Below is a page of coping tips for FM. As I read thru the similarities I actually crack a smile and even chuckle. This all sounds like old age; wait I’m not old, like Alzheimers, like where are my “spoons”? http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory-written-by-christine-miserandino/?
The FM brain fog or as I continue to say chemo brain post 6 years is no longer an excuse, but wait the brain fog came before the chemo brain, o darn. Most of my friends wonder what their excuses are :). Im off to find ways to keep our brains healthier in addition to all the juicing of vegies and fruits, serratonin from cardio, the bushels of supplements, massages, yoga and meditation, PT, hypnotherapy and visualization and the hours of reading we cram into our days for pain wellness. Well, no wonder we have brain fog…our software is full. I’m exhausted just thinking of another day of wellness.
Have fun filling your foggy brain with tidbits along the way 😉
Coping with Fibromyalgia (FM), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is challenging because the symptoms are invisible and chronic. A person can’t simply “get over” FM and/or CFS/ME with the passage of time or wishful thinking.
The boxes below contain a number of basic tips that might help you deal with your FM and/or CFS/ME. Contact us if you have any questions, or if you have a tip you’d like to add.
I suggest you visit our Coping Articles for articles about different types of coping strategies.
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| Repeat To Yourself
Repeating things to yourself over and over again will keep thoughts or ideas fresh in your mind. An example – as you’re driving to the bank you repeat to yourself, “bank, bank …I’m going to the bank“
| Get Treatment
Depression, pain and sleep deprivation can influence your ability to concentrate and remember. Getting your medical problems treated may indirectly help your memory.
| Proper Nutrition
Our brains must be fed in order to work properly; nutritious foods filled with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Artificial sweeteners should be avoided as they are known to interfere with brain functioning.
| Stay Physically Active
Physical activity, in moderation, can increase your energy and help lift your fibro fog. Speak to your doctor or physical therapist about an exercise program that is right for you.
| Go Slowly
Sometimes memory problems can result from trying to do too much in too short a period of time. Break up tasks, and don’t take on more than you can handle at once. Stress and fatigue will only make the situation worse.
| Coping With Flares
When a flare is upon you, experts say you need to:
| Reach Out And Touch Someone
It can be all too easy for bed-bound people with FM and CFS/ME to feel cut off from the world and even the rest of their household. One way to keep in contact with family members in other parts of the house is to use Walkie talkies or a baby monitor.
To keep in touch with the outside world there’s always the Internet. There are a number of online communities set up for people with FM and CFS/ME. If you’re interests fall along the lines of gaming there are always cards or board games for the Internet.
| Meals on Wheels
For many people with severe FM and/or CFS/ME, making a meal is hard to do. For those who live alone it can be down right impossible. Look into programs like:
These places offer freshly prepared meals delivered right to your door.
For people in wheelchairs or for those who use walkers, shopping brings on a whole new set of problems. Department stores jam clothing racks so close together it’s impossible to get near the clothes. And grocery stores never seem to have the items you need within your reach.
One simple approach to solving the shopping problem is to shop online. Many fine stores are now online and offer next day shipping if you’re in a hurry. I buy most of my clothing this way as it’s impossible for me to get around in department stores. My favorite stores are Lane Bryant, Blair, and Wal-Mart.
To simplify your grocery dilemma, many grocery stores now have delivery service. Check your local grocery stores to see if they offer this service. Having your groceries delivered saves you a lot of time and energy. If they don’t offer this service, take someone with you. They’ll be able to reach the items you can’t, and help to carry your bags.
Another idea for grocery shopping is to use a motorized cart. Even if you aren’t in a wheelchair normally, taking advantage of this option can save you pain and agony later. If you decide not to use a motorized cart, be sure to take breaks. Many grocery stores now have a luncheon area where you can sit down and have coffee and a snack. This will give you a chance to rest until you get your strength back.
Remember, if you’re too tired when you get home to put away your groceries, just put away the perishables. (meats and refrigerated items) You can always and leave the rest of the items until you’ve regained your strength. Unless you have a great husband or kids, trust me, they’ll still be there!
| Showering or Bathing
Showering is a major task for those of us with a chronic illness. It ranks right up there on the energy scale with home renovation, plowing the field, and laying carpeting. Ok, so it only seems that bad. (lol)
We all know that staying clean and presentable costs us much more in pain and fatigue than our healthy counterparts. It’s been years since I’ve been able to take a relaxing soak in the tub, mainly because I can’t get in and out of the tub without help. Somehow I don’t see my 85 old Mother hoisting me out of the tub. So that leaves me with the shower.
You may not think you are “disabled” enough to warrant using a shower chair. However, even if you’re able to walk fine and can stand unaided, a shower chair will lengthen your endurance for a relaxed, comfortable shower. Shower chairs can be large or small, and can be bought sturdy enough to hold up to at least 450 pounds.
They can be purchased through those health product catalogs we all get in the mail, like Dr. Leonard’s catalog, or they can be purchased at your nearby living aids store. I recommend checking out yard sales, flea markets, or Good Will stores first to see if you can get one cheaper. The average retail price for basic shower chairs is around $40.00.
Another energy saving idea is a dual shower head that includes a hand-held shower. This way you can stand under the shower spray for all-over rinsing, train the spray on a particular set of muscles that ache, or you can hold the spray while seated and direct it where you need it. These basic dual heads range in cost from $20-30, and are available at your local home improvement or Wal-Mart store.
| Tips on Finding a Good Wheelchair Accessible Hotel/Motel
Finding a good wheelchair accessible hotel can be a daunting task. With so many places to choose from disabled travelers need a quick way to compare hotels and find the one that can accommodate their special needs. Following the few simple trip planning steps below can make the difference between a great vacation or a frustrating trip for a disabled person.
Narrow Your List of Hotels/Motels –
WhenWeTravel is a web site offering a Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Search to help disabled people narrow the list of hotels to the ones with all their special needs. Travelers can use it to pick a destination and check off all the amenities they require. They currently have a list of over 37,000 wheelchair accessible hotels from destinations all around the world. A disabled traveler can use the hotel search to get a narrow list of hotels to be used for calling the hotel directly.
Call The Hotel/Motel Directly and Ask Some Questions –
Listen “between the lines” –
A disabled traveler should be listening for clues that indicate the hotel has a good understanding of the difficulties faced by an individual with a disability. If the reservation desk at the hotel is knowledgeable about ADA requirements such as wheel chair accessible passages, counter heights, door hardware, bathroom fixtures, and roll in showers there is a good chance they frequently serve disabled guests. However, be wary of a hotel manger that seems to promise too much. If the hotel seems too good to be true…it probably is.
Keep a handout of your medical history, your known allergies, what drugs you are taking etc. I keep all my information in a small address type book, along with my prescriptions. That way all the information is right at my fingertips.
Overcoming insomnia greatly improves FM and CFS/ME symptoms. Did you know that healthy people who volunteered for sleep deprivation experiments actually developed FM-like symptoms! That’s why it is so important to try to get as much sleep as possible.
One treatment for getting sleep is the use of Melatonin. This medication is now being used for restorative sleep at night with no “hangover” the next day. Melatonin has been called the body’s own natural sleeping pill. It plays a key role in the sleep cycle by helping you fall asleep. Low melatonin levels can cause sleep-onset insomnia. For more information about Melatonin, including side effects, warning and precautions, CLICK HERE.
Remember: If you use natural products, get them from a reliable source and be sure to inform your doctor of what you’re taking. Many supplements, natural products, and vitamins don’t interact well with prescription medications!
Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
| Hand-Held Shower
Another way to relieve the pain of standing is the use of a hand-held shower. This lets you shower sitting down which can be a godsend when you’re short on either energy or balance! They’re also great for bathing pets too.
Tracking sleep patterns with a sleep diary helps people identify possible causes of sleep disruptions. A sleep diary is a written record of sleep times, awakenings and factors that help or hinder getting to sleep. Keeping a sleep diary can improve sleep patterns and may even help detect more serious health problems of which lack of sleep is only a symptom.
Obtaining a sleep history can be helpful in successfully treating insomnia, snoring, nightmares, anxiety and other conditions. Keeping a detailed sleep log can help identify disturbances that prevent you from getting enough sleep, including stress or poor sleep hygiene (such as reading in bed or remaining in bed when not sleepy).
Sleep diaries provide a first step in identifying and breaking habits that cause sleep deprivation. Therapists may also suggest keeping a sleep log to track emotional issues that may cause insomnia.