Early Monday morning, Lady Gaga shared an emotional letter explaining just why she had to postpone the European leg of her tour. The pop star defended the move against critics who argued she was being "dramatic" for cancelling the tour.
"I use the word 'suffer' not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I'm being dramatic, or making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring," she wrote.
Recently, Gaga has been very candid about her struggle with chronic pain. Last week, the star cancelled a performance in Rio and shared a doctor's note of sorts explaining her absence.
"Lady Gaga is suffering from severe physical pain that is impacting her ability to perform," the note read, adding that she was in the care of the "best doctors."
This cancellation came on the heels of Gaga's admission that she suffers from fibromyalgia. In the trailer for her Netflix documentary Five Foot Two, Gaga is shown grappling with a persistent illness. After the trailer debuted, the star tweeted that the illness is in fact fibromyalgia.
"In our documentary the
#chronicillness #chronicpain I deal w/ is #Fibromyalgia I wish to help raise awareness & connect people who have it," she wrote.
The Mayo Clinic defines fibromyalgia as "a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain." Unfortunately, little is known about the causes and effects of the condition, although it seems clear that it somehow crosses the wires in the brain so that pain feels much, much more painful.
The disorder is sometimes regarded as "frivolous" or "imaginary," given that it has no visible effects. It doesn't help that it disproportionately affects women — according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, nearly 75-90% of those diagnosed happen to be women.
Gender bias in medicine is a real issue. If you are a woman, studies have shown, you are not only less likely to receive blood clot prophylaxis, but you may also receive less intensive treatment for a heart attack. If you are a woman older than 50 who is critically ill, you are at particular risk of failing to receive lifesaving interventions. If you have knee pain, you are less likely to be referred for a knee replacement than a man, and if you have heart failure, it may take longer to get EKGs.
Lady Gaga's European tour was set to begin September 21. As of now, it has been rescheduled to an unspecified date in early 2018.
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