Tag Archives: Fibromyalgia

If we have trouble describing our illness how can we expect others to understand it?


For my fellow sufferers of Fibromyalgia, ME and CFS we have a unique issue.

To all outward appearances we appear perfectly healthy, and yet, as I have explained in many previous posts, we are anything but.

I will spare regular readers the long list of ailments we suffer from. The main ones for us all are pain all over our body that never quits, dizziness, brain fog and devastating exhaustion.

I think this is enough for people to realise that we cannot be judged by how we appear. And yet many do.

Unfortunately if someone asks what we suffer from we cannot say ME or CFS (at least in my experience). Firstly they have no idea what ME is (say the full name and watch their eyes glaze over) and secondly mention CFS and you risk receiving “oh you’re one of those” looks. Everyone is tired in today’s world, and if you call it exhaustion people have difficulty making the distinction.

Fatigue, exhaustion, aren’t they the same? Well no actually. Fatigue means you are very tired whereas exhaustion for us is not being able to get out of bed, sometimes for days at a time.

Still, it doesn’t quite get through to them.

Fibromyalgia though, well that’s a lovely long and confusing word so it must be important, plus didn’t one of those pop stars cancel a tour because of it? But she’s alright now though isn’t she, so when are you getting better?

Hmmmmm….give us patience.

Telling people there is no cure still doesn’t seem to sink in, because the next time you see them you are usually greeted with, “Hey how are you feeling, any better yet?”

So, what part of ‘no cure’ did you not understand?

Actually, I believe it is our fault that we receive these reactions. If people do not understand them it is the message and the messenger that are failing, in my opinion. Harsh that might be, but I believe we need a simple, easy to understand explanation of our illness or we will never be understood.

Suggestions? Mine is rather simple and to the point.

“I have Fibromyalgia. Basically it means every nerve in my body has decided to tell my brain I am in excruciating pain 24/7, without any reason, and there is no break from this as no-one knows why it happens or how to fix it.”

I know this leaves out many of our symptoms, but I find it gets the message across. If they want more information then go for it, but in the interests of raising awareness for our condition I find it is a great place to start.

If we try to tell them everything they will remember nothing, so baby steps are required.

If you have a better response please, tell me so I can use it!

By the way, as a conversation starter and to add to the credibility of our condition, please visit The Awareness Store and get yourself a Fibromyalgia bracelet or necklace or, if you’re daring enough, a t-shirt! No, I receive no commission or benefits whatsoever, I just think they are a great idea and my wife and I wear their purple bracelet.

It’s a great conversation/awareness starter, and they can be found here.

No, were are not antisocial. Just chronically ill.


One of the biggest issues I encounter with family and friends is, “why don’t we see you much anymore? You have withdrawn yourself away from us?”

My standard response is, “I’m home 98% of the time so you know where I’ll be, just let me know before you pop in so I can try to look respectable or, worst case, ask you to please visit on another day.”

We are not withdrawing, in fact we crave contact with others. It is just that we often have no energy to hold up a conversation and it can take us days to recover from one.

Nothing personal. In fact we love you dearly and appreciate enormously your support and concern for us. You have no idea what that means in our daily struggles and we simply cannot tell you how grateful we are!!

So please understand we really want to see you, our lives are utterly boring without you, just let us know before you pop in.

Unfortunately many will still see this as you withdrawing and some will take it personally, but we need to put ourselves first or our condition will never improve.

We love seeing people, it makes us feel normal and is often the highlight of our day, we just have to be careful as to which day we choose.

Forgive us our daily absences, they are not an intentional barrier. We prefer human contact (as do we all), just don’t expect a tidy house or me in anything other than my PJs.

Most days we are silently screaming for a break in our boredom, so come on in, you know where we are, we’re not going anywhere!

Understanding is nearly non-existent in a world that doesn’t believe


Horrendous full body pain, from head to toe, for years on end. You either come to terms with it, or it destroys you.

I have read research papers (yes published in A Class Journals for those of you who don’t listen to anything else and are therefore, to some extent, blinkered) that state the pain that fellow sufferers and I endure is very similar to the pain a cancer patient suffers during their final three months.

I even read an online post from the family of a woman who died suddenly. She had suffered our dreaded invisible Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS for many years but her sudden death was a mystery. After her autopsy it was revealed she was riddled with cancer, cancer that started many years after her Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS.

Her pain was so bad she did not even realise she had cancer, and died oblivious.

Why do we have to come out with these stories? Israeli medical research (and US, UK etc) has 30 years of proof that cannabis oil can and does ease our suffering, yet very little action is taken.

Our Federal politicians would say they are taking action, but progressing as slowly as possible is not action. It is only minutely better than nothing.

If cannabis oil had the same amount of research showing it helped cancer patients, it would have been widely available years ago. The hue and cry demanding it be made available would have been thunderous.

And yet because our illness is not visible, it has words that make people question it’s validity (Chronic Fatigue, really? Are you sure you don’t just need a good night’s sleep and some exercise??), and the oil that can help us is called ‘cannabis’, everyone in authority seems to not believe us. Or not want to.

I wish they could experience what we go through every day, but just for twenty-four hours. I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer more than that, I am not cruel by nature.

Then we would see access to what helps us open up in record time.

If they will not believe dozens and dozens of papers published over the past thirty plus years then perhaps they would believe their own pain receptors.

In the meantime we, their fellow human beings, continue in agony for years. The heads of medical associations do not believe these trials have conclusively proved the benefits of cannabis oil.

If that is the case, then perhaps they should learn how to read. But don’t ask me to teach them, because when you’re in this much pain, patience is very thin if non-existent.

In twenty years they will all be seen as fools. Which means I have to suffer for another twenty years?

Heaven help us all.

Oh how I hate nights!!


They say that no matter what sort of disease or illness you have, nighttime is the worst time. You feel worse, suffer more, and daytime is so damn far away…

I’m currently feeling the worst pain I have ever been in since this journey (over a pothole filled road with boulders and lava to negotiate around) began.

It’s probably subjective because I have almost got myself off the drug that actually made me feel barely human. Unfortunately we discovered that it was also making a meal of my brain and would send me into dementia within ten years.

Yes I did pause, briefly, to decide what would be worse. What I had before was the worse pain in my life, but then I kind of enjoy my brain. Plus there is no way I could put my wife through that slow slide into dementia, something only evil could conceive of.

So here I am, struggling through horrid nights. I’m afraid to go to sleep these days because I know I’m going to wake up like this, just before my next dose of painkillers.

By the way my painkillers are addictive and their overuse is something like the third or fourth highest killer of people in the US. Don’t big pharmaceutical companies make safe drugs anymore?? It’s almost like they want you to suffer side affects so you have to buy more drugs to fix them as well.

But I’ll fix them! I’m on a very low and safe dose of painkillers and, as I said earlier, the other painkiller and energy/lifegiving drug I’m almost rid of.

So just me and my pain. I’ve got those pharmaceutical companies beat! I just take extremely low doses or get off them completely! Ha! Didn’t see that coming did you!!

Of course there is the massive pain to deal with, but every fight has casualties.

I just wish I wasn’t one of them.

Hallucinations…and definitely NOT the good kind!


I have been waiting (and suffering) for two years in chronic full body pain, so have tried many, many different painkillers.

Unfortunately most of them (perhaps all) have been opioid based, meaning they are incredibly addictive. And they all come with potentially wicked side effects. In fact overdosing on opioids is in the top five killers in the US, so you would think it would be a method of last resort.

Nope.

But hey, I didn’t care as long as they worked! I much prefer to be addicted on a low dose than live the rest of my life in full body pain, every waking moment. It gets to you after a while.

Then finally I was introduced to Endep. Not only did it help with the pain but it gave me a bit more energy as well. Bonus!

One of the (many) side effects of Endep is liver damage, so I had mine tested after three months. I went to my doctor to find out the results, very anxious because these drugs had made an actual difference to my life.

Good news! No signs of liver damage!

Then we discussed a few more symptoms I had been having, and my doctor started to look concerned. Never a good sign.

Apparently the minor hallucinations and forgetfulness I was experiencing was a direct result of the Endep. Some hallucinations can be fun, but I can assure you these were not.

Apparently I could keep taking these wonderful drugs but I would have dementia within ten years. I had a choice of course; simply stop taking them, which meant all my pain would return plus my bit of energy would disappear.

After crying like a baby on my way home I realised I really only had one choice. So, back to pain and no energy for me.

Each time I reduce the dose, more of the pain returns. I have now cut back to half of what I was taking and the energy it had given me has completely gone.

Apparently cannabis oil is very effective for people like me and it is impossible to become addicted.

Yes please! Sign me up!

Not that easy, as government red tape never is.

Not only do I have to find a specialist doctor who treats patients with pain and who is happy to write a letter endorsing me for a trial of CBD oil (and most doctors admit they don’t know enough about canabis oil to prescribe it, or are totally against it because they think it is addictive. It’s not, because it contains no THC which is the bit that gives you a high), then my regular doctor has to fill in forms and wait.

In the meantime I suffer in pain.

If I am fortunate enough for someone in the health beaurocracy to agree with my doctors, I am allowed to get a massive two months worth. Wow. Considering it takes medication a while to show any benefit this is cutting it fine to say the least.

Of course I can extend my trial beyond two months but that requires a whole stack of forms to be submitted and is not as likely to pass inspection.

So, yes the oil is available as per Federal government announcements, but only if I jump through twisted hoops and am lucky enough to pass.

This would mean being on the CBD oil for two months, then off it to see if my extension is approved, then go back on it and hope.

I might get used to the pain, but I will never get used to governments pretending they know what is best for me, and certainly better than my doctor whom I have been seeing for nearly two years now. It seems there are rules, regulations and red tape around anything that might be good for us. At least that is the impression we are given and unfortunately most of the facts confirm it.

How lucky I am that my Federal government is looking after me, otherwise I might actually get better.

My illness fights back…


For the past six weeks I had been feeling the best, healthwise, since around June 2016.

Less pain, more energy, oh how I was loving it! Endep (amitriptyline hydrochloride) I love you!

Then silly things I dismissed as stemming from my exhaustion became more real, then downright worrying.

I was hallucinating, which was funny at first, just like the worsening brain fog.

‘Haha, silly me, what a laugh’ soon became ‘what the hell is happening to me?’

Obviously my symptoms were feeling neglected, poor things, because they sent hallucinations and extreme brain fog to get me and shake me out of my new (relatively) comfy world.

I would have a conversation with my wife, and the very next day I had no recollection of it whatsoever… I still don’t! And those hallucinations? I was reading a book when the lines started to appear as though someone had highlighted them in green and then yellow. The next thing I remember is thinking wow this huge piece of hot fresh bread in my hands looks delicious (any bread is a no-no for my diet) and I was going to take the biggest bite possible!

Then I was back in the real world, only to find myself about to take a large bite out of the book I was reading.

Yes all the small hallucinations and forgetfulness was a bit of a lark to start with, but now it wasn’t funny anymore!

Last Saturday I had my monthly appointment with my wonderful GP and told her of all my symptoms. She got out her information on Endep and read out the horror side effects that ‘could’ occur.

Then she said it was my choice, a reasonably good life for about ten years then Dementia, or I go off the drug and all my symptoms come back. I would be back to square one with my pain, dizziness, sensitive skin etc etc.

Chronic illness 1, me 0.

So last Saturday I reduced my dose from 150mg to 125mg. Not much, so how hard could it be?

Extreme nausea, thumping headache (that lasted hours and hours and hours) and hello sensitive skin! Gee, how nice of you to return to make my life hell. Now, as before, anything touching my skin (including air) was once again a source of sharp pain.

So what now? Unfortunately the other drugs I could try have the same possible side effects. Indeed the only medication that has worked with me over the past two years was CBD (cannabis) oil. I managed to score a small sample and it was wonderful.

No side effects, no addiction possible because the THC (the stuff that gives you a high) is removed.

But of course our moron politicians would rather spend our hard earned tax dollars and subsidise my expensive drugs, rather than allow me access to a native oil that I would gladly pay for myself. It would help tens of thousands, and has a multitude of peer reviewed studies showing how amazing and side effect and dependance free it is.

And it is available in the US, including one State (Colorado I believe) who paid off their entire debt within one year of allowing people to grow and sell this oil.

I shall say again for all those conservative and ignorant wowsers out there, NO the oil DOES NOT include the THC that gives you a high, hence the fact it cannot become addictive.

Yes, our wonderful Federal Government did say a while ago that we could have access to this in Australia. What they didn’t say was it is only available if you get two doctors to say in writing that you have tried all other available medication (which can take years) and they support your application for CBD oil.

If, by the glory of the public service, you are approved, they only allow you two months supply before you have to fill out a stack of other forms! So yes it is available but only if you spend all your time going to doctors, trying drugs that wreck your brain, and filling out a bazillion forms every few months.

I think I would rather be ill.

I did hear that some people were buying it from overseas and getting it shipped here. Great!…except the ever spreading moronity within our government then banned this. Isn’t it nice to know that our government is taking such an interest in our health? Here in South Australia they built the world’s most expensive hospital and ran out of beds within two weeks. So sure, we trust them!…..don’t we??

There is a naturally occurring plant that can be grown here, where the THC (and hence the ‘high’) part of the plant is removed, made into an oil and sold to over a hundred thousand sufferers as their only relief from devastating chronic pain and suffering. And a side benefit is that the government can tax it and make a fortune.

But no, far more efficient to keep it all at arms length, make hundreds of thousands of their subjects go through hellish illnesses and ignore the massive income stream they could receive.

Much better to sit back and wait for opinion polls, to see if they would gain more votes than they would lose, before helping the sick.

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to buy your vote.”

If you want to read more; https://eternalplants.com.au/news/medical-cannabis-red-tape-forces-thousands-turn-black-market-pain-relief/

An invisible illness never sleeps


I lie here, afraid to return to sleep and its nightmares, anxious how I will feel when the alarm for my next dose of medication wakes me at 6am.

For the past several weeks, on yet another drug I am trialling, I have at least been able to function in the guise of a human being. Albeit one without the ability to walk properly without a stick, or drive, or get out of bed by noon, or have enough energy to eat food I have to chew.

Or without #pain, my new permanent companion.

Then two days ago I woke as my ‘normal’ self. The dark excruciating #illness that lurks behind an extremely thin veneer of medication, that only provides symptomatic relief, had returned. Extreme #pain over every square millimetre of my body, my skin on fire and so sensitive I could not move. My wife was there to assist me, thank god, but crying and yelling ‘don’t touch me!’ was not how I had envisaged starting the day.

Yesterday I had a #migraine around five in the afternoon and it stayed with me until six the next morning. Probably the worst one I have sufferred from and I have many, many to choose from. I was only able to finally rid myself of this black burning beast through several ice packs (lovingly delivered by my wife of course…I owe her everything), much moaning and groaning and writhing around and taking more painkillers than I should have. What has that done to my system?

In a few hours time, if I am lucky enough to sleep that long, how will I feel when I wake? It could be anything, and that is what I fear.

It is not enough that sleep comes sparingly, now I am too afraid to sleep at all. In my slumber I might miss the signs of another downward spiral, whereas if I remain #awake I can catch it in time and medicate accordingly, so the day that follows is not a disaster like the previous two.

I should be more factual. It has actually been the last two years that I have been afraid to sleep, since my illness began.

Never a good sleeper at the best of times, always waking #exhausted for many decades and now, for two years, with my companion, pain, as well.

Will tomorrow be a ‘good’ day, so I can walk a bit further than to the living room and back? Maybe even walk to the car so my wife can take me to our local coffee place a few hundred metres away?

As I write this my wife sleeps beside me. A heavy sleep, richly deserved. She is my carer, my cook, cleaner, waiter, medication reminder, advisor and watchful observer for my monthly GP appointments. In addition she works hard three days a week, a mostly manual job that leaves her with little energy to care for me. Her efforts are Herculean and she does it all with a loving smile and sense of humour.

I have lost count of the times she has told me I must not feel guilty, but I do. This illness has taken away any downtime she used to have. She says it doesn’t matter, that love gives her energy. I believe her as our mutual love for each other has always been without limit, and she knows I would do the same for her. But I do not know for certain, as she drew the short straw.

The #guilt remains, as I am only human. A human who is afraid to go to sleep for what the morrow might hold.

If I were to fall sleep again now, how will I feel when I wake?

Uncertainty is my new enemy. The past couple of weeks on a new medication made me hopeful that I can at least cope, as long as I stay within my limits (the main being no more than five hundred steps in a day). Then two days ago I woke to incredible pain, completely destroying the tiny amount of confidence I had built upon.

No more expectations of being able to exist within my carefully choreographed existence. No expectations at all, except for pain.

Pain and I have grown used to each other, our daily contest having become a mutual ritual, until recently. Suddenly pain has the upper hand and I have almost drowned in its unforgiving embrace.

Sometimes I wake with a migraine and full body pain. Those days my complete quota of energy is expended trying to convince my wife that I will be “normal’ again soon. Neither of us believe it but we hope, and smile to reassure each other that neither of us believes me.

Will it be a ‘good’ day? A day where the medication works as it should and provides me with enough #energy to walk a little further, read a few more pages of a book or, more importantly, make my wife smile and perhaps even laugh? Will we be able to talk of ‘when they find a cure’ without all the doubt and uncertainty that usually accompanies this subject?

Will I be able to wake up when I want to? That simple process I used to accomplish, besides my exhaustion, achieved because pain had not yet made me it’s guinea pig? Now I wake and have no control over staying awake. The best description is jet lag where your eyes sting and the effort of keeping them open is beyond you. Sometimes I wake at seven and think I feel good enough to stay awake, until I wake again an hour or so later wondering what happened. Did I dream or was it real? This question is becoming more difficult to answer each day. This waking then sleeping cycle repeats until I have the energy to get out of bed and stay out, lest sleep overpower me once again.

A ‘good’ day means I can control my body before noon. I can extricate myself from the determined tentacles of sleep and actually walk from my bedroom to the living room, book in one hand and walking stick in the other.

A shower? Yes I still find them to be a source of healing, the hot water soothing my body. I stay as long as I dare, or as long as I can cope with the pain as the water hits my painfully sensitive skin. The stool I sit on helps, and also reminds me that I used to enjoy this much more standing under the hot water, exhausted but pain free.

So what will today bring? My condition is so unpredictable and the #medication for the symptoms more hit and miss than providing definite relief. I can only hope that today I can have coffee with my superhuman wife whom I love without limit.

For better or worse. Yes, she did say that on our wedding day, but probably gave it as much thought as I did.

It always happens to someone else, not me, not us, and certainly not this illness that provides the same pain and discomfort as a terminally ill cancer patient. Without the luxury of a known cause and therefore no proven prescribed treatment, I worry about what this day will bring.

My main goal each day is to make my wife smile. That is the only comfort I can rely on that will temporarily reduce my pain. Right now she is the only (temporary) cure I have. That it lasts but minutes and yet takes the effort of a decathlete is not my concern. I would do anything for her.

Making this illness easier on my wife is, and always will be, my primary goal.

Now I must sleep, as my body needs enough rest to make up for the previous 30+ years that I kept pushing myself through, not knowing why I was always so exhausted or that I was making this condition worse.

Hindsight is a loathsome creature.

So I must sleep, #anxiety over what the day will bring must be ignored. The alternative is not sleeping at all, and from bitter experience that only makes the day worse.

Please wish me well, for as I approach my bed each night I may wake having unleashed a monster. Please, let tomorrow be without such pain and effort, may I be able to get out of bed in the morning to spend more time with my beautiful, angelic wife.

May tomorrow provide me with hope, and the nightmares remain in my dreams.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post at all please follow me, it actually helps knowing I have an audience!