My husband and I have been coming to San Diego Comic Con for years. Sometimes he goes without me, but I believe it’s been about 15 years. He is an art collector and recently began writing comic books as well. He is well known and really this is more like a side business for him than a hobby. It seems every year I say I’m not coming back because it is so hard on my health, yet I end up going again. This is my story on Comic-Con and Fibromyalgia and how to balance both.
Comic-Con International is just what it sounds like. It is a comic book convention that is held throughout the world. The convention started 50 years ago and was more comic book centered. As Hollywood entered the scene, Comic-Con expanded to movies and television. The convention now has something for everyone and has grown to such massive popularity that it is very hard to even get a ticket sometimes. If you have ever seen the Big Bang Theory episode where they are trying to get tickets, then you know. My husband used to have several computers lined up to try to get in.
There are many things that keep me going back to Comic-Con each year. It is a lot of fun to be so close to celebrities that you admire. There are signings you can attend (if you are lucky and get into the lottery). I enjoy attending panels where you get a look at upcoming episodes and hear first-hand where the show is going. Unexpectedly, I also love talking with comic book artists. Over the years my husband and I have had awesome experiences with artists. Although I am not into comic books it is always nice to meet kind people.
They allow too many people to attend Comic-Con. This makes it hard to even get from one place to another. The lotteries they hold are supposed to make things more even, yet some people get nothing, and others get several things. Sadly, I think that Comic-Con has outgrown San Diego and it really needs another location that better fits its growth.
I have attended Comic-Con while having Fibromyalgia before, so I knew how hard it could be. I recommend getting parking under the convention center. This is also only on sale during a lottery. However, two years in a row we have purchased parking on EBAY. Parking under the convention center allows for easier access when you need to go and rest from all the people.
This year, I brought a walker, which was the best decision I ever made. The walker was hard to navigate in the crowds sometimes. However, it really came in handy more than it didn’t. I was able to sit down so much more often, which meant fewer trips back to the car. Since I had a place to sit, we were able to get into panels we might not have gotten into without the walking aid. In addition, my walker had a storage bin. This meant I didn’t have to lug around a heavy backpack.
- The first thing you should do when you get there is go to disability services between A and B. Here you will get a sticker put on your badge and you can have one person as your attendant. If you have questions always ask. For some reason they don’t seem to willingly give out information, but they will if you ask a specific question. An example of this is that ADA can get into the convention center through door B2.
- They put out a pdf of the program guide and exhibitors a few days before the convention. Looking through these and planning things out will really help.
- Have an outline, but don’t have a set plan. I say this because you never know for sure if you will get to do something or not. So, you have to have a plan B and C and be ok with whatever happens.
- If you want to get into Hall H (this is where all the really popular panels will be) then you either need to stay till 9:30pm or show up before 7:30am. This is when they hand out wristbands and also goes for ADA line.
- If you need to a place to sit down or rent a mobility aid, then disability services is the place for that.
- Bring your pain medications and pain creams, you will need those.
- Prepare healthy snacks so you won’t be tempted to buy the junk they serve there. Although, I did splurge once on a pretzel.
- If you have anxiety like I do, breathing exercises really helped me so much. Breathe in counting to 4, hold for count of 2, breathe out for a count of 6, repeat.
- Again, you have to ask questions. So, always ask if there is an ADA line for something you want to do. There may be one and it won’t be advertised.
- If you are flying into the convention, or don’t have room in your car there is a FedEx service on location. This is very handy because you will be buying many things. In addition, you can also check your bags for a small fee. This will allow you to enjoy yourself without having to carry all your purchases all day.
Even if you don’t have a chronic illness like Fibromyalgia, self-care is a must while attending Comic-Con. The reason I say this is because the con is 4 ½ days of early and long days. There is so much to do there from anime to video games. Not to mention, the convention has spread all throughout the area. There are things to do for miles and some things you don’t even have to have a badge for.
- Proper nutrition: You are on vacation and you know your body, but I suggest staying as close to your normal diet as possible. I have IBS and it can have devastating effects on my stomach to consume things that bother me. I did this by bringing my own snacks.
- Hot-Tub or bath: Using the hotel hot tub or just taking a relaxing bath can do wonders for your body. You are walking probably more than you are used to and pushing your body. So, bring your swimsuit.
- Yoga: Every morning and evening I would do a few yoga poses to help loosen my muscles. I even do stretches in the shower with the hot water hitting me. Afterward, I apply CBD pain cream (linking to the cream I use). This really helps keep the pain down.
- Routine: It can be a challenge to keep up your nightly or morning routine when on vacation. However, I think you will find if you keep your routine as close as possible you will find it relaxing.
These are all the tips I can give you to have a good time at Comic-Con while trying to balance a chronic illness like fibromyalgia. For me and I’m sure for many fibromyalgia warriors out there, it is hard to predict how your body is going to handle an event like this. Almost every day I woke up feeling like I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through. With the tips above I did make it and I even had fun. I had some hard times, but overall, I managed to go with the flow a little more than I usually do, and it was fun.
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