Does age really matter?

I’m sorry for complaining, but all I hear all the time is that I’m young and I should be able to deal with it. I am 34 yrs of age and I try my best all the time to deal with it. My doctors have now taken me out if work for a bit due to this so now I’m home with the 3 kids. I do take them to school, sports and play with them as well as taking care of the house. But now my mother in law was also diagnosed and all I hear is that I’m younger and I should be able to deal with it because she does. It hurts emotionally. I don’t even complain about the pain anymore. I feel like I’m supposed to just shut up and make pretend I am always ok and I’m not. Ugh . It’s so fustrating.

When that first stabbing pain ripped across my back and neck, I was 23. Ultimately, it took me about two years of what you are going through before I could begin to resume a "normal" life again. During those two years, I explored treatments, tried different doctors, educated myself, learned that although the last thing I wanted to do was move, the worst thing I could do was to stay still, explored different "FM" medications, explored different methods of dealing with the pain...and the fatigue, made sure my relationship was as strong as it could be, created and facilitate a support group for people with FM, joined the board of directors of the "Fibromyalgia Association of Greater Washington" and wrote about my condition.

I did not set out for this to take two years. Honestly, I thought it would never end. My parents who live 150 miles away began DIAGNOSING me with agoraphobia because I stopped going to work.

You are going through a tough time, especially with three kids. Age has NOTHING to do with how your central nervous system deal with FM. the fact that you are younger means absolutely NOTHING. In truth, you both would probably feel better if you shared the chores with the kids because you are moving and MOVEMENT IS KEY IN FM.

This next analogy should be tattooed somewhere it can be seen every day. Think of your body like a sponge. If you slept and wake up in the morning, your body is stiff. Your sponge is dry because you do not move when you sleep). Have you ever tried to bend a dry sponge? What do you do? You get up and stretch. Everybody does because it is natural to shake things up bit. By stretching and shaking, you are wetting the sponge. Have you ever tried to bend a wet sponge? Much easier and natural, right?

Throughout the day, you'll need to move (wet the sponge) otherwise the sponge gets dry. Keep the sponge wet.

Now, the hard part is that with FM, we do not feel like moving. In fact, it is often the last thing we want to do but is generally the first thing we ought to do. You ay meet resistance by your mother in law. If she is anything like my mother, she thinks she knows it all and if that is the case you need worry only about YOU.

Lastly, I want to tell you that during that two year period, I found that only two things gave me relief. Sorry, no drugs or doctors made the list. Those two things were "moist heat" and "massage". Moist heat pads are available at most drug stores or medical supply companies you can get a large and medium (about the size of a regular notebook) for $20 or so. They go into the microwave for a few minutes and you get 25 minutes or so of moist, relaxing heat. The massage part is easier given you have a husband. Remember the "in sickness and in health" part of those vows? Well, it's time to prove it. I suggest going to a store like "Bath and Body Works" or any store that sells fragrant oils and lotions. It should also help the love making part of your marriage - a naked couple, oil splashed over both bodies, Marvin Gaye on the iPod ("when I get this feeling, I want sexual healing") and you are feeling good from the oily massage you were just given.

I'd wish you the best of luck but honestly, with what I've just given you, you are in for a nice evening in the near future.


Oh, Amy, I'm so sorry to hear that you are not only dealing with fibro, but also taking care of 3 kids plus getting that criticism from your mother-in-law. Fibro affects us all, whether we are 34 or 58. I was diagnosed when I was 42, and just looking forward to moving along with college kids. All that got interrupted by fibro and other medical situations. People kept asking when I was going back to work. Hah! It was work to get out of bed, do housework, and go back and forth to two college kids. They expected it to be easier than it was.

I think you are doing a fantastic job if you are still taking your kids to school, sports, and play with them. Taking care of the house is a huge fibro task in itself!

Two ideas:

1. Ask your mother-in-law how she would do the various tasks. Ask her for her wisdom. Also remember that there is an entire generation (my mother-in-law, too) that was taught to be stoic and just suck it up. But asking her for advice on each task may show how much you actually do.

2. Another possibility is to show her the spoon theory. We are all given a certain number of spoons (units of energy) and use those spoons quickly - then run out of energy. You can find the spoon theory at

It's an excellent way to demonstrate that you are both dealing with the same number of "spoons" but at different life stages.

I hope this helps...

From my understanding, Fibro effects everyone differently and at different rates. I know looking back on it I was capable of a more just a year or two ago than I am now. My mother in law is in her 50s and has had back and knee surgery and is still more physically capable than I am at 25 by a very large margin.

I think everyone would like it if Fibro made a little bit of sense somehow. The more I see of it the less sense it makes. So dont feel bad, there's no way to really compare or quantify pain, and those expectations shouldn't be thrust upon you to deal with.

First of all, Amy, each fibro case progresses differently. My mother kept comparing me to my 75 year old neighbor across the street who has fibro and did a lot more than me (well, but I work in a physically active job for 3 hours a day.) I'm no longer able to do the job and guess what? My neighbor is now doing poorly too, sadly. So the comparison is moot. In the end, fibro got the both of us.

Secondly, no one has the right to tell you that you should just suck it up and deal with it. They aren't in your shoes - and never have felt your terrible pain! And who knows, maybe the moment your MIL closes her door, she collapses in pain and tosses down 30 Vicodin. Or maybe she clenches her teeth and does a lot, then screams at her family non-stop. I doubt she just breezes through each day without any pain or tears.

Third, you need to do what YOU can do. And that changes over time. I think you're doing great with all that you're doing! Man, I haven't been able to even feed the poor dogs until 6 pm after putting in my 3 hours at work. Obviously that won't work! I'm going to need to change my lifestyle again. Again, you can only do what you can do.

This seems like a really good time to introduce the Spoon Theory again. It's a great way to understand what it's like to have to ration your energy due to illness, and how some days you have no spoons left despite needing 2-3 to get through the day. So true! Here's the link:

If you haven't already read it, I strongly suggest that you do. It really helps to understand what we're facing.

Please feel free to come to us to talk. We're not here to tell you what you should do. We're here to listen, to offer some suggestions, gently, and to give you a shoulder to cry on. And goodness knows, you'll need it.