"Medicine is itself a more narratively inflected enterprise than it realizes. Its practice is suffused with attention to life's temporal horizons, with the commitment to describe the singular, with the urge to uncover plot...., and with an awareness of the intersubjective and ethical nature of healing."
- Rita Charon , Narrative Medicine specialist
WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.
WHO IS THE DOCTOR IN THE FILM
Vicente Palop Larrea, Ph.D. in Medicine and Surgery, Specialist in Family and Community Medicine, Coordinator of the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Unit, and Medical Care Assistant Director of the areas of Primary Care, Mental Health, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rehabilitation and Locomotor Apparatus, and Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at the Department of Health of La Ribera (Alzira, Valencia).
Living with chronic pain and with the impediments of the associated symptoms of fibromyalgia (FMS) is nothing compared to living in shame. Woman affected by FMS are often distrusted, misdiagnosed or not at all diagnosed.
In a general context of suspicion they live overmedicated and accused of exaggerating, faking their illness, or of somatization. The roles traditionally fulfilled by women: daughter, wife, mother, care taker, house keeper; and the new ones defined by sex, beauty, happiness, education and workplace are impacted directly by the symptoms of fibromyalgia leaving this women to wonder were their value lays now. Theirs is the crisis of everyone who has to redefine themselves against productivity or something other than the roles our society values.
This documentary journeys into the biographies of several women affected by FMS and the narratives they have constructed around the development of their illness and the medical pilgrimage they were subjected to until finding Dr Palop and his team of medical experts in Valencia. Exploring the objective and subjective elements of living with this chronic condition this documentary sites with the patients, taking them as “ultimate experts” of their own illnesses rather than creating a documentary were the power and the voice is given to the medical experts and the media analysts.
The protagonists, digging deeper into the traumatic episodes and emotional aspects of their
biographies through the interaction with the camera; and trapped in the tension between their current images and the representations of their younger, healthier, analogue selves; come to great insights and establish possible connections to the development of their illness and current identities.