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.
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 than 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.