“And a 1, 2, 3, 4 . Move those toes up off the floor.  Up, down, reach and stretch… one more time and your toes can rest…”

I recall laying with my two good friends the morning after a great night out on the town. This was a time when I was unaffected by chronic ailments of ME, CFS, FIbromyalgia and Lupus.  Tucked up on the sofa, Nancy Jo was narrating the ingredients of a hash breakfast, I joined in the dream of potatoes topped with Velveeta and Tamara suggested we go out for a walk in the Sussex Countryside… Let’s be honest, none of us was going anywhere that Sunday morning.  I stared at all of our feet sticking out of the blanket and suggested we stretch our toes to get our blood circulating – we could consider that a form of excercise…Well,  before you know it, after a few cracks about Jane Fonda’s workout, turquoise spandex and WHAM’s haircuts,  TOE-ROBICS* was born…

20 years later I lay bedridden. 6 months into my diagnosis, Doctors, Consultants, and physios spoke of introducing graded aerobic exercise into my daily routine.  I did not doubt that exercise is healthy,  but how could I?  Spasms of pain bombard my body and I was unable to muster enough strength to lift my body from the bed.  What they were prescribing was way out of my league.  I couldn’t even get up on the exercise bike – let alone ride it. They just didn’t understand how the smallest chore could reduce me to an exhausting and painful 3 day flare-up.

I stared down at my ugly bunions – still grossly ungracious for this genetic gift.  I rotated my big toe round ‘n’ round and tried to separate my toes.  Glued tight like penguins frozen in the arctic, they would not budge.  Night after day after night I practiced.  Meditative body scans increased my awareness.  I talked to my toes.  I breathed deep into my toes.  Over the course of a few weeks, my toes loosened and thawed.  They began to feel the freedom of movement.   The gentle and graduated movements soon became larger and stronger.  I felt how my foot’s movements effected my calf muscles and so on up the leg.  In the midst of the  Fibro-fog, I experienced a moment of clarity.   I became aware of the detailed inter-connectedness within my body, perhaps for the first time in my life.

Today, I ensure that I frequently move and stretch the rest of my body whether laying down, seated or standing.  Small movements do count.  I have to be careful that I do not over stretch as I am hypermobile.  Interestingly, one Rheumetologist told me that Fibromyalgia was often diagnosed in people who are Hypermobile.  I’ve  looked a bit online about this connection and yes, studies suggest there is a comorbid relation in some people.  From my perspective and since my diagnosis, when I turn my joints inside out, I pay a price of pain.  So for now, no more freaky shadow puppets shows.  A simple exercise routine is to let my toes do several Mexican Waves per day the Toe-robics way!

*Dedicated to Nancy Jo and Tamara

Thank you for reading,  FreeMeFibro

∼FreeMeFibro∼Living with #ME #MyalgicEncephalomyelitis #Fibromyalgia #Lupus #Spoonies #CFS #ChronicFatigueSyndrome #Raynauds Syndrome #chronicpain #autoimmune diseases