200 Miles in My Shoes

Or 151 miles to be exact. That is how far I have to travel between my hometown and college. For some this means packing a couple bags and they’re out the door, but for me it means a car full.

As I packed for a winter break of 6 weeks, I began to realize just how much I would need to bring home. Some would call it excessive, but for a person with fibromyalgia it just makes sense. You want to make sure that you have that favorite blanket, the only pillow you can fall asleep on, and anything else that might make the uncomfortable and out of body days that much more bearable. What most people do not know or realize is that for someone with fibro, the comfort items go far beyond your favorite blanket or teddy bear.

Clothes make all the difference. Some days your arms can hurt so bad or be so uncomfortable that wearing anything with long sleeves, tight or otherwise, is simply out of the question. You might be able to get away with the giant sweatshirt you wear every night but if not, you go back to your blanket or layers of blankets. Some days leggings are great because they aren’t as warm as sweatpants so you don’t overheat as quickly but the same issues you face with your arms can quickly manifest itself in your legs even if just by a fabric that doesn’t feel right. Some days you won’t be able to stand having the collar of a hooded sweatshirt around your neck, so maybe those days you have to have a crew neck instead. It may not be summer but you might as well pack in case the weather suddenly decides to throw a heat wave at you or if there is even the slightest chance that you might be having a super warm day and your sweaters and jeans just make your skin crawl.

And if you’ve been battling any sort of sickness, be it a cold or a migraine or something worse, these discomforts get amplified to the tenth degree. The next thing you know, you are bringing home a humidifier, distilled water, another blanket, and a bag full of medications.

Then you want a hot drink to help you relax or to soothe you’re throat. It’s amazing but something as simple as having that drink in your favorite mug can bring so much comfort that it is honestly astonishing to me. I often say that it’s the little things in life that mean the most and that can impact someone on the deepest level, but I have never believed this to be more true than now.

So yes, I pack a pretty full car when I go home for breaks, especially a six-week winter break, but I have a reason for everything that I bring with me whether others can understand it or not. As with any illness, life suddenly gets complicated and overwhelming but finding ways to cope will be your light at the end of some long days.

Somehow this has started to sound like another installment in the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” series of children’s books.  They were some of my favorite books as a child and now I am beginning to realize that maybe they were meant to prepare me for life. Maybe they were supposed to show me that anything can happen and you always have to be prepared. Or maybe I just got way too deep and philosophical over a children’s book, who knows. What I do know is that I am starting to learn how to prepare for those 200 miles.

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