Pics or it doesn’t exist

I had considered saving this topic for the A-Z Blog Blitz next month, since it does sort of relate to my writing:  F is for fibromyalgia, otherwise known as “Why Weaver is a lazy-ass bastard who makes a ‘living’ as an editor instead of having a ‘real job’ employed by some corporation.”

However, I want my blitzing blog posts to be more upbeat (even the scary ones), so I’m getting this out now.  Besides, this isn’t actually a downbeat post, even though it does deal — necessary background info — with something less than cheerful.

For years, the conventional wisdom has been that fibromyalgia is some kind of psychological disorder (chronic pain of any kind doubles a person’s chances of being depressed at some time in their life, so the pain must be caused by depression, right?), and it has been treated accordingly, when it has been treated at all.  Doctors only have their patients’ say-so on whether there’s pain or not, and where, and how bad it is.  (I hate those 1-to-10-scale questions!  I don’t know.  I’ve spent most of my life teaching myself not to notice — or at least not to react to — pain, and now they want me to give them a precise measurement as compared to other pain I’ve experienced in the past?)  Without a way to see for themselves that there’s a problem, doctors are often inclined to assume that there isn’t one.  People in general who know someone with fibromyalgia see a person who looks healthy (or as healthy as anyone who doesn’t exercise a lot — funny how being unable to walk without severe limping kinda puts a damper on any plans to go running three days a week) but acts like they’re not.  Again, when there’s nothing but that person’s say-so, it’s no wonder there’s a… lack of belief.

But. 

As the internet saying goes, Pics or it didn’t happen.  Guess what?  We’ve got pics.  Or real, physical evidence in the form of scientific studies, which amounts to the same thing.  We’ve got proof that fibromyalgia is not psychosomatic, or a lie so we can live extravagantly off government disability checks (and there I just hit my sarcasm quota for the whole month of March all at once).

Here’s a link to just one of the several online articles that talk about the recent research and findings:  http://www.intidyn.com/Newsroom/article-0009.html

And here’s a quote from that article:

“Instead of being in the brain, the pathology consists of excessive sensory nerve fibers around specialized blood vessel structures located in the palms of the hands,” said Dr. Rice, President of Intidyn and the senior researcher on the study.

Excessive sensory nerve fibers.  This is not something that happens because someone is depressed or lazy or just looking for an excuse not to have a job.  This is real, kids, just as we always knew, but now we have physical proof for the first time.  I cannot find it again now, but there was another article that mentioned those excessive nerve fibers being around an order of magnitude more than normal.  Yeah, if someone has ten times more nerve endings that they ought to, they’re gonna feel more pain than they ought to.

And it’s not just the patients’ say-so anymore.  Nerves can be counted, measured, photographed.  Why fibromyalgia patients have “excessive sensory nerve endings” is not known yet, but it’s a really, really good start to have that information.

In about twenty years, when this information has had time to work its way through the medical community and all the old fogeys who refuse to believe it anyway have retired, there’s a good chance that people with fibromyalgia will no longer be seen as malingerers, drug addicts, and lunatics.

It’s something to look forward to.

 

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About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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One Response to Pics or it doesn’t exist

  1. Sammy D. says:

    A lot of people suffer pain that can’t be diagnosed. Fibromyalgia is one that’s difficult for patient and doctor (not to mention those who don’t “get it”, like you said! I read an article recently about how differently males and females experience pain – quantity and intensity. That’s another whole area of research. Will look in on you during A to Z – from another wordpress blogger (newbie)

    Sammy D at http://www.bemuzin.com

    Like

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