It goes without saying that Fibromyalgia puts some limitations on your life, there, I said it; but, with that said there are things that you can do to reduce your limitations and enjoy things that make you happy. The beginning of August is a busy time for me, the first weekend of the month for me is at Fandemonium. It’s a local convention where the practitioners of geek-fu and nerd-kwan-do strut their stuff in full Technicolor glory. It’s the gathering place for fans of fantasy, science fiction, anime, role playing and tabletop games and video games let it all hang out and ignore the rest of the silly world in its mundane grayscale hues.
All of that in Idaho? You scoff? Yes, silly disbeliever, all of that in Idaho. After all, Idaho is the Firefly ‘Verse here on Earth. Think about that for a minute…
Every year I gather my merry band and we spend three days in the glory that is Fandom, covering events for two of my sites Red Zone Gaming and the Fantasy Artists, Roleplayers & Writers Guild. One covers gaming and the other is for writers, roleplayers and artists, and we photograph and interview everyone we can. But that doesn’t really come easy when you are a fibro-foggy. Three days that officially start at 10 am and end at midnight, plus setup time and travel, so it adds up on you in a hurry.
The first thing to do is eliminate anything stressful that you can. We plan for months ahead of time and when it’s “Go-Time” we just toss some rubbermade tubs in the back of my truck and head off to con. Stress is the physical and emotional tension that builds up in your body as you try and mountain climb over mole hills. Stress takes an ugly toll on your body so my advice to you is to spread the stress over as many weeks as you can before you even go.
Take your meds! This is no time to fall off of the good habits wagon. The meds and vitamins you take (if you take vitamins) help keep you going on an average day, and you don’t have one of those in sight for a while to come. I tend to goose up my B vitamins because they help with stress and energy, I don’t recommend this for everyone because I’m not an expert or a doctor I just know what helps me along. I don’t start the morning with a B overload, I hit one for each meal and then chuckle at the fluorescent color when I pee.
Diet is important too, first of all you can snack through the day on things that give you energy, avoiding energy drinks as the crash afterwards is wicked. I cheat on the food, most events won’t allow you to bring in outside stuff, but since I have a table at the Convention and lots of stuff to bring in for that they don’t notice the big cooler that comes in and hides under the table. So while people are trying to live off of the overpriced junkfood I have salad, ham and cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit and veggies, and little cheeses. I’m not a fan of water but I do drink it at cons, usually spiked with about 1/3 the recommended amount of powdered sports drink mixed in.
Part of diet is to know what can cause you problems, one squirt of ketchup can unleash the fury of IBS and I’ll be making frequent dashes to the facilities. Know what foods can trigger the different conditions that come with FM in you, because your triggers can be completely different for everyone. Apple slices for me are good, high citrus is not. As I mentioned avoid energy drinks and relying on caffeine, I still have my coffee early and late in the Convention day, but one is for the morning bump and the latter is to relax. I know better than to rely on it. One trick that a lot of people don’t know, is that if you absolutely need a coffee rush pound a quick coffee and then sneak off somewhere for a 20 minute nap. It takes that long for the java to hit your body and the power nap can refresh you for whatever comes next.
Pacing is something else you have to watch out for. The average Janes and Joes can drop down and sprawl out anywhere during the course of the day, the Fibro Folk know that once on the floor the time you remain there gets longer as the day gets later. Walk when you must, stand when you have to, and sit when you get the chance. Stop what you’re doing and stretch out now and then, all of those tendons and ligaments are building up tension like springs that’ll try and curl you up in a ball if you don’t take what control you can to release the tension. Pacing comes from planning, every convention has a schedule, so I get it as early in the process as I can and plan out what I need to do and where I need to be, sometimes I have to sacrifice something between two events in order to keep from running around with my hair on fire and fizzling out.
Then comes the last and most important thing, leave a few days after for recovery. No matter what you’re going to wear yourself out, Con was Friday till Sunday and I didn’t feel remotely human till the end of the week, it was worth it to me though, and sometimes that’s what you have to do, overindulge in life now and then, but know you’ll need to pay the fiddler when the dance is done.
You, not governments, not doctors, not insurance or HMOs are the caretaker of your own health, and just as importantly happiness. Make the most of all you can!
© 2010, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.