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Adrienne Dellwo

Organizing Your Purse With Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By October 25, 2011

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Little things can make a big difference in your symptoms. And when you have the dozens of symptoms that come with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, you've got to get relief where you can.

I've learned some lessons about carrying a heavy purse. It's hard to keep it light when you have to carry a variety of medications, prescription sunglasses, odds and ends for the kids, etc. And I do carry certain things that help me deal with my illness. However, if it gets to be too much it really exacerbates the pain in my neck and shoulder.

It's pretty typical for women to keep stuffing things in their purse until they're about to burst, but we need to break that habit. It starts with the kind of purse you choose, then extends to what you put in it.

For the things I try to do to keep my purse light while still carrying what I need see:

What helps you keep your purse from getting too heavy? What things have you learned that you really need to have in it? Leave your comments below!

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Comments
October 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm
(1) Lolo says:

I use a pouch on my wrist and rarely ever carry a purse anymore. You can buy them on Amazon. i also have a “bra pocket” if I need more space. My neck and arms can no longer stand to carry anything

November 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm
(2) Heimkinosysteme Test says:

I have a stomach pouch and can also advise you to wear super easy.

October 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm
(3) Lolo says:

I use a pouch on my wrist and rarely ever carry a purse anymore. You can buy them on Amazon. i also have a “bra pocket” if I need more space. My neck and arms can no longer stand to carry anything

October 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm
(4) Carol Ann says:

I’ve switched to clutch purses only. Surprisingly, I can get everything I need in there. If I don’t absolutely NEED it, it doesn’t go in there. I also have disc protrusions in my neck along with cervical radiculopathy, so was tired of the weight that shoulder bags allow. I’ll never go back! If I really had to carry alot of stuff, I’d use my back pack.

October 26, 2011 at 12:35 am
(5) Julie says:

I carry only a small over the shoulder purse that is big enough to hold my wallet, my phone and my sunglasses. There are a few other little odds and ends in the pockets (chapstick, migraine meds, etc). But there’s no room for me to stuff extra stuff so I don’t. This keeps it light. I also stick to purses made out of either cloth or some sort of synthetic material that is lightweight so that the purse itself isn’t adding weight.

October 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm
(6) janet says:

Me too Julie, If you don’t have room you can’t stuff things in. I have a small SafePac bag – I call it my pocket. Has a long strap that I wear across my body over shoulder to balance weight across myself. Only contains wallet, keys if i’m out of the car (I only take the keys I need for the trip I’m doing, no extras), a credit card folder and some medication strips and biros. I use my jacket pockets for loose change which I offload at home each night, as well as any papers or extra meds I might need for the day. If I need anything else, I have a bigger bag that I can leave in the car or at my desk, so I only have to carry it once or twice a day.

October 26, 2011 at 8:42 am
(7) Kathleen says:

I carry a small lightweight backpack. It holds a lot and spreads the weight evenly across my back and shoulders. I like to keep a variety of medications with me that will not fit in a small carry bag. I have grandchildren that always need something carried too.

October 26, 2011 at 11:11 am
(8) typingterror says:

I no longer carry a large purse either. My outings are the grocery store or post office which are very close so I do not need to carry much.

October 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm
(9) Kristin says:

I vary my bag so it isnt always on the same shoulder.

I have a good daily drug pack from a seven day tower so I not only have less drugs to carry, but also dont have to remember how many I have already taken/not taken!

I keep some stuff in my car or desk, so I dont need to take it every day – things such as tissues, hairbrushes etc.

I love the new all day lipsticks, and have my lashes dyed so dont need to redo makeup in the day. I also use mineral makeup, so on oily days just need a brush ready loaded, not everything.

Finally I dont carry pens, paper, memos, diaries etc, it all goes in my trusty iphone which is backed up – this even has all my passwords nice and safe on a special app.

This way I actually have a bit of spare room should I wish to buy myself a treat, or take a cereal bar or something with me too!

October 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm
(10) sharon says:

Like Julie I only carry a very small purse, just big enough for some money, credit card, notepad, etc. I carry it over my shoulder and switch back and forth between shoulders.

This year we took a trip and I bought a vest with four pocketsr. Was able to carry my passport and ticket in one, money in other, sunglasses and reading glasses in one and the last was four chapstick, kleenex and a very small camera. It worked wonderful, also great for an extra layer for keeping warm.

October 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm
(11) Spookiesmom says:

I have downsized my purse, but must have room to carry diabetic supplies. I always put it in a cart at the grocery, strap wrapped around my hand. If I need to carry it, it’s in my hand like a hand bag.

I’m looking for something even smaller, so far no luck

October 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm
(12) JUDI says:

AFTER SHOULDER SURGERY, I HAD TO GIVE UP THE BIG PURSE. I CARRY A SMALL CROSS SHOULDER BAG. PILLS GO IN A SMALL PLASTIC BAG. IF I FEEL I MAY NEED STUFF NOT IN MY BAG, I LEAVE A TOTE BAG IN THE CAR. ONCE YOU GET USED TO THE SMALL PURSE, YOU WILL WONDER WHY YOU EVER CARRIED ALL THAT STUFF. BELIEVE ME, YOUR SHOULDERS AND NECK WILL THANK YOU. FIBRO BE GONE!

October 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm
(13) Isabe4l says:

I also carry a small cross the body bag, with just necessities, I also have a skeletal bone disease and 2 arthritises, also spinal canal stenosis, ( nerves twisting around spine, slowly but surely), so put any extra things as I buy in my walking frame basket. I used to feel so very embarrased at aged 54 at the time I started to have to use it, now at 57, it is a WONDERFUL invention. I wouldn’t get about at all if my wonderful specialist hadn’t sorted out all the things I have and I have meds, taken in accordance with these, starting with 90 mg slow release morphine to take when pain wakes me about 4am each morning. BUT, I am lucky, I CAN still get about !!

October 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm
(14) JUDI says:

SO GLAD YOU ARE GETTING AROUND! I COMPLAIN ABOUT MY FIBRO AND THEN I HEAR FROM LADIES LIKE YOU WHO ARE NOT GIVING UP. I AM SURE YOU HAVE THAT POSITIVE ATTITUDE THAT MAKES DEALING W/ THE LIFE WE HAVE BEEN DEALT EASIER TO BEAR. YOU GO GIRL!

October 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm
(15) Vicki K says:

I have gone to buying cotton purses New With or w/o Tag by Vera Bradley, from eBay. VA Hospital gift shops carry a few ugly ones, but may be the size you need, and who cares?

I have several sizes and put them in a large tote bag which I leave in the car. Keep the medium one filled, and if need to, change to small, or carry the tote, whatever. So far this has worked for my neck and shoulders, cervical rad and myofascial pain and knots neck and shoulders. I found a better doctor this week, I am encouraged he can help me.

October 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm
(16) Lucy says:

I gave up on big purses years ago, after my neck fusion. I look for little ones that are more or less a billfold on a strap. I look for one that has a pocket big enough to hold my cell phone and car keys. Gave up on hauling all that other stuff (make-up, hairbrush, etc.). Stopped caring whether anyone thought I looked wonderful or not. Took the weight off my shoulders and reduced stress worrying about what others thought!

October 29, 2011 at 8:01 pm
(17) Leona says:

I gave up carrying a purse 9 years ago when I became too weak and forgetful. Instead I bought one of those airport carriers that hold your ID and boarding pass and go around your neck. Used that for ID, cash and any important papers, gum and a protein bar.(pockets in my clothes were out because I still had to carry the weight.)

Eventually, my health deteriorated until I needed a wheelchair, and the search was on for a decent set of wheelchair pockets to make a purse unnecesary. Finally I made a set because I couldn’t find what I needed. Such luxury–I now can carry both sunglasses and eyeglasses, a proper wallet, mailbox key, gum, my pocket calendar, a pen, nail clippers and my cell phone. I have no car, so spend a lot of time waiting for buses. I have a harmonica stashed to amuse myself with. I have a carbiner with several grocery sacks (rolled up and stuffed into a strawberry bag). I used to use bigger black ones, but these are cuter. When filled, they fit over the headrest of the wheelchair, so I can transport groceries home without pain.

October 30, 2011 at 12:23 am
(18) renee says:

I use either a cross-body purse or a backpack type of purse. My shoulders and arms dont handle any type of purse that has to be carried either on the shoulder of with my hands. I also try to get one that has some type of organizational pockets in it. The one I am using now has a built-in wallet and then multiple pockets for other uses. I always carry a pen and small notebook as well as my ipod (for relaxational music to de-stress). My iPhone has all my important info and reminder alarms on it. And of course the keys. Sunglasses go on my head when not on my face. And with that I am usually set. If I have a lot of appointments in one day, I will sometimes take a bag with my clipboard and word puzzle books with me. Or I have a small phone wall charger that fits in my purse so I can play games on my phone but not worry about running the battery down.

October 30, 2011 at 9:27 am
(19) Nitalynn says:

Working in retail we always had to do “purse checks” before leaving the store. That usually meant having to find a member of management before leaving. I finally decided that I was better off only carrying my wallet. I got one that offered the best in pockets and places to carry what I had to carry and started leaving my purse locked in the trunk and finally decided I did not need most of the junk anyway. If I have to have it I put it in the trunk and only carry the wallet to the places I don’t need it and only bother with it at the pharmacy and so forth where I have something in it I need to get out. I do have a supply of medications I need in an emergency in it and change it out with new pills when I get a new prescription so they don’t get old. I usually have some a small fold up umbrella in the glove compartment of the car and Kleenex or wipes and some antacid tablets in my purse. That is it. My only problem is that sometimes it stays in the trunk for days at the time and especially in the summer I have to be careful because of the medication both because heat is bad for most drugs and the security issue with some of the drugs involved so I do not talk about it being there to co-workers and neighbors and so forth.

October 31, 2011 at 12:05 am
(20) Lyn Armstrong says:

I had to give up on a regular purse years ago. I seem to cart more & more “stuff” around all the time, so now I use a nice leather backpack type of “purse”. Works like a darn, & wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner ! I used to use shoulder purses, but now with arthritic shoulders, plus a bone spur on one, there’s just no-way now. Can’t use a regular hand held purse either, with arthritis in my hands. Only tussle I have is in the winter – trying to get the silly backpack on over a thick winter coat ! If that’s my worst problem – I’ve got it made !

March 29, 2012 at 12:53 am
(21) sue says:

when we are in a store together and my husband sees that i am about ready to collapse on the floor from exhaustion, he will reach over and take my purse off my shoulder and carry it for me. i am so grateful every time he does that. :) we were in the mall recently and he did that….a guy walking past us winked and said, “hey man! NICE PURSE!” the things we do for love, eh?

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