Fibromyalgia: “I am 41 years old and I live in the body of an old man”

He is always tired, and all the time it hurts. Patrick Schutz of Neuchâtel has fibromyalgia – an invisible condition that is not recognized by disability insurance.

Pain, pain, nothing but pain: Patrick Schuts (41) from Neuchâtel always has the feeling that he has the flu – without a fever, but with enormous lead fatigue. He would like to stay in bed all day and spend time there. “Every part of my body hurts, though, fortunately not all at the same time,” he told the magazine “L’illustré”.
Patrick Schutz and his partner have a three-year-old daughter, Naya.

Even if he plays with her only 20 minutes, he runs out of energy for the whole day. “When I’ve slept, and then I wake up, I’m as tired as if I have not slept.” He has lost many friends who think he is pretending. At night you can not go out with them as before, because you need to go to bed at 7 pm to relax.

The diagnosis of his suffering a year ago was revealed: Fibromyalgia. It is estimated that 400,000 people are affected in Switzerland. The problem: Fibromyalgia is not recognized by disability insurance (IV). There is no scientific evidence: there is no evidence found in the blood or on x-rays. Hundreds of symptoms characterize fibromyalgia. It is determined by the exclusion of other diseases and by means of a test: trigger points are usually used.

If 11 or more of the 18 (trigger points) have an increase in pain, the suspicion of fibromyalgia is present. These diagnostic points are close to the tendinomotor approach. The cause of the disease is not clear and can only be limited by medical measures.

Patrick’s protection is to take many medications: analgesics, antidepressants, vitamins, medicines to protect the stomach and drops against sensitive and dry eyes. “It’s an invisible suffering,” says Schutz. He wants as many people as possible to know about him, and for that he has created a Facebook site, so that fibromyalgia reaches the consciousness of the people.

Patrick has been unemployed for two years and lives on welfare. If the IV had at least partially acknowledged its’ patenting, he would have already received help. So he expects financial support due to his depression and chronic fatigue. His greatest hope is a popular initiative that has just been launched and requires the recognition of fibromyalgia as a disease.

He plays with his daughter Naya, but after 20 minutes his energy is exhausted. Patrick is lying on a carpet to relieve pain.

Patrick’s relationship with his partner Sylvie has also become difficult. There are no ordinary television shows because he goes to bed early. Naya is surprised that dad goes to bed at the same time as her. Patrick Schutz does not know how long he can take this situation: “I’m only 41 years old and I live in the body of an old man!”
Patrick suspects that past traumatic experiences could be the trigger for everything. At the age of 17 he was present when his father hit a man with a stone in front of his eyes.

Patrick has no contact with him. The birth of his daughter was also a bad experience: both the mother and the girl were about to die. Patrick: “These events have shaken me deeply.”

He would like to do something with his wife and daughter, but his suffering and the little money he receives do not make this wish come true.


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