Exercising with Fibro

My making a bridge with my body, during Yoga with Adriene. I don’t know why it doesn’t look the same…lol

If normal people don’t exercise very much and then go out and run a mile, the next day they will feel sore. When I go out and run a mile after not exercising, the next day I can barely walk to the bathroom, and the next day and the next day. Three days. I wouldn’t be able to move.

So, I started swimming which is low impact and looked into yoga. I love swimming and was living at an apartment complex that had a pool so I started swimming laps a little at a time. I added more minutes to the pool every week.  That is the first thing I recommend for people with fibro—START SLOW. Start ten minutes and make five of those warming up. Not stretching but warming up. Slow soft movements for about five minutes. If you don’t hurt tomorrow add five more minutes. The trick is to be able to exercise tomorrow. Don’t over due anything. I think that is the biggest thing I have learned through all of my reading and exercising and trying things. The goal isn’t to do as much as you can. That is for the “normals.” That is the baseline of a person who doesn’t have a body of faulty nerves. I have fibromyalgia. The goal for me is to do as much as I can but still be able to walk tomorrow.

Yoga has been a life saver. Especially now that I have moved to Philadelphia to an apartment building without a pool. At first, I just read a lot about yoga, watched demonstration videos and tried stuff in my apartment. I didn’t even have a yoga mat at first. I put down a blanket and just tried poses on the floor after a lot of research. You have to really read about the poses, watch many videos before trying the poses. I started just googling my problem areas. I would google “yoga poses for a stiff back.” Then all these poses would come up. Another one to google is restorative yoga.

I have read studies of people doing just restorative yoga and losing weight. If you google it, you’ll see it is amazingly decadent. It is the yoga of laying around and deeply breathing. It is laying around the best way, the most productive possible way but seriously ya’ll it is just… laying around. It sounds like hokum, I know, but it isn’t. It is true. See, the thing is, we are so stressed as a people that we need to deep breathe to get out of this horrible pain cycle. Dr. Ginevra L. Liptan, MD who wrote The Fibromanual recommends deep breathing in order to activate this thing called the relaxation response. Basically, concentrating on your breath and exhaling heavily can help your fibromyalgia pain. What does yoga do besides make you move your body? It calls for you to breathe deeply.

Supplies: a yoga mat from Walgreens, a pillow, and my Wonder Woman blanket sister gave me, an epic reminder of strong women.

So, after performing a pretty good homemade routine for a while, I went searching for more. There are times in my life when I am going to the doctor three times a week. Between physical therapy (which I will talk about later) and doctor’s appointments trying to solve my pain problems and the fact we are a one income relationship, we can’t afford paying for a gym membership (or I’d swim too). I needed free videos. Two I recommend: Sleepy Santosha and Yoga with Adriene.

Sleepy Santosha- She is a fellow sufferer of chronic illness. Her videos are so great because she knows what it is like to be chronically ill. She understands what we need. Some of the videos are in bed, or on the couch. Some of them are very relaxing but she has some challenging ones as well. You can find her by going to YouTube and searching for Sleepy Santosha or at her web site https://www.sleepysantosha.com/

Yoga with Adriene- I like to call her the yoga nerd. Have you ever had a teacher that was so deeply excited about the material that it was contagious? Adriene is like that. Her videos are challenging but also her theme is “Find what Feels Good.” So, while I finish her workouts sweaty and feeling like I got a workout, she also gives modifications for those of us who might have problems. She runs you through the poses in small slow movements in most of her videos so that you feel the change in your body and understand how your muscles work. She reminds you often that if you are in pain, you are doing it wrong. Also, she makes cute corny jokes and her dog makes appearances. You can search YouTube for Yoga with Adriene or go to her web site at http://yogawithadriene.com/


The thing I like about yoga the most is that it makes me feel good about my body. So often with fibro I feel like my body has failed in some way. Because of the pain, I made my body live separate from me. I had my mind. I thought that was enough. Through yoga I started for ten, then twenty, then thirty minutes to actively listen to my body and what it was telling me. The best part was my body had nice things to say during yoga. After three months or so of doing yoga- just my little homemade researched poses-I was able to start listening to my body more and more when I wasn’t doing yoga. I started having thoughts like my shoulder is tight. I should do that hugging myself pose (I think it’s called a half eagle pose, but I am not an instructor). Most importantly, I started recognizing when my body needs to move, or rest, or breathe.

I do yoga because the stretch feels good, the movement is good for me, but most of all because it helps me be friends with my body. I think any one who has a chronic illness can appreciate that is the hardest, most spectacular thing to accomplish.

I’m Not Sorry…Anymore

Plus, I can still bake cakes!

I still mourn over breakfast. I used to make elaborate breakfasts and invite family and friends over. I loved cooking early in the morning. It is a remarkable confidence boost to pull off a delicious breakfast. You have to time all the dishes so they are hot at the same time. You run back and forth with the flapjacks and coffee. It is a meal that I relate to showing love. Momma always makes a hearty breakfast. I come from a long line of people who work with their hands. Breakfast is a stick to your ribs type affair and Momma does it up. I used to too. Since I started getting fibro flares every morning, I wake up in severe pain. My feet and hands don’t want to move, and a lot of the time hubby has to massage them before I can walk or hold things in my hands. The rest of my body isn’t doing so well either, with the aching and stiff muscles and sometimes severe pain in my hips and shoulders. This really does not make me in the making breakfast mood.

My husband is the greatest in the entire world. He makes breakfast most of the time before going to work. For a while I felt intense shame, guilt and yes…mourning. I was sad I couldn’t entertain like I used too, I couldn’t show love like I used too. Luckily, husband isn’t here for my breakfasts. He loves me for my cuddles, my adoration, my conversation, and my wit. He loves me deeply and without breakfast. Every morning I was apologizing to him for not feeling well. He would say, “I know, but you are sick. I understand.”

There is only so many times you can wake up to feeling bad before depression sits in and you don’t want to do anything at all, all day. Also, saying you’re sorry over something you have no control over is also pretty debilitating. I say I am sorry for my body more times than I can count. I am sorry I am sick. I am sorry I didn’t clean today. I am sorry I am depressed. I am sorry I am emotional. I am sorry I don’t have enough energy to make breakfast. I am sorry I can’t walk there. I am sorry I can’t make that coffee date. I am sorry I can’t meet my volunteer commitment. I am sorry I can’t spend time or energy on this or that. Pain has no understanding of my schedule. Pain doesn’t care what I want and it sure as hell doesn’t care what anyone else wants.

So, I am not apologizing anymore. I’m done. I will say thank you, when my husband takes the reins on meals, when he does more than his share of chores, or applies his healing hands to my painful muscles. I will say thank you for understanding when my friend isn’t upset because I am going to miss a coffee date. I will say thank you when I have to beg off a call because the fibro fog has taken over and I just can’t deal. I will say thank you and value the people in my life who help me when I need it. I will continue to be a good friend and partner, but I will not…say…I am sorry…anymore.

I will not be sorry for my genetic makeup. I don’t believe anyone who has chronic pain, a disease or syndrome should. There is no cure. There are only treatments which slightly lessen my pain and even that seems random. I can’t fix it, you can’t fix it. Saying sorry makes me feel deficient, lacking. I don’t believe that anyone in my life would say that I am not a good friend or family member, even if I feel like it all the time. I am trying to break myself from feeling hopeless. I can’t continue to feel like I am inadequate.

To my friends and relatives: If you catch me feeling sorry for myself or saying sorry, call me on it. To my fellow fibro sufferers: You are enough. I hope you understand just being a human and friend is enough. You don’t have to bake the best cookies for your loved ones to love you. You don’t have to be at every event in their lives for them to care for you. You don’t have to show your love in the same ways you did before. The ones who truly love you, will still love you when you stop. Just find a new way to show love. Believe that you are worth being cared for when you need it, and taking a time out when you need. You are not alone.

Also, my garlic bread is still the best in the world. Breakfast Smeakfast!!!!

Can Fibro be funny?

It is really cold here. I have to bundle up to go to the Physical Therapists office.

This morning I was heading out to the physical therapist’s office for my noon appointment when I got a phone call. I had already done the necessary checklist: appliances turned off, clothes in their proper places, face made up, hair done, keys, vapes, phone etc. I double checked all of those things because my brain was feeling asleep. You know that feeling where you haven’t gotten enough sleep or you haven’t eaten? When you have fibromyalgia, they call it fibro fog and it can happen even after eight hours and a full protein filled breakfast. So, it’s sort of random.

Then I got the phone call. While talking to this person I closed up the apartment and walked to the elevator. When we got off the phone I ran back to the door and checked. I hadn’t locked the apartment door. I locked it and then walked two blocks to the bus stop. As I was walking up, I panicked. I thought Did I bring the bus tokens? I walked quickly to the bus and took off my backpack and put it on the bench to search. As I removed it, I noticed my shoulder felt weird. I reached up and there was a zip lock baggie underneath my bra strap.

Okay I know that sounds weird, like I was rolling on a bed of zippies and one just got stuck, but no. I have an icepack that started leaking so we put it in two ziplock bags. I stick it under my bra strap because my shoulder swells up for no reason. So I have to put on an icepack every morning. I asked my doc about it, they have no idea. So I took off the ziplock and found the tokens in my book bag. I have no clue how they got in there. I mean I must of put them there but I don’t remember. I sighed in relief and slumped down to wait for the bus, but I couldn’t remember which one so I asked the next two buses, “Do you go to thirty seventh?” Finally one guys said, “No you want the twenty one.” After I was on the bus I remembered I could have just looked it up on my phone and I was going to thirty eighth.

Just as I was coming to this revelation, husband texted me, “Did you eat?” I said, “Ummmm….no…I forgot.” Then I was thinking, dang it, I wasn’t hungry until he said something, but my appointment was at noon so I had no time to get anything.

I reached my appointment desk and said, “I have an appointment with Melody. My name is Danielle Toone.”

She replied, “Her name is Melinda, right?”

I said, “Yeah, what did I say?”


“Oh, sorry.”

“Also, your appointment is at 1:00.”

Once I was down in the restaurant sitting at the table free from any more decisions I thought about the fact that before fibro I would have beaten myself up for days about all of these mistakes. I just thought I was ditsy. Nope, I just have episodes of dits, do to that fickle bitch fibro. Don’t get me wrong Melinda has been the most amazing medical professional to me so I feel bad about messing up her name, but I know why it happened and it’s a relief. I’m not mean spirited or an idiot. That is a relief. Sometimes I can make people laugh with my stories and that is fun too (comic relief.)

I am just now getting into fibromyalgia social media to notice the influx of other people who suffer from this phenomenon. I am an intelligent women who is struck with momentary loss of brain. That’s all. It is horribly inconvenient, and mildly embarrassing, but at least I know what to call it and it’s only temporary. I think we should call it #fibrofunny instead of #fibrofog. I much more prefer to think of it as something that doesn’t change me. Fibro fog sounds like something that is debilitating and blinding. I want to be able to say Well this just happens and laugh it off. So, I have fibro funnies. That’s it. Then the next day, or even later that day I am back to be the smart, sexy friend you know and love.

If I knew anything about street artists, I would tell you who did this, but I love it.