Fms Community Newsletter #91

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A few weeks back we asked you, the readers, to send us your thoughts, hints, and tips for dealing with day to day chores like cleaning and shopping.

You responed and we collected the information. What you are about to read is information submitted by your fellow subscribers. Real people who live with Fibromyalgia and other conditions every day.

We want to thank those who contributed, there are some words of wisdom here for all of us.

Jane Kohler

All letters are being posted with no editing or changes.


The number one thing I did to remove extra work and stress from my life, so I could manage my house without killing myself, was to get rid of clutter.

Do you find yourself spending a half an hour cleaning a corner of a room? If so, see what you are cleaning around. Do you need that stack of decorative boxes? Is that sculpture really important to you? Important enough to move it, dust behind it, ferret out pet hair etc.? If not, get rid of it.

Get rid of old magazines that keep your magazine racks heavy to move, offer them to others on or toss them out. You will be thankful when you can move the rack and sweep without straining.

Are you lifting 8 bowls out of a cabinet to get the one you use the most? If so, do you need all of the other bowls you lift every day but never use? Again, put them on freecycle or toss them out.

Once I looked around the house with a critical eye and saw what I cleaned or moved every day, that I never used it made my life easier and less demanding physically.

Get rid of clutter, unused furniture that you clean around, shoes that no longer fit, magazines, toys your kids don't play with but take out to get to something else, pans you have to lift to get to a favorite and anything else you move, lift or clean that you do not use.


* Using Mr. Clean Eraser Pads/Pampered Chef Plastic Scrapers - are great on post and pans, stoves and counter tops. I use a Pampered Chef plastic
scraper to get the hard stuff off the pans and then the Mr. Clean Eraser pad with a little dish detergent to clean the rest.

* Scrubbing out the tub and walls - I bought an extra broom and use it to scrub out the tub. Also great when scrubbing the floors, just spray/pour cleaning solution directly on the floor, add water to floor and scrub with
broom. Then, use a mop to clean up/mop up the residue on the floors until all is clean.

* Laundry - buy netted totes to sort laundry in. This saves time and lost of back strain when it's time to do the laundry. Not to mention keeping the laundry off the floor in neat tote containers.

* Meals - preplan meals for each week. If you can precook anything on the weekends, it make life so much easier after a work day, when the pain and fatigue are at their worst, to just reheat dinner, than to stand there and start from scratch.

* Backpack on wheels - I use this to carry my personal stuff to and from work, instead of a regular carry bag that I have to hold and lift. I find that this does not tire me out as much and causes me less pain in the end.



White Vinegar is WONDERFUL to clean with if your sensitive to the smell you can dilute it up to 1/2 and 1/2. just get a large spray bottle, you can hook it on your pants and put a rag on top of the bottle to make it
all easier to carry. the smell goes away within minutes.

I have extremely hard water...i walk through my house and spray all sinks, toilets, showers/ bathtubs, any suraface that needs cleaned and go back later that day and wipe it off or rinse it off, it comes clean no effort.

if you have stuck on items on any aplliance or pans the backsplash for your stove or the hood of your stove (you may have to leave your home for about an hour or do this in a WELL ventialated area) a spray of oven cleaner gets any appliance or pots/ pans clean- sparkling! Spray and go back later to wipe off.

I have 4 dogs, 1 cat, a turtle and 4 aquariums in my house. it can get smelly no matter how clean you and your house are. it is hard to keep all of the animals clean all of the time. my dogs and cat are house
trained and they all go o ut to use the bathroom. i have a fenced in yard and my cat goes on a tie out- no stinky litter box. i spray my carpet and my furniture with vinegar 1 x a week to remove any animal smells.

i cover my furniture with old sheets when no one is home to keepthe animal hair out of the fabric, regular charcoal removes oders with out leaving a fragrance. use any
plastic container and cut lots of little holes in the top and just put a few pieces of charcoal in it and hide it in each room. I use it in every room of my house. Change monthly.


Hope this helps someone.
Liane Fowler


Another product I found handy is Clorox Cleanup in a spray bottle. There are also refills, but I haven't found hem yet. This is a good product for countertops and Kitchen appliances. But one must not be sensitive to Chlorine.

I also very much like the Swiffer products, especially the duster, the sweeper and the floor washer. I don't think I'd bother with the Swiffer vac, however. There are ompeting products, such as Pledge brand, that I haven't
tried but I expect would be as good or better.

I also use a good detergent such as Tide, All or Cheer and wash on cold to save money. That way too unless a dark is brand new, I can usually wash whites and colors together.



This isn't exactly spring cleaning; it's more of a daily chore. I worry that the time may come that I can not take care of my cats. A long handled litter scoop and chairs have made it much easier to clean the litter box.

I switched to a non-clay litter (World's Best litter scoopable, extra strong, works well for me and my two ats. It's made from corn) There are also litters made from paper, wheat, wood, etc. They are much lighter than clay which helps A LOT when you are filling the box and
disposing of the used litter.

Scoopable is more expensive than non-scoopable litters, but is easier to handle. You scoop out the clumps and feces daily which is easier than emptying, cleaning and refilling the whole box. I use jumbo litter boxes that are filled more that recommended. This means I have a little leeway if I absolutely can't scoop them out on a particular day.

The cat's and the neighbors seem to be okay with this. Replace the hole boxful every 3 -6 weeks instead of every few days.

You can to divide the scooping and cleaning tasks. I have two boxes and sometimes scoop one and do the other later. The boxes are in different rooms and each is near a chair I can sit in while scooping. Sitting saves me a lot of back pain because I'm not leaning over. Easier on the knees as well.

Sitting while attending to the box means a longer litter scoop is needed. I don't know why no one has marketed such a thing, but you can make your own.

I used a 7/8 or 1" dowel rod (sometimes the store will cut it for you to the desired length; three feet seems to work best for me). A broom handle also works. Attach a large, heavy duty regular scoop to the rod with duct several layers of duct tape. If the scoop doesn't lie exactly next to the rod just use more duct tape.

My cats seem satisfied with the litter box, and I continue to get lots of cuddles and purrs. :-)
Owned and supervised by Lilli and Cricket


When going grocery shopping make out a list of dinners and what you are going to have with them.....
meatloaf, mashed potato, gravy, salad with dressing.
Put what you need on a list. You get everything you need for dinners and leftovers can be used for lunch along with egg salad, tuna, grilled cheese. It has made my life easier. I look at the list in the morning and decide
which one I'm going to make depending on how I feel. There are simple ones like hamburger and salad to chicken parm. You can even go for a few days meals.

Debbie Evans


Pacing is crucial - avoid push/crash lifestyle by figuring out what you can do without causing a flare (even for specific activities like standing, shopping, driving, etc.), and then plan to do NO more than that - regardless. If you are working your way out of a flare, do only half what you think you can do, and rest the other half of the time.

Be easy on your body - keep your hips toward your work, don't twist your back while carrying a load, sit to work if you can. Carry laundry, etc. close to the body. ASK for HELP! If you can get some time with a good occupational therapist, you may be able to learn a great deal about more gentle ways to treat your body. My OT helped me with lots of little things that add up to a big change for me.

Learn all you can about your condition. Educate the ones you are close to - family, friends, etc. Explain how this illness will likely impact them. Help them understand that it is a chronic illness - you're not just tired and can get a good night's sleep and be your usual self. This is it. You will learn to manage it to maximize what you can do, but it's not going to get "all better"

PRIORITIZE according to your life values. You can NO LONGER DO IT ALL! You have a chronic illness! You are ill! (can you tell this was hard for me?) So do the things that you value most highly with the energy you have. Hire household help if you can afford to do so. Or maybe just tolerate less perfect housekeeping. I retired early because time with family was more important to me than working/career, and it was financially possible for me to do.

Connect with some support group for others with FMS or CFIDS. It means so much to be able to share with someone who truly understands! There are a number of them, from groups that meet in person to on-line groups. The Arthritis organization lists groups in many locations. There is even an on-line course to learn about these illnesses at: and there are online groups formed from the alums of the course. I can highly recommend the course. Life-changing for me.

I know I could think of more, but if I don't just send this I won't do it. And I am sure you will get lots of tips.

Sharyn Smith
Corvallis, OR