6 Ways to Cope with Stress when you Have a Chronic Illness

Chronic stress can cause extreme duress on the fibro body and your adrenal system.

Managing my fibromyalgia is a careful balancing act of self-care. This involves eating healthy, getting adequate sleep, working out, and taking time for me. Living with fibromyalgia means that normal, every day stressors can place an additional hardship on the fibro body. So when you are faced with an extended period of stress – bad flare or other health crisis, work deadlines, family emergencies, or simply just getting through the holidays – you can place an extreme amount of duress on your body and your adrenal system.

“Adrenaline is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, especially in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and preparing muscles for exertion.”

You can feel this when your heart starts to race or your hands or body sweats. Adrenaline is also responsible for that fight-or-flight mechanism that can give people extraordinary strength in times of crisis. And an over-exposure to the stress hormones can tamper with your overall well-being.

Continue reading “6 Ways to Cope with Stress when you Have a Chronic Illness”

Five Travel Tips for Fibromyalgia

Airport travel is challenging enough, but the challenges multiply when traveling with a chronic condition.

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

I love traveling. Or at least the part where you actually get somewhere and you can relax, sightsee, visit with friends or family, or whatever is on the agenda. The actual part where you’re sitting in an airport, on a plane, or in a car isn’t always the most pleasant or comfortable these days.

I can’t remember the last time I had an entire trip that had “smooth sailing” when flying with our airlines. Flight delays due to weather or mechanical issues, crew changes, dumping fuel, refueling, scheduling and logistics issues all wreak havoc on your ability to get somewhere on time. Three times this past year I have been rerouted to another city because one of these things. And now I am preparing to head to Florida just days after Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall with storms expected at home when I leave.

Airport travel is challenging enough between allotting enough time to get through security and arriving before your actual scheduled flight time. Add to that an illness, injury, a chronic condition, or fibromyalgia, and the challenges multiply. Will I be having a flare? Will my back or leg pain act up? So how does one manage travel delays and stressful times when you have a chronic condition? Continue reading “Five Travel Tips for Fibromyalgia”

Caregiver TLC: 7 Tips for Self-Care

You cannot drink from an empty cup. 

Persons with living fibromyalgia are usually on the receiving end of caregiving. So it becomes a bit of a challenge when they become the caregiver. Sometimes the only energy you have is that which carries you through the day, and have no spoons left for anyone else. So how does one cope with a flare and self-care when presented with the challenging of caring for somebody else? Continue reading “Caregiver TLC: 7 Tips for Self-Care”

Becoming Your Own Health Advocate

Health Care is not One-Size-Fits-All.

You know there is a reason they call it “practicing medicine.” Doctors don’t have all the answers. There’s no Magic 8 Ball sitting in their office solving all of the great medical mysteries. Many women, especially, take years to get diagnosed (read more here). Trust me. I know. 

This post isn’t meant to bash the medical community by any means. Having been treated for fibromyalgia and endometriosis, I have seen my share of doctors over the last 30 years. I have had some great medical care over the years…and I have had some not so great medical care. I have had doctors who would prefer to treat a symptom and send me on my way, rather than look for the root cause of my collective symptoms. And I have had some medical mysteries that have perplexed many a health care provider, leading to endless doctor visits, expensive (and quite possibly unnecessary) tests and medical expenses, and no explanations.

As Pain Awareness Month comes to an end, think about the other side of medical care – diagnoses, benefits, and billing. So what do we need to do to take our health into our own hands and advocate for ourselves?

“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.” 
― Voltaire

Continue reading “Becoming Your Own Health Advocate”

Easy Hobbies for the Chronically Ill

Even if your chronic illness is a life sentence, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence of isolation and loneliness.

Life with fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions can be lonely at times. Pain, exhaustion, and other symptoms easily lead to cancelling engagements, giving up hobbies, and social isolation. Your social calendar and life have a new normal. But something is missing. People want interactions and connections, something to do to pass the time. Binge-watching Netflix or reading your Facebook feed only goes so far. And having something easy to do can help distract from pain and find the social interactions again. Continue reading “Easy Hobbies for the Chronically Ill”

Non-Drug Therapies for Chronic Pain

We all want to be able to live pain-free, to enjoy our lives. Sometimes you have to think outside the box.

Everyone experiences pain differently. Everyone reacts to drug therapies differently. There is no one size fits all when it comes to devising a pain management plan. Dealing with a complex condition like fibromyalgia, one must get creative in devising their strategy, and sometimes think outside the box. Here are some non-drug therapies for managing pain that you may not have thought to try or even heard about. Continue reading “Non-Drug Therapies for Chronic Pain”

Cloudy with a Chance of Fibro Fog

Fibro fog manifests itself in different ways, including forgetfulness, difficulty remembering names or where you place an object.

One of the definitions of fog is “something that obscures and confuses a situation or someone’s thought processes.” If you are familiar with the symptoms of fibromyalgia, you might have heard the term “fibro fog” describing those periods where you can’t think right, and sometimes suffer memory loss or have difficulty concentrating. It is a very real thing for us fibrowarriors. I have experienced this feeling more times than I care to admit, and to this day my memory is not as good as it used to be.  Continue reading “Cloudy with a Chance of Fibro Fog”