Tag Archives: pain

Since when is it a crime to want to get better?


I share a chronic illness with millions of people worldwide.

It gives me, on an almost daily basis, more pain than I have had in my life in total, until now.

All of the drugs that are recommended for us have significant, serious and irreversible side affects.

Alzheimer’s, migraines, nausea, liver issues, high cholesterol and on and on and on.

So why are they recommended? Because big pharmaceutical companies make them, doctors (who are too tired, overworked, disinterested or just don’t care) prescribe them, and they make billions of dollars. For Research and Development we are told. Or maybe bonuses and conferences.

Why, in 2018, can I not get access to the one medicinal supplement that has more than thirty years of extensive, proven, large sample size research? Because it is illegal to do so here in Australia.

In the US it is legal in many States and Canada will be making it legal nationally this month. The US has reaped massive taxation benefits and Canada will follow.

We could have been manufacturing this by now, and collecting taxes I would be more than happy to pay.

Even if South Australia went ahead and completely legalised it’s distribution but controlled it’s growth, the tax benefit would pay for the new South Road within ten years.

So why not here? Why is Australia yet again at the bottom of the pile of innovation and acceptance of irrefutable evidence from over a dozen countries?

Perhaps if our Federal politicians popped their collective heads out of the sand, followed by the presently archaic national president of the AMA (Australian Medical Association), instead of fighting over who has the biggest office, we might actually move forward.

So tens of millions of us worldwide, and approximately two million Australians, suffer excruciating pain every day of our lives because the very people who are meant to have our best interests at heart cannot see past their own reflection.

Wake up. Eminent scientific researchers worldwide agree that Cannabis Oil eases our pain, does not have any side affects and is not addictive. And we will pay taxes on it.

Not addictive? Well then no long term money in it for the pharmaceutical companies to produce it, and so overdoses of OxyContin (the leading recommend drug) kill more Americans than car crashes each year, and we are following closely behind.

A stroke of a pen would give us back our lives, yet it is more important to get a spot on a shock-jocks radio program or to discuss who gets what Ministry.

I think I might join the exodus and move to Canada.

Exactly like the flu virus, only completely different


The flu virus changes every year, making it difficult to treat and meaning a different vaccine is needed yearly.

With ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia the treatment changes almost for every person, so different treatments and drugs have to be tried for every person to find one that helps.

And you get better from the flu, you don’t get better from what we have.

So in fact it’s completely different from the flu virus – my bad.

So how do you find a cure for something that affects those who suffer it so differently? There are so many stories of different drugs that ‘gave me my life back’ that it is impossible to engineer one cure for us all.

Of course I hope I am completely wrong.

There is of course one supplement that actually works for over ninety percent of us – cannabis oil. No THC so no high and therefore no possibility of addiction, but because of the word ‘cannabis’ it has more opposition than an Australian Prime Minister.

There is more than thirty years of science that proves it works, has no side affects and is not addictive. Had it been developed by a large pharmaceutical company it would already be on the shelf.

Unfortunately for the pharmaceutical companies they have no money invested in cannabis (to my knowledge) so they help form the ‘against’ argument – no profit, no health.

If I won the lottery I would start a business here in Australia producing cannabis oil and I would pay taxes, making the government a fortune and a few hundred thousand people feel human again.

Why is it so difficult?

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.

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.

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!

How Do We Get Through This??


To my fellow invisible sufferers of ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, there is always pain but there is also always hope.

I wish I could say everything was fine but you know that is a lie. We all have our own stories, some far sadder than others, but all with that common bond – we constantly suffer excruciating pain and exhaustion but we look healthy.

Now I am not saying I would rather look ill, I’m not that good looking to start with! Perhaps something simple that others could see and recognise, and no I do not want that sign to be my wheelchair.

A sign, yes that might work! Maybe something small and tasteful, a neon sign above my head with a pain meter flashing brightly. I think red would be a nice colour. Oh, and in bold…and maybe underlined as well.

Seriously though, how do we get through this incredibly debilitating illness that can last anything from five to fifty years, when everyone we meet tells us we look fine and wonders what we are on about. Sick? Hey you didn’t see me last week, I had the flu so badly!

Every one of us would gladly swap our condition for the flu any day! Even if we were told that the flu would last a year I am certain we would all sign up!

There is a serious disconnect between how we look and how we feel, and it is wider than the Grand Canyon. It is also impossible to explain to people in a dozen words or less, which is the average attention span these days after they have said; “Hi. How are you?”.

It would make our lives so much easier if we could tell people what we are going through in a nice, short, simple sentence. A sentence that would achieve complete and immediate understanding.

“I have ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. Never heard of it? Well I feel exhausted all the time..” That is about as far we get sometimes before they jump in and say something like; “Tired? Mate I’m tired all the time! I work fifty hours a week, have to look after the kids and I don’t get to sleep in on weekends because I have to take my oldest to their footy game.” And the attention is now on them, not you, and you feel like you now have to justify how you feel, convince him your illness is real and terrible and awful and some days you feel like you are dying and your partner left you because they couldn’t cope and didn’t believe you were actually ill because you look so well….

Take a breath. Breeeeeathe.

Now ask yourself a simple question. Apart from doctors and Centrelink, do you actually have to justify how you feel to anyone? Is it critical that people know exactly what you are going through? It would certainly make your life more bearable but since it is so crappy now, will it make that much difference if he/she knew the intimate details of your chronic illness?

Obviously with close family and friends the answer is a resounding yes, but they will (should!) give you time to explain exactly what you are going through. It also lets you know who really cares, because the ones that care actually listen, ask questions and try to understand. The ones that don’t you are better off without, as excruciatingly painful it might be at the time.

Time might not heal all wounds, but it does dull the pain. So hang in there, it does get better!

So what do we tell people, to make it easier for them to understand? Yes they should allow you the courtesy of listening and trying to comprehend it all, but we also have a duty to make it as easy for them to understand as we can.

To put it flippantly, and to improve the mood of this article by giving us all hope for a more sympathetic tomorrow – we need a catchphrase.

“I have………?” What can we say that covers a dozen symptoms (or more) for an illness that many people (including the medical profession and, of course, good old Centrelink) do not believe exists?

Correction. We need a label, not a catchphrase. People love labels. It makes everything easy, fast and quickly understood. They have busy lives you know (as they will tell you at the first opportunity, alluding to what you said about spending 90% of your life in bed). The most important aspect is that it needs to be quickly understood so we do not spend unnecessary energy trying to explain everything.

Now if you think that I am about to tell you what that wonderful, easy, stress-reducing label is, I apologise because I have no idea.

But maybe, together, we can achieve this? Think of all the times you have tried to explain to someone how you are feeling, then think about how wonderfully easy it would be to tell them in eight words. They sympathise or grunt and you move on. No more asking yourself; “Where do I start? Do I say I’m bedbound for almost my entire life, will they believe me or laugh and say they wished they could just lie in bed all day? Do I have the energy to try to explain everything to this person? Is it worth it because it will be exhausting and I need every drop of energy just to exist? Do I just say that I’m fine and move on? Do I owe it to fellow sufferers to make the effort and explain it all so one more person understands? Do I push on and try to spread the message about this largely unknown illness? If they don’t believe me will it crush me and take a week or two to recover?

In my case I ask myself if I have the energy to answer with – “Actually I had to stop working in April last year due to my chronic illness. We lost our dream home which was devastating and incredibly stressful, but we were lucky to find a beautiful home we downsized into a bit further out from the city. I can’t plan my days because I don’t know when my next crash will be, so you’ve caught me at a good time. I’m actually out of the house! I’m bedbound for about 90% of my life so these outings are very special to me. I take incredibly strong painkillers that I have to be careful to not get addicted to, but if I don’t take them I’m quickly in as much pain as a cancer patient in the last three months of their lives. It is documented, studies have been done. I regularly have a blood test to keep an eye on my liver and other stuff, and see my GP every month. Last week I had a migraine for three days and I really don’t know how I got through it, hardly slept. Just two mornings ago I woke up in horrific pain all over my body, I have no idea why but I changed my medications a bit and the pain has reduced, touch wood. Now I go to bed at night really scared that I’ll wake up in that same pain, the worst pain I have ever experienced. The dizziness is crazy. I walk around at home – when I’m out of bed that is, I can only do 500 steps per day or I have several bad days afterwards – and even with my walking stick I keep crashing into things. My skin is incredibly sensitive and sometimes when I put clothes on or just turn over in bed it feels like someone is peeling my skin off with a very sharp knife. I really cannot do more than one outing a week, or two very short ones, as I crash badly. It is nice to get out and feel human, but I have to be careful because my senses are so fragile that if there is noise and people talking loudly around me it also triggers a crash. I’m trying to keep positive, luckily my partner is very supportive, you wouldn’t believe what some incredibly thoughtless and horrible things some other partners do. Some leave their spouse because they don’t believe we’re ill or just can’t cope with having to do everything around the house. I feel so sorry for them because the illness itself is horrible enough without your personal life imploding as well. Anyway as I said I’m trying to stay positive, so I’m writing a blog to support other people with the same chronic illness, by letting them know they are not alone. I write some other stuff as well, mostly at night because I often can’t get to sleep even though I am completely exhausted. Have you seen a marathon runner at the finish line? I feel like that if I just walk down my street. I’m also reading a bit, in between the dizziness, to try to keep my brain going. I never thought I’d say this but I really miss working, you’re very lucky, so next time you have a bad day think of me because I’d trade with you in a microsecond! They haven’t found a cause or cure yet. I’m still waiting for Centrelink to approve my application for the Disability Support Pension, it has been in their system for over a year and it’s an incredibly stressful process, exactly what I don’t need. It’s the Federal Government trying to save money and most people with my illness get refused and have to appeal. For some stupid reason the assessors at Centrelink believe they know better than four doctors! Absolute disgrace especially in our country, no compassion for people like me at all. And how are you?”

Yes, I think we need a label.

Any ideas??