Believers Vs non believers
Backlash over the article in the New York Times
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Given the controversy this article created, I figured it was meet to say a few words about it, this only my personal opinion.
Now, it is a fact that "most" in the medical profession finally agrees that FM is a real disorder. The medical facts speak for themselves. However, most does not mean all. The general population, in point of fact, often has a very different opinion. An opinion that has been dealt a major blow by this article, and others like it.
The reason being, people have been inundated for years with the concept that FM is "all in your head" and that point of view, just got a major uptick with this article. Medical personal are somewhat forced to believe that FM is real, simply because their own peers are the ones telling them so, with the data to back it up. But the un-informed general population will be a lot harder to convince, yet again, thanks in part to the New York Times.
The front page New York Times article came out in Jan, 2008, in reaction to Lyrica being approved for FM. It outraged people world wide. For the first time the FDA approved something for use in FM. It is a milestone to be sure, even if the drug fails. Simply due to the FDA's approval, which means other companies will take the plunge and put up the money for development of new medications. This is a good thing.
However, the journalist who wrote the piece, slammed all of us, sideways.The title line read. "Drug Approved. Is Disease Real?" and then proceeded to quote the opinions of a few naysayers, who are considered confirmed skeptics. The type who will not believe anything that they can't hold in their hands or that will show up on a standard lab report. These same Doctors, don't believe in PMS, back pain, IBS, or carpal tunnel either! So, I think that says how far into the stone ages they are.
Now, understandably, this caused a major stir, with a huge backlash of responses from the medical profession. Most of them, positive. In fact, I have yet to see one, that was not positive. Letter after letter from the medical profession and many many others, rebutting the Times irresponsible behavior for publishing such an article.
This, I would gather, was a journalist who knows little to nothing about FM, who took the slant that the drug company "created" the disease just to make a profit on it. Then they gathered opinions that would back up that claim. Which is of course, insanity, but hey ... it sells papers. Love em or hate em, they got everyone's attention with it. Around the world, the backlash has been felt.
The article itself obviously had an agenda in mind, one that had little to do with us. The agenda being that they wanted to take a shot at the drug companies. I would imagine the journalists editor didn't even consider any possible fallout. A lot of the major news providers often forget just how much influence they really have in public opinion. They wanted to slam the drug companies, which they did but they did not even consider the collateral damage that they would do to those of us with FM in the process.
What it did do is bring to fore issues about FM, and its legitimacy that should already be dead and buried. While I am happy to see that most of the reaction to the article, has been one of outrage against it. ( Ten years ago, most of the medical profession, would have agreed with it. ) This does not change some very basic facts.
It just brought out what we with FM have always known, which is that the controversy over FM and its treatment, is not yet dead. Nor will it be, until every doctor out there not only will treat someone with FM. That they also know how to treat an FM client. This is the real controversy we face now with most of the medical profession, which is agreement over treatment protocols and of course, finding a doctor who is aware of them.
We are often accused of "doctor shopping" meaning going from one doctor after another. Well, in point of fact, we often do ... for one reason. We are trying to find one that will A: Believe what we tell them, and B: Knows how to do something constructive about it. Your average General practitioner is often not equipped or trained to handle all the issues that FM presents. ( See Doctor shopping and why we do it on site link )
Unfortunately, there are very few who specialize in FM. So we have to hunt about, often having to quit one doctor after another until we finally find one that is, well versed in FM. Or one who knows they are not up on the facts and treatments for FM, but proceeds to remedy that problem with more study. Often times, it is a bit of both.
The main thing that this article did to us however, is what it did to public opinion. People are more than willing to believe that major drug companies would spend millions of dollars on testing and development and then "create" a demand for it. Now, these everyday folks know absolutely zero about all of the research on FM. Heck, a lot of them might have never even heard of the disease before.
Therefore, that front page article might well be the first time they have heard about it and what are they told? That FM is fake and that those who claim to have it are maladjusted, depressed whiners who cannot handle life. All the same garbage we have been hearing for years, hauled out of mothballs and tossed out there like it meant something. There was barely a nod to the positive side of events and no mention of the years of recent research into FM.
This may well set us back years, in the fight for legitimacy. Not with the medical profession, as most of them are convinced, as they well proved by their enthusiastic rebuttal of this nonsense. But it will increase problems we have with the ones we come into contact with everyday, our families, our friends, our bosses and co-workers. Only time will say, if the rebuttals were overpowering enough to countermand this effect.
The New York Times owes us all an apology, and most certainly the writer of the front page piece. I am not one to wish harm to anyone. But I will say, it would only be justice, if one day, either in this life or any other, that the writer is forced to walk a mile in our shoes. I would call it Karma, a debt he/she has created in a major way, with the disservice he has done us all with his ill thought out, unbalanced article.