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Meet the warrior

Drugs are bad. M’kay

— Southpark

This hurts. No really. I know you can’t see it, but it does. Am I gonna take anything for it? Maybe ibuprofen if it gets bad. But otherwise not anything super strong. Why? Have you ever researched fibromyalgia help groups. Yeah. Drugs. That’s all they talk about. No thanks.

Look, I am not saying that people shouldn’t take drugs. I am saying that for some of us, well, I’d rather enjoy my life. Painkillers are not going to help me do that. I mean sure, I don’t hurt and my mood has improved, but I am not fit to operate machinery or my vehicle and I certainly have no motivation to do anything. Some of them turn me into a nasty raving wrathful b***ch. Also, I do not like being constipated. So for those of you who take your drugs, this page is not for you. Go back to your support group and talk about your oxycontin. I am going to Disney World.

Yes, Disney World. In about 3 weeks-ish or so. Just for a day or two. We plan to visit our favorite park, Animal Kingdom. We will also be visiting Hollywood Studios. We have a reservation at Oga’s Cantina. Fuzzy Tauntaun, here I come.

I am also going on my first cruise. This is to see how the cruising experience affects me. We have a cruise to Alaska booked for September 2021. So, this will hopefully give me an idea of what to expect my body to do under cruise conditions and afterwards.

I will also be running my first 5K. I have been training. Yes, I am overweight and out of shape. Yes, training causes pain. But I am still doing it. I am losing weight and slimming in the process. This journey I will be writing about a lot.

Besides traveling and training, blogging and vlogging, what do I do for a living? I am a caseworker for welfare programs in my area. I meet with applicants and families. I look at their income and expenses and determine whether or not they fit within the parameters of the state and federal regulations for the program. If they do, I become a hero. If they don’t, I become a jerk.

Let me make this clear: It’s not a matter of whether or not I think they deserve the benefits. It’s whether or not their situation fits in the “box” that the state and feds build. It also highly depends on the families to provide the documentation required for the worker to make a determination and complete the interview if necessary. (This is a completely different intonation from the beginning of this blog, isn’t it…. welcome to the Worker Warrior). I am one who tries to find an applicant and their family eligible, not ineligible, like my predecessors. But I do not break rules. Ask my former Deputy Director.

Before all of this official unofficial nonsense, I was a cook. A well practiced cook. No, not a chef. I did not go to school or take the tests officially. But, give me a couple of ingredients and I can make a tasty dish for you. If you become a Patreon, you may be the one who gets to pick the three ingredients. This is one of my favorite challenges and I will be posting it up on Patreon exclusively for members. Become a Patron!

Why don’t you cook anymore? The fibromyalgia took that from me. I cannot physically do the job anymore on a regular basis. This is why I changed fields.

Yes, now you see why I have become a warrior. The disease took my favorite job. Its war. I might loose, but I will go down with a sword in my hand. I am not saying you have to fight. But, I’d like to invite you along for the ride. If you are interested in a good story.

COVID 19?

Hey friends!

I am sorry I have been offline. About 2 days after I returned from the cruise, I became ill. Bad chest infection that turned to pneumonia.

It was a bit scary. I think I picked it up in San Francisco Airport. Our plane had an engine that didn’t want to start. We were switched to another plane. The plane wasn’t clean and I didn’t wipe anything down, like a dummy. After a safe touchdown, we went home. I returned to work. I went home early that Friday. I had a fever and my throat was sore. My ears were plugged and I couldn’t breathe very well. I went to an immediate care clinic after I had the car serviced. They sent me home with decongestants. The doctor seemed scared of me. It was obvious I was having a hard time breathing. He ignored it and told me it was a sinus infection.

I went home. The dry cough was just starting. Two days later, I went to another urgent care clinic. The doctor deemed it pneumonia. 1 round of z pak. It responded but it wasn’t completely gone. A week later, I had another round of z pak. The pneumonia left my chest. I returned to work.

Again, I work as a case worker for food stamps and Medicaid. I am an essential employee. We had no staff. There was maybe 5 of us. I bombed through applications as best I could. Still having troubles breathing. My stress levels very high.

Here it is almost 13 weeks later. I still have a cough and now, I have asthma. I just got tested for COVID 19 today. I have a bet with a friend that I had it.

Why the heck didn’t they test you at the clinic? I know…. I know. Here’s the answer I got, they didn’t have them.

I will know in a week. If its still active, I will get a phone call, if not, a letter.

I am again just now starting to train for the 5ks. I did sign up for the virtual challenge. I am looking forward to a good fast walk in the woods because I can’t run yet.

Mad Hatter June 2020, Space Mountain July 2020, Haunted Mansion August 2020

I can split wood. I want to swim too. I am watching the country slowly opening up. I am hoping to travel again soon. I need a good fast scary rollercoaster, a quiet beach, redwood trees, a cruiseship, a plane ride, all of those good things in my life.

Am I afraid to travel? No.

I am afraid of being trapped in this horrible cycle of work and home. I work in a high stress highly charged environment. I have to have breaks. Otherwise, I will be out on stress leave.

Also, I have a disease that could ruin my golden years. I need to do things now while I can.

I will continue the posts explaining my trip and the fun we had. My wife is my best travelling partner. Until then be safe and take care of yourself. #thedriveisreal

Disney World and Fibromyalgia

How could you even possibly? Well, here’s how I see it. I could be at home in pain. Living vicariously through vlogs on YouTube. Or, I could get off my arse, and be in the most magical place on earth and be in pain, but with plenty of distractions.

Like Pandora. Want to see the most amazing animatronic ever? Nav’i River Journey. She is beautiful and I swear, she gets up and goes home after her shift.

All you need is AI and you have an android.

What about Star Wars? Have you seen the millennium falcon? No, not the Lego Falcon, the life size, the I kid you not, holy cow that is the millennium falcon, sitting in the middle of Black Spire outpost. Bright suns y’all! There’s storm troopers patrolling. A full blown tie echelon. A rebel spy sneaking about. Rey. Full size x wing and a wing fighters. Chewie wandering about speaking with people. Yes, in wookie.

But that’s just Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. There’s four full parks, two waterparks, a shopping and nightlife district with amazing food. There’s free transportation from the airport and several options of transportation between parks. There are 30+ onsite resorts and some “good neighbor” resorts. What more do you need?

So, how do you do Disney with fibromyalgia? How can one possibly without pain pills?

First, you must know thyself. Know what trips up your pain spells. Tomatoes? Caffeine? Not moving? Moving too much? Heat? Cold? Rain? Sun? Barometric pressure? All of the above? Knowing this will tell you when the best time to go. Research the weather. I am a heat activated fibromyalgic, sensitive to nightshades and a change in barometric pressure at high altitudes. So, I should go around January- February.

Second, you must train. Seriously. You need to start walking. A mile to start. Go slow, stay flat. Then increase a little each week and add a little incline and decline. Add a light sling bag with a water bottle as you get closer to go time. Then, add what you would carry in your day pack and do your walk a couple of weeks before you go. Disney World is 7-10+ miles a day. So, you must be acclimated to moving and standing if you don’t want to rent a scooter or wheelchair. Otherwise reserve one in advance. 

Third, start eating to support your hypothalamus. This gland is responsible for homeostasis. It controls most of your glands and your body temperature. Salmon, Walnuts, flax seeds talk to your hypothalamus and make it read leptin levels. I also eat all the colors of the rainbow. It works.

Next, know what you want to do and space it out. For example, I am energetic and driven in the morning. So, I rope drop the park or do extra magic hours. I set fastpasses for about an hour after rope drop or after regular park open. I plan to be in a park until at least noon. I have a wait time limit of 30 minutes for most rides without fastpasses. Then, as we approach the hottest part of the day, I head someplace to chill out. Back to the resort, AMC theater, drawing class at Art of Animation, etc. Once I rest for a while, I check how I feel. Do I have enough steam to go back to the park? If so, I check to see which fastpasses are available. Maybe snag one. If not, I try to figure out something relaxing to do or hold up in the room. This version of pacing myself allows me rest time and pain monitoring. This leads me to my next point…..

You must pick the right resort. There are hotels resorts with inside entry and hot tubs. There are motel like resorts with your basic pools. There are villas and studios and 1 and 2 bedroom suites with kitchens and kitchenettes. There are campgrounds and cabins, treehouses, family suites, etc. There are accommodations on site and these accommodations will include your transfers to and from the airport and parks. There are offsite hotels at a lesser price tag but the don’t have the perks. Figure out what you need and stay there. Travel agents are the best for this. We use Dreams Unlimited Travel, but there are so many more. #notsponsored

Now think about how you are going to get there. Fly? Drive? Train? Bus? Redeye? What works best for you? If you are like me, sitting still too long locks me up. I have to fly. So, after numerous trial and error I have found that splitting your flights in half and having a nights rest before you hit the parks is ideal. Also it builds anticipation. You are in Disney World! Whaaat?!

Another important thing, what are you going to eat? There are so many choices are Disney. Not just cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets. Do you do the dining plan? Research the restaurants. The menus are online. Make your advanced dining reservations 6 months in advance. Snack credits can be used for small breakfast items and venti Starbucks coffees. Don’t forget about restaurants in resorts. They will be less busy during lunch and dinner time. Btw, you can also get these in a snack credit.

Mickey shaped food tastes better

Check your gear. Make sure you have the right shoes. If you buy new shoes, break them in BEFORE leaving. Wear comfortable breathable clothing. As a coaster enthusiast, I find the men’s wrangler shorts with zipper side pockets are perfect. They also have zippered pants if you are layering in the winter. They breathe. Oh, you need sunscreen and ID. Your magic band is your park ticket, wallet if you link a credit card, door key, and it talks to the posters and things in certain ride queues. Your smart phone is ideal to have for wait times, fastpass, and dining reminders. They also have mobile ordering at select restaurants throughout the parks. Talk about skip the line.

Now you’re there and wandering the parks. HYDRATE. Coffee is a diuretic. So drink water. You can get free water at some restaurants in Disney World. Intake SALTS. Powerade is on most fountain drink stations. You don’t need a lot. If you are not on the dining plan, bring some powdered electrolytes and pour them in your water. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Take breaks. Go into shops for air con (a/c). Go back to your resort and rest. Float in the pool for a break for your joints. If your hotel has a whirlpool, take advantage of it. Sleep in when you need to. Go to bed early if you need to. Don’t forget that ibuprofen can help, but use it sparingly.

Most of all, HAVE FUN!

Travelling

And so the trip begins. Ah, but where did we leave off. Oh yes, about a month ago.

Lots has happened. I lost about 7 pounds. I am training a 5k. Got my time down from 1:02 to 53 minutes.

This is a pretty good one.
More improvement
Maintenance run
Another maintenance run
Past goal!

I am also working out on my total gym. Here’s what’s crazy. I have had that thing for….oh… 3 years ish. Did you know it doubles as a traction table? I feel lucky and like an idiot all in one emotion. YouTube has some good instructionals up. I get a good full body workout twice a week.

We are aboard a Canadiar jet via United heading to LAX. Small plane. Kinda worn. Great crew. I am ok in my seat. I fit better. I am not looking forward to the crowded 737 we will be boarding for our red eye. But, I am grateful they didn’t cancel or change our flights. This is why I love United. I have been flying with them for years when they were continental. Always good flights. I do have fun on short hops with Southwest too. I like the snarky flight attendants. But United is my favorite carrier.

LAX to MCO and its almost past my bedtime. I will write more soon. The drive is real. So feel it. Listen to it. It’s working for me.