Amber Alert

What You Should Know About Me

My pain - My pain is not your pain. It is not caused by inflammation. Taking your arthritis medication will not help me. I can not work my pain "out" or "shake it off." It is not even a pain that stays put. Today it is in my right shoulder, lower back, and left hip, but tomorrow it may be in my foot, other hip, 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 real.

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 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 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 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 sensitivities - I just can't stand it! "It" could be any number of things: bright sunlight, loud or high-pitched noises, odors. FMS has been called 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. I perspire -- profusely. It's 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 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. Your sincere concern and understanding can pull me back from the brink. Your snide remarks can tip me over the edge.

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 weight - I may be fat. It is not by choice. My body is not your body. My appetite is broken and nobody can tell me how to fix it.

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.

I hope that this helps you understand me, but if you still doubt my pain, your local bookstore, library, and the Internet have many good books and articles on fibromyalgia.

2 cherished words:

MARSHA said...

HI DAWNLYNN,

I DID NOT REALIZE YOU HAVE THIS HORRIBLE DISEASE. I HAVE MET ONLY ONE OTHER PERSON WHO DOES AND I REMEMBER WELL HER TELLING ME ABOUT HER BAD DAYS. THERE WERE DAYS JUST LOOKING AT HER YOU JUST KNEW ...

I WILL SAY A TON OF PRAYERS FOR YOU THAT YOUR PAIN IS REDUCED [AND THAT YOUR CAR, AND SO FORTH, WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF SOON AND YOU ARE 'GOOD TO GO' AGAIN].

GOD BE WITH YOU!
MARSHA

Storm said...

Thank you for the prayers, Marsha.

 
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