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Fibromyalgia sufferer shares pain of ignorance

Lana Bandoim's picture

Many fibromyalgia sufferers have horror stories about visiting their doctors and attempting to get help for their chronic pain. Shelly Van Winkle recently shared her story as a fibromyalgia patient who spends an enormous amount of money on prescription drugs without finding relief. Her account echoes the problems often experienced by others with this condition.


Shelly Van Winkle used to be able to work as a nurse, but her life has been reduced to seeking new treatments to fight her fibromyalgia. The Quad-City Times reports that the mother of five suffers from chronic pain that affects her ability to work. Her invisible illness may be judged harshly by others, including doctors, but it has ruined the quality of her life.

The former nurse now spends an estimated $1200 a month on various prescription medications that do not seem to be providing relief. She admits that in her desperation she tried cannabis, but she is too scared to continue using it. She is worried about being seen as a drug addict, but she continues to take 25 pills per day from her doctor.

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Shelly Van Winkle’s fibromyalgia tale is playing out across the globe as other patients face similar problems. One of the biggest myths is that people do not think the disorder is real and view patients as complainers. Although the American College of Rheumatology has a list of specific guidelines for diagnosing fibromyalgia, many doctors continue to ignore the recommendations, dismiss the patient and let the disease take over.

Many patients will agree that living with fibromyalgia should be a required class for physicians before they graduate. The lack of understanding and frequent misdiagnoses are leaving people in pain for years. Finding a solution that works for a patient requires time and effort, so a five-minute appointment jammed between a doctor’s lunch or golf game is not enough to provide proper care.

Read more about fibromyalgia:
Memantine drug shows promise for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia study focuses on brain stimulation to fight pain



I'm facing this exact situation and the Depression and stress just worsens... I can see why suicide is so high!
A lot of them are whiners, I just dwell in misery and never talk about it.
Your comment makes no sense. How can they be whiners when they have a legitimate medical problem? Because they want help for it? That's faulty reasoning on your part. I have had ME/CFS FOR 27 yrs so a different animal but imo why take medicine that isn't helping. While I can't say he helped a lot, I'm glad the dr that originally dxed me was cautious with meds and I only continued something that worked. (Which in my case was no medication lol, only thing that ever helped me was pacing) I see so many taking expensive meds that do nothing, I don't get wasting the limited funds many have as well as perhaps causing new problems via side effects.
Cannabis Shelly, one swipe down my legs and I was better. After a year of intensive cannabis therapy I am far better than I ever was! Juice raw leaves! Amazing stuff.