“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