Tuesday, 22 November 2011

By Definition ~ The Silent Pain Behind the Smiles

I am certain this banner caught the attention of many, as it did mine when I noticed Explore the Bruce posted it on their Facebook page.  Want to have a more precise countdown?  Just click on this link & the pressure will be applied ....  http://www.xmasclock.com/  .... lol.

I think I am ready for it, but still not quite sure as I still need to take out all the packages I have been squirrelling away all year in our closet to see what I have bought and for who?  Another project, but one with a deadline if I am going to be keeping a close watch on the "clock".

I am going to address something which has been heavy on my mind for some time now, waiting for a "right" feeling within myself for it to come out.  Today is that day.

I please ask anyone and everyone if they would please take the time to read what I have layed out this day, as it is not only important to me, it is important to many others out there in our World.

Just the past couple of months I have been more and more aware of some people I have personally come in to contact with having the same physical malady I have been experiencing myself for years.  This condition has and is being spoken about more all the time, however there is still so many obstacles of understanding out there yet to be conquered.

The largest obstacle I am finding to be is the lack of compassion from others who have not grasped the full understanding of this malady, with some probably never being able to until they themselves experience it (this is just how it is with some of us).

Since I have had some really "bad" months, weeks and days with my own disabilities, I thought I would address it in hopes of giving a better understanding and compassion to others who might have a close family member, friend or co-worker who is experiencing the same malady as I.  Is there a word to describe this malady?  Yes there is.  Let me spell it out F I B R O M Y A L G I A.   I was diagnosed over 3 years ago with Fibromyalgia.

I know to some this will not be a fun and one of my cutesier blog posts today, but to me it is important for people to understand the "silent pain behind the smiles", as there are many many days it hides behind my own smiles.

Just because a person does not show a physical disability, does not mean there is NOT one present.  This is where empathy and compassion should come in on the part of others, if they are aware of a person suffering with this type of malady.

I will now refer to the studies and online posts put together by the Mayo Clinic Staff, which I believe to have wonderful merit.  My own words again, after the Mayo Clinc's Coping and Support Section.


By Mayo Clinic staff
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.


By Mayo Clinic staff
The pain associated with fibromyalgia often is described as a constant dull ache, typically arising from muscles. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by additional pain when firm pressure is applied to specific areas of your body, called tender points. Tender point locations include:
  • Back of the head
  • Between shoulder blades
  • Top of shoulders
  • Front sides of neck
  • Upper chest
  • Outer elbows
  • Upper hips
  • Sides of hips
  • Inner knees
Fatigue and sleep disturbancesPeople with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is frequently disrupted by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea, that further worsen symptoms.
Coexisting conditionsMany people who have fibromyalgia also may have:
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Endometriosis
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome


By Mayo Clinic staff
Doctors don't know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together. These may include:
  • Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
  • Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
  • Physical or emotional trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder has been linked to fibromyalgia.
Why does it hurt?Current thinking centers around a theory called central sensitization. This theory states that people with fibromyalgia have a lower threshold for pain because of increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals.
Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain's pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals
Risk factors
By Mayo Clinic staff
Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:
  • Your sex. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed more often in women than in men. Female reproductive hormones may play a part in how women experience pain.
  • Family history. You may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if a relative also has the condition.
  • Rheumatic disease. If you have a rheumatic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia.


By Mayo Clinic staff
Fibromyalgia generally doesn't lead to other conditions or diseases. But the pain and lack of sleep associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also can result in depression and health-related anxiety.
These are some other important links pertitent to FIBROMYALGIA.

Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic staff
Besides dealing with the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, you may also have to deal with the frustration of having a condition that's often misunderstood. In addition to educating yourself about fibromyalgia, you may find it helpful to provide your family, friends and co-workers with information.
It's also helpful to know that you're not alone. Organizations such as the National Fibromyalgia Association and the American Chronic Pain Association can help put you in touch with others who have had similar experiences and can understand what you're going through.

This should give the average person a good grasp on understanding a "general" overview of Fibromyalgia, however on a personal level, that is what it is "personal".  

Personally for me there are days where the fatigue, pain and feelings of being inadequate get the best of me.  There the many days of having the feeling of "being in a fog".  This expression I can also testify as to being true.

I also find it to be exhausting by trying to hide how I feel, as I don't want to come across as "complaining & whining" all the time, as this is how the average person would LABEL it as being.

The drugs, now that is a whole different subject all of its own.  Do you know the side effects of all the drugs you take?  I have had an Occupational Therapist be so kind as to do some research, on my behalf, on some of the drugs I had been and am now taking.  The side effects aren't all that too pretty, let me tell you.  Drugs can also lead to further complications from mood to physical side effects.

No two people are alike, or are their pain levels.  We should NOT be LABELLING persons, as many times we tend to.  When there is black and white Medical evidence a person has a certain malady, whether it can be seen by the human eye or not, we should not be judging.  If someone told you they had Cancer, would you question that, as Cancer can not always be seen?  So I please ask people DO NOT judge someone who says they have Fibromyalgia.  Trust you, me, it is real, as I have been living it daily for over the past 4 years (if not more, as it now explains much from my younger years).

What I find frustrating for myself is not being able to keep up to "speed" in my life as I used to, as there are days the pain does hold me back.  My biggest challenge over the past couple of years is learning to pace myself.  I have a very difficult time some days "pacing" myself.  If I do NOT pace myself  I have found myself sometimes paying dearly for the next couple of days, with some days unable to do much of anything.  

Now in my case, it is not only the Fibromyalgia, it is also degenerative disc disease in my neck with Section C2 to C7 diagnosed as being  severe to moderate. I am NOT a candidate for surgery, as the Orthopedic Surgeon, who was the Head of the Orthopedic Department in Barrie, Ontario, at the time I was there, stated to me I could come away worse from surgery  then I am now.  I really don't want anyone messing around with my neck anyhow.

When my husband, Rob, says I am a "pain in the neck", he really is stating a known fact !

The days I "blog" mostly seem all wonderful and cheery?  For those who love me and know me, they are the ones who can "read" between the lines.  They are the ones who know my pain and frustration.  They are the ones who know how many times I sit to rest between my daily chores.  They are the ones who know I overdo myself and pay later.  They are the people who are delighted as much as I, when I have a "good" day.

These are the people in my Life who do love me, who do understand and who are there for me on a daily basis.  I must also mention my Doctor, Dr. Loney, has been one of my biggest supporters as well,  never without understanding and compassion towards my pain levels and feelings.

My biggest support person is my husband, Rob, as he deals with his own pain on a daily basis, he also deals with mine with total understanding of love for me for being me, and this I thank God for every day we are together.  There are lots of ups and downs between us some days, but we always manage to work them out together and keep the love we share kindled.  We truly do.

I am really not looking for sympathy, just for people to have more consideration of the feelings of those people with Fibromyalga, and a greater understanding of what Fibromyalgia is for some people.  Some persons have a bout with it never returning, some have it return sporadically, for some people it might never return, and then there are some people, as myself, who live with it daily. 

There is a "Silent Pain behind the Smiles",. for those who suffer with Fibromyalgia, so please show love and compassion, when able, as these are two very big emotions we could all gift to others more then we do some times.  

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read about my thoughts and opinion on a malady that is very real to myself and others.  I hope I have done not only myself a service by putting myself out there, but to those others who also suffer in "Silent Pain behind their Own Smiles".

*Sigh*  Wow I am finding this to be more emotional then I thought it would be, but I will shake that off now, as I am curious as to whether or not there is going to be some Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows in my day ahead.

Let me go check that out with my favorite Wiarton Weatherman guy right now.

There it is !  YELLOW, one of my most favorite weather colours.  Wait a minute here, there is something wrong with this picture????  Where did Wednesday go?  OMG !  It is gone !!!  I need that extra day before Christmas, who ever would I contact about putting it back??????

Putting the Wednesday back into the week might be a whole new adventure opening up for me in my day ahead, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".


  1. love the blog today Cindy! Now if everyone could read it and "get it" would be really nice. Have a wonderful day :)


  2. Thank you for the information and insight. I would love to find a way to inform people and raise funds for research...may have to investigate!
    Mandee N.

  3. My close friends father has Fibromyalgia, and my mother has degenerative disc disease. Both are a very rough thing to endure. My heart goes out to all those that have it.

  4. What an informative blog today. Am so sorry to hear you have this malady, if that's what I could call it. The more information you know about an illness, the more you can help yourself or others. When I look around and see people struggling to walk or get out of their car or just drive slow trying to park, I need to have more patience because deep down no one knows their circumstances. We all need to strive to be better and to help each other. I wish you well. take care of yourself and keep your chin up. Bess, MA,

  5. very informative Cindy ! God bless you for sharing with others!

  6. Heathen Woman says Bless you for sharing and caring my Friend.

  7. Cindy so well written and very informative. You know we love you for who you are!

  8. Aw, you DO seem forever happy, positive, supportive, funny, attentive...the list goes on. I didn't realize the constant pain you're going through, and I'm sorry you have to go through that! And I think it's okay to express that pain...it makes you REAL and honest. I know when people have "conditions" (whether that be mental, emotional, physical, environmental), that there's going to be days where a hard day comes more often than they'd like....and it's understood.

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How nice of you to drop around to have a wee visit with me to see what I have been up to from time to time. I look forward to your comments as they add much brightness to my each and every day to know there are such wonderful people out there.

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