By MICHELLE BETHELL
Eleven-year-old Jessica King has a simple wish – to have friends who understand her. Jessica suffers from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome which attacks different parts of her body.
“I’m having a flare with my appendix and ribs at the moment. It could stay there or it could move on to my ears or eyes,” she says.
She describes the pain as sharp and it is so bad she has been off school for eight weeks.
Jessica says she finds it difficult to be around other children because they don’t understand what she is going through.
“They say I’m lying, I’m a drama queen or a hypochondriac. I wish that they would understand I’ve got something wrong with me, but not treat me like a baby.”
Her mother, Jan King, who also suffers from fibromyalgia, says Jessica has only recently been diagnosed and she has not been prescribed any medication.
“There are certain medicines available, but we haven’t been given any.
“Last Thursday she was in Starship children’s hospital and they put her on morphine because she was in so much pain.”
Mrs King says they just want to find some children around Jessica’s age who are also suffering from a chronic pain condition.
“We are lonely. There just has to be other kids out there who are also lonely.
“The other day Jessica said to me: `Why are there all these groups for grown-ups but nothing for kids?’ I couldn’t answer her.”
Mrs King has a friend with a similar condition who is a support for her.
“We ring each other up and laugh about it. She could have that with someone her own age too.”
Jessica says she would love to have someone she could ring up to talk to, and maybe get together some time.
Mrs King says Jessica has always been very sociable, but as she has got older and the pain has got worse, she can no longer keep up with her friends and they pull away because she looks so healthy.
Mrs King and Jessica want to hear from other families who have children suffering from chronic pain conditions. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Contact information to get in touch with Jessica and her mother will be posted as soon as it is available.]