Fibromyalgia is a disorder marked by painful tender points, which can cause fatigue, depression, sleep disruption, and memory or mood changes that can greatly affect daily activities. There is no known cause of fibromyalgia, which is why it can affect anyone: from your average Joe or Jane to the richest and most famous people in the world.
A little over a year ago, Esquire magazine published an insightful article about Morgan Freeman. During a day spent with Freeman at his home in Mississippi, the author of the article Tom Chiarella recalls noticing Freeman was in pain, as they walked around his property Freeman revealed to him that he was a long time sufferer of fibromyalgia. Below is an excerpt from the original article.
Every so often he grabs his left shoulder and winces. It hurts when he walks, when he sits still, when he rises from his couch, and when he missteps in a damp meadow. More than hurts. It seems a kind of agony, though he never mentions it. There are times when he cannot help but show this, the fallout from a car accident four years ago, in which the car he was driving flipped and rolled, leaving Freeman and a friend to be pulled from the car using the Jaws of Life. Despite surgery to repair nerve damage, he was stuck with a useless left hand. It is stiffly gripped by a compression glove most of the time to ensure that blood doesn’t pool there. It is a clamp, his pain, an icy shot up a relatively useless limb. He doesn’t like to show it, but there are times when he cannot help but lose himself to a world-ending grimace. It’s such a large gesture, so outside the general demeanor of the man, that it feels as if he’s acting.
“It’s the fibromyalgia,” he says when asked. “Up and down the arm. That’s where it gets so bad. Excruciating.”
This four-time Emmy-winning actress played the ruthless and family-driven Stephanie Forrester on the daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful
since 1987. Fibromyalgia caused her to take a medical leave from the show in 2007, but Susan has returned to her role as the monarchy of the Forrester family. She still struggles with her fibromyalgia, but she reportedly takes her condition day by day.
This Grammy-winning Irish singer-songwriter never shied away from controversy throughout her career. Named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” in 1991, O’Conner announced her retirement from music in 2003 due to the severe pain and fatigue caused by her fibromyalgia. She has since returned to music and strives to get the most enjoyment out of life.
Michael James Hastings
Many know him as Captain Mike from the TV series “The West Wing,” but he has also worked as a church counselor for three years and as a public school teacher for 10 years. Forced into retirement due to his fibromyalgia, Michael became a national spokesperson for the disorder, and promotes the Enzymatic Therapy line of vitamin supplements, which claim to help reduce certain symptoms of fibromyalgia. Michael is not letting the disorder slow him down as he works on a PhD in Educational Technology.
Florence Nightingale was a pioneer in health during the Victorian period. She also wrote about health conditions and dietary information based on notes about patients she’d treated during her time in the Ottoman Empire. Her first book, published in 1858, was called Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency and Hospital Administration of the British Army
. Her fibromyalgia was triggered by an infection, and she was finally bedridden in 1896. After years of struggling with this disorder, she died in her sleep at the age of 90.
Lead singer of the ’60s band Rosie and the Originals, Rosie became one of the greatest singers of her era, topping the favorites list of fellow musicians like John Lennon. Rosie has had battles with record labels and other life trials, but nothing could have prepared her for her battle with fibromyalgia. Rosie was on the cover of Fibromyalgia Aware Magazine
in 2004, addressing the struggles of fibromyalgia and how she fights to overcome it. Although her love of singing will never die, she’s given up touring and headed down another career path as a painter.
Frances Winfield Bremer
Wife of Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, Frances has struggled with fibromyalgia for over 30 years and she’s now the official spokesperson for the disorder. She’s also been featured on the cover of Fibromyalgia Aware Magazine for promoting awareness of the disorder and passing on motivation to those that also suffer. She and her husband have made numerous joint appearances to speak about the disorder and let people know that it’s a serious condition. They’ve also raised money for various fibromyalgia organizations.