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Florida versus Fibromyalgia

Hello my lovelies,

I hope you are all well. I am down to under 80 days until I travel to Florida and it has me thinking about what it is now like for us to do Florida as someone who is not as able bodied as they were 15 years ago when they started going to Florida.

2010 Universal Studios
I have lived most of my life with pain to some degree and from I was in my late teens I have had some sort of medication or other for pain, however now it is very different. Back then it would be mostly flare ups and I did have days where I was ok. Whereas now the pain is daily with flare ups being much more extreme and debilitating.

For those of you who live with a chronic illness like Fibromyalgia, Lupus, ME, Arthritis, MS  or other conditions you will know that each day can be different than the one before. For me I try to live my life thinking of the days ahead. So if I am wanting to go out at the weekend, I make sure I rest as much as I can the days before. Going on holiday that is still the case for me.

Florida is the type of holiday that lots of us create Itineraries and try and pack as much in as we possibly can. Some times doing multiple parks in one day. 15 years ago that would have been the case for us. Now however we do it differently. We were always good at having a break in the middle of the day and going back to the parks in the evening. I would've been up from maybe 6:30am and out the door before 8 and there for as close to opening as possible. Crammed as much in as possible in the morning. Then headed home for lunch and a break, then we would have had dinner and headed back to the parks for the evening shows.

My biggest piece of advice is to listen to your body. Depending on the severity of your conditions you may already be in a wheelchair or have a mobility scooter. However those who don't, this might be the holiday that will cause you to need one, even just while you are on holiday. I am not saying you will need it for everyday but be willing to use some sort of an aid.

In 2015 we went back to Florida for the first time since the year we got married. In that time my health had deteriorated and I wasn't as mobile as I used to be. I was very anxious about going back that year because I didn't know what to expect. I was adamant though that if it got too much for me doing all the walking that I would hire a scooter, but of course when it came down to it I actually could not bring myself to do that. So by the second week I was hardly sleeping and my pain was getting worse, the last three days of our holiday I actually did not sleep at all. I spent the nights watching youtube videos and the days out at the parks. I was so dissapointed in myself for being to ashamed to get a scooter! I vowed never to do that again. It was not worth ruining the last few days of my holiday to stop myself being embarrassed.

Magic Kingdom 2015
The following year when we went back, Thomas and I sat down and discussed at length how we could do this without crippling me again. Obviously having done Florida before we knew we didn't have to cram everything in to the two weeks. So that definitely takes pressure off when planning. We stuck to our usual out in the morning and home in the afternoon plans as always. However some days rather than going back in the evening for the nighttime shows we just had a chill night

In fact over the weekend that we were there we did not step foot in to a theme park, we just chilled, did a little shopping and had a relaxing time. Most nights we were in bed around 9ish. Definitely made such a difference not being up to really late at night, because for the most part I struggle getting up, I need to set my alarm for 30-40 minutes before I actually want to get out of bed. In Florida if I get myself in to bed at a decent time then I am able to set my alarm early and actually get up to enjoy the early morning. There really is something truly magical about early morning out on the deck with a mug of coffee and listening to the birds and watching squirrels chase each other. It really helps me come around and let my medication start kicking in before going out for breakfast.

Madame Tussauds International Drive 2016
Going back to being in pain and how I cope with that. I will say that the distraction of being on the go does help you through the day, however standing in line for rides can be a real killer. I do recommend where possible that you use fast passes for rides at Disney World and for Universal and Seaworld consider purchasing their express passes as this will stop you from spending so much time standing around.

I would also say to take breaks between standing around as much as you can. There are coffee shops and eateries to pop in to for snacks and meals, but there are also benches and seating areas all over the parks that will help you when you need to rest.

Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes that are also supportive. I would be lost without my Skechers. I see a lot of people walking around wearing really cute but uncomfortable and unpractical footwear and I can just imagine the pain they will be in by the end of the day when they get home. I hate the look of crocs but see so many people wearing them because they are supposed to be very comfortable for walking around in. I will stick to my Skechers, they even have really cute sandals too, think I will be adding a pair to my collection.

If you are like me and not a great sleeper, it would be worth considering picking yourself up some melatonin to help you get over to sleep at night, however I do find as long as my pain is not at a horrendous level that I don't actually struggle so much getting to sleep while away. I am that tired from the day that I fall asleep pretty quickly. Obviously that is only if I have listened to my body and rested when I needed to.

I will be taking a walking stick with me this year, maybe I will even get one that is blinded up with Disney and universal themed things ha ha. It is definitely worth having that little bit of extra support even if you don't use a walking aid at home most of the time. Florida holidays are definitely more demanding on your body. For me I know I will need a couple days rest when I return home before going back to work.

That being said I am so very excited and cannot wait to go. Yes our holiday is very different now to what it used to be, but it is still an extremely awesome holiday. It has been 4 years since we were last there and I am so ready to feel that Florida heat and just be away. I don't know if you are like me but I feel all my stress and worries melt away as soon as we land in Florida. I know everybody has their own happy place. For me Florida is mine. Having that to look forward to makes it easier to go through the daily pain.

I have lots of different videos to do before during and after our holiday. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to see from me. Next up is my top tips for planning a Florida Holiday.

Love and hugs to you all,


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