Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

I have an awareness tea scheduled for today, in honor of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Today!

The plan is to talk about who it effects, how it effects them, and the best way to treat someone with Fibromyalgia, be it spouse, friend, or family member.

Because Fibro Awareness is not about telling a Fibromate all about treatment options and how they can help themselves.

No, that is every other day! lol. Awareness day is about making those who don't suffer understand those who do. It is about shrugging off the vicious lies and stigma attached to Fibromyalgia with a healthy dose of truth and statistics.

Today, at my tea event, I'm going to talk, too, about the myth: "All Fibromyalgia patients are fat, white, American suburban housewives looking for attention." Though I have a big speech prepared, I'm going to summarize it for you, My Friends, to spare you. ::winks::

Science is made up of theories. You get one in your head that seems logical and then you experiment and test until you prove or disprove it.

I'm going to throw out my theories and you can agree or disagree with them.

Let's look at the phrase "All Fibro patients are fat, white, American suburban housewives looking for attention."

I can see where this has become a popular myth because it is based on truth.

Let's look at the racial aspect. More white women suffer from Fibro than black, Latino, Arabic...etc. There could be many reasons for this. Not the least of which could be history. How much in the past did white folk sit back and relax while others did the work for them? If Fibro is hereditary, could the lack of exercise in our ancestors be the reason so many white women suffer today? I would say it is unlikely...but it isn't impossible. But we see cultural susceptibility all the time. It could be from diet, climate, heritage.

For example: According to diabetes.co.uk "African Americans tend to have lower average cholesterol levels than the general population. As nearly 40% of all African Americans struggle with hypertension, black patients and their doctors often focus on controlling blood pressure not diabetes. "

Now how about countries where women are barely recognized as animals? How extensive is the testing for Fibromyalgia going to be there? So Arabic or middle-eastern women who suffer might not ever be diagnosed. I won't go off on a rant here, but I don't live there, so I cannot speak on the subject with fact, only speculation.

The point is that all bodies are different. Just because one group tends to suffer more than others with a certain affliction, does not and should not detract from its credibility.


"American suburban housewives..."

It is believed by some countries that American housewives made up the disease and the Pharmaceutical companies are making money pandering to them.

The United States is not the only country that has recognized Fibromyalgia, but we're the most well known. America can't sneeze without someone pointing a finger and mumbling "those damned Americans".

Some of us, as American sufferers, just have to do the same thing we did back in kindergarten. Ignore the idiots. In truth, there are some interesting treatments in other countries for Fibro, but you don't hear about them much because they're not "damned Americans".

And...fat, housewives. It does seem that way sometimes doesn't it? I look down and I see a woman who isn't super model skinny. I'm not out jogging my complex (I walk it. lol)and I'm a housewife. ::Gasp:: Oh my god! That must mean I'm making it up.

Or it could mean that those unable to exercise get Fibromyalgia! You often here people talk about how much pain they are in, and it keeps them from exercising, thus creating what I believe to be the vicious circle.

We experience a bunch of pain and therefore can't exercise which brings about more pain.

That isn't to say that exercise is the answer to everything. I am not one of those who believe in that. But I will say that being more active does make me feel better and it keeps the painful flare-ups at bay. (I still get the migraines and allergies and occasionally the costochondritis. Then there's this yeast bit...ugh. Maybe after I increase my exercise patterns? eh..who knows.)However, all it takes is one doozy of a headache to keep me down for days to start the pain cycle all over again.

Once we stop exercising, we start gaining weight. The medication prescribed to keep us from being in pain...makes us gain weight. Fat? Well not all of us but okay, the statistics do point to it. The real question is...if we were skinny, would we still suffer? Even though exercising and losing weight does make us all feel better, it doesn't take the fibro away. I am currently in the "healthy" range of my weight to height ratio. And I am capable of experiencing the same pain as last months flare-up when I weighed my lowest proves.

This isn't a life we chose, this is a constant battle and all battles have their ups and downs. If someone wants to be mean and call us fat, so be it. Karma takes care of those who judge.

Gin Note: With all the medications I've been on I've lost and gained 20 pounds back and forth the last few years. When I ceased chemical treatment, the fluctuation stopped a bit to be within 10 pounds of yo-yo. So it is my hope that the chemical treatments of the future stop making pudge pies out of us! It's ridiculous.


"...looking for attention."

Yeah. We talk. We try to find someone who can relate to all the pain we feel. We cry, we lament and you know what? So would non-sufferers if they had a moment of pain! We just do it more often because our life...is painted with pain.

The more we talk about what ails us, the more we get labeled as whiners, so I often tell people to shave down how much they talk about their daily aches and pains. It gives the wrong impression. Non-sufferers just won't get it. Tell them how you feel, be honest, but be understanding too. Expect understanding from them but concede a little bit too.

Sometimes we are so wrapped up in our pain that we don't think about the emotional ramifications of our constant tirade. I'm hugely guilty of this, so I am not standing on a high horse here, My Friends.

I have to keep myself from babbling on about Fibro and how it makes me feel all the time. LOL I save it for when I talk to you fine people.

HOWEVER, I'm not ashamed to say I'm in pain...or that I have fibro fog and can't mull through a topic of conversation. I mention it openly. I have Fibro and I'm not going to shy away and hide it as though it is something to be ashamed of.

I'm going to make everyone aware of it!

And try to keep down my complaints.

It is not an easy thing to do. Haha.

So that is some of what I am covering today. Bet ya all are glad you're going to miss the full speech.

All my best and hopes for world wide Fibro Awareness,

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