How can I support my friends in this difficult time?

Hello guys, I hope it's not forbidden to ask about this here. And I really hope that if my friends somehow read this, they don't get angry at me for sharing. I need help on how to support them better.

Sharon - my best friend from 20 years, has a fiance - Bobby - who is having a terrible chronic pain issue.

Two years ago Bobby started having some peculiar shoulder and back pain - he has visited multiple doctors (I think more than 10) and NONE could tell what was wrong with him. Therapies, MRI's, tests, massages, oils, etc. and nobody could say anything apart from "Well, you're clinically healthy - just wait it out". He even went to a psychologist because he was getting seriously depressed over this. There are good days and there are awful days of severe pain. Year number two is passing and his condition is not improving.

My friend Sharon is understandably having a hard time with this. She is loving and supportive. Because of his pain, they rarely go places anymore, and our meet ups become more scarce. It's hard to talk about stuff, because the conversation always comes down to the inevitable topic of how there is no solution to this problem. Usually they don't know if they will be able to go out until the last moment because of the unpredictability of the pain. It is so bad that Bobby has kind of given up on dreams of having a family or a career - he thinks it's over for him, which devastates Sharon, and me as well.

My question is - can anyone in the same boat as Bobby give me an advice on how I can be supportive when I can't actually bring a solution to the table? These guys are honestly the best and I wish I could make it easier for them.


  • dmoddmo Posts: 543
    edited 12/27/2019 - 6:51 PM

    It is my belief the very best thing you can do is listen and be very understanding.  Diagnosing pain can be very difficult.  There are so many pain generators in the spine it is difficult to isolate and identify the problem. 

    Listen to them both as they talk about their issues.  Make time for them as I am sure they have lost many friends and possibly family members who no longer have the patience to deal with them. 

    I can identify as a chronic pain patient, the need to make only last minute plans.  Try to be accommodating when they are available at the last minute.  I live my life hour by hour.  I can be fine one hour but need to cancel the next hour. 

    Always remember pain is no respecter of persons.  Sooner or later we all feel the immense burden of chronic pain.  An empathetic person is worth their weight in gold.

    If you are of The Way, offer a prayer for their healing.

    God bless


  • Welcome Garlicky we’re glad you’re here!

    The most important thing you can do for them is listen and be there for them, if they can't go out, offer to bring food over and just hang out, chronic pain is tough on relationships, friends and family start distancing themselves, so you just being there will be more valuable than you will ever know.

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Have you read through our Chronic Pain Resources on Spine-health? You’ll find a number of valuable Chronic Pain Coping Techniques and resources for Understanding Neuropathy Symptoms. It’s a comprehensive resource for those seeking more information about chronic pain. I hope you find these resources helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.


    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

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  • G’day garlicky. You really are a good friend. If more of us CP’ers had friends like you our lives would be so much better.  I too can’t make plans  to go visit , the movie or out for a cuppa, cause you can bet if I did that that day will be a shocker pain wise. Maybe if you mentioned this site I am pretty sure your friend could join himself and get a lot of help, tips and insight here with us here all dealing with CP . I had a doc appointment yesterday, got there early as I live in a beautiful place where the tourists swarm to and being a very hot this summer , I just sat in the shade looking at everyone enjoying the beach . I really didn’t think of my pain for that short while. Maybe your friend can find a distraction even if only for a moment. Does the mind good. Harpy 

  • Jules1JJules1 Oklahoma City, OklahomaPosts: 78

    What a wonderful friend you are! I am in Bobby’s shape post surgeries and live alone. My friends have changed, but a couple of them ask me what I have tried, what drugs I am on -without judgment, and the unpredictability. Also, offering to go there -bring food etc is great! 

    Also, would like to ask others, have you ever found a Chronic Pain local group? Cancer, etc do.

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