While winter is full of people in fashionable winter clothes, Starbucks lattes of various flavors, and snow (well, not in Florida), there is an illness that absolutely hates the cold. It feeds on the cold and makes us innocent people deal with pain that goes through the roof, tiredness that makes us feel like old people, and a feeling that it’s impossible to do anything.
It is the evil villain known as Fibro Myalgia. It creeps into people’s rooms at night when it’s cold and puts them into a horrible state of pain so they can’t do anything! Forget Loki, Kilgrave, or the Master, this is the real villain.
Some stats for you…
- There are three types of fibromyalgia: Chronic (lasting more than three months), Widespread, and Tenderness. I have chronic fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed last year and realized I had been dealing with this aching pain for years.
- There are many different symptoms for fibromyalgia, but mostly what I referred to earlier. deep pain, fatigue, and the difficulty doing every day tasks.
- Fibromyalgia affects five million people above the age of 18.
- 50-60 percent of those people are women.
The worst thing about the evil villain Fibro Myalgia is that not only does it creep into your house late at night, but the cold is where it thrives. It becomes bigger, stronger, faster, and soon, your pain is flared up. Pain flaring up is the most horrible thing to deal with, and it can come from absolutely nowhere. Flaring is Fibro Myalgia’s superpower, and let me tell you, there is nothing easy about it. It chews up the superheroes meant to combat it and spits them out like nothing.
However, with every supervillain, there are superheroes waiting to help. My favorite is Heat, which has the power to warm your body (or specific areas) in less than 60 seconds. Heat can morph himself in all different kinds of ways, my favorite is the space heater that I use throughout the year, even when it’s 90 degrees out. I can’t tell you how many times I sit in front of it and fall asleep in my wheelchair. (Protip: Wheelchairs are not the best place to fall asleep in.)
There are also Pain Pills (not recommended unless by a doctor) for people with severe pain. Then there’s Lyrica, which is an antidepressant that can be used as a pain reliever, but unfortunately, I cannot take those, leaving me to fight my battles with the evil Fibro alone. The only pain medication on my side is Oxycodone. While some people may think it’s “cool” to have access to pain medication so strong, it’s really not. If I take one, especially after losing weight, I sleep most of the day. This has made my life even harder to get things done.
Emotionally, dealing with Fibro Myalgia (which is actually one word but I like the supervillain theme) is incredibly hard. Imagine being in pain almost all the time and that your only access is to addictive pain medications. I constantly battle with trying not to use the addictive pain meds, even if they’re the only thing that works. Fibro also sucks energy from your body at an alarming rate, and easy things such as getting out of bed seem like a Herculean task. It made me feel pathetic for so long – the fact that I couldn’t even do the most basic things. For a year, I basically stayed in bed, and now I fight my way through every day to get out of bed and have a life.
So, there you have it folks, a look into my life and a health lesson for you (isn’t that why you come to my column?). Fibromyalgia is a pain, literally, and winter is the worst time for it, especially when you push yourself, like I tend to do everyday. The more you do, the more you’ll feel it in the next few days.
Does it suck? Of course! It’s painful! It often stops people from being able to lead normal lives, have a job, be a parent, etc. But like all diseases, there’s something worse out there. And that’s what we have to keep reminding ourselves.
By Molly Tracy