Today is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Fibromyalgia (FMS) is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. It affects an estimated 10 million people in the US and 3-6% of the world population.
FMS is a syndrome, a collection of signs, symptoms, and medical problems that tend to occur together but are not related to a specific, identifiable cause. It is characterized by chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue and often psychological distress. For those with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia can be extremely debilitating and interfere with basic daily activities.
There is a very good chance you know someone who lives with FMS. Take this opportunity to make yourself aware. A strong support network is essential to those living with the disorder. My diagnosis of FMS in 1998 and subsequent battle to accept it was the subject of my first book. It shares my personal story, how I came to be diagnosed with FMS and learned to manage it. I also discuss my need for understanding:
"It means a great deal to me to know the people I care about are at least willing to make an effort to understand. They never will completely comprehend what's happening to me, but they don't necessarily have to in order to support me. What matters is that they care enough to try."
For more information on FMS, you can visit the National Fibromyalgia Association website. A fellow writer, Deanna Schrayer, is also running a series this week on her blog.