What do you know about Fibromyalgia? Unfortunately lots of people are still not aware of the condition or the terrible effects it has on both sufferers and their families.
Fibromyalgia (FMS) is an invisible illness, we may look fine on the outside but we are in so much pain. Most people look at me and think there is absolutely nothing wrong, but so many things are a struggle. I feel old before my time.
There is no cure for Fibromyalgia, it is a long term condition, it is chronic pain, we sometimes have good hours or days but it will return with a vengeance. The pain varies in intensity from moderate to severe and we can feel it anywhere – my shoulders, neck, left arm, left knee and hips are where I feel the worst pain – I have severe burning, throbbing and shooting or stabbing pains. It can consume my every thought, it’s like being a prisoner in my own body. I take opioids and other strong pain killers but they mostly only take the edge off the pain.
Fibromyalgia not only causes significant pain but also quite severe fatigue, and it can interfere with our ability to carry out daily activities. I’m often so exhausted, everything becomes an effort; it’s like trudging through a muddy field because my legs feel so heavy. Even lifting my arms is so tiring as they feel like lead weights.
We may feel so tired and exhausted but a refreshing sleep is impossible. Whichever position I lie in I feel such discomfort and when I finally fall asleep the pain wakes me up again. In the morning I’m so stiff that even getting out of bed or getting dressed is difficult and takes so much energy, I dread walking up and down the stairs as it hurts so much – I have to get up earlier than normal for work because it now takes me longer to get ready for the day ahead.
We can also experience a variety of other symptoms including:
- temperature sensitivity
- cognitive and memory problems (sometimes referred to as ‘fibro fog’)
- numbness or tingling of the extremities
- irritable bowel syndrome
- painful menstrual periods
- restless legs syndrome
- bladder problems
- sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights.
Some people may have a genetic predisposition to the condition, and events – or extreme stresses on the body such as surgery, trauma or infections – may act as a trigger.
Living with fibromyalgia is challenging, it can affect every part of our lives – mind, body, and spirit – but we have to find the strength to carry on and live with the pain and fatigue. Writing this blog keeps me going, my little challenges (learning to bake, cook and even make my own washing powder, soap and gifts) help distract me from the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia and the support and kind comments I receive make me smile and keep me motivated 🙂
We need to raise awareness about Fibromyalgia, we need the government and the health department to recognise this illness for what it is, a debilitating life-changing illness and give more funding to help find a cure so that we can find a better life free from severe pain and fatigue.
Keep smiling 🙂