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Posted By : Booklvr - 3/25/2017 1:16 AM
I have been struggling for a couple of years with the continuous flare ups I get during winter months. I live in Canada so winter is a LONG time. There are about 9 months of the year that are too cold for me.

I work part time from hone so the isolation doesn't help at all. I fight depression because of it and ling for the summer or for the weeks on vacation during the winter.

This year my husband and I did an experiment. I left Canada for 6 weeks and went to Southern California. It was marvelous! I had a whole month where I didn't get a flare up! I can't get through a week at home without having one.

I walked outdoors every day. I haven't felt that good in years. The downside was that my husband wasn't with me. He can't take that much time off of work. Being apart was hard. I didn't like it at all and don't want to repeat that experience.

Before this experiment we thought that if I felt better in that climate then I would just start to spend 2-3 months of the winter living in the South. That won't work. I'm glad we tried it but it isn't a good solution for us.

Here's the real catch that makes this very complicated. My husband is a real home-body. He likes familiarity and routine. He's never lived anywhere but the city where we currently live. BUT after much discussion he's agreed to move someplace else if it will give me a better quality of life.

I feel so scared and guilty. We don't have many options for where to go. Sadly the USA won't work because of the current immigration tensions.

I found out that the Dominican Republic is a place that has easy residency requirements. There is real potential for us to go there.

I lived in Chile foe a few years in my 20s so I have a good idea of what to expect. I know it can be hard.

I don't know if I can do this to my husband. BUT, I don't know how to manage without moving. I can't stand these long winters full of pain and isolation.

My hubby is a tech guy so he could work from home if we get creative.

There are some beautiful, American/Canadian expat areas in the Dominican. Very developed and modern.

I don't know if I can/should do it. Toss everything... sell the house and move my husband and 3 cats to a foreign country. Omg... I'm so torn about this.

My only other option is to stay in Canada but move to Vancouver where winters are milder. No guarantee that it will make a difference for me though. But the move would be easier.

Please help. I've been going in circles on this and it's killing me. My husband is a sweet and gentle person. I don't want to hurt him and I don't know if a big move will do that. If I stay locked up in the cold like I am now though, I doubt I will be okay... physically or mentally.
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Fibromayalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Insomnia, Hashimoto Disease, Endometriosis, Pernicious Anemia

Posted By : Sherrine - 3/25/2017 6:48 AM
Well, you asked for opinions so this is mine. I wouldn't do it. There are no guarantees that you won't have flares someplace else. You don't know how your body would react to all the humidity, tropical storms and hurricanes that happen in the Dominican Republic. And this possibly could affect your marriage. I know your husband has agreed to do this to try to help you but he really doesn't want to leave Canada. If you moved and still had flares...possibly more flares...he definitely wouldn't be a happy camper.

I moved to Florida from Cleveland, Ohio to be close to my mother. I do feel better but still get flares, especially in the summer, when the humidity and storms hit. We usually get storms every afternoon. It cools it down a little but the air is thick with humidity. Part of why I feel better, too, is I have learned more things to help myself with fibro. I didn't know how to use a computer back then and there was no World Wide Web either where I could learn about my health issues. But I know a lot more now. I take supplements and a prescription muscle relaxer that was not suggested to me when I lived up north. All of this has helped me.

Things you can do to help yourself would be keep your body warm. You can wear insulated underwear under your clothing and that really helps. I did that when I had a trip to Germany in the winter months. I had never thought about using long underwear when I lived up north. Duh! You can have a little space heater by you. Here in Florida I have an electric blanket that helps plus I have throws all over the house. When you live in a tropical climate, your body becomes used to the heat so 50 degrees or colder has me freezing just like I did up north! (It's 60 degrees here right now and I have on a floor-length fleece robe and socks on my feet and my fingers are still like ice!) I bought a fleece cape that goes nearly down to my ankles and on chilly days I'll wear this over my slacks and sweaters. It makes it easier to get around the house and still be warm.

Barometric changes and temperature fluctuations affect me also. As I mentioned, it's 60 out right now but it will be 81 later today. So how do I handle these issues? I kept trying various things and found what works best for me. The muscle relaxer really has helped immensely. I don't take much so I don't have side effects from it. The prescription says that I can take up to 8 tablets a day but I only need two a day...one every twelve hours. I could even cut the tablets in half if I wanted to because the tablets are scored.

As far as walking goes, I used a walking in place video by Leslie Sansone when I was up north. I couldn't walk in the snow so this was the next best thing. Using it for only fifteen minutes a day gave the same amount of exercise as if I had walked one mile! So you can keep moving while being in the house.

Lastly, you are causing much more stress thinking about this, which is causing you more pain. We have many Canadian members, and even some members from Alaska, on this forum who have learned what helps them in the climate they live in. Try new things, talk to your doctor, etc. Besides, Canada is a wonderful and beautiful country and you would be leaving friends and most likely family behind. I don't think this would make you happy. When you were in California, you were just visiting and knew you would be back to see all the people you love. Moving lock, stock, and barrel is a completely different situation. The cost of moving would most likely prohibit you from moving back if you didn't like the Dominican Republic.

You may have flares but there is no place like home.

Sherrine

Forum Moderator/Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Glaucoma, Scoliosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
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God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Post Edited (Sherrine) : 3/25/2017 6:55:23 AM (GMT-6)


Posted By : Northernelf - 3/25/2017 8:54 AM
Booklvr - I too live in Canada - northern BC. I have had so many thoughts like you going through my mind ! Winters will be the death of me. I am miserable by January, if not before, tired of the pain and cold. I definitely flare so much in winter and can never get warm. I fought to have the house at 20C and I am wearing sweaters watching tv with a blanket while my husband is in a t shirt. My hands and feet are chronically cold, I have even worn little gloves in the house.

Two winters ago I went to Phoenix (my folks are snow birds) and this winter we went to Mexico at Christmas and Hawaii in early March. Bliss. Relief. Was I pain free ? Not entirely but it was way better. Currently I am in Vancouver for Spring Break but it is very rainy...I couldn't move here because of that (not that we could afford it !). Our long term plans are either to become snow birds ourselves or to move down to the interior. When in warmer climates, or even our own summer if it's not too rainy, I can hike and bike and do things. That's how I want to live my life.

Another thing - driving down to here through the pass absolutely KILLS me. I am talking serious joint pain, bilateral, in my limbs. I am almost in tears and I am not a crier. If we come down next year, I will fly and meet everyone here....seriously.

Good luck - I agree that no place will completely remove the pain or make it all better, but lately our winters have been a lot of ups and downs in temperatures. We were above freezing several times...brutal.

Posted By : puppylover - 3/25/2017 11:07 AM
Booklet, I live in Southern California. Moved here from the Midwest years ago.
We enjoy a very busy winter season here with all the snowbirds, from Canada and other north areas. Many stay the whole season.

I do feel much better here. But even though we don't get much rain we do have fronts come in with barametric changes. Then I have a flare and/or migraine. I would not be able to live some where that has high humidity or storms. I would feel much worse then I do now.
I hope you are able to come up with a solution that is good for both you and your husband.
Puppylover
And on the eighth day God created Golden Retrievers.

Posted By : Booklvr - 3/25/2017 6:22 PM
Thanks for the responses. I understand that moving to a new country could be a cruel thing to do to my husband. I told him this morning that we won't do that. I really want to but if he's unhappy there then that would be terrible.

So....I'm in Calgary, Alberta. A place known for its radical weather changes and barometric pressure fluxuations. I can't stay here. We're back to talking about White Rock, BC. I actually think Victoria would be better... it's at least a bit more south. But my sister and her boyfriend live in White Rock so we'd know people there.

Honestly guys... I'm shaking as I type this. the depression is so overwhelming that I feel like I'm drowning. I take antidepressants already but I am absolutely drowning. I can't stand it anymore... feeling like crap every day... knowing when I wake up that I'm already in pain and fatigued.

I don't have anyone to talk to who has even an inkling of what this is like. I feel like I'm dying. I don't have the energy or physicality to do much of anything. I'm totally isolated and so bored. I do my work to try and keep busy. I paint... yet I'm still struggling. I don't know what to do.
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Fibromayalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Insomnia, Hashimoto Disease, Endometriosis, Pernicious Anemia

Posted By : Sherrine - 3/25/2017 8:04 PM
I feel so bad for you. Have you been thoroughly checked out lately? Are you getting worse and worse? The reason I'm asking is that fibro isn't considered a progressive illness. about five years ago I started getting worse and worse. I had developed a bleeding ulcer from all the ibuprofen I had taken over the years so my gastroenterologist said no more NSAID's. I did as he said and headed downhill almost immediately. My pain increased greatly and within four months I nearly could not walk. The pain was excruciating and just trying to lift my foot slightly off the floor made me feel like I was going to pass out. Trying to get my legs in bed was a trick also. My daughter was coming over to clean my house because I couldn't walk to do it myself. I thought I was going to have to sell my home and move to assisted living.

My doctor tried Tramadol and also Vicodin to help with the pain but they didn't touch the pain. He finally said I should see a rheumatologist to see what was causing all of this pain because that was very unlike fibromyalgia. I saw a board certified rheumatologist and he did a complete work up on me including a lot of blood work and x-rays. It was determined I had ankylosing spondylitis and sacroiliitis on top of Fibro. These illnesses affect the back and I had thought all my back pain was caused by Fibro.

I was put back on ibuprofen because it was a quality of life issue and also was given a muscle relaxer and, Booklvr, this made a huge difference in my pain. I was also given a medication to help protect my stomach from ulcers and it's been five years and I'm doing just fine.

I'm telling you this because not everything is caused by fibro but many times we think the pain we feel is only caused by fibro. Calgary should have at least one teaching hospital and I sure would head over there and get checked out. You may be suffering needlessly.

I see you have pernicious anemia. Are you getting B12 shots for that or taking B12? I have anemia from Crohn's disease and take a very strong iron supplement to help me barely be in the normal range. But these help me. I do hope you are getting help for this problem.

Honestly try not to dwell on how you are feeling. If you are thinking about it a lot it's in the forefront and will help cause depression and anxiety which just makes things a lot worse. Focus on your art work and count your many blessings. Try to stay with positive thoughts. This has been proven to help people. It sure has helped me throughout the years. Go back to Fibro 101 and read the link on how to maintain a positive attitude when you have chronic pain. It really is very good and I reread it when I'm having a rough time.

I went on a Canadian Rockies by rail trip and visited both Calgary and Vancouver. Both cities are beautiful. I'm sure you and your husband will make the right decision for both of you. I do hope you get checked out though. You just might find out why you are suffering so badly, get the help you need, and be perfectly happy in Calgary and not have to move. That would be a win-win situation for you and your husband. Do let us know what you do because we do care about you.

Sherrine

Forum Moderator/Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Glaucoma, Scoliosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
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God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Posted By : Booklvr - 3/25/2017 8:28 PM
Thanks Sherrine. I am getting checked. I just had an MRI a couple of says ago. They are looking to see if I have MS.

I've also reduced my dosage of Lyrica from 900mg per day to 300 MG per day. That has been good for me. My head is clearer and I'm not having as many dizzy spells. I'll find out the results of the MRI next week but I think my symptoms were caused by the Lyrica.

I've also just had a full exam. Nothing is different other than what I mentioned above. I do get monthly B12 injections.

I don't think I'm getting worse. I think that as the years go by my condition is just making me miserable. I'm alone 75% of the time. Even when I try to stay positive it is tough because I'm alone and not distracted enough.

I have cats though. They are my company and I love them a ton. My eldest cat and I were extremely bonded. He died suddenly in September last year and that has contributed to the depression. I miss him a lot. He was the 'talker' and demanded conversation every day. It was nice.

I just need something more to my life than this. I'm trying to find a way to get that. 9 months of winter exhausts me too much to make a change here. I need to feel better so I can do better. The answer to that still eludes me.

I'll keep you posted on the MRI results. Thanks for writing to me.
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Fibromayalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Insomnia, Hashimoto Disease, Endometriosis, Pernicious Anemia

Posted By : Sherrine - 3/25/2017 8:50 PM
I've been living by myself for over 19 years after my husband died suddenly. I do get bored at times but my home and gardens keep me busy. I also love to read and I will also get online to learn new things. I have friends that I can go out to lunch with and that helps. But I went from five people in the family to just me. One daughter does live only a few miles from me and we are very close. My other two children live in the Cleveland area...over 1,200 miles from me. I miss them a lot.

I too lost my favorite cat one year ago and still will shed tears over him. But I still have one cat and a hyperactive Havanese dog that keeps me busy.

So I do understand where you are coming from. I do tire of doing things by myself so much and I miss interaction with my family. (Thank goodness for FaceTime!). But things could be worse and I do know I'm really blessed a lot. That helps. Perhaps you could do volunteer work to help keep you out and around other people.

I'm glad you are getting checked out. I hope they find what is causing you all of the pain.

Sherrine
Forum Moderator/Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Glaucoma, Scoliosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
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God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Posted By : Ljm2014 - 3/25/2017 9:27 PM
Hi booklvr,

Sorry this winter has been so hard..

Glad you are getting more testing

Please take care , whatever it is, you can get more help

Lj

Posted By : hope4 - 3/26/2017 4:39 PM
Booklvr,

I too am sorry that you have been feeling so bad. I too have depression and fibro. These conditions really can make each other worse.

I wanted to write to you because I moved last summer from the north to about as far south as possible. I have to admit that I don't miss the ice and snow, and endless grey days, but living here full time, I don't know that my fibro symptoms have lessened. When we visited, I always felt better, but as Sherrine said, vacations are different than a move.

I know that you said you decided against the big move to another country. I think that is good. We moved to a place where one of our children lives, and that helps a lot. I just wanted to mention that moving was really, really hard on my fibro - the physical move and all that goes with it. It turns out finding new doctors and appropriate care has been very difficult. It has been 9 months and I am still in search of some specialists.i knew it would be hard, but I didn't think it would be this difficult.

I hope wish you peace as you and your hubby make your decision. Sometimes a move can give us a new perspective on things.

Take care,
Hope

Posted By : Booklvr - 3/28/2017 11:42 PM
Hi again.... so the MRI results showed 4 lesions on my brain apparently in the area typical for for MS.

Brain lesions along with my other symptoms suggest MS. I've been referred to a nuerologist now. The specialist will know more than my family doc. I want to know if I have both fibro and MS or not.

I've done lots of research and so far I've had all of the symptoms for MS. But, those symptoms are very similar to fibro. What sets this apart is the brain lesions.

Sherrine was correct that there is more going on than just the fibro... I'm not even sure anymore if that's what I have.

I'm hoping the specialist appointment will be soon. I'd like to get on the correct meds and hopefully start to feel better. Thanks for the input everyone!
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Fibromayalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Insomnia, Hashimoto Disease, Endometriosis, Pernicious Anemia

Posted By : Sherrine - 3/29/2017 6:27 AM
Booklvr, I'm sorry about your diagnosis but now you know what you are working with. If you have fibro too, probably the medication that you will end up taking for MS will help with the fibro symptoms since many symptoms are the same.

We have a wonderful MS forum here on HealingWell. You should check in over there and I'm sure you will get help. It has to be frightening but there is medication that helps with MS. I believe the mod there is a full time teacher, too, so she knows how to help control the illness.

We have had members who have had fibro and MS so you aren't alone there. Do let us know how you are doing and come here with your questions too. You are part of our family and we do care about you. Now...smile! I do think you are now on the road to getting more help for your symptoms and also to feeling better.

Sherrine

Forum Moderator/Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Glaucoma, Scoliosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
************************
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Post Edited (Sherrine) : 3/29/2017 6:37:12 AM (GMT-6)


Posted By : Canadian_cj - 3/31/2017 5:22 PM
Hi there. I normally just lurk, but thought I'd mention that what helps me get through our seemingly never ending winters is visiting a tanning bed.

I have gone with and without using a high SPF sunscreen and don't find a difference in effectiveness.

There is just something about it that warms my bones to the core. And the physcholgical boost I feel from being surrounded by the warmth, the light breeze, and feel of "sun" on my face while tropical music plays is amazing. During the winter months, I tend to take this mini vacation about once a week. I don't think the clerks there understand, as I don't actually go for the tan, but I'm okay with that ;)

Maybe ask your doctor if it is safe for you to try with SPF??

IMHO, the biggest problem with moving to a warmer climate full time for medical reasons would be the loss of our Canadian healthcare....those snowbirds come back for a reason!

Posted By : Sherrine - 4/1/2017 6:13 AM
Hi, Canadian_cj, and welcome! That's a great idea! I've never been in a tanning bed but I would imagine you come out toasty warm. It would be like a mini-vacation also. Thanks for sharing.

It's really good you wear sunscreen too because people can get skin cancer from tanning beds...just like they can from the sun. Another suggestion I would make is to see a dermatologist once a year just to keep yourself safe. I live in Florida and see a dermatologist twice a year because of all my sun exposure. When I lived up north I never saw a dermatologist because I spent much more time house-bound plus I never used tanning beds.

In my humble opinion, the snowbirds head back to Canada because it has warmed up there. They love their beautiful country and the family and friends they left behind to come to our warmer climate for only a few months.

Be sure to read Fibro 101...the first thread on the forum. There are links to good info about fibro and you will learn a lot there.

Do start an introductory thread so our members will know you have arrived! I'm so glad you decided to join in.

I'm looking forward to getting to know you better. Don't hesitate to ask questions because we are here to help you. Hope to hear more from you soon.

Sherrine

Forum Moderator/Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Glaucoma, Scoliosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
************************
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Posted By : Orange Cat - 6/28/2017 10:33 AM
My husband and I recently made the decision to move to Belize. After taking a long sabbatical in Belize to improve my health, we realized that the fresh air, pace of life, warmth, and sea were doing my health a world of good.

In the past, I was the primary earner for our family. Unfortunately, I am not able to work full-time anymore because of my fibromyalgia. We knew that moving somewhere with a lower cost-of-living would help us stretch our incomes farther, and luckily my husband has a career opportunity here.

As well, unfortunately I suffered a setback during our stressful moving process, and am in the midst of a major flare. Because the cost of living is so much lower here than in the United States, I am able to hire some household help to do chores while I am unable to do them.

We miss our friends and family a lot, though now of course we live in an exciting destination and have already had visitors a couple of times. I know that living here is the best decision I could have made for my health, and I am so glad to be somewhere warm and relaxing.

I would recommend checking Belize out. There are many Canadian ex-pats in Belize, where the primary language spoken is English. As well, Queen Elizabeth is on our money, so you will not feel so far from home. smile

Posted By : jeanneac - 7/1/2017 8:36 AM
I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis Brooklvr. Now you are dealing with a whole different disease totally. No wonder you were feeling so bad and in so much pain. I guess you know that here in the US, health care gets extremely expensive. Your hubby would have to get a job with very good insurance and then the meds would still be very pricey. I find that I do better in a climate that has less fluctuation in barometric pressure. I live in the NW section of Florida and we get tons of rain in the summer. It's not a good time of the year for me at all. It might take a year in a new place for you to know if it is better for you or not. Best of luck to you. Do you take Vitamin D? You might want to get a prescription for the weekly dosing.
Sjogrens syndrome 2/15 via lip biopsy: Seronegative RA , fibromyalgia
colitis-resection 11/10, hashimoto's thyroiditis, morphea, GERD
Meds: plaquenil, synthroid, Januvia, nexium, restasis, estrogen patch, prometrium, VSL #3, evening primrose oil, Omega 3 supplement-Maxi Tears.

Posted By : Acheybody - 7/3/2017 12:10 AM
Booklvr,

I haven't been around here much for a while, but I remember you fondly from "the old days," and I'm so sorry you've been feeling rotten!

Did you ever get a definitive diagnosis, or are you still having to wait? That's got to be tough. One of my brothers-in-laws has MS, and has had a hard time of it, so of course I hope it's not what you have....then again, it doesn't affect everyone the same way or to the same degree, as I'm sure you know.

In any case, I'm hoping for the best for you. Please do let us know.

Debbie
Moderator, Fibromyalgia Forum

Fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, discectomy L4-L5 - (w/lots of Sciatic Nerve damage), frozen shoulder, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, IBS, migraine, dizziness (mostly from visual stimuli), elevated liver enzymes, tachycardia, hearing loss (probably Menieres).

Posted By : Blueskies7 - 8/25/2017 1:26 PM
Have any of you all heard of a biomat? I'm thinking a biomat would help you Booklvr, so much!!
It uses infrared heat and warms your body from the inside out. They are expensive, but honestly so worth it from what I've heard (I haven't bought one yet but will in time for winter). They use them in the clinic I go to to help reduce inflammation and raise core body temperature, detoxing, among other things. They also really help with sleep. So if you get a normal sized biomat you can sleep on it in your bed. If you get a mini biomat you can move it around and take it on trips and use it on recliners etc etc.

I'm hoping to get one I can sleep on, because it will help me stay warm all night and help my body relax.

The ones that people I know use are richway biomats. They are a registered medical device so I think in the US insurance might cover it. I'm not sure about Canada though.

Orange Cat I have visited Belize! And yes the Queen on the coins was comforting smile I'm an Australian but live in the US, and was traveling with Americans at the time. You're making me want to move to Belize..!

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