What’s the Pain Like?
You may be trying to understand what your fibro friend is experiencing. Describing the pain of fibromyalgia is difficult. The asnwer to “What’s the pain like?” is undescribable. It is unlike anything I have known. This isn’t your typical headache or even a broken bone. My pain is like a ghost. You don’t see it and at times I don’t feel it. But if you were to only softly tap my arm or give me a hug, I would have a very sharp pain that would endure long after you stopped touching me. This pain can move around your body and comes and goes without warning.
In today’s Letter to Friends, Selina Huffman writes about her pain. While it’s not the same for everyone, maybe this will give you an idea of what we are feeling.
My house is quiet tonight with only the night sounds of my family sleeping and my snoring Lhasa Apso, Fluffy, which I lovingly refer to as needing a doggie CPAP machine. It’s a normal night for me with pain so severe I can’t sleep. Fibromyalgia causes pain all over the body. Pain has been my constant companion for years.
How can I describe my pain?
If the nerves in my legs were guitar strings it’s like someone constantly plucking and strumming the strings with constant throbbing pain. Add in burning, prickly, needle-like stabbing pain, jerking/twitching muscles and sharp shooting pains. It is constant and never leaves even with medication. It’s a part of me now.
Where do I hurt?
Everywhere. No, really…I hurt everywhere. Arm pain is same as legs. There are times it’s better or worse. Joint pain makes sleeping difficult because it’s so painful to lay down on my hips. Even my ankles throb when they touch the bed. It’s hard to turn off the feeling of pain in order to sleep. For someone with fibromyalgia sometimes there is so much pain it’s all we can think of because it’s literally everywhere in our body. Extremely sore and sensitive areas are in the middle and lower back, shoulders, neck, hips and knees and even the lightest touch causes pain. Numbness and tingling comes and goes in all areas. An activity of any kind increases the pain.
How does illness affect my daily schedule?
Chronic illness drains you. It takes your energy and literally can turn your life so upside down it isn’t even recognizable anymore. You can look in the mirror and not recognize the person you have become. I want to be able to do all the things I used to do, but I can’t. It took me years to realize this and sometimes I still forget.
What someone with fibromyalgia is able to do one day they may not be able to do another day. For example, I help in my church’s Clothes Closet. A few days ago I worked about an hour putting donated clothes away. I literally took stacks of clothes, put them on hangers and hung them on the racks. Does this sound overly strenuous? I didn’t think so either at the time. Well, let’s just say this was too much for my body on that particular day.
Later, I nearly passed out several times. The night was long with no sleep because of the increased pain. The fatigue was immense and my short-term memory was nearly nonexistent. I was a mess! Now, choosing to do something one hour on one day just changed my plans for the rest of the week. People with fibromyalgia don’t bounce back quickly. Sometimes we pay for our activity for days or even weeks. It’s hard. It’s chronic illness and it affects everything. May we support each other always giving strength, comfort, and love during the difficult days of illness.
Strive to thrive,
photo credit: ArtsBee @ Pixabay Modified by Mandy
This is the third of a series of letters written by sufferers of fibromyalgia. Subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss any of the letters. To subscribe, give us your e-mail address and click next to the box “Letters to Friends”