May 12th is International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. I have chronic pain for many reasons, but my first and oldest source of discomfort is Fibromyalgia. FM and I have been together now for 28 years. Not a lot was known about FM when I was diagnosed back in 1983, and the disease (that affects up to 5% of the population) continues to this day to elude effective treatment; research is still underfunded and many doctors are still in the dark when it comes to diagnosing this life-altering condition. People often suffer for years before even getting a diagnosis. More awareness is definitely needed.
Here is a brief description of Fibromyalgia from the BC Fibromyalgia Society:
Major complaints associated with FM are widespread pain, fatigue and non-restorative sleep. People with FM may have mild, moderate, or severe symptoms and these symptoms may fluctuate through all degrees of severity or stay constant.
Basically, you're in pain all over and feel like you have the flu all the time. Some people have milder symptoms and are able to work and be fairly active, while others have a tough time managing day-to-day tasks.
If you have Fibromyalgia or know someone who does, there are a lot of great resources on the net: you'll find support groups through Yahoo; information for getting a diagnosis; resources for managing pain; blogs covering the latest research; personal blogs by people who have FM and much more. When you're surfing, mind the claims for cure-alls and quick fixes: there aren't any.
Most people with FM experience cognitive difficulties often known as "Fibrofog." I have that big time today and writing this post is a real challenge, let me tell you. In fact, being at the computer today is a quite the challenge because I didn't sleep much last night and my pain is worse because of that. But I wanted to do a post today and do my bit to raise awareness.
I'll leave you with a video by Rachael, a 34 year old woman living with Fibromyalgia. She has another video contrasting her motorcycle riding and rock climbing days before FM and her slow life after. I can really relate to that one. This video describes the complex collection of symptoms that is Fibromyalgia:
It's Blogging Against Disablism Day. A whole slew of bloggers have written passionately about issues such as language, access, ablism and culture and media. I didn't get it together to write anything this year because I'm kind of swamped. But please go to Diary of a Goldfish's blog where you'll find a collection of categories and links to bloggers joining in an amazing community event. You've got some remarkable reading ahead of you...