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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday gatherings and chronic illness

Ever since I was a little girl, Christmas was my favorite. Not so much because of the presents but I loved the food, family and the love that was shared.  I would wake up and look out the window to see if we were going to have a white Christmas. (Ok, I'm a 30 *cough cough* something year old woman and that is still the first thing I do Christmas morning.) Ever since this stupid chronic illness has become more pronounced, I am having more and more trouble with gatherings. The noise. The people. The conversations. Oh and let us not forget about the look of "Well, you don't look sick!" and the lovely comments that we have all endured. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Hoping like hell I am going to have a good day. Because I never know what kind of day I am going to have until I wake up. Is it intolerable pain or minimal pain? Little fatigue or kick my ass, where's my bed fatigue? And the planning of the day is taxing its self. So, if the gathering is at 1 pm then I have to be in the shower by 11 am so I will have enough time to rest before we hit the road. Fingers crossed that I am having a good day and not a flair.

Having a chronic illness, you have to give up so many things in your life and Christmas is not as enjoyable as it once was. I know, I know, life it what you make it but having a chronic illness sometimes sucks all the Christmas spirit right out of you.
And of course I have to put on the fake smile! If you have chronic pain/fatigue, Fibro, Lupus or whatever, you know what I am talking about. When asked "How are you feeling?" you put on that fake smile and reply "I'm doing ok" because you don't want to go into detail but you really want to say like... "The TV is blaring, little heathen children running around screaming, 20 people talking at once is really crawling under my skin and making my pain shoot up to an 8!" Why not say this? Well 1. It would be rude and they would think you were crazy and 2. A person who does not have chronic pain, Fibro, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue or whatever will never truly understand what I am talking about anyway so why waste my breath. Hence the fake smile!
Don't get me wrong, I do love Christmas. It is a wonderful celebration of Christ, family and love. But having a chronic illness just takes away from that. So, I decided to pace myself. Enjoy as much as I can. Do what I can. Rest when I need to and say "No" if necessary. Extra Buspar wouldn't hurt either!
Merry Christmas!!

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