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My Silent Pain

For well over 5 years, I have dealt with something I have never wanted to share publicly. Silently, quietly, for the last several years, I have walked through daily life in pain. Many of those days, that pain has been excruciating. I’ve had a full list of tests and each time, thankfully, have received the news that the tests were “all clear.” Yet the pain persists. Thankful for the health I have, I do my best to be the husband, father, employee and friend I need to be. While on the outside it appears as if nothing is wrong, internally, the battle is mentally draining.

So why share this now?

Based on some recent developments, I believe I may finally be able to give my pain a name. Trust me when I say this, I have done everything in my power to avoid accepting this. For many years, I watched as my mom battled this very same disorder. I witnessed it steal her joy and her quality of life. There is so much more that I understand about her now. Actually, there are many people that I know that live with this same disorder. Like my mom, I have a better understanding and respect for each and every one of them.

Friends, we believe we can now call my silent pain by it’s clinical name….fibromyalgia.

Now before you click away from this post and roll your eyes, believe me when I say, I’ve thought the same thing too. On Tuesday, I looked my doctor in the eye and firmly asked the question that you’re probably thinking right now…

“Be straight with me. Is this a mental illness? Is this just a bucket to put random pain in?”

My doctors response (which I believe to be true) was clear and concise. She even agreed that even the medical community used to believe that it was, in fact, just a mental illness. She said that they now have data and proof that this is a true disorder. While it does a number on you mentally, the physical issues have been proven to be correct. There is much better understanding around what causes the pain, the why and the where.

Still not willing to accept or believe it, I came home and did some research on my own. Sure enough, each and every description matched the handwritten list I took with me to my doctor. It’s also been known to be genetic. So that is where we are. While there are some other hoops to jump through and further tests might be required, at least we can begin to gain some understanding.

I share all of this with you because I believe it’s the right time to be transparent. I know that there are many, many other people that deal with this same pain and disorder. I share this for them. I share this in the hope that we can all better understand and appreciate what each of them are going through. While this is nothing terminal, and I consider it a blessing for that very reason, it is a struggle.

I hesitated to share this because I’m not one that likes to be THIS transparent. It’s so much easier to sit behind the keyboard and make things look ship shape. It’s not my intention to do a series of posts like this, or maybe even mention it again. Part of me feels like my wife needs a break too. She’s one of the very few people I have continuously leaned on for support. Again, this isn’t killing me. I am so thankful for that. Yet the mental struggle of constant, consistent, random pain is maddening. Especially when only a select few people are even aware you’re dealing with it.

To my friends with Fibromyalgia, please accept my apology. If I have ever appeared disinterested or non-sympathetic to your pain, I am sorry. I have so much respect for each of you and the journey you walk each day. I want to encourage you to not let the mental battle beat you. Keep rising each day and fighting through the pain. While it may not appear to others, know that it is real and it hurts.

I’d love to hear from you if ¬†you too battle Fibromyalgia. You can contact me (HERE).


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Comments · 24

  • Gabe Taviano · September 18, 2013

    Appreciate your transparency, Aaron. I will be praying for you. Oh, and just wanted to say that it was very easy to read this post on my smartphone. Theme works really well on mobile. Thanks for sharing and opening up!

    • Aaron · September 18, 2013

      Thanks Gabe! Appreciate the prayers. I know you’ve been walking your own journey physically and I have appreciated your transparency in that too. Thanks for the feedback on the theme too. Decided to go with a minimalistic theme as that appears to be the way they are all going. Thanks again!

  • livelifeunscriptedtoday · September 18, 2013

    Aaron – thanks for being transparent. I understand how hard that can be sometimes. Also, sorry to hear about the pain you’re struggling with. I know that’s no fun. I will pray for your relief and ultimately, for healing.

    Oh, my first thought also was how easy it was to read on my phone.

    Thanks again for sharing your life, and also for allowing others to walk always you, joining you in faith and prayer.

    • Aaron · September 18, 2013

      Oh Laura, thank you so much. I know you’re walking through a very difficult journey right now too. I continue to pray for you as well. Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. Thanks for the feedback on the blog too. Glad it’s working well on mobile devices :) Have a great night and thanks again.

  • Curt Harding · September 18, 2013

    I like when you’re transparent. Particularly when you’re standing in front of your beautiful wife ;-) thanks for your post. It takes guts. And you didn’t even mention how you’ve run in marathons with that pain. Praying for you always, brother.

    • Aaron · September 18, 2013

      Hilarious Curt. Appreciate you too my friend. It’s funny, part of the reason I ran the half marathons was to tell myself I was fine. I knew if I could get through them, I was okay, as weird as that sounds. Lately I haven’t been able to get more than 4 miles. Tonight I did 6 which, in many ways, was like a half marathon. All good in the hood as they say.

  • Chris Sopa International, Inc. · September 18, 2013

    Aaron – I so enjoy reading your blog! Being a writer for several years I can honestly tell you that, although hard at times, writing from a place of transparency is most powerful. Those are the blogs that help the most people. :-)

  • Aaron · September 18, 2013

    Thanks Chris! That’s high praise coming from you. I follow your writing as well and am so happy for your success. Who knew old Bedford High would be a launching point ;) Congrats on all of your success and thank you for always being an encouragement.

  • Risa Irrera · September 19, 2013

    I, too, have Fibromyalgia. I have found that the pain and depression have life changing affects. Your family and friends think you are nuts. They cannot or will not realize that there is truly something wrong. You make plans and have to break them at the last minute. You can’t do the things you used to do. You have to set priorities to what you will handle in one day and sometimes even those things don’t get done. This is something you deal with one day at a time. I wish you the best and thank you for your transparentness.

    • Aaron · September 19, 2013

      I totally understand Risa. For years I never understood as my mom would struggle through tests, doctors, and pain. She appeared to be fine. Although I’m still learning a lot about this, getting a handle on knowing I’m not just complaining sure helps. I will pray for you as you live with this as well.

  • Janet · September 19, 2013

    Right there with you Aaron. I will pray for you as I know it can be exhausting.

    • Aaron · September 19, 2013

      Thank you Janet. Praying for you as well.

  • Cindy Fisher · September 19, 2013

    Aaron, how refreshing it is to know someone else who is experiencing exactly what I’ve been experiencing for the last few years. I was just diagnosed in July, not only with fibromyalgia but also chronic fatigue immunodysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). I’m currently on three months of short-term disability from my job, not knowing if I’ll even be able to return. As you can tell by the time of day I’m writing this, insomnia is one of the symptoms. I’ve been awake now since 4 a.m. Yesterday was a bad day. I felt like someone had been beating on my body and the fatigue was terrible. I had a massage then went to the grocery store to stock up on a few necessities. I was beyond exhausted when I returned. I too thank God everyday that this is not a fatal illness, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that it takes a toll on your ability to function like a normal human. I also thank God that I have a husband who has been through major pain who can relate. We both sometimes think he also has fibro because he also has all-over body pain, and his mother has it. He and I were quite a pair yesterday! Our son Victor laughingly tells us he’s going to put us in a “home”.

    Thank you for your transparency in sharing. Your post will undoubtedly encourage others besides me who have this condition that is difficult to diagnose, understand and cope with.


    • Aaron · September 19, 2013

      Thank you Cindy. I sure love the Fishers! You would never know that you and Vic deal with pain. You’re always smiling and encouraging to others. I understand the insomnia too. Many a night I’ve been up reading a book, surfing the web or writing a post. I was given medicine on Tuesday to help with pain (which is has) and sleep but so far no good on the sleep. Slept horrible last night. I’ll take the pain relief over sleep though (although I think quality of sleep actually helps). Praying for you both. Thank you for sharing. Love you both.

  • Sonya · September 19, 2013

    Aaron, I am in pain every single day of my life. In fact I’ve been in pain every day since I was between the age of 5 and 8. The age when “it” took place…repeatedly. I was in the hospital for pain throughout middle school. I suffer from depression and lately debilitating anxiety. Something that runs throughout my family. I have at least three relatives that I personally know of that have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I too have all the symptoms however; I never came to the conclusion that that is what I have. I simply post I am in pain every day of my life and I’m used to it. It is so difficult to hide behind the computer and appear as though everything is fine. This is why I post daily. I post for me :) and hope it touches someone else. I feel no stigmatism with anything that I go through or have gone through. My mother used to tell me that I was more honest than most people because they won’t admit they have a problem. I’m glad you admitted that you have a Dis.. Ease. Why? Because now maybe someone else will use their voice and realize… “I am not alone.”

    • Aaron · September 19, 2013

      Remarkable Sonya. I never knew and didn’t know that about you. You’re such an encouragement to others online. Your faith and sharing Christ with others is just awesome. You do touch others, myself included. I will be praying for you as you continue to walk through all that you’re dealing with as well. Thank YOU for being transparent here and sharing too.

  • Ed · September 19, 2013

    Emily has been on this journey since she was 16. She has dealt with . Sides of the same coin: doctors questioned her diagnosis (you’re so young!) Until they confirmed it with painful trigger point tests, and on the other end doctors who want to chalk every symptom up to fibro which delayed her food sensitivity diagnosis for a decade.

    PPrayers for you my friend, and your family. If you ever need a sounding board, hit us up.

    • Aaron · September 19, 2013

      Thank you Ed. I thought of Emily right away. I knew she has been battling this and yet she continues to be so successful with her 31 business. That is encouraging for sure. I know we’ve never formally met, but I really do appreciate you and your family. Thanks for your prayers and the offer to share. We’re all in this together :) Plus, we can always talk Tar Heels!! Thanks again.

  • David Schroeder · September 19, 2013

    Aaron, what I read here is true courage. It is something God makes in a man that anyone should stand up and say, “God is good.” I am proud of you as a brother and watching how God continues to move through you. I am honored to be your friend. Now this doesn’t get me off the hook making fun of the Cleveland Indians, though, okay? Love you bro.

    • Aaron · September 19, 2013

      You’re awesome Dave. Honestly, when I think of the struggles that others face and medical battles that many others are facing, I feel silly even sharing this. I think of courage as people battling things that are terminal and far worse. It just felt like sharing this might let others know to do the same. Walking it alone is no way to go. Friends like you certainly help. You can make fun of my Indians all you want, although the Browns appear to be giving people more material to work with. Love ya Big Dude Guy.

  • rundadrunRob Rice · September 19, 2013

    Wow! Well written and heart changing. I had the same feelings at times about this disease. You have helped me see that I was being quite judgemental. Prayers your way as you and your family deal with this. Thanks for the transparency!

    • Aaron · September 19, 2013

      Rob – I too have been in that camp for a long, long time. I immediately figured it was just an inability to deal with pain. In some ways, that is partly true, but the pain that people are dealing with is constant, real and incredibly frustrating. If you’re sick, you get medicine and you get better. This thing is all over the map. The constant unknown and list you take to the doc sounds insane. The mind and body just have a tendency to scream at the hint of pain and then keep screaming all. day. long. I’m not one that likes to dwell on or admit being sick, so this is not my favorite. But sharing may help someone else too. Thanks for always encouraging, following along and praying. You coming to C-Bus anytime soon? We still have a lunch to do. Holla!

  • beejsteph · September 19, 2013

    I Don’t Have To Tell you That I UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY!! You Know That Stephen Walks Through His Own Hell With Lupus, & Fibro. Thanks So Much For Your Transparency With This!! We Sent You An Email. Have A Super Awesome Blessed Day!!!

    • Aaron · September 19, 2013

      BJ – Thank you for your email and support. I replied but publicly wanted to thank you for always being so positive and encouraging to my family and I. Praying for you and Stephan always.

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