Background Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic musculoskeletal pain condition without any known curative treatment. Although studies have reported that some patients can become healthy again, little is known about what they tell about their lives after having recovered from FMS.
Objectives What do women say about their everyday lives in the past having FMS and presently being healthy again?
Methods Eight Norwegian women previously fulfilling the ACR-1990 criteria, but who now do not have FMS any more were interviewed about their experiences when ill and presently being healthy again. The study had a narrative approach with a thematic interview guide following a time line; everyday-life before, during and after FMS. The analysis was guided by understanding a narrative as a sequence of events with a beginning, middle and an end whereas the meaning of the story, the plot, weaves together the events into a whole, and a thematic, narrative analysis was conducted.
Results The informants lived in rural and urban areas in different parts of Norway. Their age varied from 34 to 59 years. They differed in social and professional backgrounds and educational levels. All were employed, three of them part-time. The narratives about the past as ill was a story about “a struggling for survival” which constitutes a great effort invested in maintaining everyday life, as well as a struggling to understand what was wrong with them and obtain recognition for the reality of their affliction. Although everyday life presently has been restored and reassumed its content and meaning, the narratives about here and now describes how the women invest a considerable effort in remaining healthy. They are avoiding becoming ill again by exercises, diets and relaxation, and by watching their bodies for symptoms so they can take necessary preventive precautions. The narratives also describe how they have established daily routines and regimens for themselves to promote their health.
Conclusions Remaining healthy from FMS requires ongoing hard bodily work. The plot linking the narratives about past as ill and present as healthy is a presentation of hard working women. Although FMS has retreated, it is there in the background and a strong reminder of something they do not wish to have back.
Disclosure of Interest : None declared