Saturday, February 9, 2013
Famous Faces of Fibro: Morgan Freeman
I've always loved Morgan Freeman as an actor. I've known little about his private life. I was surprised to learn that he has Fibromyalgia. I was shocked to hear people's reactions. I learned about his condition on ProHealth's Facebook page. ProHealth stated, "Morgan Freeman admitted to suffering from Fibromyalgia, and now the largest Fibromyalgia organization has reached out to him. Will he become a national spokesperson? Hang on to your seats, as Fibro could get it's 'Michael J Fox' and the disease could get more respect--and funding."
I read every comment to date and was appalled at what people were saying. Some were questioning whether he actually had it because of his symptoms. How many of us have suffered because people did not believe our symptoms or did not believe Fibromyalgia existed at all. And now we are going to turn on one of our own? If we have learned anything it is that Fibromyalgia is vast and symptoms vary from person to person. When Mr. Freeman stated, "Up and down the arm. That's where it gets so bad. Excruciating," I'm sure that he was not saying that he only had Fibromyalgia in his arm as one of the Facebook critics suggested. But symptoms can be worse in certain parts of the body. The brain is telling your body something hurts even if it doesn't have physical reason to hurt. But if you've sustained an injury which really does hurt, then the brain's signals of pain would be far more than in their "normal" Fibromyalgia overdrive.
My second aggreivement on behalf of Mr. Freeman was when people questioned whether he should be a spokesperson for Fibromyalgia on two accounts. His credibility as a person. And because he's a man! First, there is no one who is holy enough to meet everyone's expectations. He played the part of God, but it was a role. He is an actor. And the man has not even started the job as a spokesperson, so quit criticizes him for things he has not done yet in the role of a spokes person. I'm sure that in his 30 second commercial for Fibro he will not tell you who to vote for. Mr. Freeman has been unfairly compared to Michael J. Fox. I do not personally know Michael J. Fox, but I do know that he is not perfect because none of us are. We have put him on a pedestal because we watched him grow up as a child actor and we hated to see his suffering. The second reason critics have suggested Mr. Freeman cannot be a spokesperson for Fibromyalgia is because he's a man?! Oh my gosh?! Are you serious people? How long have we fought for women's rights? How long have we fought for everyone's rights? And now he can't be a spokesperson for Fibromyalgia because he's a man? Fibromyalgia does not discriminate! Despite what people believe this is not a women's disease. Men do get it. And the results are probably skewed because men are not coming forward because we portray this as a women's affliction. If we want proper research and a cure we need a greater sampling of people and this includes the men. Ok, yes, I would love for a famous woman saint to come forward and be our spokesperson, but she hasn't yet. He was brave enough to admit that he has this. It has changed his career as you can see in the movie The Magic of Belle Isle, which I loved.
And, on that topic. Some people were saying that now the "normals" are going to complain that if Morgan Freeman can do all he does with Fibromyalgia then the rest of us should get off our duff and do something. This is another chance to teach the public that Fibromyalgia is different for everyone. Some people can still function and some people are completely debilitated. Mr. Freeman should be considered an inspiration. He has had to adapt his lifestyle and his career because of this. He was brave enough to let Esquire post a video of him playing golf, which he now does with only one arm because his left hand is pretty much useless. But he didn't just give up what he loves. He adapted. What does my blog header say? I only have one life and I will not let Fibromyalgia take the joy from my living it. Well done, Mr. Freeman. He is one of us. Let's not treat him the way we have been so cruelly treated. Fibromyalgia is an unfortunate community to be in, but if you are here I would like to believe that you will be supported no matter what your gender, symptoms or person history because none of those things matter. It certainly hasn't stop Fibromyalgia from invading our lives. But we can learn one thing from Mr. Freeman. Live your life even if your swinging with only one hand.