Fibromyalgia, Severe Pain and Injuries

It hit my legs first.  I felt it deep in my bones when I lied down.  The pain felt like the beginning of a tooth ache.  I changed positions and fell asleep.  Several hours later I woke up with my eyes wide open.  The pain was intense.  I thought I was having a nightmare, but I wasn’t.  It was real.

"Yikes" Fun image by Leslie Sigal Javorek at IconDoIt, the blog!


IMAGE CREDIT: Leslie Sigal Javorek, IconDoit, the Blog!

The severity of pain lessened dramatically when I got up and moved around.  I was in that state of mind where I wasn’t fully awake, yet like a dream, or nightmare, I had more of a feeling than a detailed memory afterward.

fibromyalgia severe pain invading every cell

The memory of the deep pain I woke up with evoked an image in my mind.  I imagined thousands of little creatures; their legs strong and claws sharp; grasping and gnawing at the fibers in my legs; having invaded every cell.

By mid-day my upper body started hurting again.  By the end of the day, I found myself crying.  I realized there was more going on than the regular level of pain I live with.

I put Lidoderm patches on the places that hurt the most and took breakthrough medication; extra pain medication that I don’t normally have to take.

I didn’t know what to think.  Was it my lungs or the connective tissue around my lungs, I wondered?  The pain in my upper back, like the pain in my legs earlier that morning,  was  so deep and inclusive that I couldn’t tell if it was bronchitis or muscle pain.  My muscles felt bruised.  Breathing hurt.  I hurt all over, inside and out.

The patches and extra medication helped and the next day I was able to take the dogs for a walk.  My young, but strong dog, pulled my arm.  A surge of pain moved through the center of my back, which is when I remembered a dog walk two days before this new pain hit my body.

The dogs had spotted our neighbor.  They adore her and hurled forward when they saw her.  I held the leashes, running behind them for ten or twenty feet.  It had hurt, but the worst of the pain was yet to come.

One event like this can cause a flare up of fibromyalgia pain that might last a couple of days or a few weeks.  Injuries can cause severe flares and pain levels to permanently increase.  

Due to post-exertional pain and fatigue, the smallest of chores or tasks can cause days of illness.  I’m not good at pacing because the ideal rate of speed is so slow, but I’ve learned the consequences of over doing things.

Moving into my apartment caused me so much pain that I had to go on a different and stronger medication after it was all over.  Planting five plants in my yard two summers ago put me in bed for the best part of a month.  Falling from my bicycle on Halloween caused me to go, “on a tendon and ligament adventure,” as my doctor remarked.  Not long after the bike accident, while cleaning a ceramic cabinet knob, I endured severe and deep cuts to two fingers. 


Injuries that other people get over fairly quickly can cause flare ups and become chronic pain conditions for a fibromyalgia patient.

Pain is pain.  Living with it is hard and sometimes, depressing.  Pain can be physically, mentally and emotionally completely consuming.

I cannot imagine not having medication that relieves the intensity.  I simply can’t.  I seriously think that my body would probably go into shock or I would have a heart attack from pain.

Before Medication…

I took my dogs along with me on a camping trip to one of my favorite places in the mountains.   A friend had come to help me set up camp.  It wasn’t easy and it rained, but I knew the weather would clear soon.  The morning would bring beautiful bird songs, close views of the white-tailed deer who legally own the place, and because of the few number of campers, the sounds of nature would wake me upon the first shadow of light.

I woke up around 2am in more pain than I had ever felt before.  I sat there for several hours, literally crying in pain.  Before meeting the beautiful morning I had anticipated, I had concluded that I could not continue to live with the pain I was experiencing. 

My thoughts had gone downhill for sure.  I felt that anyone who expected a person to live with that kind of pain seemed inhumane.  I wanted the same compassion as my dog had been given when we learned she had bone cancer.  My tail wasn’t wagging anymore.  I wasn’t laughing anymore.  Food didn’t matter anymore.

That weekend changed my life.  I had been ready to die.  Fortunately, I had a good doctor who told me to try taking a pain pill.  I did and it worked.

I realized better what a toll the constant pain had taken on me and my life, after finding relief in medication. 

Taking pain medication doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of pain.  I think many people simply want to reach a tolerable level of pain they can live with.  Most people I know who live with pain want very much to function as much as possible.

I have pain-free days, but most of the time I have some level of pain.  My muscles are usually tender.  My body usually feels bruised. 

I have flares, but I’m truly grateful that I don’t have to live every moment of my life in severe unrelenting pain.  I’m also grateful to have a doctor who understands very well that fibromyalgia hurts.

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Post edited and updated on the eleventh of April, 2013

22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tammy on February 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I cried when I came across your blog. It was like you described everything that is happening to me. I thought that I was going crazy! I would really like to converse with you privately if you would be all right with that. I really need to talk to someone, I feel alone. My family tries to understand and they are very supportive, but it not the same as someone who knows what I am going through. I would be happy to talk to anyone that is going through this. Right now my doctor is still trying to figure this out so I am on NO pain medication. I really feel like I am going crazy. Thanks you for your blog. My email address is (removed by Michelle for privacy) Put Tammy in the subject so it won’t go to the junk pile. Thanks again.



    • Hi Tammy, Thanks for your comment!

      I’m so sorry to hear you are in pain and without pain medication. Some people I know do not take pain meds, but obviously, I am not one of those patients anymore, as the pain became so incredible and widespread that I couldn’t take it any longer. I know it’s hard to find doctors who will treat FM with pain meds, other than the “non-narcotic,” relievers such as Lyrica. I can’t take that drug or SSRI’s and honestly, Analgesics, in my opinion, saved my life.

      Aqua-Therapy is a good treatment also. If your local hospital has a place for this, I would highly recommend it.

      I’m sorry you feel alone. I understand that all too well. It’s good that your family is supportive. Many people can’t say that. Most people don’t understand or believe what they can’t see, so you are lucky to have family. I also know that doesn’t replace people who know what you are going through.

      I will try to email you as soon as I can. Life is seriously challenging me these days. I have other problems besides pain and disability, and it is a difficult time.

      I would like to refer you, although, this doesn’t mean I am not interested in communicating, but you might like to check out a blog called, “Wolfdreams,” by Ash. She is great at communicating/writing about living with Chronic illness, including pain. Her blog address is

      Again, thanks for commenting and I will try to write you soon. I will remove your email if you like, so it isn’t public if that’s what you prefer.

      Tammy, I wish you a good day. It is surely ‘one day at a time’ when it comes to living with chronic illness and/or pain.

      Many healing wishes to you!!!




      • Posted by Tom on March 26, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        Hi all, i am one of the rare men that experiences the joy of Fibro. i have been married for nearly 30 years now. i don”t know how to fully describe what this has done to me and my life. the pain is so around the clock that rest is very difficult. i have a hot tub which used to help a little, but now i have noticed that while it does feel soothing that the pain doesn’t lessen it is always there. i am from a generation where the husband is supposed to do the heavy lifting. it is so depressing that i can no longer do my share. i try not to speak about this too much to her because i feel that i will drag her life down. i find that i can’t stop completely though. i told her that i speak about it because i am trying to find a way to live this new life and plan to feel better. i mostly keep everything inside because i am supposed to be strong, not weak. i find myself wondering if i will be able to mow the lawn this year. while i try hard not to, i find myself cataloging all of the things that i will never do again. i am not at the point that i am ready to leave this world, but that solution may be in the future. this thing just wears you down, never ending, grinding life out of you. i won’t share any of this with my family because i am supposed to be the strong one. it is very difficult. sorry to share this nastiness but even the doctors look at you like a specimen that they are studying. i would so much like to share it with them for a week or 2, let them see it first hand. terrible thing this but i will share one last thing; i caught myself praying for an ease to all of this but half way through i remember that i have 4 grown children and 10 grandchildren, all healthy. so i thanked the lord for sharing this with only me. i have never gotten online like this but the dog kisses link intrigued me. i have an 8 month old Bischon that gives me all of the free unconditional love and kisses that i can handle, the best medicine of all.

        warmly Tom



        • Dear Tom,

          Thanks so much for your comment. I am very sorry to hear about your struggles with pain and fatigue. I can only imagine what it is like being a man, of course, but I imagine that it is tough.

          I will tell you that my grown son has issues with pain and fatigue and even though he doesn’t talk about it much, which may be for the same reasons as you say you don’t, I can see how difficult it is for him. It is so hard Tom. I wish so much he could and would talk about these issues. Personally, I think it would help me understand him better.

          One of his chores isn’t being completed lately, and I just realized, while reading your comment, that maybe it is fatigue that is why he doesn’t finish it. I thought perhaps he just didn’t care.

          Living with pain is bad enough, but the stigma and misunderstanding we all know is bad too. Add to that the feelings of inadequacy that comes with expectations of men, well, again, I can only imagine.

          My struggles about expectations come from having been a single Mother, and feeling like I could do everything alone. I had to be so strong. A Mom and a Dad. I still struggle with feeling “weak” as you say, but in my heart, I know this isn’t true. I am still strong inside, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

          I fear that I will not be able to make it forever like this too. I do understand that part well. I don’t know what the future holds. I hope I can stay and be a Mom as long as possible.

          I hope you find a way to talk about your feelings with your family. I can’t say I have done this though. I don’t think they understand the level of pain and fatigue I live with.

          I don’t know if you would be open to a support group, or if you are even able to go to one if there is one. I get so tired that when I do the things that must be done, I don’t try to do much more. I am so relieved that I lie down.

          My family always saw me as being so strong, doing so much on my own. I was always called the most independent one, and now, I feel like such a disappointment. I guess to myself and to them.

          As for doctors, I hope you can find one who is more knowledgeable. I told my doctor recently that I was sick of the word ‘fibromyalgia’ and he gave me his speech about how real fibro is and that it isn’t in my head. Then, he asked, “Haven’t I told you this before?” He wasn’t being sarcastic, but I guess wondering why I still struggle with what others think or why I give myself such a hard time. I tend to blame myself. I am grateful though that he does believe fibro is a real medical entity, even when I question that. I remember when he was not so sure about fibromyalgia. He does not know as much about CFS though, and I wish he did, b/c it is maybe more disabling.

          Medication is another sensitive area. Many people, including doctors, will not offer pain medication. People say things like, “I would never live on pain pills,” and I only think, well, if you had the kind of pain I do, you might, if you wanted to keep living.

          I’ve said a lot here, and maybe none of it is helpful. I hope it is though. I hope you might visit here anytime you want to communicate. I really do.

          Give your pup a doggie kiss from me. My dog is a bit sad lately. We lost our 12 year old in January, and she’s sad. She needs me and that means the world to me. She doesn’t care what I look like, or if I’m not dressed for success. She does need walking though and if I can’t do more soon, I will have to ask for help. I may have to hire help, even with very little money.

          Perhaps you could hire someone to do the lawn? Maybe, you could just say you want to take a break from that job this summer. Maybe there is a hobby you could take up, and use the time for something more relaxing than mowing. I could never mow again! I used to do that, but never again, unless I get a lot better. Same with raking leaves. Those chores are the worst!

          I wish you a good day today Tom. I hope something I’ve said helps.

          Thank you again for your comment, and I’m glad you found my ‘dogkisses’ 🙂




          • Posted by Dalton, Thomas T Civ USAF AFMC 429 SCMS/GUMACA on March 27, 2013 at 11:32 AM

            Michelle, your words touched me. Maybe the only ones we can talk to are each other. I had a very close friend pass away in November of 2009 of Cancer. As soon as his wife found he was sick she left him. I was his personal representative on all things financial as well as all medical decisions. To put it as shortly as possible I helped him prepare to die. At times like that you feel the weight of the world, as he got very poor and pain was all he had I am ashamed to say that I hoped he could die soon. His pain was so great. What does this have to do with our topic? I am doing everything in my power to keep my wife from feeling that burden. When I experience the worst of times I try to make light in order to keep her from worrying. I encourage her to live on and do the things that make her happy, I am very careful to keep her from feeling anything like guilt. I want her to stay active. Marital intimacy is something that disappears also, pain puts everything on hold and with that comes increased anxiety. A for your son I think that I understand clearly, a man’s identity as the doer, the worrier, the one that can be relied on under any circumstance is destroyed. It is so easy to just withdraw, and lose faith that the sun will ever shine again. My condition was only recently identified, this took about 15 years, during that time I questioned my sanity. I was referred to a Pain clinic and everything became much clearer. I am on track with the usual Fibro Meds and have gotten a little bit back, I have gotten used to the idea that I will live on Oxycontin for the rest of my life. You need to get your son back, move on that immediately. Look for a dr. who understands Fibro. Get him into the Meds that will help him salvage a life. But above all be supportive. He may benefit from talking to someone who is walking the same path. If so let me know. Just started on the heavy pain killers yesterday and the Sun did come out. I had an evening with little pain and the first full night of sleep that I can remember. I didn’t want to go to the heavy meds but the results were amazing. Keep the faith sister. If I can help let me know, Tom

            Liked by 1 person


            • Dear Tom,

              Thank you for returning and commenting. Please forgive me for not responding sooner, but I have been under the weather. I guess I had a flu type bug and it sure had me down.

              I’m sorry you lost your friend to cancer. I haven’t had to care for a person, but I did see my father and grandmother suffer at the end of their lives, and it was hard. I have taken care of two dogs with cancer, and that was super hard. I did feel relief that our boy finally got to rest, as he had stomach cancer, and seeing him sick was horrible. I still miss him and feel pretty sad at times.

              I guess, when you say how you do not want to burden your family, I can understand so well. I have tried so hard not to burden people, esp., my mother. I don’t want her to feel sad for me. I want her to have hope that I will get better one day. Sometimes, I think that I have kept too much from them though. Like when people ask if I can attend a family gathering or an event and I must decline, over and over, then I feel like they may not fully understand why I can’t show up.

              I also want my mother to live her life as fully as she can and not feel guilty for me being down, as well as my adult son. I think when you love somebody, it is hard to go have fun or feel happy when you know that person is suffering. I guess we all try to spare those we love.

              I’m glad to hear you got some medication. Pain medication also gave me my life back. Years have passed now, and I do reconsider things. I wish there was another way to treat the pain. I wish I had access to acupuncture and massage, as I believe those treatments do help so much. I did Aqua-therapy for a while, and that helped a lot, but later, I had an episode of fatigue and couldn’t make it to the classes. I may ask again if I can go and I’ve even thought of riding on one of those medical transportation buses that take people to appointments.

              Pain medication is crucial, in my life anyway, for me to be able to function. Lately, my pain has worsened, and so again, I must consult my doctor, but for the most part, things have gone well in that regard, at least until lately. Stress is a big factor. It makes pain worse, but I still have to deal with the pain, even as I try to cope better with stress.

              Yes, I do need my son back. He is with me now. He is safe. I worry so much about him. I feel very sad much of the time. He struggles in ways that I don’t, and finding good doctors, especially when a person has been also diagnosed with a mental illness, makes things complicated. I have for the most part lost faith in psychiatry. I hope he will be able to see a holistic doctor in that regard.

              We both have medical appointments coming up soon, and I hope we can address more of his physical symptoms. He might be a good candidate for physical therapy. Our family doctor believes that PT is the “golden gate” for fibromyalgia patients. He says people who have the time to do it everyday, and who don’t have a lot of stress are the ones who get well. We do have some excellent PTs around here.

              Tom, I hope as I write that you are feeling a bit of relief. I am honored that you wrote and hope you understand my lapse in responding. I wanted to wait until I
              could think clearly and boy was I fatigued! (Mentally and physically).

              A little sleep does wonders doesn’t it! I really am glad to hear you found help! You also keep the faith, okay.

              Thank you again. Your comment and words touch me too Tom. It is good to talk and know that somebody understands.

              Wishing you more nights of sleep, and days without too much pain. Maybe even some without any pain.

              With gratitude,


  2. Posted by Tammy Hodge on June 24, 2011 at 5:05 AM

    I had googled some of my symptoms and somehow ended up here. While reading your article I was in shock you described this pain I have to a “t” when for years when I have asked others who have fibromyalgia (as I do) how it felt to them and never getting a clear answer I wondered if it was even the right diagnosis! Tonight has been one of those nights that it is very severe and I felt helpless (not trying to be dramatic here) your article helped so much just to know someone really understood, I had to have my husband read it too. Just wanted you to know how much I appreciated you posting this.

    Liked by 1 person


    • Hi Tammy,

      I’m glad you found this post, although, after scanning over it again as I couldn’t recall the details, I’m sure sorry to hear that this one resonates with you.

      Are you having breathing pain and the leg pains too?

      I’ve had breathing pain for quite some time. The fibro “expert” said that was fibromyalgia, but without doing the tests the cardiologist and pulmonologist had suggested before deciding. I’ve never been quite sure that is all it is. I recently tested positive for an autoimmune disorder and have had several bouts of what appears to be Lupus. I’m going to the Rheumatologist today after waiting for months to find out about the tests I was positive for. In Lupus, the leg and breathing pain (like pleurisy) makes sense.

      I understand the comfort too in knowing that somebody can relate or understand and that we are not alone. Thanks for taking the time to share with me. That means a lot to me, knowing I am not alone.
      Thank you.

      Blessings and Well Wishes to you,



      • Posted by Tammy Hodge on June 25, 2011 at 5:04 AM

        Hi Michelle thanks for writing back so quickly! I do not usually have pain with breathing but it has happened, the areas that seem to effect me most are my legs and at times when it is severe like last night was my arms also ache and it seems like it just spreads everywhere! (Also in my back but I have others issues and permanent damage from a surgery gone way bad, so I don’t know what all to attribute to that.)
        As far as having someone to relate to my symptoms, I have to tell you I have a great Husband who has been there for me through all of this but it wasn’t until he read this post that he understood, its been such a blessing finding this web page.
        I am sorry to hear about you having Lupus, Did you get any answers from the Dr today? Or yesterday I guess.
        Thank you again 😉



        • Hi Tammy! Thank you so much for telling me about how this post helped your husband better understand your symptoms. That makes me feel that my writing has a good purpose.

          (Whoa, I edited this comment, because sometimes I re-read them, as I did this one and think to myself that I sure wasn’t paying attention. I hope you are feeling better Tammy. That’s what I meant to say the first time, but was wound up after seeing that doctor. As it is, I am not diagnosed with Lupus. I’m seeing a holistic practitioner now, so that’s a whole different kind of medicine).

          Thanks again for your very moving comment and also, for visiting my blog :)…
          Peace and Well wishes,



  3. its very hard to describe the pain… I love reading your blog and although I am sure that my pain is not anywhere near what you are going through at the moment, I know just how difficult it is explaining to someone that even when fixing my pillows to make me comfier in bed the pain goes from my fingers right through my body to my toes like a shock and for them to think, how do pillows hurt you lol…

    But I as always wish you the best of strength to get through things.. keep your chin up 🙂



    • Hi Brian! I think I missed seeing your comment. How nice of you and as for bed linens, I can’t even handle those heavy comforters or quilts anymore. Gotta have some light weight linens for sure! I haven’t checked out what is up with you lately so I will. Hope you are doing well.



  4. Totally perfect use of my “Electrifying” icon (serving as an exclamation point to your words). And thank you for the gracious compliment.

    Whether or not you intended to provoke this type of response, I have to admit that I laughed out loud at your statement:

    “Family is Family. Kind of like chronic pain.”

    Ain’t it the truth? It is also amazing to me how certain others deem themselves qualified to judge another person’s pain (as well as to make moral judgments about how others chose to cope with their pain.)
    Each of us has our good days and bad days as well as our emotionally strong and emotionally drained days. We can really change that. All we can do is be compassionate and support one another to get through our lives one day at a time.
    I wish you many more good and strong days.



    • Hi Leslie,
      Yep– I meant it, I think, exactly the way you took it and glad you laughed. I actually laugh a lot at my life, but am not sure if I ever get that into my writing. Hope you enjoyed your birthday. Your icons for “Sew What” are awesome. I’d like to show them to my mom. She sews and also creates arts and crafts, my favorite are her handbags.
      Thank you for your well wishes. I wish you also many good days ahead.



  5. Who says you didn’t find exactly the right thing to say? *smile*

    I have just read the poem on your sidebar “In Memory of Free” …that is really lovely!

    I’m thinking that the first stanza especially speaks to me not just in the way it was meant, but in terms of how I find strength in my hidden life.
    Thank you for posting it.



    • Thank you. Oh I’m so glad you read the little poem. I’m thinking of Free a lot these days. It will be four years in April. I cried but I bought her some pretty flowers I’m going to take to a really special place where she is remembered. Free was awesome!



  6. I had a brief experience with fibromyalgia about ten years ago when a doctor discovered I had an abnormality in spine which was causing nerve damage to the right side of my body. I know and remember the pain I felt in my leg all too vividly. I used to describe it as boiling hot lava being poured into my bone while I’m being electrocuted. It was exhausting going through that! My doctor eventually sent me to a pain management clinic & after typical pain pills weren’t working, the gave me a nerve block. (an injection into my back). It was a miracle that it worked!
    I hope you are able to find something that helps ease the pain & are feeling better soon!
    Best wishes,



    • V- hi. Right now I’m tired. I rode a horse and wrote about it. Whew… I had lots of fun.
      I’ve had MRI’s done. How did you discover the abnormality in your spine? Mine’s killing me right now. So far along my fibromyalgia way — every test comes back normal except I’ve had two severe tick borne illnesses and once positive for Lupus, but then Lupus negative next time so that one is up in the air. It seems like I keep coming back to my symptoms being fibromyalgia. I have all the symptoms.
      Sigh… At least today I did something fun. Maybe the serotonin boost from the horse ride will help my pain.
      Have a blessed day.



      • As for the fibromyalgia & my spine. – In my early twenties I started noticing little ‘spasms’ in my right leg, I thought it was weird because for all my life I’ve never had feeling or any sensation in my foot. I went to my doctor & they sent me to neurosurgeon. After a MRI, they said I had a “tethered spinal cord”. Which is basically when your spine is stretched down too far. (I learned the spine is supposed to stop in the middle of your back). She told me I had had it since birth, but said that a tumor was attached to it causing all of the nerve pain & spreading numbness. So…I had to go in right away for surgery. AFTER the surgery was when the fibromyalgia got really, really bad. Luckily, they were able to help me though… I remember how exhausting it was dealing with that kind of pain.
        I hope you are feeling better soon & you are able to find something that helps with the pain.

        Also – I read your post about going horse back riding. Good for you! Those gentle giants have an amazing calming effect! There are places here in Oregon (though not near me) that have therapeutic horse camps. It’s a fantastic idea!
        I can understand why you would be so sore afterward. Trotting is much more ‘bouncy’ than a walk or a canter… I miss it so much – but, living in the city makes it hard to have a horse! Hopefully it’s something you can continue doing. It really does sound like fun!!! 🙂

        Have a great day.




        • Thanks for responding Victoria!
          I know it gets hectic remembering who said what and when on comments, so I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question about your spine. I’m glad they could fix it.
          I did love the horse and should not have trotted like I did. Nice to hear you like to ride also. I rode a Morgan and I think the teacher said they do not canter. They do about twenty things but they don’t canter. I’m going to try and get into one of the equine-therapy centers here. I know of a place and they have scholarships for people.
          I hope things are going well for you and your son. Take care and as always, I hope you have a blessed day!



  7. Hi, I saw your comment on another blog – you mentioned you hadn’t had traffic yet. Well, you do now 🙂

    I particularly liked something you said “I always put the person first. I have a disability.” I’ve often said that my illness is just part of my picture. Like saying “I have brown eyes.”

    It is not the whole of me. It may define the routines of my days or the needs of my body, but it does not define the person within. Influences, yes. Teaches, yes. Angers even, yes. But defines – no way. I’ve met people who simply cannot befriend someone who is not able-bodied. I think of them as “surface people.” There’s an awful lot of life and wonder below the surface of the ocean 😉



    • hiddenlives— Very cool that you came to visit! Your comment has made me smile just when I needed it. Presently, my brain is kind of foggy and I simply cannot find any right thing to say — except thank you for visiting my blog and I like the feel of your comment — kind of easy breezy ~~~~~~.



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