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'I Can't Go:' The 3 Little Words I'm Tired of Saying Due to My Illness

“I can’t go.”

Those three little words kill me every time I utter them to someone I had plans with. I hate having to say them partly because I hear sadness in their response, but also because I despise missing out on an adventure. My soul wants to explore so badly, but my physical body is not strong enough at this time to go.

It takes a lot of courage for me to bow down and hang back from going on an adventure. I know I am really sick when the calm voice is out in my head telling me that this is not my time to push my body to its max. If I were to ignore my internal voice and go, I would bet on me losing the risky game of Russian roulette.

Sadly, those three little words had to be said to my family this past week. They had plans to go camping to my favorite campsite in New Mexico and unfortunately I was not feeling strong enough to join. On Friday night I sat on our brown leather sofa watching my boyfriend Seth, the kids and his nephew pack for their camping trip to the mountains. It killed me to see our living room full of camping gear and know I will not be able to load into the Road Barge with them the next morning. I can’t help but feel sad that I don’t have a healthy body. I wanted to stubbornly ignore all the symptoms I was experiencing that were indicators that it was not my time to travel and say “f*** it, I am going too,” but the realistic side of me knew that would not have been a smart decision with this grueling summer heat.

It frustrates me that I have to exclude myself from making memories with them. I would rather be laughing alongside them than binge watching Netflix in our quiet apartment by myself. It feels bratty of me to admit that I don’t want to hear their funny stories when they get home because listening to them only makes me sadder that I could not be laughing in the moment with them. My heart hurts having to sit out on the sidelines and hear that my family had a great time.

Before they all left for their trip, Seth’s youngest daughter was disappointed she could not take Kerby the labradoodle with them. When I told her he was going to stay home with me she said, “Well, I will find you a babysitter then.” Her honest words were a stab to my ego and made me feel pathetic. In her eyes she thinks I am always not well and have to have someone watch me at all times like I am 5. I should not be surprised by her comment because I do tell the kids often that I cannot go on outings with them because of one symptom or another. Each time sucks because their eyes always fill with disappointment that I can’t go.

I am tired of not always being able to say yes and bumming my family and friends out. I want to say yes to every adventure no matter what the temperature is. I want to experience places firsthand rather than watching GoPro clips of them from my phone. I want to be everyone’s ride-or-die chick, not halfway committed to this game called life.

Deep down in my bones I know I will be able to say yes to more adventures, but it still does not make every “no” any easier.

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