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It's Not Pain Anymore…It's A Disease
by Jessica

She deals with pain everyday, and yet she smiles. I see her face twitch when it hits her hard in her side, her back, and her shoulders. It's non-stop. I can not feel her pain, but it hurts me to see it. I wish I could do something to make her pain go away. I wish I had the cure…but no one does.

My mom has Fibromyalgia. It plagues her body with pain every day. At least it's not as bad as it used to be. I remember about six years ago, Mom would be in so much pain she could not get off the couch. She'd always say, "I'm sorry that our plans didn't work out, but I just can't go anywhere right now." My stepfather and I understood.

She went to so many doctors - all of them diagnosing her with something different. None of the medications prescribed helped. None of the doctors actually knew what she had, so she stayed in pain. The pain was not a "once in a blue moon" thing; it was constant. Almost every week, she had terrible, throbbing migraines. We turned the lights out and did not talk so she could rest; she didn't . She lay on the couch, not moving for hours. At times, we watched her as she went through absolute agony.I asked, "Is there anything I can do for you…" knowing there wasn't.

All the doctors she went to were not so helpful. But, one visit to yet another doctor changed her life. This doctor knew what my mother had, a non-curable disease of the joints. He said it was like suffering from arthritis, but not as common. My mother was torn by the news. She was distraught because she had a disease, but she felt a little better finally knowing what she had.

Now, what was she to do? Although, many different medicines can make a Fibromyalgia patient feel better, there is no way to predict which one will help. After taking quite a few prescriptions, ones that kept her up all night, and ones that made her sick, she eventually found one that made the pain bearable. She could almost have a normal life.

She had to give up painting, cross-stitching, and other major parts of her life because the constant action of her shoulders would later cause her unbearable pain. She also had to learn to put up with taking tons of prescriptions every day that have awful side-effects. She hates that the most.

My Mom also tried new activities to make the pain go away. It took her years to find out which ones helped and which ones made the pain worse. She tried getting massages, but they only made the pain worse. Her doctor told her she needed to exercise to feel better, but exercise only made her body ache all over for days. Everything she tried made her more annoyed because the pain would not quit. She decided to take matters into her own hands.

My Mom still has pain every day, but she has learned to live with it. The pain becomes so bad sometimes that she cannot drive. At times, she has to stand in the living room because sitting and laying hurt her so badly she feels sick. She just stands there, watching television with Jeff and me.

I can see it in her eyes, when her body throbs with pain. Inside, my body aches watching the tears fall from her eyes. I can feel the hurt within me, not just of another person, but of my own mother. Every time the pain stabs at her shoulders, I think of how I could end up with this disease. If I do, I only hope that I can be as strong as my mother.

The light she used to have in her eyes is finally coming back now. She uses her family as the medicine that makes her feel the best and has built up a high tolerance for pain. She spends lots of time shopping with me, and being weird with Jeff so that she can forget all about the Fibromyalgia. I know how much she loves us both, and I think having this disease may have made her realize how important it is to live one's life to the fullest.

Although she can never go back to how she was, and she hates to take all her prescriptions everyday, she still keeps a smile on her face and lives like her family is the greatest gift she could ever receive. Even when my Mom cries because she hurts so much, she is still my hero.

My Mom is the bravest, strongest person I know. I look up to her. She has taught me to be strong, to keep going and to keep a smile on my face when others might feel sorry for themselves and push away their family and friends. I hope that one day there will be a cure and my Mom will be free again. If everyone could see how important living life is, as if nothing were wrong, and if everyone could be strong, they would be much healthier and happier - just like my Mom.

I love you Mom.

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