I wonder where I should begin? Because Fibromyalgia is invisible so many people do not believe it really is a disease! You can not see it, therefore, it is not! That is what many “Doctors”, Employers and Government have believed for along time. While they have ignored this disease it has tortured countless numbers of people. Years ago I witnessed this disease take the life of a wonderful woman and neighbor of mine, because she committed suicide after being told by countless doctors that all her pain was in her head!
The problem began years ago for my wife, but we just did not know what was happening! My wife was always doing something, always working on some project that she loved. She was a great Floral Designer and made a lot of money for the company she worked for in Griffin. She would decorate at least 12 Christmas Trees in the store, all over 12 feet and come home and decorate her own at home of 12 feet.
I really began to notice problems when are children began High School. We do not know what started all her problems, but I have to believe it started either when she was hit my lightning, or when she gave birth to our last child, because that was a difficult pregnancy and birth. But when the children entered High School, it seemed I had to push her into doing things for school, for the kids, and for us at home. She seemed to tire so easy and at first I thought she was just being lazy and did not care about the children’s needs or mine. What made it more difficult was the fact that she would not complain or tell me how she was feeling. She was always the one who never got a cold or the flu or if she did she was over it before the rest of us.
Now she was taking naps in the middle of the day and not wanting to go out or go to one the kids ball games or Musicals and it was very upsetting for me, because it looked as if she did not care.
Then 4 years ago, she came to me and said she had to go to a doctor that she was hurting all the time and could not sleep, she would awake 4 am, 5 am and not be able to go back to sleep and that was after going to bed at 12 or 1am. She went to our family doctor, who tried a few things, but always acted as though she was trying to get drugs from him. He finally sent her to a Arthritis Specialist. I will never forget that day, because I went with her. I was so concerned for her, because I could now see that she was in pain, I could see it in her eyes, and in her face. The female doctor touched her behind the neck in a certain spot, she jumped and began to cry; and, then the doctor touched her in several other places, all of which brought more tears and she asked the doctor how can you know just right where to touch to make such pain!
When my wife began to cry, I knew we were in trouble. And please notice I said WE, because that is what marriage is! Two becoming one! My wife very seldom ever cried about anything, so I knew how serious this was, and the pain was. The doctor gave it a name Fibromyalgia! So, many doctors still do not believe or recognize this disease, but I can tell them all it is real! My wife now began to talk to me about what she was experiencing and I could see it! I know when it is going to be a good or bad or just fair day, just by looking at her face. I know when to tell her to slow down, just by looking at her face. I can see the pain in her eyes! And it hurts me, because there is nothing I can do to take that pain away.
When we first went to the specialist, the medicine seemed to help her for awhile. Then nothing seemed to work and the doctor gave her more and different types and nothing really helped her at all. Our family doctor became really concerned about all the medicines she was taking and afraid she was becoming a drug addict. Then in 1998, she was in the hospital 3 times. She had worked so hard at her job for December that she finally had no strength left in her. I had asked her to stop working so hard, she could barely get up our steps into the house after work and went straight to bed. Work and bed. So January was her first trip to the hospital. March, she was back in the hospital because all the medicine she was taking was causing stomach problems, called Diverticulitis; which was also serious, and it put her in the hospital again in April.
She then got off all the medicine they were giving her, and now takes only Tylenol, but that is of little help to her. As I said my wife was now talking to me. Telling me about the fact that her clothes would hurt her skin and wake her when she tried to change positions, that her thumbs were so weak and hurt so bad that they alone could keep her awake. The child protection caps on medicine bottles are torture for her and she can not open them.
She so loved who job as a Floral Designer, but could not use her thumbs and without your thumbs there is very little you can do at any job. She cried when we went by to pick up her tools from her job. Her manager did not even have the sense to try and accommodate for her the last months that she tried to work. He had her lifting furniture and other items in the store and stocking etc. Her last work was in January and 3 months later when we went back to pick up her tools, he stated she “had out sold all the designers in all six stores for the 3 months she had not worked and that another designer had just sold more than her.” If I had someone working for me that was that good, I would find away to make it possible for her to work. But he worked her until she could work no more.
Then we realized the loss of her salary was going to destroy our budget, which it has. She went to social security looking for help, a new job that maybe she could do, training or disability. She received little assistance from them. Months later they ask her to take a job. I asked doing what? Floral Designer for a new store opening. I told her you can’t do that, I could not believe they were not finding her something that she could physically do! Her desire to help us financially made her try and she lasted the first day. And spent the next 3 days in bed. I told her we would starve to death before she ever tried something like that again. Again no accommodation was made for her. They had her stocking shelves. Our youngest daughter said, mom we do not need money bad enough for you to go through that! It was the cruelest thing I have ever seen. But again it is because Social Security, like most of Society does not believe this is real, because they can not see it!
There was a time when I could not believe there was anything wrong with my wife, but when I could see the pain in her face and eyes, I had no more doubt. And when I saw the doctor inflict pain with just the touch of her finger in the right place, I knew this was real! So real, I felt so helpless.
I do not believe there was ever a time when I thought about running or leaving her. I can not understand how someone can do that! It is in sickness and health. Those words have great meaning to me and are what a real man will follow! Make no mistake it is what marriage is about. I plan to get old with her!
My wife has a spirit and will not give up. I do not know how she makes it some days, since she has nothing but Tylenol now for the pain. I want her to try another specialist and see if there is something new that can help her. But she is afraid of the complications from the medicines. I know she has great courage, to go without any pain medications.
There are times when I have to remind her that she is trying to go to far or do to much, because if she does not stop, she will pay for it many days. I try not to ask to much of her at any time because there is no way I can know how she is feeling, only by looking at her eyes can I tell where she is at and that is not always a good indicator either.
I try to make sure I am there to do most of the physical things that are needed to be done in our household. I try not to ask anything of her and let her do what she feels she can do on a daily basis. I am a neat freak, but my house is anything but neat and I know that she can not do it, so it stays a mess until I can do something about it. And that is OK!
The value of a human being is so much more important than a clean house and a woman who has given me so much over the last 30 years deserves so much more than I can even give her. I understand pain, even though I have a high pain threshold and I am able by the grace of God to go on in spite of pain, because of training and experience in the game of football for 14 years. Most of my pain that gets in the way of my life is in my knees and is arthritis as well, but hers is over most of her body, including her skin.
I will never understand how a “man” can walk out on his wife because she has an illness of any kind. There is a love, a respect, a loyalty that I have for my wife and my believe in God’s word that would never allow me to walk out on her. There are sacrifices that have to be made for her and our finances suffer but we have each other and that is all that is needed and a faith in God who gives us the strength to carry on. Marriage involves a sacrifice in the first place, because you are to become one and that means sacrificing yourself to one another. That sacrifice is not as great as the one Christ suffered for us, but it is a sacrifice. But as the Bible promises, the that give will receive more.
If you are planning to walk out on your wife, because she has Fibromyalgia or M.S. etc. you are making the worst mistake you will ever make in your life! I recently had open-heart surgery, my wife was by my beside for 5 days. She was in pain, she was so uncomfortable and so tired, but she was there for me. She did not have to speak or do anything for me, but the fact that she was there was so comforting. And, I can tell you that the day will come when you will need that love one there with you for whatever reason and if you do not have the character or heart to stay with your wife when the going gets tough, who will be there for you when your time comes? You and I are but a frail being, none of us are a perfection and no one is more important to you other than God, than your spouse!
Some of you may wonder about sex! Sex is only a moment in time! It is a beautiful thing, but there is so much more important elements in life than sex! Sex has been difficult for my wife, therefore, it sits on the shelf and waits for when it is going to be enjoyed and not mean pain for my wife. As the Bible states we are to worship our wife as we would God. If, you do that you won’t be thinking about leaving your wife! God does not leave us, no matter what our sin, how can we leave our wife or any loved one because it is not convenient or like we would like it to be?
It is difficult to live with someone who has such pain, to watch them hurt and not be able to do simple things for themselves, but were we not all that way once and we may all find ourselves in that position again someday. Are you not glad that your mother did not walk off and leave you as a babe? After all she had to change those dirty pants, wipe those dirty faces and clean up all your messes. Life brings us to our utmost power and strength and bring us back down to the weakest point in the end. I will have strength because I have a wife who loves me. Maybe she can’t give me sexual pleasure when I need it, or a great meal because she feels to bad or keep a clean house but these are only moments in time compared to the time we have spent together raising children, and loving each other and knowing each others needs before we can ask. What are a few moments compared to a life time!!! How can you throw a life out, like we do so many things, a life is not like the trash or yesterdays paper?
For my wife walking brings great pain, it is like having rocks in your shoes all the time, and her legs and hips hurt her so bad that she can hardly move at times. We go shopping and not seconds after we are in a store she wants to go home. Does that sound like a woman? Well, it is a woman in pain, so much pain that even shopping is torture to her. A woman who loved her job as a Florist, loved to create and was one of the best at it, but can’t do it anymore.
A clean house, a great meal, great sex, are not always mine, but the love I have and the love I receive from my wife last! A clean house, a great meal and great sex never last they are only moments in a day.
Fibromyalgia is a cruel disease and can only be made even worse if you choose to leave the spouse you promised to love, respect, worship in sickness and in health. Christ will give you the strength to endure and if you choose to stay, you will be rewarded in ways you cannot dream of or maybe not even know until years later. But know real “MAN” walks out on his wife and it is a lot like the story in the Bible about the rich man who walked over the sick man who was at his door and did not help him. When he died he could see the poor man in heaven, from his place in Hell and asked him for just a drop of water and St. Peter told him he cannot come over there and you can not go over to him. I do not know how any man can walk out on someone with the problems my wife has and I can tell you we have faced some grave problems, because of this illness, but she is worth more to me than any set of problems.
I know that God and Jesus Christ will help us get through all of this and he has already done many things for us. He has not taken the disease away, but he has helped financially and spiritually to get through this time.
By Paul Ferguson