Why I'm a Grinch During the Holidays, From Someone With Lupus

Oh the holidays. I have mixed feelings about the holidays after becoming chronically ill.

I use to enjoy eating the turkey and all the sides for Thanksgiving and Christmas, baking Christmas cookies, and eating them, of course.

I had the energy to stay up for Black Friday and hit all the deals — actually, I would just go to see what was happening.

I remember walking the neighborhoods with my kids all bundled up, sipping hot cocoa, looking at Christmas lights and going shopping for my gift exchange at work.

That was about 10 years ago. Now, I am now disabled and I do not work anymore. So much for looking forward to the potlucks and the white elephant Christmas parties.

Since becoming very ill with my lupus and my oldest daughter also being diagnosed with seven autoimmune diseases of her own (one being celiac disease) — which changed our entire Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner plans-  I have become a major party pooper.

A Grinch. A bah humbug.

My achy joints, flu-like symptoms 24/7 and overall health prevents me from doing any shopping of any kind, including on Black Friday.

I can not stand on my swollen painful feet for long. I just can not tolerate it anymore. I have to plan my chemo and hospital stays around these special holidays just so I can halfway function and not ruin the holidays for my family.

The Christmas tree — that is an all day event with taking many breaks in between because it is so exhausting decorating! This year I was trying to convince my family that we really did not need a Christmas tree, but after seeing the disappointment in their faces, I gave in.

Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, don’t even get me started.

I spent a month on Pinterest trying to find gluten-free meals my daughter can enjoy, but they also have to be anti-inflammatory, low carb, and fit my special lupus diet as well. So kiss that yummy pecan pie goodbye.

The sweet potato casserole I used to make — modified and unsatisfying to say the least.

I think the only safe thing to make now is the turkey and green beans… free range and fresh, of course.

The cold weather kills me. My hands and feet are in pain because of my inflammatory arthritis, so I can forget taking a walk to look at Christmas lights. Actually, I can forget anything outdoors during the cold winter months — unless I pay a price. I can tell you if a cold front just blew in before I can get out of bed.

Now I stick to Cyber Monday, or shop online for Christmas gifts, and buy gift cards — which takes the spirit away from the holidays. I become more and more isolated every holiday season, just with the click of my mouse.

Sorry, no Christmas cookies from me anymore. Not only can I not eat them, I’m just too darn exhausted to make them, and I have to save me “spoons” for putting up that Christmas tree.

Christmas parties — I don’t get invited anymore because I’m flaky. Most of the time either I’m too sick or too tired to attend, I don’t drink alcohol (not because I’m a prude or it’s against my beliefs), but because it’s I either just had chemo or it’s the pain pills and medications combination I’m constantly on.

I would really love a cocktail right about now — because I’m usually miserable — but I don’t want to get any worse.

Happy Holidays. Here’s to another year!

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