Carol Pierce of Georgetown was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1991 and she explains it in simple terms when people ask her about the disease. "Very simply, it is overall pain that is fairly constant," she said. "It is basically chronic pain and chronic fatigue combined. You don't sleep, so you are always tired and you have overall muscle pain." More than 900,000 Canadians are living with fibromyalgia. Researchers haven't found a cause or a cure. It is characterized by widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Problems associated with the disease include fatigue, sleep dysfunction and stiffness, among others. The worst of Pierce's pain is in her back, shoulders and neck. She deals with it with limited regular exercise and pain medications. She also has weekly appointments with either a physical therapist, chiropractor or massage therapist. Pierce said her positive attitude also helps. "I'm never pain free, but I have pain that I can deal with," she explained. "By working and keeping going, it keeps my mind on other things, which really helps." Pierce joined the Brampton Fibromyalgia Support Group, which has been running in the community for more than 15 years, shortly after her diagnosis and has been to almost every meeting since. She is now a facilitator with the support group. The group currently meets once a month. Most meetings feature guest speakers, such as doctors, naturopaths and physiotherapists. Other nights, general information sessions are held, allowing participants to discuss symptoms and ideas for managing the pain. Between 25 and 40 people attend each meeting, ranging in age from 25 to 60. "The meetings aren't just for people with fibromyalgia, it is for their husbands, wives, kids and friends, too, so they can find out how they can help and support the person who has fibromyalgia," she said. "For people who don't have it, it is very difficult to help them understand what we're going through." Pierce said the support group has made a substantial difference in her attitude towards the disease. "This has helped me so much," she explained. "Just knowing there are other people who have the same thing I have and talking with them has been so helpful. It gives me hope and help." Brampton Fibromyalgia Support Group meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. 10 Peel Centre Dr. There is no charge to attend meetings. For more information, contact Marianne Rallon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-791-2032 or Carol Pierce at email@example.com or 905-873-2952.