This morning, I woke up with a nagging ache in my hip joint and a bright red butterfly-shaped blush over my cheeks. The realization of an impending chronic pain flare struck me, and I prepared to feel the usual dread that accompanies it.
But this time was different. This time I was prepared, and instead of feeling hopeless and terrified, I felt empowered.
This didn’t happen by accident. My empowerment was hard-earned. I have suffered from chronic pain for sixteen years, and for the first ten of those, I was lucky enough to only have a handful of flares to add to the constant, underlying pain. And eventually, I learned to cope with that constant pain, so my life was almost “normal”. The past six years, however, have brought new diagnoses, and dozens of new symptoms, and the last ten months have been the hardest of my life. I developed symptoms I never expected, and my flares went from few and far between to taking up almost half of my time.
Two weeks of each month, I was bedridden. Those new symptoms were impacting my feet, so I couldn’t stand or walk. Then I started a blog, and began to have hope. Until those new symptoms began impacting my hands, and I couldn’t type. My plans for the future had to change. Again. And I was terrified.
It took me two full months after my hands began to hurt to pick myself up and start looking for options. I found a website called The Mighty, and read stories written by people who were suffering the same way I was. No longer alone, I found the courage to own my illness and take control of my life and my flares in a way I never had before.
I spent weeks researching the best tools to help me cope at home. I spoke to my doctors, my physical therapist, and my friends who also have chronic illnesses. Every day, I scoured The Mighty for any and all tips on living with chronic pain. And then I created a plan.
Well, not a plan, so much as a tool kit. My Chronic Pain Survival Kit. Maybe I felt a bit like a doomsday prepper, but that was a small price to pay for the peace of mind I got from knowing that I had a plan and supplies in place to make the worst days a little bit better.
The following list contains affiliate links, meaning I may receive compensation for purchases made through those links. I only recommend products I have tried and loved. Feel free to read my full disclosure policy for more information.
Here’s a peek inside my kit:
For Pain Management:
- A high-heat heating pad
- A portable TENS unit
- Arthritis compression gloves
- Biofreeze roll on
- ThermaCare heat wraps
- Prelief acid reducer
- Panty liners
- Frankincense essential oil
- My medications in this cute organizer
- A list of what medications to take when – because, Fibro Fog is very real
To Keep the Meds from Turning My Body into the Sahara:
- Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
- Neutrogena Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen
- Gold Bond Healing Lotion with Aloe
- A cute cup for water
To Track Symptoms and Flares:
So I Can Move, if that Happens to be my Thing that Day:
- A fluffy down alternative blanket
- BOBS by Skechers slippers – because I can’t handle being barefoot anymore
- LuLaRoe leggings and tops
- An Amazon Kindle Fire Kids to occupy my daughter
- An extra cell phone charger
- A Roku – so I can watch Netflix
So, what do I do with all this stuff?
All the small and portable items go into this cute bin (not an affiliate link) I got from Target so I can carry them with me. The big, fluffy blanket lives on my couch with my heating pad, so those are always in place where I need them. I’ve been basically living in LuLaRoe and Skechers since my feet and hips started joining in the fun, so those are pretty much constantly on my person. The extra cell phone charger stays plugged in beside the couch, and I have a Roku in the bedroom and the living room for Netflix binges.
If you’re working on building your own Flare Day Survival Kit, I highly recommend the items above – as needed for your own personal symptoms, of course.
What would you add to your Flare Day Survival Kit? Let me know in the comments!