Enjoying the Summer with CFS & Fibromyalgia

Now that we have been having a heat wave here over the past few days, I have started getting in the mood for the summer.  I always look forward to the spring and early summer season because I tend to feel better during this time.  I have less pain and I don’t feel as fatigued as I do during the fall and winter months.  I do, however, tend to notice that when the summer temperatures reach their all-time highs and the humidity starts to rise my symptoms will flare and I will feel miserable and want to only be in where there is central air. 

Allergies tend to also be a problem this time of year for many CFS & Fibromyalgia patients but for some reason, this year I am not having any allergy problems.  I’m rather surprised because in our area, most people who have allergies, my son included, are having an even harder time than other years and I’m not having any trouble at all.  Go figure.  My body is always the odd ball! 

When the humidity rises, swelling is a common problem among CFS & Fibro patients and this causes our pain to increase.  My feet and legs will swell up like crazy when it is really humid and my feet and legs look like they did when I was 9-months pregnant.  I keep myself hydrated and keep my feet elevated during these times to help rid my body of the excess fluids.

Vacations are always a big part of the summer for a lot of families but those of us suffering with chronic illness realize how taxing a vacation can be on our bodies.  Most people would think that a vacation would be relaxing and fun, which they are fun, but because we are having fun, we will tend to forget that we are sick and if we are able, we tend to overdo it and will find ourselves in a flare by the time we return or during our vacation.  I think proper planning and making sure you are well organized and don’t wait until the last minute to do everything you need to do to prepare for your vacation before you leave is super important in keeping your flare to a minimum. 

If you have young children like I do and find that the summer months are hard to get through because your kids want you to be busy all of the time and you physically can’t, sit them down for a little chat.  I have to have a little “reminder” talk with my son every summer and the past couple of years I have started talking to him about his expectations at the beginning of summer vacation.  I explain to him that while I will do my best to make sure he has a fun, active and enjoyable summer, there is only so much physically that I can do and I cannot be constantly entertaining him; we can’t be running around all of the time; and that he will have to be patient on my bad days and that plans can change at the last minute.

If you are having severe pain flare-ups, go get in a pool and cool off and walk around.  The water feels great and it will help with the pain.  I do this all of the time in the summer.  Also, when it’s hot, I don’t seem to mind the heat when I’m in the water and I can get some exercise outside while moving around the pool.  It is great for the legs and keeps the circulation going, especially when it is humid.

Just remember that the summer months are a time that many of us do see an improvement in our symptoms so it is easy to overdo it and to cause setbacks.  Try to pace yourself (and I’m talking to myself here, too!) and enjoy your summer, family and life!

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