And they aren’t nearly as appealing as Thorin, Kili, Fili, Dwalin and the rest. Here’s the seven dwarves of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS).
I am currently battling a full-blown grade-A Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) flare-up. There’s the searing pain that seems akin to a red-hot poker being pulled from a roaring fire and pressed firmly against the back of my neck, downward between my shoulder blades to my back and my hips. The throbbing in my jaw, teeth, temples, behind my eyes.
There’s the so-called “fibro fog“–that frustrating thick haze that sometimes envelopes my brain, impairs my concentration, attacks my memory, makes me feel stupid and useless.
And the weariness that seeps deep into my bones, sapping me of all energy, mental and physical. My vision fluctuates; on bad days like today I have to wear reading glasses with my bifocals.
There are the tears that insist on coming and make me feel like such a bloody coward.
There’s that knowledge I will never live another pain-free day in my life, that this invisible illness and I are bound together until the end of my days. Oh, it’s not fatal; I won’t die from it. But I will die with it.
I don’t want pity, I am not asking for a miracle cure. Honestly, I’d rather first see a cure for cancer.
I do ask for compassion and understanding and a non-judgmental attitude towards anyone you know–a loved one, friend, neighbor, classmate, co-worker–who is living with an invisible illness and dealing with their own nuisance dwarves.
This isn’t like a cold or the flu you’ll get over. It’s not the normal aches and pains from working out or growing older. They aren’t being lazy or trying to shirk their duties. There’s no one medication or course of treatment that works for every FMS patient.
Some therapies are not covered by insurance; for those of us without insurance it can be even trickier getting the medical attention we may need. And so we take it one day at a time and some days, we congratulate ourselves for even getting out of bed.
Your life is irrevocably changed by conditions like this one. You try to stay positive, to engage in activities and interests to keep your mind off the symptoms, but it is always there. It waxes and wanes; it never truly leaves you. Foggy, Sweaty, Hurty and the rest are always hiding around the corner, ready to make an attack.
You really will never know what it’s like until you’ve experienced it firsthand; but I wouldn’t wish that on you. Do your best to educate yourself and be empathetic. And never assume you know what sort of pain and frustration another human being is dealing with. If I’ve learned anything from my personal lessons in the poetry of pain, it’s to never judge.
Thanks for reading, and I promise to return to Richarding before too long.
To learn more about FMS, visit these sites: