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Spousal Question
8 Replies
Married to FBM - May 9

I need help understanding FBM and the toll it takes on those afflicted by it. I am 31, married to a same aged wife who has been diagnosed with fibro for about 18 months now. We have 2 small children and live a normal middle class life. I am having frustration with my wife over a few areas of life. I find her to be in short, lazy. She sleeps every minute she can, early to bed, late to rise and a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day. She regularly fails to tend to household chores (being a stay at home mom – kids are in daycare half the week). And yes, I do the majority of the house work. She eats a lot of food, snacks late at night and drinks a lot of soda. Generally speaking, I am appalled at what she has become in the last 5 years. She used to be a thin, attractive young lady. Now, it is quite the opposite. Her attitude towards life has changed for the worse. She is short and bitchy with everyone, including me, her own mother and everyone else in between. Although she claims unawareness of her transgressions, they do exist and are frequently presented. If I try to bring it up it becomes a fight. At times it is rather embarrassing to be honest, I feel that her attitude towards others is unwarranted and over reactive.
She sees a pain management doctor. The meds are constantly being changed and so far, they all yield a less than ideal partner. Anymore, I don’t know if it is her or the meds that I don’t like.
It is not my intent to belittle my wife. I do not cheat, nor would I entertain the idea. I harbor no thoughts of divorce or separation. I just need to know if this is what I can expect for the rest of our lives or is there hope for something better. I need to know if there is something that can be done.
I feel as though I am entering uncharted waters here. I don’t know what to expect. Thank you in advance.


Fantod - May 9

Married to FBM - Welcome to the board.

My initial reaction to your post was not a good one. But, I commend you for asking for help. First of all, the majority of people with Fibromyalgia (FMS) are NOT lazy, neurotic or hypochondriacs. It is extremely debilitating physically and mentally to deal with chronic pain on a daily basis. I am 57 and completely disabled as a result of FMS and some underlying physical problems. I would gladly give everything I own up to regain my life as I once knew it.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central nervous system. It interrupts the deep sleep cycle with short bursts of high intensity brain activity. Your muscles require deep sleep in order to repair themselves from the days activities. No deep sleep means higher level of pain. This rapidly becomes a vicious circle. Sleep medication does help but it is not a perfect science. I am chronically over-tired no matter what I do. I could sleep all day and then sleep some more and still feel lousy. Chronic fatigue makes it difficult to function never mind think. We all have trouble with even the most simple tasks.

I suspect that your wife is extremely depressed. Her over-eating can also be partially fueled by medication. Lyrica in particular is notorious for weight gain. The few medications that are available to treat FMS generally have this unfortunate side effect. If she is not in counseling, she should be. And, you too for that matter. The type of counseling recommended for chronic illness is called "cognitive behavioral therapy." She'll learn some tools to help her cope and maintain a better attitude. You can go online to your local hospital website and look for the physician referral service or call. They should be able to match you up with someone. I'm sure that she feels the sting of your critisims on some level even if you are keeping your lip buttoned. You need to find a way to switch gears and be more understanding and supportive. Just staying because that is what you are supposed to do for a spouse is not enough for either of you or your kids.

I'd like to suggest that you go online to Amazon and purchase "Fibromyalgia for Dummies." It has a lot of good, basic information that will help you and the rest of the family understand this complicated syndrome.

Have you made time to go to the doctor with her to better understand her health issues and medications? FMS is extremely difficult to treat as the mechanism that causes it is not understood. We all have different symptoms to some degree. And, many of us are also plagued with additional "perks" such as multiple chemical sensitivity (see "Associated Conditions" in the blue boxes on the lefthand side of this page). The latter makes using any medication a challenge.
Make an appointment with the pain specialist so you can hear firsthand what is going on, how the medications are supposed to help, what else has been tried etc. If you are still not satisfied, go online to the National Fibromyalgia Association website and see a list of fibro-friendly healthcare providers in your state. It may be time for a fresh set of eyes. Get a copy of all of her medical records including any recent tests so save time and money when you see the new doctor.

There is no cure for FMS but it can be managed to some degree. It takes time and a lot of tinkering to find the right combination of therapies to get some relief. I think that some positive changes could be affected in your household but it is going to have to be a team effort. I wish you the very best in trying to find some solutions for your situation. There is a lot of good information on the site. National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is May 12th. Take care and God Bless.


Married to FBM - May 17

Thank you for your message. I would like to start with an apology. I am sorry if my first post offends anyone; that was not my intent. Truth of the matter is that the day I had written it I was rather frustrated. I know, I’m the “healthy” one in my home and I’m feeling down. I haven’t lived a day in my wife’s shoes. I know I should be the grateful one and I should spend my time helping my wife rather than focusing on the negative aspects here. I should have phrased my post in a different manner, the context is accurate but the sentiment was driven more by emotion than compassion. By nature I am not a threatening or disrespectful man, especially towards my loved ones. For any distress I have caused, I apologize.
My wife has provided me with a guide book to understanding FMS and all that it entails. I will look for Fibromyalgia for Dummies the next time I’m at Barnes and Nobel.
I actually have discussed going to the doctor’s office with her. I am very concerned that the medications were excessive and having adverse affects. Recently there has been a change in her prescription, per my wife’s decision. This change is for the better! I also don’t comprehend FMS. Neither does my wife. Sometimes I think that is the most frustrating part. I’m a guy, guys like to fix things whether broken or not. I don’t make the presumption that I can fix disorders, but if I hurt an Aleve is all I need. When she is hurting there are three or four different meds that barely take the edge off the pain. Then comes the side effects as I mentioned earlier.
Please take into account that she and I are together in this. We are married as one. We have two beautiful children who deserve the very best life we can provide. I am committed to my family in every respect. I am also committed to helping her manage FMS. It is trying at times, sometimes are very hard for me, as selfish as that sounds. I just want my wife back, the one I married. Lucky for me, her passion for faith seems to ebb the pain at times. Sundays seem to be the better days.
Your knowledge in this subject is proving that I know squat about FMS. I will learn more about the associations and effects of FMS.
Thank you.


Fantod - May 18

Married to FBM - Thanks for your detailed reply and more information. I totally understand how hard it is to deal with this syndrome both as a patient and from the caregiver standpoint. It is endlessly frustrating for everyone involved including the medical profession. It is just flat out exhausting on so many levels.

As a caregiver, you need to make a concerted effort to carve out some personal time for yourself to do something that you enjoy. The burnout factor is high in these sorts of situations and you'll do better emotionally if you get away from it once in awhile. This is not a selfish thing to do and you should not feel guilty about it. Think of it as a mini vacation to reduce your stress level and feel energized to face another day.

I wanted to mention something that I forgot to put in my original post. You said that your wife drinks soda. If she is using a diet product - that is a huge no-no. Anything containing an artifical sweetner including Splenda will ratchet up her pain levels. She should also avoid deep fried foods and anything containing nitrates such as lunchmeat, bacon and red wine (just a few examples). Most people with FMS are extremely sensitive to these chemical additives. And a lot of FMS patients report that they do better by cutting out sugar.

A good substitute for any artifical sweeter is made from the nontoxic Stevia plant. You can find it in the baking aisle at the grocery store. A couple examples would be Sun Crystals or Truvia. I have also seen soda made with Stevia available for ordering on the Internet. A Google search should turn that up. We are unable to post links.

Your best bet is to go online to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and order the book. I have yet to see it in stock at the store. The sooner you both get on with reading it the better. A better understanding of this complicated syndrome, how it works and your options to combat it will help you both so much. Knowledge with action is power.

Basically, FMS is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes widespread chronic pain. The mechanism that causes it is not understood. There is no cure but it can be managed to some degree with certain classes of prescribed medication. The primary medications used to treat FMS are: Lyrica, Savella and Cymbalta. OTC medication does not address the type of pain caused by FMS. A sleep aid is also required.

There is no set formula for medication to manage FMS. We all have different symptoms, and different drug tolerances and "perks" caused by this syndrome. Hence, trying to treat it or find a cure is extremely difficult.

There are some homeopathic remedies which can be helpful. I use a mix of homeopathic and conventional medicine to manage my symptoms. Malic Acid (tablet) is very good for easing muscle cramping and twitching. For sleep, melatonin, Calms Forte or Mid-Nite are all useful. I like Curamin Made by Terry Naturally for breakthrough pain. You can find any of these items at a good health food store or online. Make sure that you understand how to use these supplements and any risks associated with them.

Has your wife been tested for a Vitamin D deficiency? This is a common problem among people with FMS. A simple blood test will sort that out. Also, she may be gluten sensitive or intolerant. The most accurate test is done using a stool sample. Either of these problems will also cause widespread pain.

Fibromyalgia is recognised by the National Arthitis Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organiztion. There are still a lot of health care professionals out there who think it is a figment of our collective imaginations.

To be perfectly blunt, the chances of getting your wife back as she once was are slim to none. With a lot of diligent, proactive medical care and support, a reasonable facsimile may be possible. I think that you need to be more involved in her medical care to understand the medication regimen and what the doctor is attempting to achieve. Two heads in a stressful situation are always better than one. And, you could be correct that some of the medication is causing unpleasant side effects. In my experience, doctors get pretty fed up with dealing with FMS. After awhile they just prescribe to get the (whining ??!!) patient out of the exam room. I've been on this board for a number of years and have seen countless examples of prescriptions causing more problems than the FMS itself. If you tend to think of any doctor as God - don't. Especially when dealing with FMS. I never take what I am told at face value by my doctors. They are your employee. You pay their salary and as such you are entitled to ask questions, debate care suggestions and fire them if need be. Being proactive is a big part of managing this syndrome.

If you have more questions, or just need to vent we are here to help. There are a lot of good, knowledgable people on this board who are willing to lend a hand when it is needed. God Bless you and your family.


January - May 19

Hi Married to FBM - I wrote a long note to you a week ago, but got called away before I could finish, so deleted it. My initial reaction was great sympathy. I sensed your frustration and understood it. I also sensed that your wife may be seriously overmedicated, as a lot of her symptoms sounded like me when I was overmedicated. I think Fantod is amazing, and I agree with much of what she says. But I take a very different approach. We are all different, so this is just MY two cents.

I hate it when people say there is no cure. I've managed to cure some of my fibro symptoms. I quit the antidepressant drugs (they were the SOURCE of many symptoms - withdrawal was awful and took over a year); went strictly gluten free and that relieved my overall body pain - also I effortlessly dropped the weight I gained on the drugs and my depression lifted; I researched and take a lot of supplements - including melatonin for sleep; a number of supplements for energy; got lidocaine injections into trigger points which cured them, along with massage and acupuncture. I now take a few low dose prescriptions aimed just at pain and sleep, as needed. I am better than I used to be. I am now researching antiviral medications. I found that Advil helped with the pain I had (regardless of what "they" say). Alleve did not help. I am always looking for new information and I read a lot of online forums about chronic fatigue, fibro, pharmacology, etc. If you read the General Discussion threads on here, you might get some great ideas. Many people spend time researching and trying new things. For me, the FDA-approved type drugs to treat fibro were so bad they made life unbearable.

I've posted enough ranting on this website under other threads in general discussion. I think we all ought to fight and look for cures, not sit back and accept a lifetime of severe illness - which is what we're being "sold" by people with financial incentives. If you have some time, I suggest you google and read up. Here are a few alternative things just to start with and get you wondering… you'll find other links

viral causes of fibromyalgia; encephalitis; Dr. Dan Dantini; weaponized mycoplasma; Gulf War Illness; Lyme Disease; Epstein Barr virus; celiac disease; multiple chemical sensitivity

Making a Killing documentary about psychotropic drugs; Your Drug May Be Your Problem book by Peter Breggin; Dangerous Grains book by James Braly; the website at peoplespharmacy; Big Pharma

Some of the people who advocate alternative cures, or who criticize the system are blacklisted - by whom I don't know. I believe in reading whatever information is out there, and then making up my own mind about what makes the most sense. I appreciate being in a country where, so far, we are free to try different methods for healing.

Type in the drugs your wife is taking and find forums where they are discussed by actual users of the drugs. You can't necessarily trust the information you see on TV ads or even in the drug company literature. Go to the people who have long experience with the drug. Cymbalta is one that is prescribed for fibro. It made me very sick. I wish I had researched it before I tried it, because there's a lot of negative information. However, it works for some people, so I don't advocate banning it. I do think the drs who prescribe it should be more educated about the bad effects in some people. For me, 60 mg offered no pain relief - added considerable weight and put me into diabetes. Also made my stomach more sensitive permanently. NOT worth it.

For most fibro people the main things to treat are pain and sleep. Only MY opinion - I don't think complicated drugs that interfere with your brain chemistry (maybe permanently!) and cause awful side effects are the best option - when you can get other drugs with fewer side effects, at much lower doses, for pain and sleep. But, to each his own. Whatever works the best for your wife. If she IS taking antidepressants - I would be highly suspect about them, considering the remarks you posted, I recognize the syndrome! Please check out the book by Dr. Breggin - it's a stunner.


lucky13 - May 24

Hello Married, I have been diagnosised with Fibro for 3ish years now. My husband is a non-believer and it makes it hard for me to deal with fibro and everything it comes with.
My suggestions would be to buy Fibro for Dummies, I am actually reading that now, read it with your wife, also go to drs appt with your wife, that way you can voice your concerns to the dr as well, things she may not notice or bring up herself. Also does your wife see a Rheumatologist? If not, you need to find her a good one who has expreance in treating Fibro. I recently started going to a new who I like, and the first thing he told me was to stay away from the pain managment clinics. I am only 30, and he said that being so young and in our 30s, pain clinic would cause more harm then good.

Good luck


progressiveintn - July 26

Hello I am new to the forum, but feel I need an outlet to discuss issues that I might not discuss with my family or maybe some suggestions on how to talk to my husband about how I feel.

Im 51 and my husband and I just married back in January. At that time my fibro was totally manageable, In just the last month I have felt so much more pain as well as exhaustion, and it is certainly putting a damper on our marriage. My husband has bee totally supportive but I can tell its getting to him as much as it is me. I may go to bed early and he will go to a movie,

When we were dating I was doing great and had a full time job. Could there be some reasons as to why I have taken a turn for the worse and is it likely that I will return to the days when I just needed pain meds and not so much sleep, I have lost interest in sex, because I just hurt so much, or I feel like I would just be laying there and wishing it were over. I do have some good days and when I do, I really take advantage of it


January - July 27

Hi progressive - Sounds like you are going through a flare, and usually they will improve if you just take care of yourself. Rest and get good nutrition. Take vitamins and minerals and other supplements if you need to. Definitely talk it over with your doctor too. You might want to get your hormones checked as you are over 50.

If you just got married in January, is it possible that your normal daily workload has increased considerably? Are you pushing yourself to do more than you used to do? You are probably going through some normal psychological stress - even if you love each other - it's a change and an adjustment when you marry, so that causes some stress. You may be doing more than you realize in an effort to please your new husband, and knocking yourself out without realizing it!

Communication is key; make sure you talk to him and let him know how you feel and what you need from him. It sounds like he is a good person, and understands your fibro (or is trying to) - maybe he'd like to read up on this board. (There's a little bit of everything on here!)

Congratulations to both of you on your marriage. Make it a happy one - do what you can but give yourself a break and rest when you need to. If you have a history of viral illnesses - or if you think you have chronic fatigue, you could try googling "fibromyalgia viral" and see what you think about getting treatment with antivirals. I have tried them in the past and they greatly helped my fatigue and fibro-fog flare ups. You can also go to the blue "search" box on the right of this website, and plug in the same search terms to find threads where we have discussed viral implications and fibromyalgia. Right now there is a thread in general discussions about how to make sex less painful. Hang in there, try different things and hopefully you will feel better soon! : )


cincin - August 28

You sound like a marvelous partner.Bravo for trying to understand this terrible affliction and never apologize for your frustration and anger with it. As a FM sufferer we deal with those emotions daily, knowing that we will never be the same person we once were. Perhaps the meds are complicating her system/symptons. I do not tolerate pharms well and find better results with natural products(these can take up to 6wks before results are felt). I was 100% nasty,miserable,irritable "bitch" and realized it after I was diagnosed and apologized to the people in my life profusely, yet I still had lapses and all it took was to hear just my name being said or a touch on my arm, stroke my hair, a soft kiss on the lips or just a hug to make me stop and think about the moment. Non verbal confirmation that some still cares about me. The pain and fatigue can make you feel less than human and that you have let everyone in your life down. It's a herculean effort for any partner to help someone get through this and that is what we need, "HELP". To this day I still have people who think I'm dogging it and I just look at them and think of the old saying"ignorance is bliss" and move on. Your plate is very full, ask family members(if they are close ) to help you, otherwise you may get burnt out and start resenting this(it's only human).Hire a housecleaner if you can, even just once or twice a month will help. Whatever your hobby is do it on a regular basis,you've earned it. With patience, understanding and discipline FM suffers can realize more better days/periods than bad ones. Its a matter of checks and balances, what is working, what isn't and to learn not to over do it on the good days(that's hard).I was diagnosed 7 years ago and am still learning about it, there is certainly more info about it now.Keep reading, keep asking, keep talking, keep reaching out.Neither your wife nor you are alone with this. Well wishes for you and yours.



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