READER REPORT:

'The more I do, the more I ache'

CAROLINE BLANN
Last updated 05:00 31/05/2014
Sad woman, depressed, grieving
HIDDEN PAIN: Chronic illness doesn't always have external symptoms.

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What's it like to have an invisible chronic illness? Caroline Blann has lost friends who didn't understand her pain.

I am a 51-year-old female and have had Fibromyalgia most of my life.

Fibro is an invisible illness, as you cannot see the pain and distress going on in my body.

I struggle every day.

Some days the pain is so bad, that even getting dressed is a huge hurdle.

I explain my illness to people that it feels like you have the flu 24/7, with the aches and pains. The pain usually sits at about a six, but on bad days, it can be a nine.

I have many falls as well, so now walk with a walking stick.

The doctors just fill you up with medications and at one stage, I was on 36 tablets a day.

I have since moved back to the country and am now living off the land with natural herbs, fresh vegetables and fruit, and I have managed to cut my medications down to 10-a-day.

I struggle with simple tasks as the more I do, the more I ache. My arms and legs quite often feel like big blocks of concrete. They get very tired, very quickly, and ache all the time.

I have also been diagnosed with costochondritis, which feels like I am having a heart attack with pains in my chest and around my rib cage, shooting pains down my arms, and numbness in my arms and fingers.

This is another invisible illness.

I would like to say to people that don't understand chronic invisible illnesses that they should not judge people and to have some empathy.

I have lost many friends as they do not understand my daily struggles. They think I am lazy. I am far from lazy and I do what I can when I can.

I started a fibro support group two years ago and we now have 415 members. It is so nice to be part of a community that truly understands what we are going through, but sad that there are that many of us out here and the group is increasing daily.

We fight for recognition daily and also have trouble dealing with health professionals and government departments that truly do not understand invisible illnesses.

Thanks for letting me share my story.


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