For all the men on the Board-Article, plz read!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Frackie11382, May 7, 2003.

  1. Frackie11382

    Frackie11382 New Member

    Fibromyalgia From a Man's Point of View

    By Bob Hall (Taken from FMAware.org)


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    Men can have heart attacks, broken legs, the flu, chicken pox, the mumps, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, and other illnesses. Heart attacks are very acceptable in men. Everyone knows the heart attack is the result of a "manly life." But for a man to have an illness that 1) has to be explained, 2) does not show up on x-rays or in blood work, and 3) is not universally accepted by the medical profession, is really taboo in our society today.

    Fibromyalgia (FM) is becoming a little more accepted, but not in leaps and bounds. One has to understand what FM does to a "person" before one can understand the man's point of view. Fibromyalgia leaves one in constant pain, and that pain varies from person to person. Some can continue to work, while others are left almost helpless with the pain. FM is not a new fad disease. It has been around since the 1800's. It has been called an "invisible disease" because there is no noticeable visual impairment to the "victim." If there were cancerous sores, open wounds, a cast...some visual evidence for the chronic pain, it would certainly help the disease be accepted by so many people.

    Men are no different from women when it comes to the disease. They have most of the common symptoms and they certainly have the pain. Many studies indicate there is a difference in the pain levels between men and women. However, most men do not agree with those findings. They have the tender points, the irritable bowel syndrome, the chronic fatigue, the fibro fog, the aches and pains, the emotional and physical drain, and the sleeping disorders. Yet some of these studies indicate the women have the more severe forms of pain.

    "Shake it off" is taught to boys from a very early age. "Be a man, and take it like a man" is often instilled into the minds of young boys and young men from a very early age. Men can have broken arms and that is OK; but it is not OK for a man to have to go to bed because of a headache, or over-all aching and stiffness, or some of the other severe forms of pain FM produces. It is just not a "manly" thing to do.

    Young men are raised with super heroes: Superman, Batman, and the list goes on. Kryptonite will disable Superman and remove all of his super powers. This is acceptable. It is not acceptable for men to be disabled by some invisible disease. It is often hard to leap tall buildings at a single bound when one cannot even get out of bed, much less walk...and leaping is the last thing the world one wants to do.

    Fibromyalgia does not "shake off." It is Kryptonite to all that have the disease. Male or female, FM makes no gender preference when attacking the body of its victim. Fibromyalgia is like some arch villain - some evil super being reeking havoc where ever it goes. It is a very destructive force to be so unknown to much of the medical profession. It is true that it is becoming more accepted, but considering it has been around since the 1800s, it is alarming to realize the medical profession knows so little about the disease.

    Fibromyalgia causes more than physical pain in men. It also causes emotional pain, and even fear - fear of losing ones spouse or loved ones. Fear of the loss of friends, family, co-workers, and even jobs is a constant thought in the minds of men with FM. Is the fear men perceive greater than the fear women with FM perceive? No, it is not. If a divorce is the result of years of dealing with fibromyalgia, it doesn't really matter whether it was the male or the female who suffered the FM, the pains of a divorce are equally felt by both individuals. The results are the same.

    Typically men do not open up and discuss what is going on in their minds, their lives, and especially what they are feeling. Some men are fortunate enough to have a friend they can talk to about FM and how it feels, but most men tend to bury how they really feel when faced with the disease. Women do the same thing. It is basic human nature.

    More men are being diagnosed with the disease as time goes by. There is little information on the topic of men and fibromyalgia. It has not received as much attention as women with FM. It is true there are more women with the disease than men. That could be partially due to the fact men are very stubborn. They do not and will not go to the doctor for what appears at first to be minor aches and pains.

    One can ask how do men deal with fibromyalgia? How do they deal with the fact they can no longer play with their children, do things with the grandchildren, go hang out with the guys, and even do minor things around the house? They hurt. Inside. Way down deep. That is how they deal with it. They hurt just like women do when they are faced with the same identical issues. How do they feel when they get fired from a job because they cannot do it anymore? They hurt. Inside. Way down deep. They feel identical to any woman who gets fired because FM has stolen her ability to provide for herself or her family. That is how men deal with it.

    The expression of those feelings is where we see some differences, many men bottle up those feelings and keep them deep within...which cause stress...which makes FM worse. Many become angry and bitter...again, making the disease worse. They tend to want to blame something or someone for the disease, so often they lash out at those around them. Explosions of pent up anger are quite common and they are not by any means gender specific. Women often act in the same manner.

    Men lean towards solving the problem themselves. They are accustomed to "fixing whatever is broken." When they discover they cannot "fix" fibromyalgia and they have to live with it, they undergo the very same feelings women do when they make that final decision to learn to live with FM.

    The world of men with fibromyalgia is literally filled with true super heroes. It is filled with men who get up every day and do the very best they can to live a normal life; men who try so hard not to show the pain that they often over-extend themselves just to have a few extra moments with their loved ones...to have a tiny miniscule portion of a normal life. They try to hold down the position of "head of the household" the best they can; however, they cannot do it alone. They must have the support of their family and friends. The same is true in the world of women with FM who try to be the wife and mother.

    These heroes find a good attitude, a good sense of humor, a good doctor (which is difficult to find), close friends, and close family ties to be their tools of the trade. Humor can be a very effective tool to get one through the day. Even with these tools, it is very difficult to "keep on keeping on." But the true heroes just keep going.

    Be it man or woman, fibromyalgia does not really care one way or the other. It shows no mercy. So many times it seems as if FM has one function - to produce as much pain as possible - physical, emotional, and mental. It seems to attack one area of the body, then move on to attack another. So who has the most difficult time - men or women? That is almost impossible to answer.

    Fibromyalgia. It hurts. Inside. Way down deep.

  2. turtis

    turtis New Member

    this article is very acurate, i was fired 12-31-02 the only job in my entire life that i liked. i am treated like this every day by people that think that i am a woosy becuse they see my wife doing most of the work...i had one so called friend ask me if i had contiplated suicide because of the multiple problems that i have...he said that it would be a reilief for my wife...girls please read carefully becuse we are filled with what a man SHOULD DO AND BE from the time that we are borne and it tears us apart when we cannot fulfill our so called duties as a MAN and HUSBAND and FATHER
  3. Elbryan

    Elbryan New Member

    Just tonite I started paying my 12 year old daughter to mow our lawn, because I can no longer do it without suffering for the next few days. This will also be my last year coaching my son in sports do to the amount of physical exhaustion i suffer each night we are on the field. I am a hunting junky my 6 year old can't wait until I teach him how to shoot a bow, a gun, teach him how to hunt deer. He is a little to young for most of these things and I wonder everyday that I look at him if I will be able to when he is old enough. I wonder everyday if I will be able to walk my daughters down the aisle when they get married. How long will i be able to hold my wife when we sleep. I know these things might sound extreme, but as the first post said these are things expected of men. These are the things that we are 'suppose' to do.

    The one thing I would say to men is that as tough as it is share your problem with your family and friends dont hold them in. If they truly love you they will listen and try to comfort you as they can.

    To the second post the one that mentioned suicide, whoever has friends that suggest that as an answer to your problems, I would strongly examine this person to see if that is the kind of friend that you need around in your times of need.
    [This Message was Edited on 05/07/2003]
  4. jolly

    jolly New Member

    I know this board has evolved over time to serve people better, and I would like to suggest a "mainly men" message board. This is not meant in any way to delete men's messages (personally I love them), but it is different for men as they are conditioned from childhood to be the breadwinners. Since the majority of members on this board are women (since more women seem to have fibro), the men don't seem to have the "sounding board" that the women have. Their messages are lost and hard to find or define by other men coming on the board. I think they would be well-served by a special board where they would know they were conversing with men and could discuss their special conditions and feelings. Of course it would not have to be defined as "only women" or "only men," but would help the guys find other guys to talk with about their specific guy feelings. Does anybody have any thoughts about this suggestion? I'm talking to you guys out there! I feel for you. Jo Ellen
  5. teranan

    teranan New Member

    Its true men have problems communicating their feelings. Its also true we don't talk to each other about those feelings. I don't think we need a special board. Most of us have wives to share our feelings with. Were here for support just like women. Its compforting just to read about others who have what we have. We may not post much but it still helps. Just wanted to tell the younger man who is raising family. He mentioned being worried about walking his daughter down the aisle.I just did that a yr ago. It was painful and a very long day but I did it.
  6. jamedw1

    jamedw1 New Member

    we'd just sit around and talk sports...lol...

    seriously, though... i am lucky not to have what affects everyone else here... i just love someone that does... and i live and die vicariously through her eyes... even as i write this she is in a total, stress dominated flare trying to push forward in what she loves most... teaching... and i can only do what i hope is my best asset: support, comfort, and be there for her... from 600 miles away... total helplessnes in what i hope someday will not be an issue...

    the reason i even mention this is that i come here, day after day to learn... to read, discuss, and support others if i think my 2 cents will mean anything to even one person... i have become as dependent on these hallowed halls almost as the people that frequent for similar but different reasons... i sponge every bit of information that i can and digest it along with her... i have more time to do it, so, in a way, i've become her eyes here... so, to say the least, you are such an important and invaluable part of my... our... lives...

    but in a way, maybe i'm even luckier because i've always been gender, color, and racially blind... to me, pain is pain... people are people... information is information... and other than the fact that women suffer moreso than men from this DD, i'd really not know from all the really clever and sometimes generic "nics"...

    and from most feedback, i've never felt "unwanted" here... and i like that... i need that... sometimes i feel like im gonna implode from imformation overload, but for the most part i could not be the "man" that i am... without you... :)

    so men... women... boys and girls... americans, europeans, australians, et al... stay here... i... make that "we" need you...

    and thank you...
    ed
  7. Takesha

    Takesha New Member

    Thank you so much for posting this, we all need to read it. My SO has CFS and after retiring from the Air Force as MSGT.Combat Arms Instructer he has been taught to spit in the face of fear, and stand strong in the face of any enemy. Not only does he deal with his DD, but after so many years in the service (24) he is trying to adjust and find his place in the civilian world. I often wonder what goes on in the depths of his soul so that I can support him. Thank you so much for sharing this. Michael apologizes a lot for the messes he makes, he works with leather and it helps him. I have never complained about his messes, but he feels bad that he only has enough energy to complete his project and then he's to drained to clean up. I am just glad he has enough energy to do what he loves to do, I'd much rather have him happy with my house a mess, than not to have him at all...He is the love of my life, and I am so proud of him.He tells me often that he knows how much I love him because I never push him to work when he's having a flare up, even if it means we can't pay a bill on time, and sometimes I have to remind him to come home if he has too. He says that this is the first time since he left home that he feels the freedom to be who is. The bottom line for me is I care about him...and even on the days he's flat on his back, I am lucky to have him in my life.
    Takesha

    PS. If you gentlemen haven't read my post " Begging not asking for wisdom" please do.I'd like to hear what you have to say.
    [This Message was Edited on 05/08/2003]
    [This Message was Edited on 05/08/2003]
  8. 1fibrowife

    1fibrowife New Member

    I was just sitting here reading posts to my FM husband and read this one. I think this hits the nail on the head! He has felt all of this. Pushed himself for years not knowing why he was so tired and hurt so much. He is 48 years old and just walked his baby girl down the isle in July 2002. He was so worried that he might not be able to do so. I believe that only by the grace of God did he get through that weekend. But what has been the hardest on him is her moving away to another state. May 29th she will be moving even farther away to her new home and career.

    Deperssion is very deep and dark right now. He has spent most of the week in bed hurting. I think the weather is partly responsible.

    I personaly belive that FM is worse on men. Sorry girls, just my opinion. This article is so true on the expectations that society places on men. On the rare occasions that hubby does get out and someone sees him and says he looks good I just want to SCREAM!!!They have no idea how much pain he is in. Pain that does not go away, ever. I think that even if people read about FM they still don't comprehend the extent of the pain and suffering.

    I do feel for you. As a spouse I do understand how horrible this disease is on the entire family.

    Good bless you all. God is good all the time...all the time God is good.
  9. Frackie11382

    Frackie11382 New Member

    Just bumping for those who haven't read this article yet. It's really a great article.

    ~~Tara~~