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Rated: E · Essay · Health · #1595141
Dedicated to my wife, Carolyn, who suffers from and battles this Demon Fibromyalgia daily.
She Cries

An essay on Fibromyalgia

         Fibromyalgia, ever heard of it? Neither had I, until two years ago. Fibro (as this condition is commonly referred to by those who live daily with this medical issue) is best explained in the following terms:

What is Fibromyalgia?

         Fibromyalgia (FM) is an increasingly recognized chronic pain illness, which is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue and sleep disturbances. The most common sites of pain include the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle and hands, but any body part can be involved. Fibromyalgia patients experience a range of symptoms of varying intensities that wax and wane over time. [1]


         The pain of FM is profound, widespread and chronic. It knows no boundaries, migrating to all parts of the body and varying in intensity. FM pain has been described as deep muscular aching, throbbing, twitching, stabbing and shooting pain that defines the very existence of the Fibromyalgia patient. Neurological complaints such as numbness, tingling and burning are often present and add to the discomfort of the patient. The severity of the pain and stiffness is often worse in the morning. Aggravating factors which affect pain includes cold/humid weather, non-restorative sleep, physical and mental fatigue, excessive physical activity, physical inactivity, anxiety and stress. [2]

         I suppose the best place to begin is to state my reasons for attempting a project relating to a condition that few know about and even fewer are educated on. You see my wife, Carolyn, suffers from this devastating condition. She has had FM now for well over fifteen years and as her condition worsens I am forced to watch and when I can, however small, to help her as the needs arise.

         To “help her…” An interesting choice of words as I watch daily her struggles as she fights this demon which wants to only take what it can from her and destroy every aspect of her life; A demon, who’s attacks are relentless as it invades not only Carolyn’s life but all those who love her as well. I think the time is well past due for her story to be told….

“Burning hot grease…”

         This is how Carolyn relates the constant, non-stop pain that assaults her legs. She cannot wear clothes-a ritual that you and I take for granted-because even the touch of cotton, or an even softer material such as sheepskin, drives her out of her mind. The sheets on the bed leaving her legs purple at the irritation of having them on her. At times if I go to touch her in an affectionate manner I am gently asked, “not there, Baby, please.” and am forced to leave her shoulders or arms or back areas alone. And then she cries because of her longing for my touch. The frustration overwhelms her and the tears flow. The demon, Fibro, wins again... Or when we are in the middle of Wal-Mart or our favorite hang-out, Staples, the pain, frustration and tears cause us to abandon our trek for the house so Carolyn can take off the favorite jump-suit she wears for no clothes at all. The demon laughs at yet another victory.

         The friends she once had gone save a select few; even members of our own family abandon her, this soldier in a fight she knows she will ultimately lose. The common choice of words being, “It’s all in her head,” or “there go the games again…” Plans are broken because the pain is just too great on this day to go out, the Unforgiving not understanding, move on to others whom are “more fun to be with.”

“I can’t remember…”

         Common words in my house because of the Fibro-Fog that plague these soldiers of FM. “I Can’t Remember” working closely with the demon Pain to leave it’s victim staring off into space trying to remember what they wanted to say, trying to grasp at that last thought that has eluded them…again. I, as a supporter, having to constantly go behind my wife to make sure the oven has been turned off after the cooking is finished, or that the cigarettes are out in all of our ashtrays as we leave for another one of many doctor appointments.

         The doctors shake their heads in wonder at what to do next. The tears flow in their offices as reality once again hits home. Pain management is constantly being changed to try and combat the demon; unsuccessful again…we lose another battle in the war. With our shoulders sagging we stop by the front desk on our way out to schedule a follow-up appointment, knowing in the backs of our minds that the results will be the same upon our return in a month. Medications are raised, lending to the fog…more tears come. Hope is chipped away at again….

“I didn’t sleep again last night…”

         I get up in the morning to find my Princess red-eyed and distant. “I couldn’t sleep at all last night so I thought I would try to read more on Fibro…. I cannot remember the article I just read though…” More tears. Maybe she can steal an hour or two away from the demon through the day, maybe not. So Fatigue joins its place with the others and the battle rages on.

         To add to my wife’s condition she has other medical issues from her past that would stagger the fiercest of men: A total of nine surgeries. One on her back to attempt to remove two spurs, attached to her spine as well as to relieve a ruptured disk. The surgery leaving her worse off for the experience; more pain on a daily basis, more tears. Three surgeries on her left wrist to combat the Carpal Tunnel which has made it’s home there; and one surgery on her right wrist for the same reason. And if that wasn’t enough three surgeries on her left knee due to a loss of cartilage. Did I mention the Mollaret’s Meningitis that she suffered from while in the Army? Today her main mode of transportation is her wheelchair. Although she still retains the ability to walk, this gift may be taken from her altogether in the very near future.

         To know Carolyn Waller, however, you would not know she suffers these multiple medical issues at first glance. Always quick to smile, always quick to listen to another’s problems, always quick to tell that joke, placed just right, to put another at ease. I continue to be amazed at her strength and her courage; it remains an honor to be a part of my wife’s life, and a privilege to be allowed in her inner circle to help as I can.

         Carolyn has been my friend when none other could be found; my supporter as I pursue my dreams as a writer; my guide as I overcome my own demons. This veteran (both from the service and from the battles she wages currently) never fails to leave another better off for having come across her path; I know this as personal fact. I am constantly amazed and humbled by the gift of her love and the generosity she free gives to others. Maybe this is her best weapon in her fight with FM.

         Fibromyalgia,have you heard of it? It breaks my heart when she cries…


Author's Note:

         Thank you for your time in reading this personal project, I hope meeting my wife, Carolyn, in this way leaves you better off for your experience. You may reach Carolyn at Carolyn_n_ny@yahoo.com for any responses, questions, or the like if you wish. You may also contact me at rjwaller@writing.com.  Also, please consider visiting National Fibromyalgia Association! (NFA.Com) for a deeper look into the life of people who suffer from Fibromyalgia. Also, for strong community support and further information visit Fibrohugs.com

If you enjoyed this piece please consider a read of:
 The Letter to Normals: Please Understand  [E]
This is my published work. The Letter to Normals is a short essay to those without Fibro.
by RjWaller


Author's Footnotes:

[1] Excerpt taken from the following source: National Fibromyalgia Association! (NFA).

[2] Excerpt taken from the following source: National Fibromyalgia Association! (NFA).
© Copyright 2009 RjWaller (rjwaller at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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