I received this email this morning. When I get emails such as this (and I receive them weekly, sometimes daily), my heart is broken. It is broken because ladies, and sometimes men too, go through extreme pain, hurt, withdrawal, and even disbelief from doctors, friends and family when they come down with this mysterious ailment — Fibromyalgia.
They have to go way too long before finding the correct help and cure! AND YES… THERE IS HELP & SOMETIMES A CURE!!
Most of you know that mine started when I was 28. I am now 64! That was thirty-six years ago!!!!!! When are things going to change? When are these ladies going to receive, first of all… understanding and belief that they are really sick, along with empathy, and help from their own family members. They need support and help from the top notch medical professionals they seek out for help. Where is this care they need and deserve from our many "learned" physicians in our advanced and educated country for this illness?
FIBROMYALGIA IS AN ILLNESS! IT IS NOT IN THEIR HEADS, IT IS NOT SOMETHING THEY CAN "WILL" THEMSELVES TO BE OVER, IT IS A DISEASE!! I become overwhelmed with anger from time to time knowing the despair and hopelessness these women feel as they are fighting a battle for their very lives, and it hit me this morning.
So many women write me for help! I want to help them! I want to tell them exactly what to do to get well! I want to tell them they ARE NOT crazy – they are not alone! I want to tell their husbands, their children, and their friends that they need respect, they need comfort, they need top notch medical care along with BELIEF that they are really sick with a "legitimate" disease!
I have told my husband soooo many times that I had wished to have been diagnosed with cancer instead… or with a heart-attack… or with some other "horrible" disease. At least if I had been diagnosed with one of those people would have really believed I was sick. But in 1978 and 1979, people didn't believe me — they thought it was "in my head", and doctors actually told me it was "housewife syndrome"!
Okay, Nancy… calm down! Today is not 1979. Fibromyalgia has been proven absolutely and without a doubt to be a disease; to be a horrible, debilitating disease, which not only hurts the person who has it, but every single person that they love and care for! A chronic disease of any type affects every person in their household.
So, today as I read this email (as I do all of the others I receive) and see that people are still suffering before they get help, I get really angry! This is totally unnecessary for someone to have to feel the shame and embarrassment that I felt for sooo many years.
But now, I can thank God for my illness, my pain and for each step along the way in my life because I CAN encourage, help and support women who cannot find the help they need right away! I can show them love! I can tell them they are not alone! I can tell them that I understand!
Email from a young woman in California: "First of all I would like to thank you for sharing your story. I am a 27 year old woman who has and is going through several health issues. I also struggle with Fibromyalgia. This started when I was 24 and only a year into marriage. This kept me in bed rest because I wasn't able to walk or do much for myself. My wonderful husband, who has stood by my side through all of this even had to bathe me and brush my hair because I couldn't do it myself. Depression, anxiety and panic attacks filled my life because no Doctor knew what I had. Finally I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a virus called mycoplasma.
I felt no desire to live at times because I didn't want to spen the rest of my life in such misery. Not being able to work or help bring money into our household made me feel worthless. It was through those darkest time that I found God. With time, and treatments and with our Lord's grace I have been recuperating. I even went on my first jog again. That was something I thought would never be possible. God has been so god to me and blessed me with my husband's love and support. I started making some of my own Christmas decorations last year. THAT IS HOW I CAME TO FIND YOU. You have inspired me and given me confidence. I purchased your Secret Vendor List, and am purchasing things and getting ready to start making and selling Christmas Wreaths…"
So, I have let off some steam this morning! I have let out some of the anger that engulfs me from time to time. This young woman went for 5 years before finding out what was wrong. EVEN FIVE YEARS is WAY too long to suffer without knowing what is wrong! I fought with every ounce of strength in my body for almost 25 years before getting a correct diagnosis and receiving proper medical care. I had to do the research and find out by myself what was wrong with me…while fighting a battle all alone! It is now my God-Inspired goal to reach these women and help them get the proper medical care they need and deserve!
I read this prayer this morning posted by another young woman struggling with Fibromyalgia right now — it is truly beautiful, and touched my heart. I hope it will touch yours too!
"Be present, Lord, among us and bring us to believe we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live. Teach us to care for people, for all, not just some, to love them as we find them or as they may become. let Your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved to practice Your acceptance, until we know by heart the table of forgiveness and laughter's healing art."