Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas Gift Ideas

This holiday season, I would like to share a list of things that those of us with fibromyalgia would appreciate being given for Christmas. These are items that truly would make our lives easier and a bit more fun.

General items or services

Pajamas: Anything soft and tagless. Something that looks less like pj’s and more like loungewear. Amazon has some great choices. I know a lot of us women live in our pj’s, so it’s super-important that they be soft and comfortable.

Massage: Give a gift card for a massage, preferably with massage therapist who is familiar with fibromyalgia. Getting out all those knots, being able to just relax, and allowing someone to relieve some of our pain is priceless. Check out the places in your area.

Gift cards: The list of the kinds of gift cards you can give probably is endless — pharmacies, restaurants, hair or nail salons, gas stations, bookstores, grocery stores, and more. It helps us not only to save money, but also allows us to do something fun that our budget otherwise would not allow.

Time: It’s such a precious gift to give. Perhaps you could help with cleaning, driving to an appointment, driving to the grocery store, and helping put away the groceries. Be a mama’s helper, offer to babysit for free, or bring a movie and popcorn to enjoy together. I understand that giving time costs you, but the dividends are priceless.

Physical help: Offer to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, shovel the snow, clean the bathrooms, carry Christmas decorations from the attic, or pack for those who are moving. When you are healthy, these things are no big deal. But for those of us struggling with chronic illnesses such as FM, these are mountains that we just can’t climb.

Unique items

A cane with spikes for walking in icy weather.

A long-handled dustpan to make sweeping easier.

The Meebie, which is a unique toy to help your child express their feelings. A lot of people with FM have young children, and their illness and limitations may be confusing for a child.

Joint Mints are a natural homeopathic remedy to help decrease pain and inflammation.

DripDrop is an electrolyte powder you mix in your water bottle to keep you hydrated. It also reduces the need for intravenous fluids.

Dreampad is a pillow that plays music using gentle vibration, which signals the nervous system’s relaxation response. It’s great for those dealing with anxiety.

Hemp massage and body oil contains coconut and hemp seed oils. It starts with a warming sensation, then a cooling, relaxing sensation.

A heated throw blanket is a great gift idea. Whether you’re lying on the couch or in bed or sitting in your favorite chair, this will help you stay warm on those cold and painful winter days.

Coloring books and pencils make great gifts. They roll up to make it easy to take with you on appointments or if you’re just bored and need something to do.

An adjustable height laptop cart and notebook desk is so versatile, and you can use it while in bed, on the couch, or in a chair. The surface for a laptop is vented for cooling and can swivel.

The hands-free hair dryer holder is a godsend to those of us with FM. It’s a monumental effort to even consider holding a blow dryer and lifting our arms to dry our hair. This is a great solution!

Shower replacement wipes help us remove dirt, sweat, and body oils. Let’s face it, taking a shower is an exhausting ordeal. This product will help on those days when we just don’t have the energy to shower.

Dry shampoo helps revive and refresh our hair on days when we’re in a rush or just don’t have the energy to wash and dry our hair.

Take Them a Meal helps friends and family coordinate bringing meals. It’s a precious gift to get meals when we don’t often have the energy at the end of the day to cook a nutritious meal.

I know there are lots of other gifts that would improve our physical and emotional quality of life. My hope is that you would feel comfortable sharing this list with those who love and care about you during this holiday season.


Fibromyalgia and Joint Issues

Fibromyalgia and Joint Issues

I recently observed people with Fibromyalgia talking about frozen shoulder and other shoulder and joint issues, and I wondered if there could be a connection. I asked the question in a few FM Facebook page groups I’m in, if anyone had joint issues. I got over 60 affirmative answers just today!

I’ve had frozen shoulder on my right side for well over a year and now my left side is starting to be symptomatic. It’s incredibly painful and makes simple activities like reaching for something, or getting dressed seem like an Olympic event… albeit it a very painful one. Do you struggle with this?

Another issue many appear to struggle with is TMJ. The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw with your skull. TMJ can cause difficulty with chewing, headaches, jaw and facial pain. I recently had my dentist make me a mouth guard to wear at night. It keeps me from grinding my teeth and helps to calm my jaw pain.

Bursitis of the shoulder, elbow, and hip are also common issues for those of us with FM. The bursa is a small fluid-filled sac lined by sinovial membrane. It’s purpose is to provide a cushion between the muscles, tendons, and the bones around a joint. Sometimes getting a shot of cortisone can bring temporary relief of several months or more.

What kind of joint issues do you struggle with? How do you find relief?

7 Things That Blindsided Me

7 Things That Blindsided Me

Chronic illness is different for everyone who suffers from them, and yet the similarities are comforting. We have left the world of “normies” and have entered the world of “spoonies.” I have fibromyalgia and am hypothyroid. I also deal with some of their “friends” such as IBS, depression, weight gain, and fatigue.


7 things that blindsided me when I became ill


1. I was unprepared for the unrelenting fatigue.


I was used to moving furniture around, taking my kids places,  cooking, and cleaning my home. Chronic, unrelenting fatigue put an end to all of that. We live in a small home now where the furniture pretty much stays where it was originally put. My children are grown and out on their own. My husband does the cooking and we recently hired someone to do the cleaning. I just want to clarify that fatigue is not the same as being tired. When you’re tired, getting a nap or a good nights sleep, and you’re reenergized. With fatigue, no matter how much sleep you get, there is no relief.


2. I did not anticipate the loneliness


I was used to a busy household with teenagers coming and going, the noise, and the comfort all of that brought to this mama. Now that it’s just my hubby and me, well it gets really lonely for me and way too quiet when he’s at work. Friends are too busy with their own lives, and I understand that. They may think people come and hang out with me, but the truth is they don’t. I’m so thankful for my sister who comes and hangs out with me at least once a month.


3. Shopping has become an endurance sport


I always loved shopping, especially grocery shopping. Now on the days when I feel good enough to accompany my husband, I usually have to go out to the car to sit while he pays. My energy has once again been depleted. It can take hours and sometimes days to recuperate from a 30 minute shopping trip. I’m so thankful that my husband lovingly steps in and does what I can no longer do.


4. Showering needs perfect timing


I need to take a shower (when I’m able) at night because it totally wipes me out. For most people, taking a shower wakes them up and energizes them. For me, it’s just the opposite. I become more exhausted.


5. An unmet need for community


I praise God for the gift of social media. It has connected me to a community of amazing women who also have chronic illness. It’s a community of mutual suffering, understanding, and compassion. Belonging to and facilitating groups on Facebook has given me an important lifeline of connection.


6. It lies to me


Most of the time I’m very aware of how ill I am, but on those good days I find I question it. Am I really sick? Do I really have what they say I have? Maybe I’m getting better! Then the weather changes or stress enters the picture and once again I’m reminded of the truth. I truly am sick. But I’m SO thankful for those good days.


7. Advice that’s not helpful


I know most people come from a place of caring when they make suggestions or give advice. But it’s usually not helpful, and can make me feel worse. Such as: maybe if you change the way you eat, exercise more, get out of the house more, get a job, you’ll feel better. They also want to know if you’re feeling better yet, not understanding that “chronic” means lifelong. It’s better to seek to understand than to give unsolicited advice.


I travel this road of chronic illness with fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism in my backpack.  My map for this journey is prayer and good books. My sustenance are the friendships I make along the way. I have been strengthened and challenged in ways I never could have anticipated.


My name is Robin and I have been chronically ill for awhile, although I was only diagnosed about 6 years ago. I have a Facebook group and website called In Spite of My Illness. I am on multiple social media platforms as @RobinRisesUp. My email address is: