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).