Monday, January 14, 2008

And The Moon Is Made Of Cheese

I know I'm going to get into trouble and offend people with this post but fibromyalgia or FMS as it's now called, happens to be a pet peeve of mine. When women in Africa, the Amazon or some other poor nation start to suffer from this disease, maybe I'll believe in it.

While there are people who legitimately suffer from widespread chronic pain, fortunately they are few (not as few as there could be) and far between. Unfortunately, they are rarely treated for the amount of pain that they actually suffer and live under the threat of having themselves or their doctor arrested on some type of drug charge.

While they don't get the treatment they need, there are a whole group of people who complain about pain who get way too much attention. And now they get to have a drug for this "condition".
“What’s going to happen with fibromyalgia is going to be the exact thing that happened to depression with Prozac,” Dr. Clauw said. “These are legitimate problems that need treatments.”
Only by people who refuse to deal in reality or those who like to profit from their difficulties. Take a pill, it's easier than dealing with the fact that your life sucks, it isn't working out the you want it to and your family only does what you want because they feel sorry for you or they just want you to quit whining.

My first experience with "FMS" was in the late eighties when mom was having some kind of procedure on base (back when they still treated dependents) and her nurse (an officer) was telling us that she was being discharged from the military because she couldn't perform her duties due to these pains that the doctors couldn't figure out. I remember watching and listening and my impression then was, how convenient.

When I was in practice I treated many "sufferers" and I hated it. At the same time I was treating them for their migrating pain (wind), their depression and sluggishness (damp), I was also treating them for their mental state (shen), which was disturbed. There is a saying in Chinese Medicine that states "when in pain, treat the heart" and it applies very well to fibromyalgia patients.

These women are almost always the first born girl and have some type of family problems where they were ignored unless they were ill. The majority of my patients had had mononucleosis or some type of flu like disease between 14 and 18 and it was the only time that they got consideration within their family. Since they are fequently of above average intelligence (have you ever noticed how well they research their disease?), they quickly learned how to manipulate people into feeling sorry for their problems.

The world is supposed to revolve around them and if you make any progress with them, they stop taking the herbs, they stop showing up for their appointments until they are in pain again and they absolutely refuse to change their sleeping habits. They always have some excuse for not being able to follow through or to complete a course of treatment. Then they go find another practitioner so they can start the process all over again and maintain their belief that nothing helps them. Wouldn't want to lose that control over their loved ones.

I know I sound judgmental and I am. As a former massage therapist I can tell you that everyone, and I mean everyone, has trigger points. Very few people have correct posture, get regular exercise, stretch and eat right. The ones that do, don't complain about body aches. Heaven forbid that these sufferers actively participate in their own course of treatment, it's much easier to come up with a convenient excuse and now they get to take a pill. Two years from now a pill won't be enough, they'll be demanding some type of surgery.

I wonder how many of the women who survived the tsunami sit around poking themselves and complaining about mysterious pains.

Big Brass Blog


  1. And the almighty "Oz" has spoken. This is just too funny. I can only laugh at your views. I truly hope someone is around to throw darts at you when you are down. Or better yet, we should just kick you to the curb and then maybe ask how you feel.

  2. What makes you think I don't have pain? That my life is so perfect? But I don't sit around and let pain control my life and I certainly don't look to some pill to make me feel better.

    Why is it that the majority of these sufferers have money and are melanin impaired? Why is it that this is mainly an American disease? Ooh, maybe it's genetic. Anything but taking responsibility for their lives.

    I've had patients that were dying of cancer and they didn't complain as much about how life treated them unfairly. Spend some time working in a hospice and then get back to me.

  3. And thanks for being the fastest responder to a post that I have ever written. I knew when I wrote it that people weren't going to be happy, but freedom of speech is a wonderful thing and sometimes I like to exercise it in unusual ways.

    I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings.

  4. I have two younger sisters, one of whom (the older of the two) I long ago cut off contact with for various reasons, chief among them the fact that she and the truth had apparently never been introduced. She fits most of your descriptions to a T... and yes, she has claimed to be suffering from fibromyalgia for years now. I always thought it was bogus, too.

  5. Crazy, eh Deb? MY sister (same age as you) also has this condition. She has many of the same attitudes you describe as well. A few years ago, after she split with her husband, my parents were going to bring her kids over to my place for Christmas for a few days. The kids lived with her ex, as she drove them and all of us crazy. She actually dragged everyone all into court to try and stop them from visiting. She whined to the judge about how she couldn't work or do anything because of her condition- and the judge told her off- saying she also had this condition and managed to work etc. Go figure. I haven't spoken to my sister in 5 years, as she's always flipping out and giving my poor parents stress. My opinion is- if that bitch Ann Coulter can get away with what she says- you go for it and say what you feel!

  6. Hi Deb,

    We were just talking about this the other day in reference to my mom. She suffered from mysterious symptoms for years. They took five years to figure out she had ciliac disease, and she was better when she eliminated the glutens from her diet. But she still suffered a variety of symptoms that were eventually diagnosed as fibromyalgia, a diagnosis she accepted. As you may know, she was diagnosed this past June with breast cancer, then it was discovered in September she had cancer throughout her body, especially in her bones, and probably it had been growing there for as much as ten years. We were speculating that their diagnosis and her acceptance of it masked the cancer and kept it from being discovered much earlier -- once they had what they thought was the answer, they stopped looking for anything else -- but who knows? In this case, my mother's symptoms were real -- she was not a chronic complainer, by any means -- but the effect of pharmaceutical companies' pressure on doctors may have had the effect of pushing them towards a misdiagnosis when there were no other answers. And again, we'll never know.

  7. Steve,

    From everything I heard about your mother, she wasn't a whiner. Women with FMS complain constantly. To everyone. It is used as an excuse to not have to participate in life, it's a manipulative tool and that definitely doesn't sound like your mom.

    Women's issues have been consistently dismissed by the traditional medical establishment, it is no accident that a hysterectomy was so named because it was to remove the seat of a woman's hysteria.

    That still doesn't make FMS real.

  8. From the Health & Wellness section of Sign-of-the-Times:
    Cancer and psychiatric drugs found in tap water
    "Britain's tap water should be monitored for powerful medicines after traces of cancer and psychiatric drugs were detected in samples, a report has warned.
    "The 100-page statement, commissioned by the drinking water watchdog, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), reveals that pharmaceuticals are finding their way into the water supply despite extensive purification treatments used by water companies."

    More at the links.

  9. I wouldn't be too quick to discount things like Western diet as a factor. It may be that women of other cultures don't get it for reasons like that. People of other cultures don't suffer the diabetes we do, either.