Fourteen of my dear and feisty family members travelled to our favorite spot, Galveston, TX, last week. We split up to stay in two condos near San Luis pass, in a place we’ve visited before. Though Hurricane Laura threatened to ruin our vacation, she spared the island we love and left us with 90-degree days and 75-degree nights, no rain, and light winds. COVID was also a big player. We had to wear masks everywhere and could not sit in a restaurant together.

Travelling with fibro added another challenge. I did not have a flare, praise the Lord. To foster good health during the trip, I chose not to overindulge in rich foods, drink alcohol, or stay up late. In fact, on day one I went to the beach with the fam for a few hours. Day two I woke with a migraine and knew I needed rest, so I stayed in to sleep and veg while my family went shopping on The Strand.

They missed me, but I gained strength to enjoy the next few days. If I had made a misstep, I’d have had a flare the rest of the trip. Been there, done that, will do everything in my power to not repeat.

Here are some things helped make this trip a success for this fibro patient:

  • Continued daily devotionals, but to be honest they weren’t as deep and meaningful as when I study and pray at home. Quiet time with God reduces stress and helps focus the mind on peace, joy, and love to start the day. I believe the body responds positively to this discipline.
  • Took my meds and pain killers as directed. (Gabapentin, Tramadol ad needed, Tizanadine before naps and bedtime)
  • Rested with a heating pad or ice pack on my back, neck, and/or hips.
  • Got 8+ hours of sleep per night.
  • When I could not sleep, I took a muscle relaxer and melatonin, then remained in bed to rest in the dark. (Sensory deprivation and reduced mental/cognitive stimulation helps reduce stress.)
  • Used a Flector patch on my low back during long car rides. (These ibuprofen-releasing patches are amazing but expensive. I rely on the no-insurance coupon on the pharmaceutical company’s website to pay an extremely reduced price.)
  • Kept nausea medicine on hand.
  • Slept in the back of the Tundra for a few hours on the drive to the island.
  • Avoided physical excursions (jet skis, paragliding, super long walks, etc.).
  • Chose walking adventures*, including visiting Moody Mansion and Rosenberg Library on the same day! {*Rested as often as needed) If you are a book lover, check out the Friends of the Library book sale. It’s fantastic.
  • I only dined indoors at restaurants (in the air conditioning) and mostly ate at the condo where the homemade food was fresh and I knew all the ingredients.
  • My daughter, bless her, did the cooking and most of the cleaning for our condo. I didn’t have to stand up for hours to cook and clean.
  • NAPS!
  • My family was patient and understanding. Love them so much.
  • I found joy in my alone time by editing the photos I took, reading books, and praying. I refused to wish I were out with my family, and instead thanked God for rest.

During the six-day vacation, there were many stressful events. As you can imagine with 15 people, there’s gonna be some drama, even if they are all wonderful individuals whom I adore.

My husband and I also had stressful things going on back in DFW, with family and work, and we were helpless to do anything for the situations and people involved. So, I did face stress. Rarely if ever in life are we stress-free. Vacation offers a respite, but not a hiatus from all stress. And stress triggers pain in fibro patients. For me, it can also trigger IBS.

I’m sharing my experience in hopes that it helps other fibro patients know that enjoying travel is possible, despite the condition. (If your fibro is extremely severe or if you have other conditions, travel may not be wise. Ask your doctors for advice on travel.)

This particular vacation was great. Others have been less so.

I encourage you not to avoid the spice of life due to iffy or poor health. Do all you can to manage pain AND enjoy life, family, and even travelling on occasion. The tips above helped me reduce pain and enjoy regulated outings.

Fibromyalgia stinks. I know firsthand that it steals comfort. Don’t allow it to steal your joy. Count your blessings! Fibro is not cancer. It’s not MS. It’s not a death sentence. If you can help it, don’t let life pass you by!

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