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military and dealing with fibro
2 Replies
lonnie1978 - January 8

my wife has not yet been diagnosed with fibro but all the symptoms are there and i am currently stationed overseas and will be gone for the next year i want her to feel better but at any given time we have 3 kids in the house and our youngest is only 3 and very demanding i really want to help but being so far away what can i do i want to support her and i want to make things better i want to understand this disease i want to know what i can do if anything to make life easier on her it just sucks in general being away and knowing that she is going through so much pain constantly and i cant even be there to help with anything


Fantod - January 8

Hello lonnie1978 - First of all, I would like to thank you for your service to this country. And, I would like to compliment you for thinking to ask about how to deal with this situation. Many of us, are not supported by our significant others or spouses.

Fibromyaliga (FMS)is a short circuit of the central nervous system. The mechanism that causes it is not understood. It can be caused by a prior injury and may have a genetic basis. Essentially FMS causes the pain receptors to remain stuck in the "on" position. People with FMS generally feel like they have a very bad case of the flu 24/7. There is no cure, but it can be managed fairly well.

It is important that the family have a very good grasp of the problem. To that end, I recommend that you take some time to throughly read all of the information on this site under "Navigation." You can not be effective in your desire to help if you don't understand the issue. The National Arthitis Foundation and the CDC both recognise FMS as a valid medical condition.

You or your wife can go to the National Fibromyalgia Association website to ask for a referral to a fibro-friendly rheumotologist near your home. There are still quite a few doctors out there that think FMS is a figment of our collective imaginations. It is very important that your wife sees a rheumy who knows how to treat FMS properly. She may also want to consider a pain specialit to work in tandem with the rheumy.

It is going to take some time to get the medication that is most effective for her worked out. It took over 3 months for me and it can take longer. Only certain classes of medication work for FMS and they must be prescribed. Tylenol and other OTC medication is not effective.
Low doses of antidepressants such as Cymbalta are prescribed for mood and pain. Amitriptyline is usually prescribed for sleep issues. One of the *perks* of FMS is the inability to get REM sleep. Chronic fatigue is something we all have to live with daily. Lyrica is a relatively new drug on the market specifically for FMS. It can be very effective but a lot of people have complained about significant weight gain.

Support at that distance is a real challenge. Are there family members or good friends nearby that can pitch in to help her? Maybe you can tap a number of people to do specific tasks so no one feels overwhelmed or put upon. Someone could be the captain and coordinate everyone. As an example, here are some things that I need help with: grocery shopping, housework and general errands. I have no children so I can not effectively comment on that aspect of your problem.

FMS requires a lot of rest, and stress reduction is very important. Tai Chi or a water aerobics class for arthitics would be good choices for stress. There are some good Tai Chi DVDs available which can be done at home.

Your wife will have to learn to break tasks down into smaller increments, delegate and simply realize if the bed doesn't get made the world will not come to an end. The kids are going to have to pitch in as well. They should have chores suitable for their ages.

Most importantly, make sure yu tell her repeatedly that this illness does not change your feelings for her. Make time to really listen to her concerns and give her support in any way that you can. FMS is debilitating and demoralizing at times. Just knowing that someone is in her corner will make a huge difference.

And finally, give a link to this site so she can chat with all of us. It helps to talk to others with FMS.

If I missed something, don't hesitate to ask. We are all here to help. Godspeed.


13tracy13 - January 15

Thank you lonnie1978 for your service.
My husband was in the military for 5 1/2 years and done 3 trips overseas, so I can understand how hard it is to be seperated. For you, you are stuck over there worrying about your family at home and your duties there and staying safe. Your wife worries about your saftey, caring for the kids and her medical issues.
Where your wife is at, does she have family close who could come help sometimes with the kids? Also getting a Fibro diagnosis can be hard, especially if she is seeing military Drs, no offense to any of them, but my experences with them are not great. If she has to see military Dr have her keep going, and keep complaining and have her to request to her Dr that see be able to see a rheumatologist that way if it is Fibro she can get a diagnosis. Depression goes along with Fibro, and with you being gone and having the stress of being the sole caregiver right now for the kids it would suprise me if she has some depression issues, if she does she should take meds for that, some antidepressiants like Paxil are often used to help treat Fibro and it may help until her diagnosis.
Again, you stay safe, and not worry too much, but the fact that you care enough to come on here to find out more and be supportive is wonderful.
Oh and can I give you a small tip for you not related to this subject. If you ever have any illnesses, injuries anything medically wrong, no matter how small you think it is you should see the Dr and complain about it so it is in you medical file because if it happened to you in the military the VA will treat it once you are out. I have a friend who has sleep apnea and he was treated for it in the service so the VA has to treat him for it now, he also collects VA disability and a portion of that is for sleep apnea. But you have to have documentation in you medical records or down the road you may not be able to get the help you deserve from the VA.
Good luck to you, your family and your fellow service men.



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