Last week, Lady Gaga made the difficult decision to cancel her remaining Joanne world tour due to severe pain. Across various social media platforms, her fans reacted with a mix of love, understanding, frustration… and even disgust.
It is well known that Lady Gaga has fibromyalgia and has had hip surgery in the past. What many do not understand is just how debilitating fibromyalgia can be. As a fellow fibro warrior, the negative comments I’ve seen regarding her decision are heartbreaking. People living with chronic pain deserve to have more understanding and support.
Without knowing her personally, but in knowing the disease, I can assure you her pain is beyond anything most people have ever imagined. Amplified by her surgery, it must be unbearable.
Severe nerve and muscle pain is only one symptom of fibromyalgia. Other symptoms include gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, confusion, sleep disturbances, hot flashes, bruising, TMJ, temperature sensitivity, anxiety, headaches, nausea, joint stiffness, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and more.
Anyone with fibromyalgia has experienced “flares” when it all becomes unbearable. You can barely walk, think or even breath if costochondritis strikes. We’ve all canceled plans, disappointed family and friends and cried alone over the physical and emotional toll.
Just imagine how difficult the decision must have been to disappoint millions of people worldwide. As part of her announcement, she states, “I need to put myself and my well-being first.”
She is a strong person to put her health above the wants of her fans. She also probably doesn’t have a choice. Did I mention stress intensifies fibromyalgia symptoms?
Lady Gaga is one person with fibromyalgia, but she’s not alone. Millions of us are out there, trying to hide the pain that never leaves our bodies. Our “good days” may be a three or four out of 10 on the pain scale. We push ourselves to enjoy those days and normally pay for them later, when our muscles ache and joints stiffen. Our “bad days” are often an 11 out of 10 – or more – and we may be stuck in our beds.
We all have our struggles, so it’s important we practice empathy on a global scale. Lady Gaga might be the only person you’re aware of with fibromyalgia/chronic pain, but there are millions more of us around you. Please be kind.