly referred to as fibro fog, this symptom is a conglomeration of cognitive challenges. Fibro fog is understood to be a physical symptom of fibromyalgia, not a psychological one. Just as no two individuals experience fibromyalgia in the same way, fibro fog also has a varying range of indications, including: Mental confusion, Fuzzy thinking, Short-term memory loss, Inability to concentrate or pay attention, and Language lapses.

This is why I feel like a child at times. Just the other day I put the eggs I bought at the store in the pantry, on the shelf, instead of in the refrigerator. When I talk to people, many times I lose my train of thought in mid sentence or forget the simplest word needed to explain or describe something. Please try to understand how it feels to have another go behind me in my home to make sure the stove is off after I cook an occasional meal. Please try to understand how it feels to “lose” the keys, only to find them in the freezer. As I try to maintain my dignity the demon assaults me at every turn. I have a physical illness and it isn’t my fault and I didn’t ask for it I don’t want it and I don’t deserve it.

Occuring at the deepest level of the sleep cycle, individuals with fibromyalgia typically lack sufficient restorative sleep. We know that at the deeper levels of sleep, called delta wave sleep, a person’s mind conducts internal housekeeping. During delta wave sleep, newly acquired information is assimilated and integrated into the brain. The inability to get sufficient delta wave sleep impairs the ability to recall information and operate at a normal level of mental efficiency.

Sleep, when it happens or restless and unrestorative

Sleep, when I do get some, it is restless and I wake often because of the pain the sheets have on my legs or because I twitch uncontrollably. I walk through many of my days in a daze with the Fibro-fog laughing at me as I stumble and grasp for clarity.

Just because I can do a thing one day, that doesn’t mean I will be able to do the same thing the next day or next week. I may be able to take that walk after dinner on a warm July evening; the next day or even the in the next hour I may not be able to walk to the fridge to get a cold drink because my muscles have begun to cramp and lock up or spasm uncontrollably. There are those who say “but you did that yesterday!” “What is your problem today?” The hurt I experience at those words scars me so deeply that I have let my family and friends down again; and still they don’t understand.

On a brighter side I want you to know that I still have my sense of humour. If you take the time to spend with me you will see that. I love to tell that joke to make another’s face light up and smile at my wit. I am fun to be with if you will spend the time with me on my own playing field; is this too much to ask? I want nothing more than to be a part of your life. I have found that I can be a strong friend in many ways. I am your friend, your supporter and many times I will be the one to do the research for your latest project; many times I will be your biggest fan and the world will know how proud I am at your accomplishments and how honored I am to have you in my life.

All I ask is that you become educated about Fibromyalgia. I am someone in your life that suffers from Fibromyalgia. You may think you know everything there is to know about it, but there is more information out there than you think. It is more complicated then you think, and it is more life changing then you think.

Lend a helping hand. If you want to be helpful to someone with Fibromyalgia, just ask what you can do. Be flexible with invitations and plans that you have made. Understand that sometimes the pain of Fibromyalgia is overwhelming. Be active. Accompany them to a doctor’s appointment and take an active interest in their treatment. You can take notes at the doctor’s office and then review your notes together at home. Don’t take things personally. Some people with Fibromyalgia suffer from sudden mood changes. Try not to take these mood swings personally as they are part of the syndrome.

So you see, you and I are not that much different. I too have hopes, dreams, goals and this demon. Do you have an unseen demon that assaults you and no one else can see? Have you had to fight a fight that crushes you and brings you to your knees? I will be by your side, win or lose, I promise you that; I will be there in ways that I can. I will give all I can as I can, I promise you that. But I have to do this thing my way. Please understand that I am in such a fight myself and I know that I have little hope of a cure or effective treatments, at least right now.

Thank you for spending your time with me today. I hope we can work through this thing, you and me. Please understand that I am just like you.

So I Need You To Please Understand Me

Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) Day of Understanding and Remembrance

August 7, 2020

Tomorrow, August 8th, is Sophia Mirza’s birthday.

Sophia Mirza was accused of seeking attention, her family were accused of enabling her, and she was sent to a psychiatric facility where her health declined rapidly. Sophia died of severe ME in 2005 at the age of 32. The coroner’s report showed that Sophia had massive spinal cord inflammation at the time of her death, and that she died as a result of acute renal failure arising from the effects of ME.

Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) Day of Understanding and Remembrance  was started in 2013 as a response to Sophia”s death.

Unfortunately, Sophia’s situation is not unique.

17-year-old Gigi from the UK was hospitalized with severe ME, and threatened with being sectioned  – forced institutionalization – against her will to a psychiatric ward for her inability to eat, speak or walk due to severe ME. Gigi’s family was told to stop “colluding” with their daughter.

24-year old Karina was forcibly removed from her home in Denmark in 2013 because of her myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) illness for “treatment”. Because her mental and physical health deteriorated so quickly from ME-induced neurological damage, severe over-medication, trauma as a result of her circumstances, or some combination of all three.. she became unable to communicate verbally.. and was limited to s wheelchair because of her “treatment”. These “treatments included cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), graded exercise therapy (GET), occupational therapy and psychotropic medications, all have been debunked and since considered detrimental by most ME specialists. She was lucky and was released in 2013 under significant international pressure, back home with her parents.


Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a chronic, often severely disabling disease, that affects the autonomic nervous system, immune system, endocrine system, among others. It afflicts over one million people in the United States alone and as many as 17 million worldwide.  ME is a disease that robs individuals of their health, similar to untreated HIV. There are those that refer to ME as non-HIV AIDS – with good cause, as the disease can leave sufferers confined to a bed, with little capacity to fend for themselves.

With severe ME a person’s basic functionality is lost.. What would you do if you last the ability to complete any of the following basic tasks,: brush your hair or teeth, feeding yourself, going to ths bathroom unassisted, cleanliness – being able to bathe one’s self, being able to tolerate light, sound and/or touch, move unassisted in your personal space.

Many people, dare I say most, know someone who has developed ME. They done even know that because ¼ of ME, patients with Severe ME end up disappearing into darkened rooms and rarely seen. 

While I have ME & likely have since high school, my symptoms have always been relatively calm com pared to 25% who have been diagnosed with Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

August 8th is set aside for these people living their life with the most devastating of this deviating condition. It is these people we acknowledge today & honour their struggles as they live or in some cases exist with this disease. This day also for Awareness of the Severity of ME & the growing need to include the severe patients in current studies. Finally it is to remember those who we have lost both directly & indirectly due to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.


**For clarification, this condition is also called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.. it’s is often referred to as either CFS/ME or ME/CFS

Chronic Illness Bingo leads to Acceptance

July 27, 2020

This is kinda like the get to know style of bingo, but it’s just for you. Check off what applies to you.

I originally just posted this on my regular social media, but choose to write about here.. The reason I do is the reaction of a friend of mine, Susan.

Late last year she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Now, she has been struggling with acceptance that her life he’s been permanently altered through no fault of her own. Recently she say the post on my social media of my bingo card (see below) & noticed that she checked the few spaces I had empty. She then got curious & looked at the rest of the card noticing that she actually checked a majority of the boxes aswell.

This was her “Ah-ha” type moment. And realized “I have a chronic illness.” I think this realization, and acceptance of the hard truth has actually be a relief for her. She’s realized that there are limits and she has to learn where her limits are. But she’s no longer stuck and is able to move forward.

While I’m not happy that my post gobsmacked her in the face with the truth, I am glad she’s got the acceptance and is moving forward.


See where my 3 bingo lines are. How full isUis your card? I know someone who actually checks each box. 😦

About Fibro (Pt I)

June 29, 2020

This is a long read, but if you haven’t ever seen/read it, then it is most def worth the time. Because of it’s length, I’ve made it 2 posts. Fell free to use it for your own use if you so desire.

About Fibromyalgia

My Need for Massage Therapy– If I get a massage every week, don’t envy me. My massage is not your massage. Consider how a massage would feel if that Charley horse you had in your leg last week was all over your body. Massaging it out was very painful, but it had to be done. My body is filled with painful knots. If I can stand the pain, regular massage can help, at least temporarily.

My Good Days – If you see me smiling and functioning normally, don’t assume I am well. I suffer from a chronic pain and fatigue illness with no cure. I can have my good days or weeks or even months. In fact, the good days are what keep me going.

My Uniqueness – Even those who suffer from FMS are not alike. That means I may not have all of the problems mentioned above. I do have pain above and below the waist and on both sides of my body which has lasted for a very long time. I may have migraines or hip pain or shoulder pain or knee pain, but I do not have exactly the same pain as anyone else. (Keep an eye out for the reposting of the topic “My Fibro is Not Her Fibro”)

My Weight – I may be fat or I may be skinny. Either way, it is not by choice. My body is not your body. My body’s metabolism is broken, and nobody can tell me how to fix it. Often the medication I must take causes weight gain, but many of us with fibro suffer from severe IBS and lose weight.

My Stress – My body does not handle stress well. If I have to give up my job, work part time, or handle my responsibilities from home, I’m not lazy. Everyday stresses make my symptoms worse and can incapacitate me completely.

My Depression – Yes, there are days when I would rather stay in bed or in the house or die. I have lost count of how many of Dr. Kevorkian’s patients suffered from FMS as well as other related illnesses. Severe, unrelenting pain can cause depression, but it is a result of the Fibro.. not a cause of it.. Your sincere concern and understanding can pull me back from the brink. Your snide remarks can tip me over the edge.

My Sensitivities – I just can’t stand it! “It” could be any number of things: bright sunlight, loud or high-pitched noises, textures, odors, food, etc.. FMS has been described as the “aggravating everything disorder.” So don’t make me open the drapes or listen to your child scream. I really can’t stand it.

My Intolerance – I can’t stand heat, either. Or humidity. If I am a man, I may sweat…profusely. If I am a lady, I perspire. Both are equally embarrassing, so please don’t feel compelled to point this shortcoming out to me. I know. And don’t be surprised if I shake uncontrollably when it’s cold. I don’t tolerate cold, either. My internal thermostat is broken, and nobody knows how to fix it.

My Clumsiness – If I step on your toes or run into you five times in a crowd, I am not purposely targeting you. I do not have the muscle control for that. If you are behind me on the stairs, please be patient. These days, I take life and stairwells one step at a time.

My Forgetfulness – Those of us who suffer from it call it fibrofog. I may not remember your name, but I do remember you. I may not remember what I promised to do for you, even though you told me just seconds ago. My problem has nothing to do with my age (Young people can get fibro) but may be related to sleep deprivation. I do not have a selective memory. On some days, I just don’t have any short-term memory at all.

My Fatigue – I am not merely tired. I am often in a severe state of exhaustion. I may want to participate in physical activities, but I can’t. Please do not take this personally. If you saw me shopping in the mall yesterday, but I can’t help you with yard work today, it isn’t because I don’t want to. I am, most likely, paying the price for stressing my muscles beyond their capability.

My Pain – My pain is not your pain. It is not caused by inflammation. Taking your arthritis medication will not help me. I cannot work my pain out or shake it off. It is not even a pain that stays put. Today it is in my shoulder, but tomorrow it may be in my foot or gone. My pain is believed to be caused by improper signals sent to the brain, possibly due to sleep disorders. It is not well understood, but it is VERY real.

Mental Illness and the Media

January 24, 2017

Mental Illness Portrayed in the Media

Written by Anita Levesque

Mental Illness Portrayed in the Media

#BellLetsTalk Healthy Minds Canada #SickNotWeak #endstigma #mentalillnessinmedia

Invisible Illnesses – Don’t judge

September 13, 2016

You don’t have to see a disability for it to be there. Spread kindness, not judgment.

From Chronic Illness on The Mighty.

A Pain Doc Who Gets It!

January 21, 2012

As some of ya’ll know & some don’t, I’ve been visiting the ER more than usual. In a period of about 6 weeks, I was in the ER *Five Times* due to pain flares of my fibromyalgia. Each visit they gave me demerol, but occasionally torodol. I have since gotten an emergency appointment with my fibro/pain management doctor. He told that torodol is an anti-inflammatory & wouldn’t work on fibro cuz it is not an inflammatory condition; I knew that, but it will help cfs inflammation. He also told me that demerol is an anesthetic, not a pain reliever that can treat the pain. This I did not know. He also told me that demerol could also be detrimental to my health and that if I do find myself in the ER, I should get morphine. Finally, he said that regular use of Tylenol 3’s is also detrimental to my health. He stated that ER docs should know all that. He did quite a few things for me. He administered local anesthesia to my lower back to help temporarily block the nerve receptors from registering pain for a few hours until I was able to obtain the rest of the medication. He gave me a prescription for the Fentanyl patch 25mcg/h. One patch lasts about 72 hours. This medication works with the pain centre in the brain. He also gave me percocet, but no more that 3/day. This is for breakthrough pain from the fentanyl patch. A change was also made from lyrica to gabapentin. They are apparently sibling medications, but the gabapentin is covered by my plan, lyrica isn’t.

 

OMG! A pain doctor who actually gets it and treats it!

It’s not real.. Not for me apparently. :(

June 19, 2009

What would you do? How would you react? If you got told by the person that has been your primary support person for the last 3 + years.. That he/she doesn’t believe you’re sick? Doesn’t believe you’re really *that* tired? Doesn’t believe you’re in *that* much pain? And thinks it’s all in your head.

I was told the other day by the person who I look to most for help & support with my fms & everything else, exactly that. He doesn’t believe me. He thinks I’m either making it up & have fooled all the doctors and specialists, Or it’s all in my head. He said he’s never really believed me since he met me.. He thinks I’ve been lying to the world this whole time, that I have been putting myself through test after test after test, several invasive just to play sick? He thinks I’m a leach on the government rolls because I get disability (and we all know how easy that is to get). That it’s my self esteem that’s screwing me up. He’s thinks that I’ve got nothing of value.. Nothing to offer.. I’m nothing of value.. *sigh*

How much more of a stab in the heart is that?? How much more hurtful can one person be??

I’ve considered the option of leaving before, but not all that serious.. But now,. yes I am giving it serious thought. How can I stay here with this person who I should be looking to for help, but who does not really believe what I am going through is real. I have thought on & off that sometimes he doesn’t get it – but that makes me wonder if he even understand, let alone cares about me at all. It’s heart wrenching.

What support looks like

June 1, 2009

What support looks like:
1) Ask someone how they are
2) Ask what they are doing to cope
3) Ask them what you can do

Source: Andrea Martell aka @killandra