by Marty Brown
Northern News Services
NNSL (Feb 14/97) - You wouldn't know by looking at them but Gail Wolfe and Chantal Morneau suffer from a disease that counts pain, fatigue, non-restorative sleep and mind fog as some of its symptoms.
They started a support group for those with fibromyalgia a few years ago --at one time there were 25 to 30 members -- but it seems to have fallen apart.
"Darkness and cold affect us more than others,' said Wolfe, a nurse who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1994. "So hopefully now the weather's getting a little better people will come out again."
Fibromyalgia is a tricky disease. Symptoms range from night sweats to recurring sore throats, rashes and chest pains. Because the symptoms are vague, only specially trained doctors can diagnose it. And there are no diagnostic tests.
Morneau found that out after suffering from constant pain for 13 years.
"At least it wasn't all in my head," she said.
When Wolfe was diagnosed she cried all the way home because there was a real problem, the pain was not imaginary.
The constant aches and pain cause depression, which is another reason people aren't at the support group.
"Only 30 per cent of the people can work full time. The rest stay in the house some in bed," Morneau said.
The chronic condition affects nearly five per cent of the population, including Wolfe and Morneau.
Anyone interested to the support group can call Wolfe at 873-8937.