Fibro Christmas Carol…

I hope everyone has a great and pain-free Christmas this year! 

To all my fellow fibro-warriors out there, here is my own personal fibro Christmas Carol…

On the first day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

A session with my P.T.

On the second day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the third day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Three purple ribbons. 

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the Fourth day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Four Fibro Fogs.

Three purple ribbons.

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

WHERE’S THE BIO-FREEZE!?!? 

Four Fibro Fogs.

Three purple ribbons.

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Six Yoga child poses.

WHERE’S THE BIO-FREEZE!?!?

Four Fibro Fogs.

Three purple ribbons.

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Seven swans in Pilates.

Six Yoga child poses.

WHERE’S THE BIO-FREEZE!?!? 

Four Fibro Fogs.

Three purple ribbons.

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the eight day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Eight sleepless nights.

Seven swans in Pilates.

Six Yoga child poses.

WHERE’S THE BIO-FREEZE!?!? 

Four Fibro Fogs.

Three purple ribbons.

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Nine Zumba ladies dancing.

Eight sleepless nights.

Seven swans in Pilates.

Six Yoga child poses.

WHERE’S THE BIO-FREEZE!?!? 

Four Fibro Fogs.

Three purple ribbons.

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the 10th day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Ten achy fingers.

Nine Zumba ladies dancing.

Eight sleepless nights.

Seven swans in Pilates.

Six Yoga child poses.

WHERE’S THE BIO-FREEZE!?!? 

Four Fibro Fogs.

Three purple ribbons.

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Eleven gluten free cookies.

Ten achy fingers.

Nine Zumba ladies dancing.

Eight sleepless nights.

Seven swans in Pilates.

Six Yoga child poses.

WHERE’S THE BIO-FREEZE!?!? 

Four Fibro Fogs.

Three purple ribbons.

Two heating pads.

And a session with my P.T.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Fibro gave to me…

Twelve neck pains.

Eleven gluten free cookies.

Ten achy fingers.

Nine Zumba ladies dancing.

Eight sleepless nights.

Seven swans in Pilates.

Six Yoga child poses.

WHERE’S THE BIO-FREEZE!?!? 

Four Fibro Fogs

Three purple ribbons.

Two heating pads.

AND A SESSION WITH MY P.T.

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“Fibro Survival Kit”

As I get to talk with more and more people who suffer from fibro, it’s interesting to see how we all get through our days.  Different exercises we do, changing our diets, etc.  I’ve also come to realize we are all very particular about items we have to have to “survive.”

So…

Drum roll please…

The following is a list of items I have in my “Fibro Survival Kit” that help get me through my days…

  • Water Bottle.  I always have one with me.  I started drinking more water for my weight loss, but I do notice I have less energy and motivation when I don’t drink enough.  Plus the extra bathroom trips don’t hurt to keep me from getting stiff from sitting too long at my desk at work.
  • TWO pillows!  I have to have two.  One for my head and one to lean against.  Anything that helps sleep come easier is good for me, although I think I’m giving my husband a complex sticking a pillow in between us every night. 
  • Aleve and Tylenol P.M.  Although I don’t use them every day, they have become a necessity.  Aleve has been the ONLY thing that kicks my migraines and Tylenol P.M. comes in when the pillows don’t work.  Since I’m still doing well not taking anything else for pain, I feel o.k. taking these every once in awhile. 
  • Foam Roller.  For those of you who haven’t used one, I highly suggest trying one.  My physical therapist introduced me to the foam roller and sent me home with some instructions to use one at home.  Pretty much anything you want to use it for you can.  Back, Legs, Shoulders, arms, etc.  If you want to learn some stretches and exercises www.rollrelease.com has some great pictures and videos to learn more.  I will fair-warn you.  It’s one of those “hurts so good” items.  I’ve yelled my way through many rolls.
  • Bio-Freeze.  I tried Icy hot once and wanted to cry.  The icy was good, but the hot made me want to scratch my skin off.  Bio-Freeze is a little less intense.  I will also give a warning here, however, that if you use it on your upper body, and take a shower too soon after, you WILL have it run into places bio-freeze should NOT go!  You’ve been warned.
  • B-Vitamins.  HELLO ENERGY!
  • Heating Pad.  I usually prefer a hot bath, but there are some days when taking 2 or 3 hot baths seems excessive.
  • My little space heater under my desk at work.  My office is freezing and my co-workers are always hot.  I had ONE day already this year where I thought my fingers where going to fall off as I typed because they were so cold.  Now I have my own little hand warmer if I need it.  Best $10.00 ever spent.
  • Pajama pants and cozy sweatshirts.  I’ve mentioned it before, but some days clothes just hurt. 
  • My I-Pod.  If I’m feeling over-whelmed or can’t concentrate, music always seems to help.
  • Post-It notes, note pads, scrap paper, calendars, etc.  Anything where I can write down when I’m supposed to do what, and when to try to avoid fibro fog moments. 
  • Arthritis insoles for my Zumba shoes.  They make me feel about a hundred years old, but have helped my hips and knees more than I’d like to admit at 30 years old.

So…what’s in your fibro survival kit?

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. – Bob Marley

I’ve had the opportunity recently to connect with other Zumba instructors from all over the world who also suffer from Fibromyalgia or other chronic pain problems.  It’s been great to be able to chat with people who fully understand what I go through every day.  Learning to teach Zumba is a challenge in itself, but learning to teach with fibromyalgia has been a whole other adventure.  I know my Zumba experience is probably different from a person who does not suffer chronic pain, but I can only speak from my perspective and let’s face it, I’m still a newbie when it comes to teaching.  So, I called out to these fellow instructors and got some added insight on how our Zumba experience is different as we fight against chronic pain. 

I asked the question “What is your biggest challenge teaching Zumba with Fibromyalgia or other chronic pain problems.”

Chronic pain stereotypes would lead you to believe that this question is easily answered and that pain MUST be the biggest challenge.  This actually doesn’t seem to be the case at all.  In fact, I was so happy to see that this little group of chronic pain fighters are some of the most positive thinkers I have met in a long time.  For every “challenge” there seemed to be a solution, and not one of these “challenges” has stopped anyone from doing what they love to do. 

The following answers were given…plus my little insight on them…of course:

–          Added pain with changing weather.  (AMEN SISTER!!  Southern Indiana just got its first “real” snow yesterday and it damn near killed me.  It didn’t stop me from going to Zumba…also didn’t stop me from cussing out the sleet and snowflakes on my slick drive home). 

–          Stiffness in the mornings.  (A friend of mine recently planned on going to a Zumba class that started at 5:15 a.m.  HUH???  We did a Thanksgiving Zumba recently that started at 8:30 and I was so stiff my arms felt like stone.  Even when I was helping with an 11:00 a.m. class I had to make sure I got up early enough to get some of my morning stiffness out).

–          Fibro-Fog and forgetting steps.  (The instructor who posted this response said she gets through this with laughter and I agree.  I love what she said so I have to quote her “A class with laughter is a great alternative therapy.”)

–          Fatigue, being un-motivated or wanting to skip class.  (I know these days.  I’m having one right now.  Awful, grumpy, bloodshot eyed, head bobbing, just want to cry…exhaustion.  This is one aspect of fibro I don’t understand.  It’s usually on days like today that I feel SO tired all day and five minutes into Zumba I’m jumping off the walls with energy.  There seemed to be a general consensus on this topic that once the motivation or push came, we all felt much better after class).

–          “Just glad I made it through.” (I love that having a chronic pain problem has not stopped these instructors from teaching tough class.  My mentors for Zumba teach some high intensity songs and I want to be able to do the same…and I’ll be damned if Fibro is going to keep me from that!)

–          Having to pretend I don’t hurt when I do.  (This one is hard and I failed miserably at it last night as I left class early with back pain.  Instructors keep smiling, keep cuing, and keep the class motivated, while also trying to keep that high energy flowing through a whole class.  We, chronic pain sufferers, are doing the same thing but brushing off pain at the same time. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  I get an attitude about this sometimes when I’m having a bad fibro day.  For example, during a song full of squats when people are moaning and groaning I want to turn around and yell “Oh yeah!  You think it hurts YOU, you should try it with Fibro!”—Not that I would ever do this, but those thoughts do go through my head.)

–          There are advantages we may have over other instructors.  Because we are aware of our bodies and body pain, we may have an easier time modifying moves for different levels of Zumba experience.  (This is not only comes in handy for students, but also for ourselves.   I love this train of thought.  It’s such a great way to use our so–called  “set-backs” to our advantage.)

–          The most important statement that was worded in many different ways is that not one of these instructors dwells on the pain.  They may have to change their ways of doing some things, but the pain does not seem to be stopping anyone. 

I have to remember this positive thinking.  Last night was a rough fibro and Zumba night for me. I know it’s going to happen every once in awhile, but it’s still hard (physically and mentally) when it does happen.  I also recently ended up in tears while searching YouTube.  Did I cry from watching bad Zumba choreography?   No, just kidding.  I cried as I watched fibromyalgia documentaries and personal videos.  Some people couldn’t walk without crutches, or walk at all.  Some people were so full of pain medication I couldn’t understand their video.  Some couldn’t get in or out of a car, get out of bed on their own, or take a bath without assistance.

It was heartbreaking.  Sometimes I get so busy with my Zumba/Pilates schedule that I forget how severe fibromyalgia can be.  It’s then that I realize how grateful I am FOR that crazy schedule and how it helps me manage my fibro.  I think the instructors I have mentioned are all extremely grateful or our crazy Zumba-filled lives.  You hear so many success stories of people losing weight from Zumba or finally sticking to an exercise program, etc. But there is also a group of chronic pain fighters who are thankful for those successes and so much more.  Thankful for the ability to move, to teach, to motivate, inspire, and enjoy life!