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How are you ME/CFS-wise when cooking?

Booble

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Do any of you have challenges when cooking-- standing over the sink peeling vegetables and/or going up and down putting things in to the oven and taking them out?

I feel like I get way to winded (?) and then it's hard to enjoy the meal. I don't think it's just a function of being out of shape as I can take a pretty fast 20 minute walk or swim in the pool without feeling like I do after just a little bit of kitchen work.

Anyone?
 

wabi-sabi

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Yes, I can sympathize with this. While I am still able to cook and enjoy it, the things i cook have changed. Standing to chop veggies or shred cheese is just so tiring, and I get out of breath as you mentioned. It's not being out of shape-it's a consequence of the autonomic dysfunction and maybe a touch of PEM. Or at least I always get more breathless when I am having PEM than when I am not.

I use more convenience foods, like pre-chopped veg so I don't have to. I also try to make a large soup or casserole or other things that will keep well so on my bad days all I have to do is reheat or make toast and not do any actual cooking.
 

Booble

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Thanks for your input, Wabi-sabi.
My heart-rate seems to really rise when I'm standing over the sink peeling and bending down and up multiple times with the oven.

Plus with COVID-19 we're eating all three meals in so it's challenging. Hubby does breakfast but I do lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
 
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There is alot of standing- so thats the challenge. I get so far into the pile of dishes and run out of energy- feel like i have to go sit down.

When I was more acutely worse, I noticed. deep pain in my heel (which is now missing padding and muscle) would start to ache when standing- I had to go sit.

So my stove never gets cleaned. I hate that.

Chopping..urg. Ideally, prep part of the meal earlier in the day, do it in chunks.

I want a stool...for the kitchen- altho I still need to do some of the standing- as it a bit of- a workout...that I need to try to maintain.
 

Booble

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Rufous! Brilliant! I have a a bar stool right on the other side of the kitchen counter. Why have I never thought to use it while doing cooking stuff?!

PS. I hear you on the stove. I guarantee you mine is grosser than yours. ;)
 

Haley

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My heart-rate seems to really rise when I'm standing over the sink peeling and bending down and up multiple times with the oven.
Cooking and doing the washing up triggers my POTS - it's usual for my heart rate to go up into the 130s or 140s which then crashes me out.

I've pretty much given up on stove top cooking - if it can't be prepared in a slow cooker it doesn't get made.
 

Booble

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Thanks for sharing that, Haley. It makes me feel a little bit better about it that I'm not the only one.

I did Thanksgiving once for my parents and husband -- just the four of us -- and even with doing much of the work in advance it was still exhausting. I remember watching my elderly mother flitter around the kitchen like it was nothing while I was needing to sneak into my bedroom to sit and let my heart rate settle.

Makes me feel ridiculous that I get wiped out from doing the most normal thing that everyone else does like cooking.
(And then I start worrying about my cardiac health.)
 

wabi-sabi

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My heart-rate seems to really rise when I'm standing over the sink peeling and bending down and up multiple times with the oven.
Yes, you'll want to be careful with this. As best you can, monitor your heart rate and adjust your activity to keep it in a normal range. That's hard to do- I keep a chair in the kitchen so i can sit as needed, but I always think to myself, "I'll just slice this last carrot and then sit", and then of course it's too late.

Feeling the heart rate go up is certainly frightening, but depending on your other health stuff, might just be the neuro problems of ME/CFS and not a heart problem per se. Of course, we need to do the heart healthy living as best we're able! It's not a bad idea to mention the speedy heart to your doc (if you have one). There are portable monitors your doc can order and you wear temporarily to make sure everything is OK in that department. I'm trying to work myself up to doing this...
 
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I did Thanksgiving once for my parents and husband -- just the four of us -- and even with doing much of the work in advance it was still exhausting.
I was the Thanksgiving Preparer for- many many years. And over and over again- I'm collapsed, exhausted and fried from the event. Many pictures- of me unraveling near a turkey.

I recall a guest- sat down with me in the mid-1990s...and said-you need to figure out what is wrong. If you feel like this now, how you gonna feel when your older?

Well, older is here. :sluggish: Did we figure it out?

So this-was a sign for me- I have had a mild version then- collapse over holiday meals prep- was an indicator of things to come.

(now, we just don't do those holidays, really).:xeyes::pem::xpem:
 
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I have a a bar stool right on the other side of the kitchen counter. Why have I never thought to use it while doing cooking stuff?!
In my last apartment I had an eat-in kitchen that had absolutely no counter space, so the kitchen table became my kitchen counter. I did all of my meal prep sitting at the table, and it changed my life! Ever since then I always sit while preparing food. Now that I'm in a new place with an island the stool is my best friend in the kitchen! I use it while chopping and peeling. I use it while doing dishes. I use it when I'm swizzling things around on the stove. It makes an enormous difference.
 
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Cooking and washing dishes, like anything where I need to repetitively use my arm/shoulders and be upright exacerbated my symptoms. In 2017, a geneticist suggested I might have craniocervical instability, so I started an extensive rehab for my cervical spine (ostopath, chiro, PT, bracing, inversion table, manual traction, manual therapy, supplements, breathing, cranio-orthodontia to correct for jaw misalignment and leverage the jaw as a stabilizing factor for C1-C2) and part of that rehab was limiting and even excluding any movement that pulled on my neck or stressed it in any uncontrolled way - food prep and cleaning had to go.

In 2018, I was diagnosed with spinal CSF leaks (likely started in 2011), and got treated for them in 2019 improving my baseline, however, as my neck and leaks seemed to be getting better my symptoms suggested there was an underlying "jerk" that pulled the strings behind the scenes - sure enough I had positive MRI and a diagnoses of tethered cord syndrome. It is very commong for people with tethered cord to struggle with arm activities. I would note that I could do a lot more with my arms while prone (on my stomach). See "gorilla cart" adaptation -- https://www.newmobility.com/2018/09/yard-work-adaptations/ -- this is how I could do more activities safer for my spine / neck at first with bracing, now with less bracing during the day (still sleep in the neck brace and wake up with leg pain, but I would rather have leg pain that brainstem compression).
 

Booble

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AyanMiru, that is fascinating!
I can really relate to the arms/shoulders while standing and the weight pulling on my neck (and jaw).
When my head is very forward over the sink everything gets worse. I do have very bad head forward posture.
Are you aware if there are things that can be done (exercises?) without a doctor?
I've been doing some certain stretches that seem to help some.

Oh, and, Rufous, the stool idea was brilliant. I've been using that and it's a big help. The other day I was cooking and I had hubby get up and down 2 or 3 times to turn down the stove or stir something and that was good too. :)
 
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Oh, and, Rufous, the stool idea was brilliant.
I rehabbed a very old Cosco stool, with the little two steps. So for longer stirring, I'll move it over. I really need more padding..but for now, this works and I like that i fixed my old stool- its red. My back issues- having my feet up on the steps- reduces lower back pain.

I have a little stool by my toilet: I am entirely co-dependent up my toilet stool.

Sitting a table- would not work for me, as that really strains my spine....

I Manage to do a few dishes but then can't seem to last long enough to clean the stove.