People who suffer from fibromyalgia experience problems beyond the pain caused by their illness. Their condition is little understood and hard to explain, and often they are disbelieved by doctors. Even friends and loved ones may express skepticism toward the fibromyalgia sufferer, who, burdened with inexplicable pain, may cancel social plans, miss work and recoil from physical affection because it hurts too much.
For a glimpse into the frustrating world of fibromalgia sufferers, listen to the latest installment in the Patient Voices series by producer Karen Barrow in which six men and women speak about living with the condition.
You'll meet Christine Wysocki, 33, of St. Augustine, Fla. who waited three years before a close friend and co-worker believed she had a health problem.
"Frankly I still don't know if I understand exactly what it is," says Ms. Wysocki. "Everything seems so vague about what fibromyalgia is, and it feels like no one wants to commit to what an actual answer is."
And there's Leon Collins, 59, of Clayton, N.J., who was relieved when he heard he had fibromyalgia because he at least had a diagnosis after many other doctors had dismissed his symptoms.
"We even experienced one doctor who wanted to send me to a psychiatrist because he felt my pain was imagined," he said.