While Little Monsters everywhere has been regretting the recent tweet from La dy Gaga announcing the postponement of the European stage of their Joanne world tour, I have rejoiced. Let me tell you why. The aforementioned Twitter bomb came with a statement in tandem that Germanotta has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic disease characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, mental fog and many other debilitating symptoms for which there is currently no proven cure. It turns out that I’m one of the lucky ones who shares Gaga’s diagnosis and all the fun it brings, and Lady G’s news gives me life because when the superstars talk, we listen to them. And in true superstar style, Gaga has not only made an announcement, but has made a documentary about her experience. Gaga: Five Foot Two, which begins airing today on Netflix, captures the most intimate moments of Germanotta while recording her latest album as she deals with recurring pain, personal trauma and the strain of always being in the spotlight. It is a cinematic pop angel lowered from the top with abundant lessons for all: those who suffer from fibromyalgia and other diseases not yet understood and everyone else who shares a world with us.
I heard the word fibromyalgia for the first time when I was in my twenties. For several years, I suffered several symptoms without a known cause: migraines, heart palpitations, stomach problems and fatigue. One afternoon, I went shopping with my mother when I began to feel pain in my knees. The pain grew and grew until it was painful to even have my pants touching my legs. The next morning I woke up with a swelling the size of a golf ball in my hand, between my index finger and thumb, and a rash over most of my body. The nurses and ER doctors were perplexed. As several parts of my body swelled day by day and the pain ran through my body, I was finally sent to the director of the hospital, I think it was the figure of Hugh Laurie of this particular establishment. While I was there, I pointed to a strange spot on my lower back, a place where it felt like a bruise but there was none. The doctor immediately recognized him as one of the sensitive points characteristic of fibromyalgia and confirmed his suspicions by finding the other points in his textbook places. And so a mysterious illness by chance led to the diagnosis of another. More or less.
At that time at the turn of the millennium, before autoimmune diseases and other chronic diseases had been recognized as epidemic, some doctors believed in fibromyalgia, others did not, and some simply were not sure. Things that are mysterious, that challenge our notion of what we think we know, may be easier to ignore than to try to understand. I still remember a victorious moment years later when a medical student with whom I was dating mentioned fibromyalgia casually and told me that it was now commonly included in medical textbooks. I was even more surprised years later to see it on the websites of the hospitals. There were even departments dedicated to that! Progress takes time.
Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose. It’s like a really long episode of House. The program has been suspended, but your episode is still running. There is not a single clinical test that can prove whether someone has fibromyalgia or not. This can make it harder for others to take the condition seriously. The same day that Gaga’s tweet appeared online, a Facebook friend of mine who had also seen it posted a question: “Does fibromyalgia really exist?” If even a public superstar can get this answer, you can imagine the answers those who suffer from the condition they obtain. You are sick, sick, sick, but “you do not look sick,” and then you begin to ask the old question: How do you show what you can not see? People can and will ask: “Are you really there? Are you sure? How do you know? “But this conversation will not benefit you in any way.
Although there are suggestions that personal care, therapy, yoga, meditation, diet and, according to a Reiki practitioner I consulted, conversations with your past self (you are the judge!) Can help decrease Symptoms, if you have fibromyalgia you should work with your doctor or doctors to find what works best for you. And this can also take a while. A long year But you may also need to question, prove or even reject the opinions given to you. After a decade and a half of symptoms, I challenged the opinions of some traditional doctors that there was nothing left to do, or any specialist that could help, by visiting a naturopath who was treating other fibro patients. The visits not only provided me with valuable new information about my condition,
In one of the most striking scenes of Five Foot Two , Gaga feels pain, but is anxious about how it looks to those around her. Is she strong enough? Does she look weak? How will people know that she is a strong woman? She covers her face with her hands. “Do I look pathetic?” She asks. What is more surprising, however, is not what appears on the screen, but rather the scene appears at all. By allowing them to see her as their most vulnerable, Germanotta conveys the message that vulnerability is not a weakness but the force itself.
Five Foot Two sends a megaphone proclamation that says a main component of being healthy is using our voice, not only to speak or sing and do things that are easy for us, but to open ourselves wide as activists, speak and speak even in the most challenging environment so that we can help ourselves and many other people as well. When we find it, we destroy the stigmas that impede our progress, they prevent us from seeing our truths and they keep us paralyzed. The backdrop is a call to arms: promise yourself that you will be the cure.