Fibromyalgia symptoms can add stress to any social situation. Case in point was an outdoor wedding I recently attended. I knew my two most serious challenges would be dietary restrictions for IBS and temperature sensitivity. Anticipating my needs and preparing for them as best I could added a third challenge: stress. What if I forgot something?
I was very grateful that the invitation to this wedding included a choice of three meals. One of them was perfect for my sensitive stomach as well as my worst IBS trigger — gluten intolerance. That was a huge item off my list of needs.
Because I’d attended a similar event the previous year, I thought I had the perfect dress to wear — until I tried it on three weeks before the wedding. That’s when I finally got the message my frequently unbuttoned jeans had been sending me. Strict adherence to my IBS-D diet had yielded the desired result. I’d gained back much of the weight my severe symptoms had caused me to lose before I’d bought and worn the dress.
This was bad news given my unusually high fatigue level for the past several months. In an attempt to feel better I’d scheduled many helpful therapies — everything from massage to acupuncture to psychotherapy. And then there were the necessities of life — like grocery shopping, laundry, etc. I’d lived with FM long enough to know that pacing was the only way I could make it through the day. That meant limiting myself to one major activity. For me, an hour’s massage or a trip to the grocery store definitely qualified as one major activity. In short, I had neither the time nor the energy to shop for another dress.
I turned to the internet where, luckily for me and for my wallet, summer sales were in progress. Sadly, all the choices were sleeveless. At my age and with my flabby arms, me in a sleeveless dress is not a pretty sight. My vanity would require a fashionable shrug. But I would need the weather gods on my side. Heat intolerance would have me ripping off every piece of nonessential clothing regardless of what lay beneath. In case of a breeze, I’d be happy.
I ordered a couple of dresses with matching shrugs in a couple of sizes and was pleasantly surprised when they arrived. I’d only grown one size, and the style I’d chosen hid my bulging middle.
That was the good news. My legs were another story. When you live your life in long pants or capris, two stark white legs is a jarring sight. And what if it were cool? I resurrected my one pair of pantyhose from the back of my sock drawer and tried them on as well. My concern was that the elastic might have disintegrated with age. It not only survived, but thrived! They were agonizingly tight around my waist. I felt like I was being sliced in half.
A quick stop at a department store solved that problem. After pleading my case to the lingerie clerk, the perfect pair of pantyhose appeared. It had no band around the waist at all. Instead, the top 5 inches were soft, stretchy lace. I was delighted — until I saw the price tag: $36.95! I hoped for a misprint, but no such luck. I left feeling guilty about the money I’d spent but completely convinced that comfort was everything. My “fibro hose” were worth the price.
Now the food situation was under control, and I had my arms and legs covered in case of cool weather. However, in the event it was hot, all bets (and extra coverings) would be off. While considering this as I left the store, I found the perfect receptacle for my possibly unneeded items on a clearance rack. Not only did the purse I found match my dress, it was the perfect size to hold a shrug and my extravagant hose. It could also hold a gluten-free appetizer to accompany the one glass of wine my IBS allowed me. I was finally prepared to be a fibromyalgia wedding guest.
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