Coping with Fibromyalgia in the Summer Heat

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • I recently returned from five days in Louisville where I attended my cousin’s wedding and helped celebrate my grandson’s 5th birthday.  Since I have such a severe problem with heat, I don’t usually travel when there’s any chance temperatures will get above 75 degrees.  But since others don’t plan births and weddings around my heat issues, sometimes it can’t be avoided. 

    Particularly frustrating was the fact that it was cool in Louisville the week before I went and cooled down again the day after I left.  Unfortunately, while I was there it was hot and humid.  And to make matters worse, the wedding was outdoors.  Luckily, I was able to stay indoors until the last possible minute.  I literally took my seat as the bridesmaids started down the aisle.  Then as soon as the bride and groom disappeared back up the aisle, I made a beeline for the air-conditioned building where the reception was being held.
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    Although I managed to survive and even enjoy the wedding festivities, I paid for allowing myself to get overheated.  I spent the rest of my trip trying not to show just how sick I was.  And since I’ve been home, it’s taken me several days to get back to “normal.” 

    This experience has caused me to once again consider two issues I’ve thought about often.
    1. Why do I work so hard at putting on a brave front?  I think it’s a combination of not wanting to be considered a wimp and not wanting to spoil everyone else’s fun.  It’s not like I consciously think about it –– I just seem to do it instinctively.  But most of the time that brave front proves to be costly for me.
    2. While people with fibromyalgia are usually sensitive to either cold or heat, the majority seem to be most bothered by cold.  I often wonder if cold sensitivity is as life limiting as my heat sensitivity.  In the summer months, I seldom leave my house except to run essential errands (in an air-conditioned car).  When it turns cold, I can be outdoors but find that most people crank up the heat indoors to the point I have to leave within a short time.  My problem with heat is so bad that I’ve often thought, if somehow I miraculously had the option of getting rid of either the pain or the heat sensitivity and living with the other, I’d choose to live with the pain.  As bad as the pain can be, it doesn’t limit my life as severely as the heat sensitivity does. 

    I should clarify here, that my pain usually stays within the mild to moderate range.  I’m sure if my pain levels were significantly higher and unrelenting, I would feel quite differently.

    Hopefully the really hot days are behind me for this year and fall weather should be arriving within a couple of weeks, bringing with it a much-anticipated and appreciated burst of energy. 

Published On: September 29, 2007