Traveling with Fibromyalgia: Europe

As my readers probably already know, or remember, my fibromyalgia really exploded in 2004 during a trip to Europe. These trips are an annual occurrence at the travel company that I now co-own with my stepchildren. I had taken a 10-year break from doing these trips, because of my fibromyalgia complications.

In 2013, I went back to the conference (Dublin, Ireland). It was fun, but exhausting. Then, G got sick and so I took two years off to take care of him and then his estate after he passed away.


This year, I went back to my favorite city, Rome. It was lovely, and I had a grand time, but my fibromyalgia flared up something awful.

Me, at a winery in Italy, December 2016

I've been back one week as of this writing, and I am still half asleep most of the day. I have been falling asleep on the sofa by around 9 pm, moving into the bed, with both dogs, at some point, then sleeping until 7:30 in the morning. I try to get up, but end up "crashing" about an hour later, and going back to bed! I've never had this much trouble getting over jet lag, so I hope this is just a feature of my getting older.

During the trip, my pain flared up incredibly. I take Excedrin Migraine for all types of pain (just my personal preference -- I'm not a doctor or medical professional, so please do not take my advice on anything! I am only sharing my personal experiences on this blog, nothing more.)... anyway, Excedrin can only be taken once every 24 hours. We were doing so much activity, that my pain was flaring up in every joint and muscle of my body.... especially my lumbar spine area, and I couldn't take anything for it. I had to wait out the 24 hours, and then take the med. This resulted in my walking around in serious pain most of the day, every day, while on the trip.

Since I was interacting with customers and colleagues, this was not exactly a good experience. I "sucked it up" and dealt with it, though. I wonder if they thought I was lazy because I kept sitting down periodically. I had to relieve the pain in my lower back. The worst part was not the activity, but it was standing still. I can't stand still for long periods of time without my back going into spasms. This has been true ever since I can remember -- long before my fibromyalgia. In fact, as a kid I was always accused of being "hyperactive" because I couldn't stand still. When in reality, I was just trying to relieve my back pain.

Clouds from my window seat! Looks like heaven!

On the flight home, I had a weird situation where the entire right side of my face was in severe pain. To the point where I could not eat, talk, or sleep. With a language barrier with the flight attendants, they misunderstood when I asked for an ice pack (they said they didn't have one... what??? of COURSE they have one, in their first-aid kit. Sigh.). Taking matters into my own hands, I managed to get ONE ice cube, a plastic bag, and a hot cup of tea without a tea bag. I held the ice cube and the hot tea cup against my face, alternating, to alleviate the pain. Once again, it had not been 24 hours since I had taken the Excedrin. Part way through the flight, I realized I could take ibuprofen, and asked my traveling companion if she had any in her bag (I did not). She did, I took some, and was able to sleep. After the flight landed, the pain went away as quickly as it came, and then my nose started running like a faucet! I didn't stop blowing my nose for hours and hours. So, it was definitely some kind of sinus problem. I thought maybe it was connected to my new dental work -- since that whole row of teeth also hurt at the same time. But, I guess it was just a blocked sinus, aggravated by the altitude. I told my friend, "Welcome to my world." As most of my friends don't understand that something, unknown, mysterious, painful WILL hit me... we just don't know when, what, or where. Living with chronic pain is like being on constant alert just waiting for the next attack.

Sunrise from my window seat!

All in all, I did enjoy the trip to my favorite European city, and I will probably go again next year (London). But I won't decide until later this year.

Tower of London/London Bridge
* All photos in this blog post taken by me, Kathleen S. Mueller. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

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  1. thank you for your postings. I don't think anyone unless they experience fibro can understand the fatigue. It is awful. Hope you are feeling better.

    1. Thank YOU for reading and commenting, and understanding!! Yes, I'm a little better each day. :)


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