May 13, 2014

Riding in Pain

Motorcycling with Fibromyalgia has it's unique set of challenges. Last year when we were riding in North Carolina I learned about Candidiasis, a yeast infection that can affect the entire body on the skin. As I continued to push myself in the damp and the rain, my body swelled up and ached badly from this skin infection. Certain foods contributed to this, so I've eliminated most of them since and I've purchased better rain gear.

What I hadn't counted on was dry heat causing a flare up of my symptoms. Riding from Scottsdale to San Diego in the afternoon sun seemed like a long ride for me, but not a dangerous one. After 195 miles from Scottsdale Whole Foods where we had lunch with Genevieve Schmitt of Women Riders Now, I had to take a break at the Dateland Travel Center. I was in great pain but I couldn't understand why. I had been drinking plenty of water, eaten a very healthful lunch, rested well, but this pain was more extreme than usual.

Hopping back on my V*Star I was determined to get to San Diego to see my daughter, but when we rolled into Yuma, only 60 miles later, I could barely move. Just slowing the bike down at the end of the off ramp I nearly dropped it. My legs, arms, hand and shoulders weren't working as I commanded them to. Even thinking hard about how I wanted my body to perform didn't garner the usual results. My hubs Side Road Steve got us a motel room immediately and helped me get into bed. Howling in pain, I couldn't think straight. Confusion and fear set in.

"Do we need to go to the E.R.?" he pleaded.

"No, no, no. I just need to take some meds and rest."

Another medical bill is all I needed to add to the pain. Even with insurance, a good portion of my income goes to managing my Fibromyalgia. Between massages, physical therapy, medicines, doctor appointments, acupuncture, homeopathic treatments, creams, wraps, braces and supplements, I would estimate about 1/4 of all I earn is spent trying to ease my pain. The pain I was experiencing in Yuma was excruciating, with no end in sight.

I needed to get back to San Diego because my daughter and son-in-law were coming to visit the next day. Disappointing her wasn't an option for me, but I was truly physically beaten. I wept in bed as my hubs fed, massaged, cooled and stroked me. After a few hours the cramps and pain subsided, but I was exhausted.

The next morning we awoke at 5am and hit the road by 6am, tearing through those last 180 miles effortlessly in the cool wind. We went on to visit with my daughter and attend her ultrasound, getting little glimpses of my grandson sucking his toes.
Subsequently I determined I hadn't been wearing my wet vest and my body overheated. After seeing my doctor, she discussed this with me and reminded me that I must take extra steps to prevent my symptons if I want to continue to ride.

People ask my why I continue to ride, even though it causes me such pain.

"Lying on the couch I'm still in pain. I don't want to die on my couch. I don't want to live on a couch. If I'm going to be in pain I would rather be in pain on a motorcycle."


  1. God Bless you Sash...and what a cutie sucking it's thumb...What a wonderful Grandma you will be and such a inspiration..You are a true trooper..<3

  2. Boy I feel for you. I do know about back pain. It's debilitating. I took myself off 3 meds this past year just by diet alone. If you come up with a pain free ride solution please share. Congrats on your grandson!

  3. Tina, I wish you the best. I knew you had Fibromyalgia but had no idea you were in so much pain a great deal of the time. What you experienced in Yuma sounded awful. I'm glad you have a great attitude and a positive spirit. I'm sure seeing your grandsons ultrasound photo brightened your day. Take care of yourself!


  4. Yes I understand, if you are going to be in pain, it might as well be on two wheels.

    I didn't know that heat had so much to do with the symptoms. Good thing Highway was there to take care of you until the symptoms subsided.


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