Benefits of Back to School; working with fibromyalgia

It is that time of year when school supplies are lining the store shelves and proud parents are posting first day of school pictures.

I have said it time and time again that I am lucky because I have found the right combination of medicines, supplements & integrative therapies to be able to keep working outside of home.  I LOVE my job.  I work as a paraprofessional helping kiddos (English as a second language) ranging from Pre-K to 12th grade. I could write a blog post talking about all of the things that I love about my job but the best thing is the kids and their families.

Today, is my last day of summer before going back to work.  I have been off since the last day of summer school on July 21st. It is definitely time to go back.  I miss my students and quite honestly I miss money.

If you do not have fibro you probably do not have a clue the struggles of working. Just because I am able to go to work does not mean that I am feeling great or even good. The levels change but everyday I am in pain and fatigued. It is a struggle to get out of bed, take my meds, get dressed and drive to work. By the time I get to work my meds have kicked in and my body isn’t as stiff and sore as it was when I woke up. It isn’t always easy being at work. We all have those triggers that can increase the pain, fatigue & brain fog.

However, for me on most days the benefits of getting up and getting out of the house are worth the early alarm and forcing myself to get going on my worst days.

How can a job help you feel better?  Certainly this is not the case for most but for me my job helps me get exercise, keep me from isolating myself, increases “happy” feelings & able to pay for my treatments.

First, we all know that exercise is important for many reasons but for someone that is in pain walking I am limited to what kind of exercise I can do. Low-impact exercise often reduces pain and fatigue, creates endorphin’s that help to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.

It is important that fibromites balance movement and rest. My work schedule ensures that I do both. I follow the student’s schedules which means that each hour when the class bell rings I am up and walking to my next class.

Secondly, Fibromyalgia can be very isolating. The pain and fatigue can limit how much activity we can do. It is easy to withdraw from social life and stay at home. Even phone calls can be too much. Although, social media offers connections to others it isn’t the same as in person. I have spent the majority of my time off not leaving my house or yard. Partly because it is my time to rest, mark things off the to-do list, by the time others are off work or ready to do something I am tired and getting ready for bed and financial reasons.

Third, working with the kids has the same effect on me as volunteering. Creating positive learning experiences has a positive impact on me as well.  Helping someone else can help you change your own outlook and attitude.

Lastly, $$$ – Enough said?

Fibromyalgia is not cheap. In addition to the normal bills that everyone has fibro adds a huge expense. I have found through trial and error things that help to manage fibromyalgia and the “evil sidekicks”.  On a daily basis I use medicine, supplements, ice packs, heating pads, kt tape, essential oils, and pain relieving devices.  Each month I possibly could add having appointments with a doctor, my chiropractor or my acupuncturist.

Back to School means all of those wonderful things to me. It helps me to take care of me so I can continue to be a Fibro Warrior ~ Living Life.












This past Sunday I attended the 4th Annual Midwest Pain Treatment Education Expo.

The first I heard about this event was this past May from my fellow advocate & friend Sara Willy. Sara is the MN/WI Ambassador for US Pain Foundation & the Vice President of the GGPAIN Foundation. I honestly did not know anything about Sara’s work with the GG Pain Foundation.

After surfing the web this is what I found ~

Gracie Gean is a chronic pain patient diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Occipital Neuralgia, Spinal Stenosis, Spondylosis, and Degenerative Disc Disease. She also discovered that she has Lyme Disease.

“Gracie Bagosy-Young is an International Chronic Pain Advocate. She is the owner of Gracie Gean Chronic Pain Advocacy & Consulting. Gracie hosts the Midwest Pain Treatment Education Expo, which is the largest in the US. She speaks on chronic pain Nationally.”

“The Expo was born out of Gracie’s frustration with the lack of resources available to patients in the Midwest.” “The goal of this event is to help you become better educated regarding treatments, how to utilize your voice with advocacy efforts and help you find local support.”

The first year the expo was held had 80 attendees. Now 4 years later, the event had 300 attendees and over 9,000 registered to stream live.

This year the Expo was held in Northbrook, Illinois (near Chicago) presented by OSKA Wellness.

I have had an opportunity to try a lot of different pain relief devices and by far have had the greatest success using the Oska Pulse. I was excited to find out that Oska Wellness folks were going to be at the expo. READ my review on Oska Pulse.

This years event included 7 speakers & 30 different vendors/booths. View a list of speakers, sponsors and vendors at GGChronicPainAdvocacy/Events.

The expo was amazing. It is always great to be surrounded by those who understand your struggles. I have been to events where it is very hard to get time to speak with the vendors or the speakers and that was not the case.

I had an opportunity to try Kangen Water® I was totally shocked to see what is in the bottle water that I drink and thought was a healthy choice.

I used the AVACEN 100.

Although I live in a state that has not approved medical cannabis I was happy to receive information offered through Illinois to share with my support group members.

I met an amazing Manual Therapist Azlaan from Advance Sports Therapy located in Naperville, Il. He was offering wet cupping sessions and I signed up. It was great. He took his time to explain what was going to happen and as it was happening. I felt so relaxed after having that partial session and recommend him to anyone.

Mary Biancalana, Owner and Director of Therapy for Chicago Center for Myofascial Pain (Relief) who I had heard give a prensentation at the TAP Chronic Pain Conference in Washington, D.C. was there educating the attendee’s on trigger point therapy.

We need more events like this to educate the pain community and give them a chance to meet qualified people in their community. Please check out the great work that Gracie is doing to help those of us living with chronic pain illnesses. Videos from the event will be posted over the next few weeks.

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